Program reconnects Airmen to heritage

WASHINGTON -- Air Force History Office officials are launching a new program to help unite Airmen, past and present, to commemorate and preserve their shared heritage. 

During this year, in conjunction with the 60th anniversary of the Air Force, history office staff members are reaching out to those involved in various missions who want to connect with their former teammates. 

"Many of our veterans are involved in military organizations that center on a particular airframe or unit, but often, people involved in long-lasting missions have never met because they may come from various career fields, units, or eras," said Brig. Gen. Janet Therianos, director of the Air Force 60th Anniversary task force. 

"We want to help bring these Airmen together so they can exchange stories and preserve a legacy that may otherwise disappear," General Therianos said. "Without our Airmen to carry on our heritage to the next generation, the personal aspect of our history may be lost." 

Many veteran and military organizations already exist, but history office officials want to help Airmen begin some new associations and traditions, with a greater focus on the people involved in a mission. Through this project, they hope to assist veterans in forming lasting relationships and foster an interest in jointly preserving their heritage.
The reunion project is focused on encouraging the formation of new associations. History office officials hope to facilitate a series of reunions for these new associations, by connecting them with existing, established organizations to serve as mentors and by offering assistance with finding and utilizing Air Force resources to help make their first reunion a success. 

The wide range of this project provides a challenge for the history office staff. The targeted groups may have never met their "team mates."
One of the groups officials are interested in establishing will focus on any member who was involved in a mission that flew for more than 24 hours. 

"That means we will be contacting and bringing together Airmen who served in different units, different airframes -- even different decades," said General Therianos. "But we hope the shared experiences of such a group will ignite a desire to maintain relationships across this diverse team and work toward the preservation of a history unique to their personal accounts." 

History office officials are interested in anyone who was involved in a flight lasting more than 24 hours or anyone involved in Operation Senior Surprise (also known as Secret Squirrel), Operation El Dorado Canyon or Operation Deep Freeze. 

Anyone involved in any of these missions, or knows someone who was, is encouraged to contact Capt. Laura Yardley at DSN 754-2175, commercial 202-404-2175, or e-mail laura.yardley@pentagon.af.mil. He or she may also contact Captain Yardley with a suggestion for another association.