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Orange County Focus

COSTA MESA : Army-Base Reunion Takes Place Saturday

March 23, 1990|JANICE L. JONES

More than 40 years have passed since the Santa Ana Army Air Base shut down shortly after the end of World War II, and there are few reminders of its physical existence.

But the base lives on in the memories of those who trained there as pilots, navigators and bombardiers, and on Saturday several hundred of them will gather for a reunion.

Members of the base's original military band will be there too, playing big-band music from the 1940s.

"I'm glad they could make it," said former cadet Bud Anderson, who lives in Huntington Beach. "They are the same age as we are, and we aren't getting any younger."

Anderson, who went on to pilot a P-61 Black Widow fighter-bomber on 25 missions over Europe, is helping organize the reunion, along with members of the Costa Mesa Historical Society.

The base, which was open from 1942 to 1946, was on a 1,336-acre site now occupied by Orange Coast College, the Orange County Fairgrounds and the Mesa Del Mar housing tract.

The reunion will be held in the college cafeteria and library from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $5, and the public is invited to attend. For information, call 714-631-5918.

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