Reunion # 15 – September 16-20, 2009

The reunion headquarters was the Embassy Suites Hotel in Colorado Springs, Colorado. There were 143 members and 123 guests in attendance including several new members. Welcome aboard. The reunion was hosted by Dan Beatty, Jerry Davenport, Carl Crews & Dick Goven, association members residing in Colorado Springs.

Wed 16 Sept:
Members arrived, signed in and given a registration package which included a reunion gift - a coaster set with pictures of six helicopters which members flew during their Air Force careers. These were the H-19,H-21, H-43, UH-1, CH/HH 3 and HH-60.

The remainder of the day was spent with members visiting with old friends and fellow helicopter pilots in the Hospitality Suite Area. The member’s evening dinner was on their own at local restaurants.

Thurs 17 Sept:

Member golfers played a scramble game at the USAF Academy Silver Golf Course in the afternoon.

In the evening members journeyed to the Flying W Ranch, an actual working mountain cattle ranch located in the foothills of Colorado Springs. The western town and shops on the ranch grounds were open for the folks to browse and shop. There was also dancing and tales told by the local Indian tribe. We were treated to a Chuck wagon Dinner and entertainment by the Flying W Wranglers musical group. It was a very fun evening.

The Hospitality Suite was open for members to converse with old friends.

Fri 18 Sept:
A membership business meeting was held in the hotel in the morning. Ron Allred volunteered to host the next Reunion in Jackson, WY. The exact date was yet to be determined. The members voted to offer free USAFHPA membership to all active duty Air Force company grade helicopter pilots. Major Rod Lisec, NY Air National Guard gave a briefing on the Guard’s Operation in Iraq and Afghanistan using the HH-60 helicopter.

After the meeting 100 plus members & guests attended the noon formation of AF Academy Cadets and had lunch with all 4000 of them at Mitchell Hall, the cadet dining facility. The Superintendent of the Academy, Lt Gen Michael Gould gave welcoming comments to members. What a great group of YOUNG people.

After lunch, members were briefed on Cadet sailplane flying and skydiving operations at the Academy Airfield by Academy Flying Ops Officers and Cadet Instructors. Their Skydiving teams compete in international events and do quite well.

A USAF UH-1N was on static display with crew from Warren AFB, Cheyenne, WY. There also was a medivac helicopter on static display with crew from Colorado Springs. Board of Directors Chairman Dan Beatty, a medivac pilot, gave members a briefing on that operation.

Thirty members and guests toured the Garden of Gods (one of seven wonders in U.S.) and lunched at the Garden of Gods Trading Post which included an Indian ceremonial presentation.

In the evening eighty some members and guests took a dinner train on the Historic Royal Gorge Route Railroad, Colorado's oldest scenic railroad.

It is the only train that takes you through the rugged and beautiful 1000-foot deep canyon of the Royal Gorge on the Arkansas River. We stopped briefly to view the Royal Gorge Bridge suspended more than 1000 feet above our heads.

The Hospitality Suite Area was open for members to converse with each other.

Sat 19 Sept:
In the morning some members toured the Glen Eyrie Castle the home of Colorado Springs founder General William Palmer. The members enjoyed a tour of the castle and grounds then were offered a delicious selection of light lunch foods, assorted teas, scones and pastries.

The association's final event was the formal banquet held in the evening at the hotel. The guest speaker was Colonel Richard Williams, Vice AF Academy Commandant of Cadets and AF helicopter pilot who served in Iraq. After Col William’s talk, which was very informative, the musical group, Vocal Fusion, entertained the members and guests with old tunes familiar to all. Door prizes were then given to many members by a drawing.

Alaska's 5040th Helicopter Squadron was well represented with 20 of it's folks attending.

The evening concluded with members gathering in the Hospitality Suite Area for final farewells.

Sun Sept 20:

Sunday morning was busy with last minute packing and after enjoying another delicious complimentary breakfast, we began to hit the road for home or other destinations.

The reunion committee thanks all the members who attended the reunion and wish them all the best in their future endeavors and years ahead. We look forward to see many of our members at the 2011 Reunion in scenic Jackson,WY.

Hello Jackson 2011

Members desiring a current membership roster should request one from the Association Treasurer, Bob Strout.