By Bob Jamison

          Some say if it weren’t for a very narrow strip of land with a beautiful name leading to Coronado Island, it would truly be an island, otherwise it would be an island. However, this ‘island’ is everything it is made up to be including a leading role in American history concerning some of the greatest fighting heroes of many wars including the famed Navy Seals.

          The U. S. Navy still operates a formidable navy air base on the north end of Coronado Island. It is flanked by many homes once or even now owned by some of those very heroes. But if more is possible, it is now home of many American greats including movie stars, poets, ranking retired naval officers and billionaires.

          Stepping from Texas summer heat into an air conditioned Terminal building and onto one of Continental’s best, you might have a tendency to forget what a light sweater feels like in June. But when you step out in to the gorgeous weather on Coronado Island, the cool breeze off the Pacific Ocean will cause you to grab the “carry-on” and slip on that favorite wind breaker for a cool sixty degrees or so. In the “heat” of the day it might even break into the low seventies! Wow, isn’t that tough?

          While driving along the immaculately clean streets of the island and cruse along the equally clean beaches, you can understand why the Spanish discoverer Carillo called this a part of paradise. The tropical plants and waving palm trees of Coronado Island smacks of other tropical Pacific islands. Yet, here it has all the conveniences of a major city which is another attraction of this beautiful area.

          The peaceful sounds of the tumbling clear water of the ocean gently rolling onto the white sand beach is quite often interrupted by the sound of navy helicopters headed to the air base. Prop jet trainers can be seen doing touch-and-go training operations for young navy aviators to be.

          Then, when an aircraft carrier approaches land headed for this natural deep water port, the likes of F-l4 Tomcats and F-l8 Hornets can be seen leaving the carriers to land at the base. The reverse is true when the majestic carriers such as the USS Admiral Nimitz heads back out to sea. Then, the airplanes leave the base to land on the carrier for missions wherever they are needed in the world to protect our country. All in all, it is quite an air show in itself.

          Museums are everywhere on the island as well as in the metropolitan area of San Diego. Not the least of which is the air and space museum that might take hours to see it all. The famous Marine and Navy fighter base at Miramar is nearby that gained national attention with the movie “Top Gun”. Truly, it was the postgraduate school of fighter pilots who were often called the ‘best of the best’ has trained at Miramar air base. Yet the memories of the famous Marine fighter plane, The Corsair, can be imagined to be heard belching out smoke from the powerful engines of this fighter on this very spot.

          The piston type fighter was foremost in the Pacific war of WWII and even on into Korea. It was memorialized by the late “Pappy” Boynton of the famed Black Sheep Squadron as well as the leading fighter aces like Bond and Foss. General Joe Foss was one of the greats and a winner of the Medal of Honor in WWII.

          But history is not all that awaits you in Coronado Island. Famous restaurants on the water front boast of some of the finest anywhere. Often, the ambiance is accented by the gorgeous sunsets of red colors mixed with blue and trimmed with a silver lining.

          Should you be fortunate enough to have the opportunity to visit Coronado Island, California, you may be assured that the remarkably pleasant climate can only be matched by the awesome opportunities of enjoyment. One that is most enjoyable is the public square free concert featuring local musicians playing tribute to Flag Day by stirring Sousa marches and songs of our armed forces to more that l000 proud Americans with picnics in the park.