Our recent RV outing took us to Wichita Falls, Texas, to celebrate the NCO (Non-Commissioned Officer) Induction Ceremony of Susan’s daughter, Senior Airman, Katherine Campbell. It wasn’t that long ago that Katherine, or “K,” as I prefer to call her, was zooming around the campus of OCU on her rollerblades. The Air Force has not yet let “K” zoom around the country in a T-38, but at the rate she’s advancing, it may not be long.
Katherine serves in the “82nd Medical Group,” but the base also is the home of “80th Flying Training Wing,” which flies both the T-6A Texan II (lower left) and the T-38C Talon (lower right). . . .
Sheppard currently trains 350 student pilots and 150 instructor pilots.
Katherine’s service to our country makes her family very proud, and we congratulate her has she sews on her 4th stripe identifying her as a “Staff Sergeant” in the U.S.A.F.
Above, Katherine walks through the traditional crossed swords during induction ceremonies.
Katherine receives her “Certificate of Achievement” from Brig. General Michael Fantini, 82nd Training Wing Commander.
Below, One Proud Mom!
The night before we departed for Wichita Falls, Oklahoma City’s “Honor Flight” was scheduled to return to Will Rogers World Airport. At 9:15 p.m., 104 WWII veterans returned from the 9th trip out of Oklahoma City to visit the WWII Memorial in Washington, D.C. They also visited other war memorials, Arlington National Cemetery, and The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
Susan’s D.A.R. sisters assisted in the mass turnout of soldiers, friends, family, and supporters as our veterans departed the aircraft and entered the terminal . . . .
I had been to Sulphur for most of the day and exhausted after the 200-mile round trip, and I was first reluctant when Susan asked me to accompany her to the return of the Flight. But once we arrived at the airport and entered the terminal, not only was I ashamed for my earlier reluctance, I was honored to be in the presence of men and women who helped make it possible for me to be a free American!
While standing at the end of the line and greeting the veterans as they turned to enter the elevator, I noticed a well-postured man wearing aviator sunglasses. I regret I didn’t get his name, or have more time to visit with him, but during our brief conversation I discovered he was a navel pilot during WWII and fought in the Pacific Theater. Below, his daughter stands proudly beside her father while she holds a picture of him during his time of service.
Of the 16-million Americans who served in WWII, about 3-million survive, and 60,000 reside in Oklahoma. Thirty-seven states are affiliated with National Honor Flights, including Oklahoma, who raises about $100,000 for each flight. When I consider the sacrifice these men and women gave for our country, it’s very little to ask of me, and you, to greet and celebrate our returning American Heroes, whenever the opportunity arises!