The 512th Airlift Wing aircrew reunion

  • Published
  • By Col. John Cirafici (ret.)
  • Courtesy article

In an event long overdue, former and current members of the 512th Airlift Wing joined together for two days of celebration at Dover Downs and at the Air Mobility Command Museum.

Three hundred participants, traveling from across the States, converged in Dover for the wing’s first ever reunion. 

They shared stories and the excitement of having been a part of not only the wing’s history at Dover Air Force Base but having flown in historic operations from “Nickel Grass”—the airlift that came to Israel’s rescue during the Yom Kippur War in 1973, and in support of Operation Desert Storm’s liberation of Kuwait and the subsequent delivery of specialized equipment to extinguish over 600 burning oil wells. 

They flew critically needed equipment, including an entire Bailey bridge in support of Operation Restore Hope in Somalia—the mission to save the lives of hundreds of thousands of starving Somalis, and in other humanitarian airlift missions across the globe.

More recently, they took part in airlift operations supporting the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Some of the veterans, not having seen their flying buddies in decades, were surprised at how quickly they recognized one other after so many years. They easily recalled the shared experiences of long hours in the cockpit flying incredible missions in every corner of the globe.