Air Force Base Building Dedication
This past October, the Major LeRoy W. Homer Jr. Operations Building was dedicated at Wright-Patterson AFB in Dayton, OH. I’m thinking they’ll have to shorten that name when they refer to it – maybe Homer Ops or some kind of acronym. The military seems to like acronyms.
LeRoy was with the Reserves here from 1995 until 2000. It felt strange to be in a place where LeRoy had spent so much time, a place that was part of our lives, but I had never seen, until now.
The dedication ceremony, like every other time I have been to an event honoring LeRoy, was bittersweet. I’m proud of him, but I’m heartbroken that he’s not here. During the ceremony there was an F-16 missing man flyover formation. I had seen this once before when LeRoy and I were at his ten year Air Force Academy reunion. Even then, not knowing the pilots the flyover was honoring, I remember how powerful it was. So when I found out they were planning a missing man formation at the ceremony, I was dreading it. And when it happened, it was pretty intense.
That afternoon we were given a tour of the Air Force Museum. It is really an amazing place. There’s aircraft from every conflict in history, rockets, space capsules and a presidential aircraft exhibit. Even the gift shop was cool. I bought some astronaut ice cream. Big hit with my kids, and my parents!
LeRoy flew the C-141 throughout his entire military career. The final C-141 retired in May 2006, is on display at the Museum .This aircraft, named the Hanoi Taxi, flew the first mission of Operation Homecoming in 1973 to return American prisoners of War from North Vietnam to the US. They told us LeRoy had flown that actual C-141.
If you are interested in aviation, even a little bit, the museum is definitely worth a visit to Dayton. And if you happen to be driving past the base, you can see the Major LeRoy W. Homer Jr. Operations building from the highway.