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145th Airlift Wing Host 21st Annual Retiree Breakfast

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Patricia F. Moran
  • 145th Public Affairs
For the last 21 years, the 145th Airlift Wing has paid tribute to retirees of the North Carolina Air National Guard by hosting a breakfast in their honor. This year, September 30, 2016, more than 250 retirees met inside a C-130 Hercules aircraft maintenance hangar at the North Carolina Air National Guard Base, Charlotte Douglas International Airport.

It all started in 1995 when retirees, Master Sgt. Jake Taylor, then a member of the 145th Aerial Port Squadron and Chief Master Sgt. Terry Henderson, then 145th AW Personnel Manager, put their heads together to come up with a way to keep retired members of the NCANG updated on base happenings. On September 19, 1995, after months of planning and a chain of approvals, the first retiree breakfast was held involving over 150 retirees.

"We cooked the first meal served in the new Carolinian Dining Facility, hosting approximately 150 retired members. It was a huge success and we quickly outgrew the dining facility and moved to the aircraft maintenance hangar. We hosted over 400 retired members at our last retiree breakfast," said Henderson.

For the second year in a row, Chief Master Sgt. Kevin Drost, 245th Civil Engineer Flight, served up bacon and sausage to the retirees.

"This is the second retiree breakfast I've had the honor to serve. Seeing all these great folks here today truly gives me a perspective of how valuable these events are. Looking out over the crowd, you really get to see the happiness of several hundred old friends catching up," said Drost.

Chief Master Sgt. Susan Dietz, 145th Medical Group, has participated in the retiree breakfast for over 12 years.

"Seeing old friends and faces, appreciating those who have served before us and learning from their experiences is what I find most rewarding," said Dietz.

In February 1966, guardsmen from the 156th Military Airlift Squadron, (formally known as the 145th Air Transport Group), left on that 11 day flight from Charlotte, N.C. to Vietnam to support the war effort in Southeast Asia.

Now, 50 years later, it comes full circle as some of these same guardsmen come together to exchange war stories with generations of guardsmen who have served, and with those who are still serving, in the most current war in Southwest Asia.

Military service is known for building camaraderie amongst servicemen and women. Events like retiree breakfasts gives Veterans the chance to reconnect and spend some one on one time together reflecting on the past and hearing about the present and future plans from current members of the NCANG. It also gives current members the opportunity to honor those who have served before them.