Hurlburt Field had their first ever Air Force Birthday Ball last weekend. For those who might not have been aware, the US Air Force celebrated their 65th Birthday on September 18th.
They oversold the ball by several hundred tickets. I manage the website and Facebook pages for our base spouses’ club, and I put up the posts about how to purchase the tickets in early August. About 3 weeks later I was sent a note asking to take down the posts. “We’re SOLD OUT!”
It was a huge, beautiful affair at the Emerald Coast Convention Center on Okaloosa Island. We had a lovely dinner and fun entertainment in the form of videos featuring Air Force Special Operations, a pair of very funny emcees, and an incredible guest speaker: the Fifth Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force, Robert Gaylor. At 82 years of age, he enlisted in 1948 has known the U.S. Air Force for 64 of its 65 years of existence! His stories were lighthearted, but with great messages about knowing your aptitude, having a good attitude, and never giving up on learning.
My favorite anecdote was about his receiving a job offer at Barksdale Air Force Base in the mid-60s. He was asked to teach at the NCO Academy where he had just been an Honor Graduate. His family was resistant, his kids were in a good school at their current location and his wife was asking “Are you sure about this?” The kids asked “Do we have to?”
Chief: “What’s your last name kids?”
The kids, “Gaylor….”
Chief: “Then get in the damned car!”
After teaching just two classes at the NCO Academy, the school closed temporarily. He was sent on a remote assignment to Thailand (during the Vietnam War), after which he was involved in reopening the school. I had tears in my eyes when he told that part of the story…I’m not sure if it was from laughter or sympathy for his poor family.
It was very lovely seeing so many folks from Dave’s squadron at the event, also. We were spread among three tables!
A couple people had asked if I was going to attend in my Mess Dress uniform. I have that option, but I was looking forward to getting to put on a pretty dress.
A dress that had been sitting in my closet for 18 months.
My Hurlburt Thrift Shop dress!
My $5 Hurlburt Thrift Shop dress!
I bought it just a couple months after we moved here. I had taken a Honda Pilot-load of donations to the shop and after unloading, I took a look around. And there was the dress sitting with other gowns. This one happened to fit and was marked for $10. When I took it up front to pay, the manager said that the gown was actually $5 because it had been sitting on the rack for a certain amount of time (2 months? 4 months? I can’t remember the thrift shop consignment rules)…