Mission Debrief

FAC "Homecoming "Reunion - 2000 was a great success! Over 700 FACs, and their family members and friends gathered in Ft Walton Beach, FL for the ‘Mother of All FAC Reunions’ on 21-24 Sep 2000. Despite a minor hurricane blowing through on Thursday night that caused us to cancel the Friday morning golf tournament, a great time was had by all. The festivities started with a pre-party on Wednesday that had over 200 attendees. On Thursday, things really started hopping as over 600 guests registered and attended the evening’s Welcome Buffet Dinner and Ceremonies while it poured down rain outside from Hurricane Helene. Despite the weather, we had a great hurricane party and spirits weren’t dampened one bit as many FACs spent the wee hours getting reacquainted with old friends they hadn’t seen in 30 years! The rain on Friday subsided by 9 AM and left time for many to take walks on the sugar white beaches of the Emerald Coast (no golf widows that day). An additional 100 guests registered on Friday morning. By Friday afternoon everyone was sunset sailing on the beautiful Choctawhatchee Bay, as planned, and a scrumptious optional seafood dinner was enjoyed by most at the Lucky Snapper Restaurant overlooking the scenic Destin Harbor.

Saturday was the ‘Big Event’. Early morning rain showers dissipated and, behold, a warm, sunny day was in store for our ‘Homecoming’ visit to Hurlburt Field. Magnificent! The base tour was followed by an awesome FAC Memorial dedication ceremony in the Hurlburt Air Park which had over 1000 attendees. This was a very emotional ceremony for many as the name of each Southeast Asia KIA FAC was read and full military honors were accorded the event. Dr. Charlie Jones's moving dedication words of solace and Will Platt’s heartfelt eulogy paid fitting tributes to our fallen comrades and brothers-in-arms. An F-16 Missing Man flyby concluded the memorial service. Immediately following the FAC Memorial Ceremony, a brief ceremony was conducted by Darrel Whitcomb to dedicate OV-10 aircraft, tail number 626, as the newest FAC aircraft addition to the Hurlburt Air Park. An 0-1 FAC flyby paid graceful tribute to 626 as she was honored for her wartime service to her nation and to the air crew members she served so well.

Saturday afternoon, a FAC business meeting was held to begin the initial efforts to form a FAC Association (more on that later). Saturday night was the spectacular evening banquet that encompassed three entire banquet rooms full of FACS and their guests. Thanks to simulcast capability, the evening program was successfully projected to each banquet room. Our thanks also go to BGen John Flanagan who was the guest speaker and provided a very entertaining talk, filled with many memorable references to our ‘tours’ in ‘Nam. The partying went on to the late hours as The Roger Dodd band provided dancing in the ballroom and many FACs took advantage of their last few hours together to ‘share one more story’. Sunday we all reluctantly parted company, but with the knowledge that this was a very special weekend - one which will long be remembered for its memories of renewed friendships, new friends made, and our taking the time to remember the 220 KIA FACs who ‘GAVE All’.


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