55TH WING BIRTHDAY BALL 2014 
(return to Reunion page)


This year's Birthday Ball will be the concluding event
of the 55th Association's 2014 Omaha Reunion

              The 55th Wing will celebrate it's 36th annual Birthday Ball of the 55th Wing
 on Saturday, April 12th, 2014
at the Embassy Suites Convention Center
 in La Vista.

         
 The gala event is open to all active duty ranks and civilian members of the wing, retirees, and by invitation to local dignitaries. The Ball is the Wing’s largest annual formal social function. Last year over 800 people attended.
  The event will be hosted by Colonel Gregory Guillot, Commander of the 55th Wing and his wife Caroline.

The Birthday Ball was originated by then-Colonel (now, Brig.Gen.-Retired) Regis F. A. Urschler, commander of the 55th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing, in January 1979. His idea was to connect the wing’s heritage to the active duty personnel and missions. That tradition continues even today.
            The Ball celebrates the 73rd anniversary of the unit from its roots in the activation of the 55th Pursuit Group at Hamilton Field, CA, in January 1941, during World War II; then its heritage through the 55th
Reconnaissance Group, which stood up at MacDill Field, FL, in Strategic Air Command in February 1947; the 55th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing from 1950 to 1992, at Barksdale AFB, LA; Ramey AFB, PR; Forbes AFB, KS; and at Offutt AFB, NE, up to the present.

 This year the Ball is the culminating event for the 55th Wing Assn reunion to be held during the days prior to 12 April, in lieu of the usual banquet. It is a rare opportunity for many former 55th'ers to attend this outstanding social affair.


This
year’s theme is “Ever Present, Ever Vigilant"
recognizing the storied history of the Wing and the men and women who performed, and continue to execute, the many and varied missions the Wing operates worldwide in support of both peacetime and in the war on terrorism

Brig. Gen. Donald J. Bacon is this year's guest speaker. (see bio), and Dave Webber, sports personality from WOW-TV in Omaha,  will act as the master of ceremonies for the event. He served a tour in the Air Force and was in the SAC Elite Guard at Offutt.

Other items on the program include appropriate military ceremonies; presentation of the 55th SRW Association Award for Excellence; and the traditional cutting of the birthday cake by the senior member in attendance, and the youngest member of the Wing. There will be dancing to the Heartland of America Band after the ceremonies to wind up the evening.

The traditional cutting of the birthday cake is accomplished by the wing commander,
 a representative of the senior generation in attendance, and the youngest member of the wing.
The 2012 cutting of the Birthday Ball cake The first Birthday Ball cake cutting in Jan. 1979
BBall cake
The ceremonial cake, MC Dave Webber (at podium), BGen Don Bacon, Lt.Col. Pete Potter (USAF Ret), and A1C Hinostraza Mariah, 55th Strategic Communications Squadron.
L to R: former 55th SRW commanders: Col Joe Church, then-MGen, George Miller, former CINSAC, Retired General Russell Daugherty, and
the serving 55
th commander then-Col Regis Urschler

 


President Jim Thomas, 55th Wing Association president, presents the 55th Wing Birthday Ball chairman Capt John Lavin, of the 55th Medical Group, with a check for $1000 on 25 March 2014 in the 55th Wing Commander's Conference Room. This sixteenth annual donation goes to help defray the cost for 'tickets' to the Ball for younger airmen.

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"TALES OF THE 55TH"
Join us for an afternoon of camaraderie celebrating tales of 55th veterans
of World War II, Cold War, War on Terror and other special operations.

The Tales of the 55th is an annual event where people gather to listen to stories of history from those who lived it.  Hear 55th alumni reflect on the extraordinary accomplishments of the men and women of the Wing.  Attendees are invited to browse unit historical memorabilia, such as photos, artifacts and videos from different eras of the Wing’s past, interact with current Wing airmen, and reconnect to the past.  There will be three short presentations that bring the Wing’s history to life to culminate the event.  Beer, wine and light appetizers provided. 


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    Master of Ceremonies : Dave Webber - Former Sports Director ,  WOWT Channel 6, Omaha

One of the most familiar faces and voices in the
Omaha community is that of former Sports Director Dave Webber.
In demand as a speaker, emcee, and genial host, he was a popular television figure in the area since 1978.

        
Dave started his broadcast career as a disc jockey for KLNG Radio,  and has also performed professionally as a folk singer. He joined KFAB Radio  in 1970 then moved to Sioux City in 1973 to cover sports news for KMEG-TV.  He returned to Omaha in 1977 to do the same for KMTV.
        After serving in the
U.S. Air Force (he was a SAC Elite Guard) , Dave attended the University of Nebraska at Omaha. He was born in Evanston, Illinois, is married with three children, David, Marcie, and Joel,  and enjoys singing, acting, and golf. Dave was the Sports Director for WOWT from 1978 till 2009. He thinks sports reporting  is "fun", and that sense of fun comes through when he anchored the sports on the Channel 6 News.

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  BRIGADIER GENERAL DONALD J. BACON



Brig. Gen. Donald J. Bacon is the Director of Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Strategy, Plans, Doctrine and Force Development at the AF/A2, Headquarters Air Force, Pentagon.

