|On the wall at the Air Intelligence Agency|
On September 27th this former airman boarded an airplane in Eugene, Oregon with a destination of San Antonio, Texas and a reunion with members of the Prop Wash Gang and Freedom Through Vigilance Association. It turned out to be one of the most wonderful experiences this former airman ever had. I think that it will most likely be impossible to put into words the feeling of brotherhood, comaraderie, etc. that exists among this group of men. Despite the fact that I had never worked with any of these men and, for the most part, only served a small percentage of the time that most of them had, they welcomed me as one of their own and treated me like royalty. The only thing I can compare this to is whenever I visit my elderly father. He has a little dog who acts like she is so glad to see me that I once told my dad that if I ever met a lady who acted as kindly towards me as that little dog I would marry her in a minute. It may seem quite inappropriate for me to compare my meeting with this group of Silent Warriors to my relationship with that little dog of my father's but, in reality, there is no higher compliment I can pay than to make that comparison.
I met some wonderful people who might be passed on the street by strangers as simply nobodies because we would probably never make any magazine's profile of "beautiful people" but these men served in the US Air Force during a critical period in this nation's history and served with much distinction.
One evening I decided to query the group to determine how many Air Medals were held by this group of men. Unfortunately I had set my sites lower than I should have because I should have been asking about even higher medals. I had canvassed about half of the group before I found out that many of them not only held dozens of Air Medals but Distinguished Flying Crosses as well. After querying 43 men about the number of Air Medals I had a total of 526 and some had volunteered that they had DFC's as well. And yet despite this huge number of Air Medals many men told me of someone else they knew who had more. The following morning someone brought this big guy over to introduce to me. They said, "Airlee, this is Jim Luther. Ask him how many Air Medals he has." I did and Jim volunteered that he had 32 Air Medals and two Distinguished Flying Crosses. I knew that I was standing in the presence of a true "Silent Warrior" and I was in awe. And yet I believe Jim said that he knew others who had more medals than he did. WOW!!!!
|Jim Luther holds 32 Air Medals and two Distinguished Flying Crosses|
Larry Tart, founder of the Prop Wash Gang, was inducted into the Air Intelligence Agency's Hall of Honor during the FTVA 2000 reunion. Check here for photos.
Ron Kriegel Photos
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