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 photos of the Spirit of the Fourth events throughout the web site. Navigate through the site events and check out the slide shows. The drop down links under "Photo Gallery" provides access to FaceBook and Shutterfly photo sets. You can also see a collection of photos taken at the 2017 event by a dedicated RB High student. Click on "Photo Gallery" and follow the link to her Google Photos album. Enjoy!

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 spacerCity of San Diego Arts Commissionspacer

The Spirit of the Fourth Title Sponsors for 2018 are:
The County of San Diego, courtesy of Kristin Gaspar, Board of Supervisors Member for District 3.
The City of San Diego, courtesy of Mark Kersey, City Council Member for District 5.

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Resa Coopat and Myrna De la Pena - marketing@spiritofthefourth.org

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