Today in 1953 U.S. Air Force Lieutenant Henry “Hank” Buttleman of the 51st Fighter-Interceptor Wing, became the 36th and youngest ace of the Korean War having just turned 24. He accomplished this feat only 12 days after his first kill (An ace has five kills). Colonel James K. Johnson, 4th Fighter-Interceptor Wing, qualified as the eighth “double ace” of the war, with 10 total kills.
Many do not realize that the vast majority of those in the United States Air Force do not fly but make the mission happen through many supporting roles. My role was to manage those who designed and installed critical communications systems worldwide to ensure information flowed efficiently and effectively. Few if any officers in my command ever flew. On the flight line the fighter jets are useless unless enlisted troops weapons loaders put them together and load them. Plane s cannot fly without the enlisted mechanics who maintain the engines. Even down to the finance troops making sure pay is processed and medical technicians do their job and so many more the non-fliers make it happen. With new technologies in cyber space it advances even further.
This event that happened in 1953 today rang a special bell for because as while I write this I am at Lackland AFB in San Antonio to share and witness the graduation from USAF Basic Training today of a young man I have known several years from Skiatook. The pomp and circumstance of parade and ceremony was similar to the one most of our veterans remember from our introduction to service but something has changed. There is a new reinforcement of the core values on “Integrity First, Service Before Self, and Excellence in all we do”. The amazing part was the casual conversation he and his fellow Airman buddy had as we enjoyed the day at the River Walk (Day Pass).
Our conversation did not revolve around what most would things young men would discuss in the military. It was about what those core ideas meant to them. I remained quiet (hard for me if you don’t know me). Their dedication and focus was inspirational. In my day it was learn what you are required and do it. These new soldiers are more evolved as is the training. I am totally impressed. Rest easy, these young soldiers have got it right!
Here is your update of the “doings” in the near future.
July 1-Put out flags on Main Street and Highway 20 and 99; will meet at 0900am at the Hut and start from there.
July 4-No Monday breakfast [holiday]. We will have short flag ceremony at the flag pole at the Hut at 0900.
July 7-Legion meeting at the Hut at 7:00pm. Jerry Sebert will have ‘firecracker” beans and cornbread for everyone at 6:00pm.
July 8-pick up flags on Main Street and Highway 99 & 20. Meet at the Hut at 0900am.
Our regular meetings continue the first and third Thursdays of the month at 7:00 PM. The next meeting is Thursday July 7th as noted. The Monday morning Koffee Klatch meeting for June and July (except for the 4th) are still scheduled for biscuits and gravy and maybe a waffle or two and always a cup of Joe (coffee to the civilians). Keep your eye on the weather in case things have to be postponed. That will be most likely if the storms bring strong winds and lightning. If you are a veteran come on by. If you have a good story it may end up in print. Also keep up with us at website “americanlegion142.org”.