Spirit of the Fourth 2017 now exists only in the memories of those who attended the event and had a great time helping our community celebrate the birth of our nation. Hats Off to the SOTF Committee for putting on a great show in 2017 and for preparing another world class patriotic celebration on July 4th, 2018. The committee is grateful for the community support through donations and volunteer efforts so essential to the success of an event as large and varied as the Spirit of the Fourth in Rancho Bernardo.

The theme for 2018 is

Honoring Our

Korean War Veterans

The Spirit of the Fourth Parade’s two Grand Marshals, Harry Hodges and Royce Williams, represent all United States Korean War Veterans as we honor those who served there on land, at sea, and in the air. Both officers are members of Rancho Bernardo's General J. P. Holland Chapter of The Military Order of the World Wars.

At dawn on Sunday, 25 June 1950, The Korean People’s Army crossed the 38th parallel separating North Korea from South Korea and the stage was set for the Korean War, officially a “Police Action” since no country ever actually declared war. By early July, under the authority of the United Nations, United States and UN allied military units in the area began to organize an armed resistance to the North’s invasion and started a massive build-up of ground, naval, and air assets. North Korea was supported by China and The Soviet Union. The next four years of bitter fighting resulted in a stalemate and a more or less permanent division of the North and the South at the 38th parallel.

Lieutenant Colonel Harry Hodges,
United States Army (Retired)

Harry was one of the many who served on the ground in Korea.
Harry served in the Merchant Marine during World War II, carrying troops and supplies across the Pacific. He was discharged by the US Coast Guard which supervised the Merchant Marine during time of war. Upon the outbreak of hostilities in Korea, Harry was called to active duty service in the US Army and assigned to the 578th Combat Engineers Battalion, 40th Infantry Division in Korea. The mission, in advance of the US front lines, was to conduct vital engineering feats such as building roads, bridges and landing strips. He was responsible for developing training programs for using explosives and clearing mine fields. Mine clearing undoubtedly saves many lives.

These Engineer forces frequently came under bitter enemy fire and suffered many casualties as a result. Harry was perilously close to these actions and saw many of his comrades fall. He was fortunate to survive unwounded. He received a battlefield commission in 1952.

In 1954 he was assigned to the famed 82nd Airborne Division as a platoon leader, company executive officer and Division Training Officer. He reports that he has jumped out of every US Army airplane capable of supporting airborne troops with over 500 jumps to his credit. He later served two one-year tours in Vietnam and then was ordered back to the 82nd airborne division. In 1962 he received the Itschner Award for being Commander of the best engineering company in the US Army, worldwide! He retired in 1974 with nearly 30 years of active duty service to his country.

Captain Royce Williams,
United States Navy (Retired)

Royce was a carrier based fighter pilot during the Korean Conflict. He represents the air and sea forces dedicated to the US effort in Korea.

On 18 November 1952, Royce was launched with a group of four F9F-5 Panther jet aircraft of Fighter Squadron 781 from the deck of the US Aircraft Carrier, USS ORISKANY (CV-34) off the coast of North Korea. This was supposed to be a routine Combat Air Patrol flight. Shortly after takeoff, he was notified that a flight of seven MiG-15s with Russian pilots had launched from Vladivostok and were headed to intercept his flight. This information was classified above TOP SECRET and was not declassified until over 50 years later to protect intelligence sources and methods.

Due to circumstances beyond his control, he found himself alone in the Korean airspace with the seven MiGs. During a 35 minute dog fight engagement, he shot down at least three and probably four of the Russian piloted MIGs and sent the rest back home with their tail between their legs.

After a truly heroic demonstration of airmanship, he was somehow able to return and land on the ORISKANY flight deck where the flight deck crew counted 263 bullet holes in his aircraft and most of his control surfaces shot away or disabled. His body, miraculously, was not among the surfaces hit. Royce went on to finish a distinguished career in the US Navy, including over 100 sorties in carrier aviation in the Vietnam War.

There are a lot of new photos of the 2017 Spirit of the Fourth event throughout the web site. Navigate through the site events and check out the slide shows. You can also see a collection of 500 photos taken by a dedicated RB High student by going to the Photo Gallery and following the link to her Google Photos album. Enjoy!
The Spirit of the Fourth committee chose "Saluting Our Wounded Warriors" as the theme for Spirit of the Fourth 2017. The Parade Grand Marshal representing this theme was Matthew Georger. Matt was presented a certificate of appreciation by our Representative in Congress, Scott Peters. That presentation was a truly touching moment and spoke to all who attended the VIP Reception. We all owe a huge debt of gratitude to those brave men and women of our Armed Services who have given so much to preserve our freedom and way of life, and especially those who came back home with the wounds of war.

For 2017, the Spirit of the Fourth Committee organized two important fund raising events held in April and May. These events were "The Comedy Show" (primary organizer, Myrna De La Pena) and "Poodles on Parade" (primary organizer, Robin Kaufman). Poodles on Parade will return for 2018!.

PoodlesOnParadeFlyer - 2018

Photos of the 2016 event are now available on Shutterfly. Mouse over Photo Gallery above then select "Shutterfly Photos". There are also photographs and other event information on our FaceBook page. Mouseover Photo Gallery above and select "FaceBook Photos"

Our Photo Gallery page also includes a large slide show of the 2016 event photos taken by "Mr T".

For 2016, the Spirit of the Fourth Committee chose "Women in the Military" as the theme and selected Captain Vicki Nenner, United States Air Force (Retired) as Parade Grand Marshal to reflect this theme.

The Theme for 2015 was -- "Generations of Freedom" The official program for Spirit of the Fourth, 2015 can be viewed here.

Antique, Old & Classic Cars on display
Do you have a classic ride? Why not show it on the 4th in RB.

Contact Us to learn how you can participate in our car show!

For Advertising questions, please contact Dave Brooks

We Need Your Help
In order for our celebration to be a success, we need to raise over $50,000. Your donation enables us to continue providing special events which include the parade and our spectacular fireworks display!

If you had fun this year or last year and/or are planning to enjoy the celebration next year, please consider contributing. Our sponsors provide some of the funding, but we rely on members of the community to meet the budget. Thank You!

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Title Sponsors

spacerSan Diego County Board of Supervisorsspacer
spacerThe Spirit of the Fourth Title Sponsor for 2018 is the County of San Diego, courtesy of Kristin Gaspar, Board Member for District 3.

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Annual Program & Advertising
Resa Coopat and Myrna De la Pena - marketing@spiritofthefourth.org

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