A Reunion In White Sands

By Jim Crouch

In the July of 1991, a most interesting event took place near Las Cruces, at the White Sands Missile Range in an enchanting state called New Mexico.

It was a reunion of children, now grown, who once called this ivory badland home. They had lived there in the 50’s and 60’s, brats all. More than 200 people showed up at this reunion, itself a production that took a year to engineer. I’d wager it was a success, seeing as how folks showed up from every corner of the USA.

The attendees, enjoying the New Mexican sun.

Between July 4 and 6, the reunion included a tour on the second day of the modern-day Range, hosted by  Col. Walker, representing the Base Commander. Welcomed and guided in, these guests were shown videos of what the missile range was doing now. They particularly enjoyed a tape on current community services, which measured a sharp contrast between the years they lived there and the modern era.

They toured the current youth center, the school, and wandered through the housing area. They sought out their old quarters and other nostalgic landmarks. As the sun reached the noontime zenith they adjourned to the Officer’s Club for a luncheon with past Pioneer Group President Tom Starkweather, who was featured as a guest speaker.

The 200 attendees had traveled from every corner of the country.

The Pioneer had contributed to the success of the reunion and the luncheon by giving every attendee a 40th anniversary aluminum coin as a memento. In addition, a belt buckle had been donated to join a framed 45th anniversary poster as a door prize. These were awarded by the current Pioneer Group President, Bob Nichols. Over $800 dollars of souvenirs were sold that day, including cups, decals and posters.

In my opinion, it seemed to me that every one of the attendees had a great time.

Penny Gearou (right), my mother, helped organize the event.


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