NOVEMBER 6, 2002

1-508-746 –5713

News Letter-November 2002


The 551st Airborne Early Warning and Control Wing formerly located at Otis AFB, Cape Cod, MA held a reunion of its members October 31, November 1 and November 2, 2002 at the Radisson Hotel, Plymouth, MA. There were over 360 members in attendance.


The unit was located at Otis AFB from 1954 to 1969 and flew Active Air Defense Missions in defense of America. Their missions were performed in the RC121D and the EC121H. The aircraft and mission was phased out in 1972 and replaced with the E-3 AWACS aircraft.


On Friday November 3, the unit conducted a memorial service at Otis ANG Base on Cape Cod to memorialize those Officers and Airmen who lost their lives while in the service of their country. Over 150 members of the reunion attended the Memorial Service. The Otis ANG Base Honor Guard was in attendance. The speakers were Jim Collins, Co Chairman and Veterans Agent from North Dartmouth and John Loftus  of Edgewater Park, NJ.


On Saturday November 2, there was a Memorial Wreath Drop over the Atlantic Ocean south of Nantucket Island. The 3 wreaths were dropped in the area of the crash of Aircraft #53-0549 Homey 82, in which 15 Officers and Airmen lost their lives. The 3 wreaths were dropped to memorialize the 50 Officers and Airmen who lost their lives in 3 separate Aircraft crashes into the Atlantic Ocean. Joseph L. H. Guenet, Lt. Col. USAF Retired who was the sole survivor of the crash of Homey 82 was on board the C-45 when the wreaths were dropped. Other passengers were John Loftus, Jim Collins, Chuck Comstock, and Kimberly Holloway. Pilot was Bob Trinque of Plymouth, MA.

 Prior to the departure there was a short memorial service at the hanger, conducted by Jim Lawler. Following the prayer there was a reading of the names of the 50 Fallen Stars. They did the wreath drop, landed at Nantucket Airport for breakfast, and on the way back to Plymouth got a fly over over Otis ANG Base. GIVE THEM ONE MISSION ACCOMPLISHED……………..

The weekend long festivities were capped on Saturday Evening with a dinner banquet held at the Radisson Hotel, Plymouth, MA. The National Anthem and other select songs were sung by Ms Cheryl Rego of Pembroke, MA, during the program. The Honor Guard from Bedford AFB, MA posted the colors and performed the POW/MIA Ceremony. Following the POW/MIA Ceremony Ms Cheryl Rego sang “Proud to be an American”. Jim Collins lead the Members in the Pledge of Allegiance and Jim Lawler said the Invocation. Guest speaker was Joseph L. H. Guenet, Lt. Col. USAF Ret.,. The Key Note Speaker for the evening was John F. Flanagan Jr., Brigadier General USAF Ret. John Loftus was the Master of Ceremonies.


During the course of the evening other military rituals were observed. Letters of Recognition were awarded to Joanna DaSilva, Alice Koronkiewicz, General John F. Flanagan Jr, Dean Boys, A. J. Northrup, Charles Comstock, John J. Hughes, Jim Lawler, John Loftus, Ella Bradbury and Jim Collins. Ms Cheryl Rego singing “God Bless America” closed the Dinner Ceremony.         


The C-45 Breakfast Flight drawing was held on Saturday at 2:00PM. The winners were Al Christianson (Twice), George Cooper, Walter Walko, and Russell Stuart who substituted George Byers. They flew to Nantucket and had breakfast. I understand they had a memorable flight and got a fly over Otis.  As members of the 551st they were invited by Otis Control to do a flyby of the Control Tower, which they did at 50 ft.


I would like to thank Chuck Comstock for the 360 wine glasses he donated to the Members of the reunion. The wine glasses were embossed in blue with the Wing patch and the words of the reunion, “OLD FRIENDS AND MEMORIES REVISITED-MAY THE SPIRIT LIVE ON”. These wine glasses like the ones he donated at Tinker are fantastic and will be a keepsake for years to come.


I would also like to thank Don Uitti for the attention he gave to the Registration Desk. He was there most of the time the desk was open. Also Al Tardy, Jim Collins, Ann Shank, and Russell Stuart. Thanks for all for the many little/big things they did. You cannot appreciate what guys like this mean to the success of a function such as ours. Also not to be left out is Dean Boys and A. J. Northrup. Their technical assistance advice and product donations were very generous and appreciated. Thanks, to John Loftus for the great job he did as the Master of Ceremonies. Well done John. Jim Lawler for the job he did on the Invocation and Prayer. Again thanks Jim. And last but not forgotten thanks for the very fine speeches done by Joe Guenet and B/G John F. Flanagan.  THANKS……………..To anybody that I may have overlooked, I apologize and say thanks to all.


Now THANKS goes out to the most important people of the reunion. That is the reunion members themselves. Without you the members there is no reunion. I want so say you all have been a treat to work with and very generous with your donations to the reunion. I am looking forward to meeting up with you all at a future reunion.


                                                       Thanks again,        


                                                           Floyd and Jim