In the western Mojave Desert region of California, in a little town called Ridgecrest, is the China Lake Naval Air Weapons Station.
Using nearly 20,000 square miles of restricted airspace, the Navy develops, tests, and trains their collection of cutting-edge weapons and aircraft. Behind that operation, of course, is the dedicated naval staff who work at the station, along with the families that champion them.
It’s a close-knit community, with less than 200 houses on base, a commissary, a bank, and a church. But miles and miles from the nearest major city, the neighborhood is rather isolated from the outside world.
To honor the diligence of the military families, we thought it was time to send some excitement to China Lake and break up some of the monotony of small-town, desert living.
It would seem that when you throw a party in the midst of the Mojave Desert, all the residents show up to attend! And that’s what happened when Freedom Alliance organized a family day for the people of the Naval Air Weapons Station.
The good folks of China Lake—about 200 people—braved the 108-degree desert heat and enjoyed the food and amusements while waiting for the sun to set and cool things down.
A sock-hop theme lent nicely to the evening’s attractions. In addition to a live band, which played fifties-era music, there were classic cars on display, potato-sack races, and a watermelon-eating contest. A massive inflatable water slide appealed to the kids, as well as a rock-climbing wall and even an old-fashioned dunk tank, for those who were keen to practice their aim.
The exclamations of gratitude were forthcoming: “I can’t believe you came all the way up here for us!” and “You have no idea how much this means.” The weapons station is not accustomed to civilian sponsorships, and so the sock hop proved to be a real treat. The families of China Lake, eager for amity and celebration, made the scene in the late-August hot spell.