“The Commandant of the 13th Naval District, on behalf of the officers and men of his command, expresses deep appreciation to the people of Port Townsend, who, by their prompt and effective …
“The Commandant of the 13th Naval District, on behalf of the officers and men of his command, expresses deep appreciation to the people of Port Townsend, who, by their prompt and effective response in an emergency, illuminated an emergency landing strip for a Navy plane in distress by massing the lights from their cars on the golf course, thus saving the life of a Naval officer and preventing the destruction of his plane on the night of December 4, 1948...”
This was verbiage from a U.S. Navy Community Commendation presented to the mayor of Port Townsend in 1949, a year after the absolutely exemplary efforts put forth by the residents of Port Townsend at the in-town golf course.
I used to raise money for the United Way in Stockton, California and I would use the article of this golf course episode to showcase how people help in any way they can, even to those they don’t know (The Port Townsend Jefferson County Leader, Wednesday, Dec. 9, 1998, page, A13, “Pilot Town Saved Comes Back For A Visit,” by Fred Obee, Leader Staff Writer).
My grandchildren and their parents have heard me tell this story many times. When they are with me in Port Townsend, we make a point of recognizing the golf course.
Please keep the in-town golf course. Not only do we still want to play golf in town, but we need to remember the honor bestowed on the residents in 1948.
Port Townsend is a special community and I’m certain there are still many families that remember or have been told of that lifesaving night.
Christine M. Babb
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