June 26th 2009 TACP School House, Hurlburt Field Florida. Personnel are already showing up for the event. The memorial is covered in a poncho, a fitting cover for a TACP
Jason Wallace and Chris Spann
Chris Spann and Mike Haytack
The ambient temperature is about 85 with 90% (or so it felt) humidity. The Students, all shiny in their blues, wait in the shade.
Randy Horn. Happy to be photographed....
Blast from the Past....Robbie Johnson..and his son
Joe Siebenberg and Robbie Johnson
Everyone is waiting in the shade for the event to start
Tim Stamey and his wife
Jason Wallace and SMSgt Oneil
Will Davis (Hawk 53), James Tierney, Lyle Shehane (Hawk 56)
The Honor Guard
[Photo Albums on Face book]
Dale Spillers Photo Album
Jarred Taylors Photos
Charlie Heidals Album
At 1000 hrs, under crystal clear blue skies a pair of F-16s flew over the TACP School house at Hurlburt Field Florida kicking off the dedication ceremony for the TACP Memorial. Jared Taylor was the master of ceremonies
Jared Taylor as MC for the Memorial Event
And the official Party is seated: BG Mike Longoria and Chief Devine
Posting the Colors
At 1010 EST across the planet, 1C4 personnel stopped what they were doing and bowed their head in rememberence of our fallen
NOTE: If you have photos of your "remote" participation in this event please email them or get them to me somehow and I'll link them into this page.
At 1024 Chief Devine took the podium
Chief Devines Speech: "General Longoria, Colonels, Commanders, Chiefs, Fellow TACPs, honored guests. Good morning, I am deeply honored to have the opportunity to be part of this momentous occasion. Before I begin, I'd like to share some words of thanks: First of all, I'd like to thank MSgt Carron and everyone here at the schoolhouse for all the hard work that went into making today happen; not only did they conceive the this idea, but they kept with it and refused to quit even when it looked like we'd never get here and they did all of this in addition to their very demanding duties of training the future of our careerfield. Second I'd like to thank the TACP association and the many sponsors, corporate and private, whose generous donations made this memorial possible.
What is a memorial? The Encarta dictionary says its "Something that is intended to remind people of someone who has died or an event in which people died, e.g. a statue, speech, or ceremony intended as a reminder of a person or event or as a celebration of somebody’s life and work". This memorial certainly fits both parts of the definition. Today, 1045 active duty and 302 Air National Guard TACPs have something they can call theirs. Something that commemorate our sacrifices, our lives and our work for many years to come.
Long before AFSC 275X0, later converted to 1C4X1, was created in 1977, the Air Force recognized the need to have a group of men, trained, motivated and maybe just a little crazy, who would live, train and fight alongside our army brethren to plan and execute Close Air Support missions. Who in their right mind would join the Air Force to Join the Army? IN the beginning the answer was not many. So the Air Force asked itself what's at the heart of what these men need to do? The answer was communications, and they grabbed a group of radio operators and maintainers and turned them into Radio Operators Maintainers and Drivers, or ROMADs. Those of you who are as old as me, or older, met some of these men and were probably trained by them. Were they happy about their new line of work? Some where, some were not, but every day they went outand did the job and did it well. Most importantly, they built the foundation of a reputation that those who followed them have continued to build upon. Today that reputation is a group of men with the innate ability to thrive in the face of adversity, fix just about anything with a ball peen hammer and hundred mile per hour tape and who, most importantly are willing and able to do whatever it takes to accomplish the mission and somehow manage to pull it off with a smile on their face. Men who don’t seek the limelight, but often find themselves right in the middle of it. Men so competent that they were given the authority to provide terminal attack control of aircraft, a job with an incredible level of responsibility and one that was previously reserved for commissioned officers. Men who are so dedicated to their profession that they were asked to serve as the senior Air Force representatives to Army Battalion commanders. Over the years there have been and there will continue to be many changes: Uniforms, equipment, Tactics Techniques and Procedures, weapons and the list goes on. But what hasn’t changed is the undying commitment of the men in this careerfield, their ability to look within themselves and find the inner strength needed to take the next step when your body says it cant; to execute your first night missions with a target in close proximity to friendly forces when the slightest miscalculation could spell disaster for your team.
What is it we're recognizing today? Its more than a group of men who are physically fit, technically and tactically competent and brave enough to jump out of airplanes, rappel out of helicopters and run around the front lines of the fight looking for action. Its men who truly love what they're doing and will do whatever it takes to take care of their buddies and get the job done. What we do isn’t always sexy, its seldom easy and its often easy to forget about us when there isn’t a shooting ware going on, but were always there, waiting and ready for the next call. What does the future hold for us? Will we be able to grow to and retain the required numbers of more than two thousand five hundred total force TACPs? Will we be ale to make changes that will give you more time with your families and more time to focus on training? How will continuously improving technology change the way we employ our TACPs? I honestly don’t know the answer to these questions, but here is what I do know. I know that when the sun rises tomorrow, that the men of this careerfield will do what they do every day, they'll pull on their uniforms, dust off their gear and stand the line, ready for what ever mission is thrown their way. In his Gettysburg address, Abraham Lincoln said "The world will little note, nor long remember that what we say here" and although that is likely true of today, your actions have ensured that the world will note and long remember the contributions and sacrifices made by the men of the United States Air Force Tactical Air Control Party careerfield. Thank you for your kind attention. God bless you and God bless our incredible careerfield.
At 1032 hrs BG Longoria gave a speech [Awaiting transcript from video tape]
At 1045 hrs BG Longoria and Chief Devine unveil the TACP Memorial
The laying of the Wreathes: Pete Klein, Lee Blackwell and an unknown new graduate
Honors to the Memorial, Firing of salute and Taps
The Memorial dedication concluded at 1100 hrs.
Ben Johnson and Dennis Wise
David Howard and Tony Urends
Due to the heat the area cleared out pretty quickly. But at 1900 hrs, the party started... To set the stage. 4 Kegs of beer (night ended with two more showing up) and at least one bottle of jack appearing. BBQ on hand an open mic for those brave (or drunk enough) to participate. A hot and heavy game of Beer Pong (of which our esteemed Chief Devine won at 10-1 and a water slide that got weirder as the night turned into morning. Of special note was that even with about 200 drunks, loud music and general mayhem we didnt see one Police officer....I have to attribute that to the fact that one of our number was a BG
Er...I'm not sure I can explain this one....
ROMAD.COM updates happening in Real time....while Charlie Stuffs his face with BBQ
Drinking to lost friends
we miss you guys
[Disclaimer]Listening to these songs could be hazardous to your health. Remember..you were warned
[NOTE: Recommend right clicking on these and downloading them to your drive for a speedier play.]
I need to flip this one on its side but you can figure out whats going on....
Bowling for ROMADs
Sometime during the evening a coin check was called. Frank Lofton was the only one present (so it seems) to be without circular protection. It was also his birthday so duct tape was acquired
and forces were marshalled. The cunning plan was to tape him to the pull bars...but we only had about 150-200 folks present and that was not enough to hold AND tape him. Next time we
need to bring ALOT more folks. Lofton Melee