The 2012 Arc Light – Young Tiger Association Reunion began on Sunday, April 29, 2012 at the Desoto Hilton Hotel in Savannah, Georgia.
After check-in, the hospitality suite was opened allowing the participants to renew old acquaintances while enjoying refreshments. The formal reception followed with heavy hors d’oeuvres (Chicago Round Beef Carving Station) in the ballroom, along with a cash bar and music by a DJ, and a slide show of Guam and U-Tapao memories prepared by Tommy Towery. Following the formal reception, the group moved back to the hospitality room to continue the activities.
On Monday morning a continental breakfast was held in the hospitality room and those that had selected tours went out to enjoy them. That evening a special Southern Style Dinner, Low Country Boil, with a cash bar and DJ entertainment was held on the rooftop of the Hilton and the weather was beautiful for the sunset dinner. The Hospitality Suite Opened once again from 2100 to 2200.
Tuesday morning began with another continental breakfast and then participants boarded buses for the tour of the Mighty 8th Air Force Museum Tour and a luncheon at the museum. Our speaker gave a talk on the history of the museum.
Following the buses returning to the hotel, the business meeting was held in the hotel ballroom. The first order of business was a presentation by the Texas Tech University, Lubbock Texas, Vietnam Center and Archives Oral History Project seeking our participation in their program. Information on the project can be found at http://www.vietnam.ttu.edu/oralhistory/. We also discussed and voted to make a formal (rather than informal) request of $20 dues for the association. There is an option of adding the dues to the cost of the next reunion to make it easier to pay.
The membership voted to investigate the options for our next reunion being held in January of 2014 so that we can have our 50th anniversary of Arc Light reunion in 2015. Tommy Towery was asked to form a committee to investigate the cruise options. The idea of formally becoming a non-profit organization was discussed and rejected.
That evening a large group attended the Savannah Theatre to enjoy “The Beat Goes On” Show and returned to the hospitality room upon return to the hotel.
On Wednesday morning, following the breakfast 16 members drove to play golf at the beautiful Wilmington Island Club while other attendees went on other selected local tours.
Wednesday evening the formal banquet was held in the Hilton ballroom with approximately 196 members and guests attending. The colors were presented by the Savannah State College ROTC Color Guard. A special presentation of an American flag was made by Russ Stephenson to Paul Maye for his service to our group. A video of “Fifty Years of the KC-135” was presented by Tommy Towery and a presentation of the leaflet program done by the B-52s was made by Cregg Crosby. Our main speaker of the evening was Col. Mike Gilroy, USAF (Ret.), a former B-52 EW who was awarded the Air Force Cross for action in an F-105 Wild Weasel.
Thursday morning the group held a special Memorial Service conducted by Chaplain Mickel, highlighted by his message “Lest We Forget.” Russ Stephenson led the “Remembering Our Warriors” memorial tribute. Following the service, the group enjoyed a breakfast buffet before checking out of the hotel and heading home.