Meeting Bill Haynes

“…was perhaps the greatest thing to come out of my trip to the moon,” said Buzz Aldrin at the memorial today. I had a drink with him afterwards. It was old home week for friends of Bill, and there were many, going back decades.

It was a beautiful service. I said something like:

As the pastor said, I’m sure that Bill would be delighted to have gotten some of the people here into a church. In my case, he would have been shocked. Maybe enough to rouse the dead. [pause] OK, guess not, but it was worth a try.

I met Bill about thirty years ago, when I came out to California from Michigan, wet behind the ears, and went to work for Aerospace, and it was the start of a long and wonderful friendship. I hadn’t seen him much in the past few years because I’d moved to Florida, but I moved back a year ago and still didn’t get around to seeing him, for no damned good reason, and now I’ll regret it the rest of my life.

I see Buzz is here, and I don’t want to take any of his time away, nor do I want to step any one else’s speech with this story that I’m sure he told many others than me, but to follow up on what Bill Simon said about Bill’s interest in space, he wasn’t just interested in it, but wanted to go himself from an early age. When he enlisted in the Army Air Corps during the war, he told the recruiting sergeant that his goal in the service was to go into space. The sergeant scratched his head for a while, and said, “Sorry, son, but the army doesn’t have a space program. Maybe what you should do is just write down that you’re interested in ‘extremely high-altitude flight.'”

And that’s what Bill did. Fortunately for him, a couple years later, the Army captured some Germans who were escaping to the west from the advancing Russians, one of whom was named Wernher von Braun, and suddenly the Army had a space program. Then a couple years later, when the Air Corps became the Air Force, they got into it too, as did Bill, first with missiles, and then, after his retirement from the military, with space stations. He helped a lot of other people get into space, but it’s a shame that he never fulfilled his dream of doing it himself, unless he found a different way on Sunday.

Ad astra, Bill. Ad astra per perspera.

I found out that Bill Simon had taped seventeen hours of Bill telling his life story over the past few years, so perhaps a lot of a remarkable life will be preserved, along with his archives. It was a bittersweet occasion, and the most memorable funeral I’ve ever been to, I think.

The Iftar Speech

Ten theses:

In the 2008 campaign Obama presented himself as a healing if not a redemptive figure. For reasons that are almost completely understandable, many voters chose to believe in Obama’s self-presentation. Belief in Obama’s persona conflicted with voluminous evidence to the contrary that was there for anyone with eyes to see.

These voters who bought Obama nevertheless quickly saw through Obama’s persona after the election. They now believe they were sold a bill of goods, and they are of course right. Obama’s Iftar remarks suggest that Obama has no hesitation at all in reminding voters how he pulled one over on them.

As the latest Gallup poll indicates, more and more people (and just adults, not even likely voters) are figuring out who the rubes were.

Bill Haynes Memorial Service

I’m getting word that it has been moved up from Saturday to tomorrow at 4 PM. I don’t know location yet, but will update when I find out. Fortunately, I get into LAX about 12:30.

[Update a few minutes later]

St. Paul’s Lutheran Church | 31290 Palos Verdes Drive W. | Rancho Palos
Verdes | CA | 90275

When approaching from Hawthorne Blvd., it is necessary to turn left onto Palos Verdes Dr. South, pass the church (on the other side of the divided road), then make a U-turn onto Palos Verdes Drive West and drive back to the church. For the u-turn, they are asking people to continue past the first turn-out (where the accident took place) to a traffic-light controlled intersection.

[Update late evening EDT]

The Family has requested that in lieu of flowers donations be made to Boys and Girls Club of the South Bay. There is not currently a separate Memorial Fund for Bill, so please note that your donation is made “In Memory of Bill Haynes.”

[Update a while later]

Here’s the official obituary from the family:

William “Bill” Everett Haynes, 86, decorated Vietnam fighter pilot, of Rancho Palos Verdes, died Sunday, August 15, 2010, while driving his little red sports car to church. His loss is deeply felt.

