Governor Whitcomb, General Hoff, distinguished guests, ladies
and gentlemen. It is truly a pleasure to me to be with you today
representing the Columbus Board of Aviation and Airport Administration.
As President of the Board, it is my privilege to participate
in this ceremony that honors, with this memorial stone, the 71st
Special Operations Squadron for their AC-119 gunship operation
in Vietnam, one of six major military operations they have participated
in. First, however, I want to extend my personal and heart-felt
congratulations to all of the members of the 71st Special Operations
Squadron for a job well done under adverse, extremely challenging,
and dangerous conditions. As a pilot myself, I'm especially impressed
by the fact your missions in Vietnam were all flown at night.
Over 6,000 hours of combat flying represents a tremendous amount
of night flying.
At this time, I would like
for Squadron Commander Jim Pyle to join me at the podium for
the dedication of this memorial stone. Colonel Pyle, may I again
extend my personal congratulations to you and your aircrews in
Vietnam. As I pass this memorial stone to you Col. Pyle, I hereby
dedicate it to all the brave men of the 71st Special Operations
Squadron, to serve as a lasting reminder for all who pass this
way that your duty in Vietnam was a significant contribution
to world peace. In the words of the memorial stone, "dedicated
to the only Air Force Reserve unit activated to fly AC-119G combat
missions in Vietnam. Activated May 13, 1968 and returned to Bakalar
Air Force Base June 6, 1969. We thank you so much Colonel.
Nancy J. Warren, President,
Columbus Board of Aviation and Airport Administration