Bill Hosmer,

I thought I’d share with you and the Dunseith Alumni some of the memories that folks have of you and the famous Thunderbirds. I’ve attached a few messages that our class of 65 generated this last April when our subject of discussion for the day was you and those planes performing over Dunseith. Last winter our class members would have, almost live discussions, on various topics and this was one of them.

The first message I just received yesterday from Ron Longie also from our class of 65. All the other messages down to Deb Morinville’s were generated last April.


Ron Longie’s reply to Bill Hosmer:

I truly enjoyed reading Bill Hosmers email, the memories came flooding back about the old skating rink sitting in the warm up shed retying skates, warming hands and feet what a memory. I thank you Bill for the trip down memory lane, and I also like Bill Grimme remember the pass over of the jets what a day. Thanks again for all the names of people that I had forgotten.

Ron Longie

Colette Hosmer’s reply:
Gary and Larry, Great memories. Actually, Bill was my cousin — my Uncle Jack

Hosmer’s oldest son. Bill and his wife, Pat, have a cabin at Lake
Metigoshe and have spent the summers there for years now. Bill still
tells great stories about those days. One was that Uncle Jack had to
walk down to Casey Sine’s store the next morning to offer an apology.
Casey got skinned up when he “hit the asphalt” as the jets thundered
down main street at the end of their performance. Larry – I also like the idea of the arched street lights. Colette

On 4/23/07, Gary Stokes wrote:
Larry, Again you are a wonderful writer and story teller.
Colette, I think your Uncle Bill Hosmer was part of these Thunderbird shows
that Larry is talking about.

Wonderful story from Larry Hackman
Gary & Bill & Paul

Did you read about the Blue Angle pilot crashing yesterday and getting
killed at a flight demonstration. That brought back a memory when the
Thunderbirds would come and fly over Dunseith. They would fly over and do a
few maneuvers usually about once a summer or when ever they were in the
area. I remember they would come right down main street what seemed as low
as tree top high. The street lights would start rattling and the next thing
that happened was there was five jets following each other right down main
street. It really made you stop what ever you were doing and pay
attention. If I remember correctly is that they would even break the
berrier a few times just to make sure that everyone would come out of their
houses to watch the show. That was still legal in them days,(You know, way
back when). Mostly I think it was to get the Hosmer families
attention. Colette’s uncle was one of the pilots if I remember correctly.
Then for the closing of their demonstration they would come flying down main
from the north end of town. They would come so low and so fast that the top
of street light poles would be sucked in and touch, creating arches from one
end of main to the other end. They would have to have the fire dept. go out
the next day with the ladder truck to streighten the poles back out. I
always thought the town would have looked better with the arches, and
really would have looked good at Christmas. You know with the arches
decorated with Christmas lights and such. It really would have created a
amazing sight in the dark of night. If you can emagine. You know, that is a
helluva idea for the street dance during the reunion. You can just emagine
everyone doing the snake dance (or is that crack the whip) down main under
the arches. Maybe someone ought to pass that idea onto someone. But I
think Colette’s uncle retired. Its really to bad about that Blue Angel
Pilot. We must all say a prayer for the well being of his family.
You all take care and smile,


Allen Richard’s Reply:
Bill Hosmer, one of Jack Hosmer’s older sons was a pilot with the Air Force Thunderbirds in the 60’s. They were performing at the Minot Air Base and did an impromptu short show above Dunseith Min street. I was mowing hay in a road ditch along Highway 3– Getting buzzed by an F-100 (yeah that is what they flew back then) at 500 mph is a true religious experience.

By the way, after Bill Hosmer left the he did some test pilot work and demonstrations for Cessna–Great guy and fun to talk with. Last I saw him he was living @Lake Metigoshe God — been gone so long I forgot how to spell it! Anyway Collette or Jess might know his whereabouts.

Bill Grimme’s reply:
Great stuff! The Thunderbirds were a big part of our younger days. I
remember hearing rumors that there might be a flyover (I’m sure an official
announcement would not have been allowed). Seems like it always corresponded
with some event at Minot AFB. We would wait in anticipation on the day and
still be surprised when the Thunderbirds made the first pass. Cakes fell,
kids and adults ran outside, Brownie cameras were pointed to the sky (doubt
that the pictures turned out) and, as Colette has shared, Dunseith citizens
skinning their knees when they hit the deck. What a day! Here is a good link to the Thunderbird history. Colette’s cousin is
prominent in the article, Bill http://www.usafthunderbirds.com/history.html

Colette’s Hosmer’s reply:
Hey Bill,I replied to the Thunderbird story before I read your e-mail.