Bill was born in Paris, France, on January 18, 1924, to Everett Campbell Haynes, a noted jockey in Europe between the World Wars, and Edna Heise Haynes. The Haynes family, including his younger brother, John Barrett Haynes, returned to Oklahoma in 1933, and moved to Los Angeles in 1942.

Bill relentlessly pursued his goal to be a fighter pilot and his dream of space travel. In 1943, he volunteered for the US Army Air Corps, where he served until the end of World War II. He obtained his undergraduate engineering degree at UCLA in 1949, and immediately joined the US Air Force.

His Air Force career took him and his family to Arizona, Germany, Ohio, Oklahoma, Southern California, Florida, and Virginia.

Prior to his service in the Vietnam War, Bill continually educated himself on the principles of flight and aircraft design and maintenance. He graduated from the Air Force Institute of Technology at Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio, in 1954, and from the USAF Experimental Test Pilot School at Edwards AFB, California, in 1956. In 1965, he earned his Master of Arts from USC in research and development systems management.

Bill worked in the Minuteman missile program in Cocoa Beach, Florida, starting in 1965.

From 1967 to 1968, Bill bravely served as the commander of the 90th Tactical Fighter Squadron (nicknamed the “Dice”) at Bien Hoa AFB, Republic of South Vietnam. Bill flew 187 combat missions over the Ho Chi Minh trail. He was decorated with the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Bronze Star, the Air Medal and the Vietnam Cross of Gallantry. For the rest of his life, Bill enjoyed keeping up with his fighter pilot buddies via email and reunions.

He capped his Air Force career with a year in the Pentagon. He retired as a Lt. Colonel.

Following his retirement, Bill worked from 1969 to 1991 with various defense contractors, including Martin Marrietta, Doral Systems and SAIC, in Colorado, Germany and Southern California.

Bill moved to Rancho Palos Verdes in 1977, where he lived with his beloved wife, Christine Apelles Haynes, until his death.

Bill is survived by his wife, Christine, his daughters Susan Ellen Roberts, of Dallas, Texas, and Kirsten Michele Howland, of Palos Verdes Estates, his sons John Barrett Haynes, of Los Angeles, and Richard Craig Haynes, of Pilot Point, Texas, and his grandchildren, Emma Kent Roberts and Caden Everett Robertson Howland. His parents and his brother, a Korean War veteran, predeceased him .

In retirement, Bill enjoyed anything involving flight. From 1998 to 2004, he worked with a team building a replica of the original airplane flown by the Wright Brothers. After that, he flew his own hand-built Ultralight airplane. His most recent flight was last Friday.

Bill continued to be actively engaged intellectually until the end. He held US Patent no. 4,828,207, for “fluid lock” technology. He wrote and published articles on various scientific issues, including the presense of “Square Craters on the Moon.”

He deeply loved his grandchildren, his pet parakeets and holding forth on the great issues of the day.

Bill was a loyal member of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, Rancho Palos Verdes, for over 30 years.

I had forgotten that he even served in WW II, and got his commission later, after the war. He’ll be coming back here (DC) and buried across the river in Arlington, for a well-deserved and honored rest.

The Newest Tea Party Member

Ray Bradbury:

“He should be announcing that we should go back to the moon,” says the iconic author, whose 90th birthday on Aug. 22 will be marked in Los Angeles with more than week’s worth of Bradbury film and TV screenings, tributes and other events. “We should never have left there. We should go to the moon and prepare a base to fire a rocket off to Mars and then go to Mars and colonize Mars. Then when we do that, we will live forever.”

The man who wrote “Fahrenheit 451,” “Something Wicked This Way Comes,” “The Martian Chronicles,” “Dandelion Wine”and “The Illustrated Man” has been called one of America’s great dreamers, but his imagination takes him to some dark places when it comes to contemporary politics.

“I think our country is in need of a revolution,” Bradbury said. “There is too much government today. We’ve got to remember the government should be by the people, of the people and for the people.”

One of the stupidest aspects of the announcement of the new space policy was to make such a big deal of the fact that we weren’t going back to the moon. It was entirely unnecessary, because we weren’t going back to the moon under the old policy, either, and yet another own-goal by this politically clueless White House.

Biting Commentary about Infinity…and Beyond!