Good morning, ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the Dedication Ceremony of this Memorial to all our fallen Forward Air Controllers and support staff. I am Howie Pierson and am honored to be your Master of Ceremonies for today's Dedication Ceremony................
We are going to have an Air Power Demonstration of vintage Forward Air Control airplanes. ................As you look to the South over the Bell Tower, you will see the earliest of the planes we flew, the 0-1 Bird Dog build by Cessna followed by the 0-2A Cessna Skymasters. This airplane could carry more rockets, fly a little faster, and fly for much longer periods. The third plane, a T-28 Trojan was frequently used by the RAVEN FACs while flying in the secret war out of Laos. Not able to be here today for the flyover was the OV-10 Bronco, the fastest of the aircraft used by the slow FACs. The F-100, used by the Misty FACs, was also not available.
We have many distinguished people in the audience today, our Dedication Speaker, Col Bud Day, commander of the Misty FACs; General Ralph E. "Ed" Eberhart, call sign Covey 580 in Vietnam; the Vice Mayor of Colorado Springs, Larry Small; Major General Mason Whitney the past Adjutant General of the Colorado National Guard and current Director of the Governor's Office of Homeland Security, his call sign was Mike 54; finally, Major John Duffy, US Army Special Forces who will be our closing speaker today.
Among the POWs in the audience today, along with Col Day, are Dave Mott who was a Covey FAC; P. K. Robinson, a Misty FAC and Wolf Fast FAC; and Lt. Pao Yang, a Laotion Hmong T-28 pilot who was the ONLY Hmong pilot to survive as a POW in Laos.
Events like this just don't happen without the efforts of many. As you arrived today, members of the Harrison High School Junior ROTC cadets handed you Programs and the Brief History of Forward Air Controlling.
You could observe American flags proudly displayed by the Patriot Guard and American Legion Riders. In front of the bell tower are some of our Laotian fighting brothers. This "Special Honor Guard" is composed of Hmongs in the uniform of the Special Guerilla Units. Many of these brave people, who our Raven FACs supported in their fight for freedom, escaped to the United States when the communists took over their country in the mid-1970s.
Before the actual dedication of the memorial, here are a few facts from the memorial planning committee.
What you see here this morning is a monument made from only U.S. cut granite, and all U.S. installed. The wings on each side of the Slow FAC monument are carved from Colorado Rose Red Granite from Pinewood Springs Colorado and have the engraved names of the 288 fallen FACs, Army Special Forces and Marine Observers, and support staff that died in support of the FAC mission. The committee chose this specific granite to symbolize the blood lost by our fallen brothers in arms.
The remaining portions of the monument including the center pedestal, the FAC Wing over the monument, the Misty monument with the names of their eight pilots killed in action, and the benches, are carved in Sunset Granite from Milbank South Dakota.
The Misty coin, engraved in brass, is embedded on the back side of the Misty Monument.
The inspiring sayings, carved in Lyons Red Sandstone, are installed in the concrete.
We are all privileged that the Misty Fast FACs, a legendary part of the Air Force heritage, united with the Slow FACs in this tribute to the Forward Air Controller mission.
Almost every FAC mission was to support the Grunts on the ground. Today we have a Grunt's Grunt Major John Duffy as our final speaker. John wrote the Forward Air Controller Poem which is engraved on the bench in front of the slow FAC memorial.
Just recently the bronze plaque shown below was added to the center pedestal
Thank you John