So….one real live account of a “man” actually hitting the deck.

Another one was Jimmy McKoy. He was up on the roof of the Crystal
Cafe to get a better view of the show. He swore, that when the planes
came down main street, if he wouldn’t have flattened out he would have been hit!Colette

Susan Fassett’s reply:
The story I remember is that a lot of the older folks in town thought we were being attacked by the Russians when the planes came flying so low over the town. I remember standing in the alley behind our house and you could see the pilots in the planes very clearly, as low as they were. It was a real treat for us small town kids. Susan

Message I recieved yesterday from Deb Morinville Marmon:
Dear Gary,

Merry Christmas!! Are you overwhelmed yet? My goodness, this list is taking on a life of it’s own!

My mom, Frances Morinville used to tell this story of the day the “Thunderbirds” came to town (pretty much unannounced)

Back in those days the big threat to the USA was the USSR. Everyone talked about the “communists”. Mom and Dad talked about them so much I came to think I could identify one if they walked down the street kind of like a Martian or other alien. Anyway, Mom said that one of the jets came really low right over main street. The door opened at the store and an elderly woman came in, white as a sheet. Mom got her sat down in the chair by the window and after she could catch her breath she said “I think the communists are attacking!” Mom told that story for years, she got such a kick out of it. I also remember forming a caravan to the Minot Air Base to watch the air show. It was one of the thrills of my childhood years. Thanks Bill, for the joy of those days and also for your service to our country.

Merry Christmas to all my old “homies”

Deb Morinville Marmon

Following day’s comments from Bill Hosmer to the Above postings

Bill Hosmer’s comments & Reply: Thunderbirds
Gary Stokes, Ron Longie, Cousin Colette Hosmer, Larry Hackman, Allen Richard, Bill Grimme and to Deb Morinville (whose address I did not have).Thank you for taking the time to comment on that brief period of time in a long life. The flattery I’m experiencing is a gift from you all, and that is important to me. By the way I answered a direct mailing from Susan Fassett, so she was not included in this series of observations and impressions response.

Just to clarify a couple of impressions, we did not do any
supersonic maneuvers. The explosive sound that was heard was in all
likelihood, the afterburner which is a loud and sudden explosive
acceleration which that engine incorporated. The solo pilots used
it more than us working guys in the formation, although it’s
possible anytime. On one of the South American shows we did in 1961
the President of Paraguay asked our lead to do a supersonic pass.
He explained that the shock wave might possibly break many windows
in the air terminal. The president said, “This is my country, and
those are my windows”. So the leader had the solo to open the show
with a boom. No windows were broken, but they had alot of tape
helping to withstand the shock.

What caused KC Sine to fall was not in the plan, but it happened
like this: As lead headed us toward Minot, I asked him permission
to do a slow pass down main street. I wanted to see if my folks
were at our store on main street. I was low and very slow with my
landing gear down. Unknown to me the other wing man pulled out of
the formation, got behind me a good distance then lit the
afterburner, accelerated to nearly 500knots, flew UNDER me as we
passed the bank on the corner. KC explained to me when Dad and I
went to apologize, he had that masterful fast paced dialogue with a
little swearing going on, telling me, that fast one was going to
kill him right in front of his store,etc, etc, then he ended his
tirade, he said, “hey kid, wanna banana?” I’d heard that many
years before that Sept day in 1961. What a piece of work that man

There are Thunderbird reunions every other year in Las Vegas where
we get together with us oldtimers, and all the teams before and
after us, and are treated to a private air show by the current
team in their beautiful F-16 aircraft at Nellis AFB. This year it
was last month. The number of attendees from our earlier teams are
less and less, but it is like being in Dunseith at our famous
100th and125th Celebrations to see all the generations in
attendance, to give the heart a tug, and the mind a blast of

I did eject from the airplane I flew to ND about two weeks after
we had been there. It was not at a show, but during our arrival
maneuvers at a Navy Base in Rhode Island, I had the engine quit
running, tried some emergency airstarts, tried to position the
bird to make a dead stick (engine out) pattern, but was too low,
so ejected without injury, and flew the spare airplane in the show
the next day. The other one exploded in an empty field with no
damage to anything on the ground, except the dirt. I landed in a
tree and I was not as good a tree climber as I was down at Willow
Creek, but shoot.

I’m hoping someone can figure out the best way to get us in
computer contact on a regular basis. I can contribute $$, but my
brain power is limited.

Cheers and Happy New Year to you all, and thank you from my
heart. Bill Hosmer