Indiana Governor(1969-1973) Edgar D. Whitcomb

Edgar D. Whitcomb, former Governor of Indiana(1969-1973), returned to the former Bakalar Air Force Base to welcome the 71st SOS reservists home again, as he did on 6 June 1969.

Seated behind the Governor are (L to R) Nancy Warren, President of the Board of Aviation Commissioners; Tom Vickers, Past President of the Board of Aviation Commissioners and Chairman of the Atterbury/Bakalar Air Museum; Phil Baumann, representing Disabled American Veterans; Shelley Whitcomb, Governor Whitcomb's daughter; Chaplain Colonel Richard Yeaton; Colonel James E. Pyle, Commander of the 71st SOS; Colonel Herman A. Heuss, Chairperson of Reunion 2002.


Governor Ed Whitcomb's Speech, 5-18-02

General Hoff, Colonel Pyle, Nancy Warren, Tom Vickers, and distinguished guests. Thirty three years ago out of the Indiana skies came the 71st Operations Squadron returning home from combat in Vietnam, greeted by an action and emotionally packed crowd of loved ones, wives, husbands, fathers, mothers, and children. As I sit here, I wonder if any of you were children at that time. Is there anyone here today who was a child on that day? I see one in the back, two, several of you. Those had to be very impressive moments to see your father come back from over seas. There was much to celebrate, and it was a great day - it was a warm and comfortable day.

The squadron traveled half way around the world to deliver its might upon the war in Vietnam. It used a technique that had not been used in any other war in history. But most remarkably of all was the completion of 1,516 missions without loosing a plane or person - a remarkable accomplishment. Your success may be unique in the anals of military history. When you think of that kind of mission and that kind of success, think of Pappy Boyington, the top Marine ace in WW II who in Guadalcanal said they probably lost more aircraft to operational accidents than from combat action. Consider the group I was in lost 14 B-17s the first day of the war. In doing this and establishing this kind of record, the 71st SOS is deserving of this historical marker being placed here today, and I'm here to salute you. Thank You.