Former Naval Airman Was 83
ANN has learned a former
naval aviator, who later founded the Palm Springs Air Museum to
honor World War II airmen, recently passed away at the age of
Robert Pond said he first fell in love with airplanes at age
10... and, eight years later, told a Navy recruiter he'd be forced
to take radical action if they didn't admit him to the Navy Air
Corps program in 1942.
"It wasn't easy," Pond said in his biography, provided by the
museum. "I had to threaten that I was going to join the Army. It
was a bit of a devious way."
After the war, Pond graduated from the University of Minnesota,
and bought a Cessna 180. That was in 1948.
The Palm Springs (CA) Desert Sun reports over the years, Pond
built collections of both warbirds and vintage cars. In 1996, he
moved with his wife, and his collections, to California. He opened
the Palm Springs Air Museum on Veteran's Day, November 11,
Pond opened the museum to "educate, promote and remember all the
people during World War II that made great sacrifices, particularly
airmen,"said Museum Vice Chairman Ken Miles. "Bob was an avid
Pond stepped down in 2005, and was named chairman emeritus by
the museum's board. "He was very proud of the air museum and
particularly proud of all the volunteers at the air museum who gave
their free time to support it," Miles said.
"He just had a love of planes," added museum board member Gloria
Robert Pond was also well-known in sporting circles, as the
namesake of the Pond Racer, designed by Burt Rutan and Scaled
Composites. Pond commissioned the design in the late 1980s, to
compete alongside vintage warbirds in the Unlimited Class at the
Reno air races. The all-composite twin-engine aircraft paid homage
to the Lockheed P-38.
Pond's former secretary said Pond suffered a fatal brain
hemorrhage, and died at Desert Regional Medical Center last Friday.
He is survived by his wife, Jo Rose Pond, four kids, three
grandsons, and two great-grandkids.
And, may we add, generations of grateful Americans. We wish your
spirit well on its journey into the setting sun, sir.