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34th Tactical Fighter Squadron - Thud Era

Korat RTAFB, Thailand - May 1966 to May 1969

Summary of Reunion 2012 at Colorado Springs

By Vern Ellis

The 2012 reunion was well attended. We had 26 squadron members from a total of 14 states that registered for this year’s reunion and with wives, family and friends, a total of 52 attended various portions of our scheduled activities.
Attendees were:
  • Augie Augsburger,
  • Doug Beyer,
  • Larry & Mary Bogemann,
  • Gary & Anne Catren,
  • George Clausen,
  • Hugh Davis,
  • Vern & Scotty Ellis,
  • Steve & Jolie Falls,
  • Al & Ann Fick,
  • Tony & Brenda Germann,
  • Don & Ginger Hodge,
  • Larry Hoppe,
  • Dave Igleman,
  • Chuck & Jane Irwin,
  • Ed & Pat Jones,
  • Ken & Gay Mays,
  • John & Jo Murphy,
  • Howard & Wray Plunkett,
  • Joe & Frances Sechler,
  • Jake & Happy Shuler,
  • Sully & Ada Sullivan,
  • Homer & Pat Terry,
  • John & Brenda Wambough,
  • Joe Widhalm.

Chuck Irwin’s nephew, Dick Ellis & his wife, Marilyn, joined us for the AFA tour and Bob Klingensmith’s widow, Miriam, and sons, Joe & Mark, were also our guests at the Friday evening farewell dinner.

We were also privileged to have two of Ivor Goodrich’s daughters, Joni Schur & Donna Sanders and Joni’s husband, Robert drive down from Ft. Collins, CO to join us Friday evening.

Jake & Happy Shuler, Ken & Gay Mays, and Vern & Scotty Ellis all arrived at the Academy Hotel a day early to set up the hospitality room and ice down the beverages for the upcoming 4 days.

Howard & Wray Plunkett also arrived early with a marvelous display of models and memorabilia that set the tone for the many war stories and recollections to come.

The hospitality room really started to come alive on Tuesday as more and more of the members and wives arrived. Handshakes, hugs, laughter and endless chatter filled the room and went well into the evening.

(Quick….ice down some more beer!)
Click a day for more details.
Wednesday, May 30 

Early Wednesday morning we boarded the bus for our tour of the U.S. Air Force Academy. The first stop on campus was at “Diamond Lil”, the B-52 on display just inside the North gate. Diamond Lil’s claim to fame is the fact that it was the first B-52 to shoot down a MiG-21 during the closing days of “Linebacker” over NVN. A quick “photo op” stop along the north drive gave us an idea of how expansive the athletic facilities are for the cadets. Then it was on to the Visitors Center where we met our guides for the remaining tour, Frank Perez from Public Affairs and Jimmy Fox from the Visitors Center. (Jimmy had also served at Korat where he was an armament specialist on the A-7.) Also joining us as special guides were 2 outstanding young cadets, Andrew Dane and Jake Sorter, that had just completed their first year at the AFA. Two very impressive young gentlemen!

August 2014 Update

Jake Shorter

Cadet Jake Sorter has been selected to serve as the Cadet Wing Commander for the 2014-2015 school year!

F-105

Our walking tour from the Visitors Center and the iconic chapel area took us past many impressive statues, memorials, and static aircraft displays. The beloved F-105 made the perfect backdrop for our group photo.

Karl Richter

The Commandant of Cadets, Major General (S) Richard M. Clark, was kind enough meet and greet us as we arrived at the “Walk of Hero’s”, where the statue of Lt. Karl Richter stands in honor.

We wrapped up our tour with a special buffet luncheon at the Academy’s Falcon Club. Afternoon and evening was free to see the local sights or relax again at the hospitality room.

Thursday 
Thursday morning we were back on the bus and headed for the West Pac Restoration facility, co-located with Peterson AFB. West Pac is a for-profit commercial operation that has made quite a name for itself as the pre-eminent facility for the restoration of WW 2 aircraft. The owner of West Pac, Mr. Bill Klaers, and his associate, Mr. Jim Stewart, provided us with an outstanding tour of the various projects currently underway and of the specialized equipment and shops necessary to rebuild any of the aircraft consigned to his care. We saw Mr. Klaers’ personal B-25 and P-47 already restored to flying condition as well as a P-38, F4U gull wing Corsair and several other aircraft in various stages of restoration. Following this tour we stopped at The Airplane Restaurant, a C-97 cargo plane that now serves as a bar and restaurant.

Thursday evening. After a few hours of rest at the hotel, we re-boarded the bus for an evening of fun and food at the Flying W Ranch. This tiny old-west town was complete with a blacksmith shop, drugstore, bookstore, Native American dancing, and roping lessons. After we chowed down on authentic “chuck wagon” cuisine of BBQ beef, chicken, or steak, the Flying W Stage Show entertained us with some of the finest fiddling and guitar picking heard around these parts! A fitting end to a full day!

(Editor's note: Unfortunately the entire Flying W Ranch was destroyed by the disastrous Waldo Canyon fire in June 2012. Here's a brief history of the attraction. Facebook has been active with comments from around the world.)
Friday 
Friday was essentially a free day left open to enjoy the local sights. Pikes Peak, Garden of the Gods, & Cave of the Winds were but a few of the local attractions available.

Friday evening the hotel catered a hearty Mexican buffet for our farewell dinner. Although Ken Mays was unable to join us for the evening’s festivities, his wooden works of art were, once again, a hit and most appreciated by us all. Thanks again, Ken! The family members and guests of some of our 34th members who have “Flown West” were recognized and welcomed as a part of our group. Their loved ones are remembered and they are always welcome in our group.
Saturday 
Time to head home after a great reunion! See you at Ft. Walton Beach, FL in 2014.
John Wambough graciously stepped forward and volunteered to host our next reunion. The 2014 reunion will be at Ft. Walton Beach, Florida. Check the 2014 Reunion Page for the latest info. We want to see you all there in 2014!

In Remembrance Of Those Who Served!