The 55th Wing will hold its 38th annual Birthday Ball, Saturday, May 21, 2016 at the Embassy Suites Convention Center in LaVista.  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 Marty Reynolds, 55
th Wing Commander, and his wife, Deanna.

The Birthday Ball was originated by then-Colonel (now, BrigGen-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 75
h anniversary of its founding, and 50 years at Offutt AFB. The unit recognizes its roots from 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, from 1966 up to the present.

This year’s theme is “HISTORY-HERITAGE-HONOR” recognizing the storied history of the Wing and the unity of the men and women who have 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.

1Lt Meagan Kusel of the 55th Maintenance Operations Sqd, leads the Ball Committee, ably assisted by MSgt Timothy Coenen and SMSgt Jonathan Jenkins, and is made up of personnel from a cross-section of the Wing’s units.

Admiral Cecil Haney, commander of STRATCOM, is this year's guest speaker. Dave Webber, a well-known personality from WOW-TV in Omaha, is being sought to act as the master of ceremonies for the event. Mr. Webber served in the Air Force at Offutt with the SAC Elite Guard before starting his broadcast career.

Other items on the program include appropriate military ceremonies; induction of new members into the 55th Wing Hall of Fame; presentation of the 55th Wing Association Award for Excellence; and the traditional cutting of the birthday cake by a senior member in attendance, and the youngest member of the Wing.

There will be dancing to the Heartland of American Band, after the ceremonies to wind up the evening.
The Hall of Fame induction ceremony and Tales of the Fifty-Fifth will be scheduled
for the afternoon of Friday, 20 May, times and places TBD.

The 2012 cutting of the Birthday Ball cake   The first cake cutting in 1979
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 55th Commander then-Col Regis Urschler



                      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.


 2016 Guest Speaker


Admiral Cecil Haney, a native of Washington, D.C., is a 1978 graduate of the United States Naval Academy. 

His career as a submariner includes assignments in USS John C. Calhoun (SSBN 630), USS Frank Cable (AS 40), USS Hyman G. Rickover (SSN 709), USS Asheville (SSN 758), and Submarine Squadron 8, culminating in command of USS Honolulu (SSN 718).  

Subsequent fleet command assignments include Submarine Squadron 1 from June 2002 to July 2004, and Submarine Group 2 from October 2006 to March 2008.

Haney’s shore duty tours include administrative assistant for enlisted affairs at Naval Reactors; congressional appropriations liaison officer for the Office of the Secretary of Defense (Comptroller); deputy chief of Staff of Plans, Policies and Requirements, U.S. Pacific Fleet (N58); director, Submarine Warfare Division (N87); director, Naval Warfare Integration Group (N00X); deputy commander, U.S. Strategic Command and Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet.

Haney holds master’s degrees in Engineering Acoustics and System Technology from the Naval Post Graduate School, and a master’s degree in National Security Strategy from the National Defense University.

Haney’s decorations include the Navy Distinguished Service Medal (two awards), Defense Superior Service Medal (two awards), Legion of Merit (four awards), Navy Commendation Medal (three awards), Navy Achievement Medal (two awards), and various campaign and unit awards.  In addition, he was the 1998 Vice Admiral James Bond Stockdale Leadership Award recipient.