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Security Forces briefs Flying Tigers
Lt. Col. Gregory Laffitte, 820th Security Forces Group, demonstrates the 820th SFG medical division's unique mission to retired Flying Tigers during the three-day Flying Tiger Association Reunion held at Moody Air Force Base, Ga., Oct. 4-6. More than 25 original World War II era Flying Tiger members attended the annual event. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Brittany Barker)
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Proud past meets bright future at Flying Tiger reunion

Posted 10/5/2007   Updated 10/5/2007 Email story   Print story


by Tech. Sgt. Parker Gyokeres
23rd Wing Public Affairs

10/5/2007 - MOODY AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. -- Past and present members of the 23rd Wing met Oct. 4-6 for the 2007 Flying Tiger Association Reunion -- three busy days of tours, mission briefings and Airpower demonstrations celebrating the 65th Anniversary of the venerated organization.

In all, approximately 27 World War II-era members, accompanied by 70 family members, were in attendance for multiple Moody-based events. Approximately 200 past and current Flying Tigers also attended the celebratory banquet that ended the annual reunion.

This is the first time Moody has hosted the three-day event after the 23rd Wing was stood up here last year. The first reunion was held in Chicago in 1946, said Pat Summey, wife of Joseph Summey, an original Flying Tiger pilot from 1944-1945. Mr. Summey passed away this past February.

Approximately 15 of the original members attended that first get-together, said Mrs. Summey. Since then, there has been a reunion on an annual basis.

"It's been wonderful the way the base has treated us," she said. "We've received briefings on Moody's missions and were even picked up at the airport, which is a first for us, I can't remember ever having been treated so well.

"It never ceases to amaze us how intelligent and patriotic everyone is here," she added. "This reunion really recharges me after watching everything in the news."

The reunion is also important for serving members of the Flying Tigers, said Col. Michael O'Dowd, 23rd Fighter Group commander.

"The Flying Tiger Association Reunion and the veterans and family that come to it over and over again teach us what it really means to be a Flying Tiger," he said. "Only by understanding the heritage and sacrifices of these men can we truly know what it means to be a part of this family."

As missions and responsibilities evolve for Airmen in the 23rd wing, it is important to know they are now part of an organization they can always feel welcome in.

"By incorporating the new 23rd Wing Airmen into the reunion, we set the future foundation for an active Flying Tiger Association," said Maj. Jeff Hogan, 74th Fighter Squadron A-10C pilot and reunion planner. "It also helps educate a new generation on the proud Flying Tiger heritage which has been laid before us."

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