Reunion # One – Wichita Falls, Texas- July 4-6, 1985
A reunion of the USAF Helicopter School instructor pilots at Stead AFB, Nevada had been mentioned off and on over the years and in 1984, started by Bill Waters, a list of former instructor pilots was being compiled. After 20 some years, the idea of a reunion was becoming more of a reality.
The first USAF Helicopter Pilot Reunion was held at the Hilton Hotel in Wichita Falls, Texas on July 4-6, 1985. The reunion was planned and hosted by people in the Sheppard AFB “vicinity” (including San Antonio, Texas and Washington, North Carolina!)schoolpatch2
Colonel James T. Carroll, Commander, 3785th Field Training Wing, and long time helicopter pilot, convinced the Base Commander, General Charles, to allow us to use some of the base facilities for some events. Others that assisted in this project were, of course, Mrs. James (Jean) Carroll, Bill and Pat Waters, Karl and Pamela King, Tom and Polly Brumfield, Bob and Elaine Hennessey, Jerry and Phyllis Stroh, Syd and Shirley Pool, Bob and Andrea Reinert, Chet and Kay Brasher, Chuck and Janie Herrmann, Jack and Claudia Perry, Marty Hilliard, and Hal Welch. Others that pitched in at the reunion were Jimmy and Helen Hamill, Fred and Marilyn Goessel, Bill and Nadine Hughes and probably others that I am remiss in mentioning.
July 4th : Registration all day at our Hospitality Suite in the Hilton Hotel. Icebreaker (cocktails and plenty of hors d’oeuvres) at the Sheppard Officer’s Club at 1800 hours. Base fireworks display at dusk.
July 5th: Hospitality Suite, Hilton Hotel, open all day. Golf at the Sheppard course. Static displays of helicopters from Kirtland AFB on the Base Operations ramp. Bar-B-Q dinner, country music and dance at Sheppard Rec Center complete with live Longhorn steers (and other BS). Casual dress (boots, jeans, whatever).
July 6th: Hospitality suite open for socializing, visiting, (drinking) etc. The day was spent visiting and reminiscing bygone days. We were entertained on the mezzanine with impromptu music by George Kekuna, James Carroll, and Lou Anatrella.
Buffet dinner and dance (civilian dress, coat and tie) at the Officer’s Club. Photos were taken for a Memory Book. We were welcomed to Sheppard by General Charles. There were a few choice words from our “Chief”, retired Col. Jimmy Hamill. There was no formal speaker, however, there was an “open mike’ for any comments or memories from the attendees. Charlie Weir presented K.V. Hall a framed copy of “Low Flight” in recognition of being the high time AF helicopter pilot.
When the reunion planning was first begun, it was estimated that 50-60 people might show up. Over 200 active duty and retired people attended the first USAF Helicopter Pilot Reunion. It was a grand reunion and wonderful to see many old friends that we hadn’t seen for upwards of 20 years. We hope the next one will be in Reno!
Note: Information taken from USAFHPA Newsletters and other sources. Kyron Hall, Historian.
Photos from the files of K.V. Hall
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