General Bacon entered the Air Force in 1985 through Officer Training School at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas. He served in numerous operational and staff assignments at base level, numbered Air Force and Headquarters U.S. Air Force. His assignments include
command of the 55th Wing, Offutt AFB, Nebraska and the 435th Air Base Wing, Ramstein Air Base, Germany; Chief of Special Operations and Intelligence Information, Multi-National Force, Iraq; Commander, 55th Electronic Combat Group at Davis-Monthan AFB, Ariz.; and Executive Officer to the Chief of Warfighting Integration and Chief Information Officer, Secretary of the Air Force, Washington, D.C.

General Bacon is a flight evaluator, instructor and master navigator, with more than 1,700 flying hours.

EDUCATION
1979 American International Student Program, Aberdeen University, Scotland
1984 Bachelor of arts in political science and minor in history, Northern Illinois
University, DeKalb, Ill.
1984 Internship with Congressman Edward Madigan, Washington, D.C.
1986 Officer Intelligence School (Distinguished Graduate), Lowry AFB, Colo.
1989 Squadron Officer School, Maxwell AFB, Ala.
1991 Navigator/Electronic Warfare School (Distinguished Graduate), Mather AFB, Calif.
1995 Master's degree in management, University of Phoenix, Ariz.
1998 Air Command and Staff College (Distinguished Graduate), Maxwell AFB, Ala.
2000 Air War College Seminar (Excellent Graduate), Maxwell AFB, Ala.
2004 National War College, Fort McNair, Washington, D.C.
2006 Seminar XXI, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Washington, D.C.
2009 Leadership Development Program, Eckerd College Leadership Development Institute, St. Petersburg, Fla.
2009 Enterprise Leadership Seminar, Darden School of Business, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Va.

ASSIGNMENTS
1. May 1985 - October 1985, student, Officer Training School, Lackland AFB, Texas
2. October 1985 - May 1986, student, Officer Intelligence School, 3470th Training Squadron, Lowry AFB, Colo.
3. May 1986 - February 1989, command, control and communications intel analyst and chief, Offensive
Missile Analysis Team, 544th Intelligence Analysis Squadron, Offutt AFB, Neb.

4. February 1989 - February 1990, CINCSAC intel briefer, Strategic Air Command Headquarters, Offutt AFB, Neb.
5. February 1990 - August 1990, indications and warning officer, 13th Air Force Headquarters, Clark Air Base, Philippines
6. August 1990 - February 1991, squadron intel officer, 3d Tactical Fighter Squadron, Clark Air Base, Philippines
7. February 1991 - April 1992, student, Navigator and Electronic Warfare Schools, Mather AFB,Calif.
8. April 1992 - July 1994, EC-130H/COMPASS CALL mission crew commander and flight commander, 41st Electronic Combat
Squadron, Davis-Monthan AFB, Ariz.
9. July 1994 - February 1996, executive officer, 355th Operations Group, Davis-Monthan AFB, Ariz.
10. February 1996 - August 1997, assistant director of operations and chief of standardization and evaluation, 41st Electronic Combat Squadron, Davis-Monthan AFB, Ariz.
11. August 1997 - June 1998, student, Air Command and Staff College, Maxwell AFB, Ala.
12. June 1998 - June 2000, chief, electronic warfare officer training, 45th Reconnaissance Squadron and chief of wing protocol, 55th Wing, Offutt AFB, Neb.
13. June 2000 - June 2001, operations officer, 355th Operations Support Squadron and 41st Electronic Combat Squadron, Davis- Monthan AFB, Ariz.
14. June 2001 - March 2002, executive officer to the commander, 12th Air Force, Davis-Monthan AFB, Ariz.
15. March 2002 - July 2003, commander, 41st Electronic Combat Squadron, Davis-Monthan AFB, Ariz.
16. August 2003 - June 2004, student, National War College, Fort McNair, Washington, D.C.
17. June 2004 - April 2006, chief, space and enterprises integration division, Headquarters Air Force, and executive officer to Chief of Warfighting Integration and Chief Information Officer, Secretary of the Air Force, Washington, D.C.
18. April 2006 - May 2007, commander, 55th Electronic Combat Group, Davis-Monthan AFB, Ariz.
19. May 2007 - June 2008, chief, Special Operations and Intelligence Information, Multi-National Force, Iraq
20. July 2008 - June 2009, commander, 435th Air Base Wing, Ramstein Air Base, Germany
21. June 2009 - March 2011, deputy commander, Third Air Force, Ramstein Air Base, Germany
22. March 2011 - July 2012, commander, 55th Wing, Offutt AFB, Neb
23. July 2012- present, Director of ISR Strategy, Plans, Doctrine and Force Development, AF/A2, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, the Pentagon, Washington, D.C.

FLIGHT INFORMATION
Rating: Evaluator/instructor/master navigator (EWO)
Flight hours: More than 1,700 
Aircraft flown: EC-130H, RC-135V/W and Navy E-6

MAJOR AWARDS AND DECORATIONS 
Legion of Merit with oak leaf cluster 
Bronze Star with oak leaf cluster
Meritorious Service Medal with fourth oak leaf clusters
Aerial Achievement Medal
Air Force Commendation Medal with two oak leaf clusters
Air Force Achievement Medal with oak leaf cluster

EFFECTIVE DATES OF PROMOTION
Second Lieutenant August 1985
First Lieutenant August 1987
Captain August 1989
Major June 1997
Lieutenant Colonel May 2000
Colonel July 2005
Brigadier General May 2011

(Current as of August 2013)

 

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