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        RECON RENDEZVOUS
  
            55th Wing Association Reunion
                        
OMAHA, NE
 
                            
April 9-13,  2014       
  Pictures from this reunion  
     

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                           OMAHA/OFFUTT

                     2014 REUNION RECAP




                The 55th Wing Association
’s 30th reunion, 9-13 April 2014, at Omaha/LaVista/Offutt AFB, NE, was another in the long line of memorable gatherings of 55th’ers.
 Held in conjunction with the 55th Wing’s Heritage Week at Offutt, this was a rare opportunity for many of our members to witness and participate in those activities first hand.
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Reunion Chairman Don Kelly (Shown here with wife, Melinda), a member of the Association Board of Directors, and a former 55th Wing Operations Group Deputy Commander, planned, orchestrated, and executed a full and varied slate of events for the nearly 200 attendees.
Ably assisting in the planning and logistics of the agenda were reunion committee members: Melinda Kelly, Bill Ernst, Jim Maloney, Paul Jeanes, Denny Haun, Ham Kennedy, Chris Canada, Max Moore, Mary Howe, MSgt Jeannette Johnson; and Association coordinators: Jim Thomas, Mike Cook.
Activities included generous hospitality suite hours (always a popular venue), a golf outing, a Thursday evening dinner at the historic and picturesque Joslyn Castle in Omaha; the Friday informal reception, and a variety of optional tours of Omaha attractions; and at Offutt to include a history tour, aircraft displays, control tower tour, the Hall of Fame induction ceremony and the Tales of the 55th event.
There were two Board meetings and the usual membership meeting on Saturday morning, 12 April at the hotel.
The reunion culminated with the 55th Wing Birthday Ball Saturday night. This gala is the Wing’s largest formal social event of the year. First held in January 1979 with the aim of connecting the active duty members to the heritage and storied history of the Fighting’ Fifty-Fifth. Attendance is usually between 800-900, about 10% of whom are Association members and guests, local and out of town.
This was a singular opportunity for those who had never attended this outstanding event to experience a truly grand evening of traditions, dining and dancing with the active members of the Wing and local dignitaries.
This year there were about 940 at the Ball and about 240 were Association members and guests. 
Just as much a part of the reunion was the hotel’s Sunday brunch when numerous reunion alums gathered once again for more commiserations, and to say ‘good byes’.
By any measuring device, this was a great reunion, well executed and appreciated by those attending.

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The various tours of Omaha area attractions, such as the Old Market and museums, were well attended, but by far the most popular was the Friday tour of Offutt AFB, seeing the many changes in infrastructure, the new USSTRATCOM building work-in-progress, aircraft displays, etc.
A highlight was lunch at the Patriot Club (formerly the Officers Club) when a mini-Tales of the 55th broke out.

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LtCol Messina of the 45th RS told of an Open Skies treaty inspection mission to Russia last year where the aircraft and crew were diverted from their objective base due to bad weather. They had to spend 52 hours at a location not expecting them, and with no counterpart support. Coordination was a drill to get fuel, have it paid for, and get clearance to leave the country all while living under pax terminal conditions, and with less than appetizing cuisine. Borscht with weenies?
Captain Shaun Herr, a navigator on the 38th RS crew selected as the 2013 O’Malley Award winner as the most outstanding reconnaissance crew in the USAF, related the crew’s experience providing critical air support to US and Coalition forces during combat operations in Afghanistan.

Their presentations were well received by the group as evidenced by a short question and answer session before heading out on the remainder of the base tour, and winding up at the actual Tales event.


 

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