Wing to honor past, present Airmen during Birthday Ball

OFFUTT AIR FORCE BASE, Neb. -- The past, present, and future of the 55th Wing will come together in celebration at the Wing's 29th Annual Birthday Ball, March 31 at the Qwest Center in downtown Omaha.

The ball will celebrate 66 years of service, which have seen the wing evolve from its inception as the 55th Pursuit Group in World War II to the nation's premier aerial intelligence unit today.

The ball is the Wing's largest formal social function each year. The gala event is open to all active duty ranks, retirees, and by invitation to community leaders. Brig. Gen. Jonathan George, 55th Wing Commander, will host the event.

This year's theme, "Safeguarding Our Nation ... Assuring Freedom!", recognizes the men and women of the Fightin' Fifty-Fifth who perform the many integral missions the Wing executes worldwide, around-the-clock, 365 days a year.

The Wing' s history and some of the most exciting-but-rarely-heard stories of the Cold War will be featured at the Tales of the Fifty-Fifth, which will be held March 30 at the Patriot Club.

The Tales is an annual story-telling event hosted by the 55th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing Association, and will feature the war-time adventures of 55th Wing personnel throughout its long history. Airmen who are interested in the Wing' s role during the Cold War and beyond are encouraged to attend.

The ball was originated by then-Colonel, now retired Brig. Gen. Regis F. A. Urschler, commander of the 55th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing, in Jan. 1979. His intent was to connect the Wing' s foundation, history and heritage to the active duty personnel and missions.

That tradition continues today.