Tuesday, April 15, 2008 a check for $10,000 from our Class was given to the 2008
Forward Air Controllers Memorial Committee. The donation of Class of 1968 funds
was recommended by the 40th Reunion Committee at their third meeting. The recommendation
was forwarded to our Class President, Phil Pignataro, who approved the recommendation
and released the funds on 17 Mar 2008. It is a contribution of two thousand dollars
in honor of each of our five Classmates who were killed-in-action while flying
as Forward Air Controllers (FAC): John Duffy, Ted Hallenbeck, Paul Jackson, John
Ryder, and Willis (Grant) Uhls.
became part of the funding to construct the 2008 Forward Air Controllers Memorial
at Memorial Park in Colorado Springs. Our donation, the largest one of cash, received
by the FAC Memorial Committee, assured that the Memorial was completed and that
a Dedication Ceremony on 4 October 2008 worthy of the nearly 300 men was conducted.
Thirty US Air Force Academy graduates names
are listed on the Memorial.
Memorial is on the north side of the Ring of Honor at the 195 ac Memorial
Park which is located at 1605 E. Pikes Peak Avenue. Lots of us remember Prospect
Lake there. The Forward Air Controller memorial is approximately 6' high,
approximately 14' 6" wide and 12" thick. The memorial is of granite
with text and graphics engraved into the face of the stone. In addition, a second
granite stone, 3' high, 2' wide, and 12" thick is across from the main memorial.
This stone honors the Misty Forward Air Controllers who lost their lives in the
war in Southeast Asia. The monuments are placed upon a concrete pad measuring
approximately 25' in diameter. Two granite benches are placed on the concrete
at the base of the memorials.
bench is inscribed as indicated in the diagram. The benches are there for people
passing through or for those family members that want quiet reflection. The memorial
displays quotes from others about FACs, their mission and history. This is the
educational aspect regarding FACs to the public. Behind the main pedestal and
the name pieces is a spectacular view of Pikes Peak. The location of the memorial
is immediately adjacent to the parking lot, which provides easy access to the
From Jim Palmer, Chairman, Memorial
Committee; "Much of what we are doing is for the families of those whose
names are on our Memorial. The Class of 1968 knows what the atmosphere was like
in the US during the latter stages of the Vietnam War. Families that lost loved
ones received virtually no support from the civilian community when they needed
it most. Additionally, 73 FACs were killed flying classified mission outside of
South Vietnamthese missions were classified until 1993. These families received
little or no specific information from our government during those years, so they
have many feelings that can be helped a little by these Memorials, by talking
to the FACs that flew with their loved ones, by sharing a common bond with others
who experienced the same shattering experiences, and in knowing that their loved
ones were heroes. We cannot thank the Class of 1968 enough for your generosity!!"
Click here to read the May 8, 2008 thank-you letter
to the Class of '68.
donation represents lessons even greater than the size of the donation - and these
lessons are important for the 21st century Cadets at the Academy. Friendships,
camaraderie, and loyalties extend out well beyond graduation. Those of us who
shared combat four decades ago still remember and honor those who didn't come
home with us. That respect is spread throughout all who served with dedication
during the difficult years of the War in Southeast Asia. In a time when much of
the media does its best to avoid recognizing the heroism of Americans in combat
in Southwest Asia, it's important that our young people see this demonstration
of how older Vets honor their fallen comrades in the way American heroes deserve
to be honored.
Dedication Ceremony occured at 10:00 AM, Friday October 3, 2008. During the FAC
Reunion held at the Crown Plaza (aka Sheraton Hotel) and during our 40th Reunion.
Medal of Honor recipient, George "Bud" Day, Colonel, USAF (Ret), was
the keynote speaker. Over 200 members of the Class of 1968 and their guests attended
the dedication ceremony.
here for pictures of the dedication
Click here for .pdf copy of the dedication
Click here for a .pdf copy
of A Brief History of Forward Air Controlling.
Click here for the .pdf Colorado
Springs Gazette article on the dedication.
more pictures and information, please click on the thumbnails below.