2018 Evreux Reunion and Air Show


The Evreux reunion was a great success.  Patrice Le Mao and Marc Pichard did an outstanding job in planning and scheduling all the events.

The 4 day event started off with a coordination meeting held by Patrice Le Mao where he discussed the schedule and assigned everybody to cars that would transport us to the events.  Members of the Breguet Association had volunteered to drive the veterans to the events in their cars. 

The next day we went to the Air Base where a formal flag raising ceremony was held with the Air Base Honor Guard and Headquarters Staff present.  After the National Anthems of both countries, Col. David Desjardins, Base Commander, and Bill Lloyd laid wreaths at the memorial to the 317th Airman that lost their lives while stationed at Evreux.  Taps was then played.

The Air Base Museum was visited where a large section of the museum is dedicated to the 317th.  The base history from the French AF pre WWII, the German occupation of the base, the USAF at Evreux, to the current day is exhibited with photos, documents, memorabilia and models.

We toured a C-160 and an Airbus CN-235M-200 transport aircraft.  The newest squadron on the base flies the CN-235 twin-engine turboprop aircraft.  The USCG uses the CN-235 in the US and it is called a HC-144A Ocean Sentry.  The size is close to a C-123 or C-27.

Col. Desjardins hosted us for lunch at the Base Mess Hall.

The third day we visited the famous Cluziel Chocolate Factory where we learned all about how they make their products and sampled some of their chocolate.  The company store did a booming business from us after the tour.  Lunch was held in a restaurant in Conches and after lunch a tour of a glass museum.

The last day was back on the base for the full practice of all the Air Show demonstration teams.  The box lunch in a VIP tent was not the typical Subway box lunch, but a meal with all the trimmings French style.  The Patrouille de France demonstration team was the star of the show with their amazing maneuvers.  There was a brand new French AF C-130J that was delivered the week before and a A400M transport aircraft.  There were 4 previous Base Commanders present and Col. Desjardins, old friendships were renewed.

Jacqueline Vanzetti presented Bill Lloyd with a hand painted porcelain plate with the 317th Veterans Group and Base Aerienne 105 Evreux-Fauville logos.

That evening was a barbeque party at the L’Usine a Zabu for all the veterans, drivers and members of the Breguet Association.  This is where the 317th Monument was built by the sculptor Jean Zabukovec in his workshop, which remains intact after his death.

Jim Gregory gave all the French drivers, Base Commander and other French VIPs special C-130 hats and cloth bags with patches that he had brought with him.  He was very popular as always!

Some of our veterans attended the official Air Show opening over the weekend.  With the huge crowds of people attending, parking was off base with long lines for the buses taking people to the security checkpoint.  The previous 2 days on the base the veterans and their drivers were able to drive directly on to the base.

At the conclusion of the base activities, several veterans said what a privilege it was to return to their former base and being shown so much respect and friendship by the French Air Force men and women of the Air Base.