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Finding Air Force Buddies for a Reunion

Updated on July 24, 2018
Virginia Allain profile image

Eclectic is a good word for the many interests of retired librarian, Virginia Allain. Crafts, gardening, genealogy, travel, and more...

Tracking Down Old Friends from the Military

My husband served in the Air Force back during the Vietnam War era. That was a long time ago, but he made some deep friendships in the four years he was in the service.

He stayed in touch with one friend over the years. The two of them visited each other annually, even with Tim living in Missouri and us living in Maryland, Texas, Florida, or wherever we were over the years. He had lost touch with the others over the passing of forty years.

Four years ago, he decided to track down another friend that he hadn't heard from since their time in the Air Force. We went to Tom's hometown in New Hampshire, but he wasn't living there anymore. We picked up a few clues there and finally found him using those bits of information and the Internet. That summer, we had the first Air Force reunion in Maine with Tim, Tom, my husband, and the wives.

It has now become an annual tradition, with more and more old Air Force buddies being found and coming to the reunion.

If you want to hold your own military buddies reunion, I've included some links for good sites to search.

Photo Credit: vallain

Finding Old Friends

The Air Force Buddies

The second year, my husband tracked down another Air Force buddy that he hadn't seen in forty years. Wes was living in Houston, Texas. His career was unique enough that it made it easier to track him down on the Internet even though his name was pretty common.

The second Air Force reunion included four of the old gang (Tim, Tom, Wes, and my husband). The reunion was held in New Hampshire.

Finding Another of the Buddies

The third year, Tim and my husband were able to find a fifth old buddy, Stas, in Michigan. He was able to attend that summer's reunion, and a sixth buddy from Georgia made it that year as well. He and Tim had stayed in touch over the years. This time the reunion was held near St. Louis, Missouri.

The Aircraft of the Vietnam War

United States Air Force in Vietnam (Air Force Legends)
United States Air Force in Vietnam (Air Force Legends)

Your buddies will enjoy reminiscing as they share this photographic history of USAF aircraft deployed during the Vietnam War era.

 

Way Back When

Way Back When
Way Back When

Still Buddies after All These Years

and even the wives bonded

The men chatted about old times and "do you remember..." while the wives listened. Old photos and slides were brought out and shared. During the two- or three-day get-togethers, there were walks in the woods, kayaking, motor-boat rides, and retelling of old stories around a campfire and the dinner table. The wives got acquainted while chopping the salad vegetables and clearing away after meals. They discovered many common interests.

Now in between each reunion, the wives keep in touch with e-mail, and the Air Force buddies plot out a time and place for the next reunion.

Places Where the Air Force Buddies Live Now

  • Tim - Festus, Missouri
  • Dennis - Poinciana, Florida
  • Tom - Kittery, Maine
  • Wes - Houston, Texas
  • Stas - Harrison Township, Michigan
  • Phil - Atlanta Georgia


Planning the Reunion for Your Air Force Pals - a book available from Amazon

Reunion Solutions: Everything You Need to Plan an Extraordinary Family, Class, Military, Corporate or Association Reunion
Reunion Solutions: Everything You Need to Plan an Extraordinary Family, Class, Military, Corporate or Association Reunion

I didn't have this book when we put together our reunion, but we were working with just a small number of people. If you plan anything larger, it might be wise to get this first.

 

Another Get Together by the Old Pals

Some of the Air Force pals gather for lobster in New Hampshire.
Some of the Air Force pals gather for lobster in New Hampshire. | Source
An alligator that was hanging around as we lunched on the lanai.
An alligator that was hanging around as we lunched on the lanai. | Source

Winter 2011 Air Force Buddies Reunion in Central Florida

Tim, Tom, Denny, and Phil made it for this reunion and two of the wives were there. The weather was perfect for the ones coming from Maine and Missouri as they were quite weary of snow and ice. There was lots of visiting while relaxing on the lanai, at the pool, and there was even time for tennis.

We made sure that everyone got to see an alligator. (photo by Virginia Allain)

As more Air Force buddies are tracked down and more retire and are able to travel, it may get to be too large a group for anyone to host in their home. One idea was to book a cruise together or a train trip across Canada. Great idea! We can all visit and see the scenery at the same time.

© 2010 Virginia Allain

Have You Reconnected with Long Ago Friends?

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    • Virginia Allain profile imageAUTHOR

      Virginia Allain 

      5 years ago from Central Florida

      @Mr Criminology: I think the Korean War was not a clear win. My history gets a bit vague there, I should check on that.

    • Mr Criminology profile image

      Bigwas 

      5 years ago from Philippines

      Vietnam war is the only war in which the U.S lost, right? Its nice to see long lost friends and buddies.

    • profile image

      anonymous 

      5 years ago

      @Virginia Allain: I was just hoping without putting a persons last name out there that the places I served at & th ethings I did would ring a bell or two and just maybe, just maybe someone would contact me . Thank you for your reply to me Vincent

    • Virginia Allain profile imageAUTHOR

      Virginia Allain 

      5 years ago from Central Florida

      @anonymous: Vincent, try some of the locators (I have links above for those). Maybe someone is searching for you too. Put your name and information in those so they can find you.

    • profile image

      anonymous 

      5 years ago

      I was in the Air Force From 1959 to 1963. My first duty station was Westover Air Force Base 18th Communications SQ ( Supply ). From there I was sent overseas to Sidi Slamani North Africa. While there I was assigned to base supply, then transferred to the base pool after becoming a Water Safety Instructor. I also joined the Air Force boxing team & fought as a Light Middle Weight. I returned to Westover after a year and was discharged from there in 1963. Would like to say hi to some old buddies it was a great time for me.

    • Pam Irie profile image

      Pam Irie 

      6 years ago from Land of Aloha

      My husband and I were both active duty Air Force back in the mid/late 70s. We have kept in touch with several of our old buddies. We've gotten together a bit over the years, but a big reunion sounds like a wonderful time.

    • profile image

      LivingInTheUSA 

      7 years ago

      I've never really been able to track down people that I served with during my time in the Air Force (even though I was in for several years), but then I never really thought I'd ever really have a notion to want to get together with them again in the future. Isn't it something how we think about things sometimes? I did want to mention that I know every Veterans Day on a large number of veterans reunite in Branson, Missouri. I would recommend anyone who has visited Branson to consider doing that some Veterans Day, even if you're like me and don't have anyone to reunion with.

    • David Dove profile image

      David Dove 

      7 years ago

      Doing just the same thing with good results, Every one a real pleasure

    • chezchazz profile image

      Chazz 

      7 years ago from New York

      Not recently but have in the past. This lens was a great idea for me as I was in the USAF about the same time as your husband. Sorry to say, though, never had the pleasure of meeting him.

    • aka-rms profile image

      Robin S 

      8 years ago from USA

      Terrific!

    • Wendy L Henderson profile image

      Wendy Henderson 

      8 years ago from PA

      What a neat reunion!

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