Living History: Operation Uniform Delta Highlights US Air Force Heritage
SOUTHWEST ASIA, May 5, 2009 -- Air Force heritage walked before today's deployed servicemembers when 18 volunteer airmen from the 379th Air Expeditionary Wing wore vintage uniforms at showcase events here April 24 and again April 27.
Operation Uniform Delta was a sample of a collection started and maintained by Tech. Sgt. Jack Waid, 379th Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron escort flight NCO, who is deployed from Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska.
"Since the moment I arrived, I have wanted to get the uniforms here," said Sergeant Waid.
The base's five private organizations -- Company Grade Officers Council, Desert Chiefs, Desert Diamonds, Top IV and Desert V -- all made monetary donations to cover some of the $500 shipping costs and each also provided volunteers to model the uniforms. Organization supporters, like Tech. Sgt. Scott Walker and Master Sgt. Jereme Melton from the Top IV, were critical to the planning and final success of the event, said Sergeant Waid.
"The private organization volunteers modeling the uniforms made it feel like a 'touch and go with the runways of the past' which has been the theme of the collection since it was started in 1997," he said.
The full collection has grown to 90 uniforms, plus other memorabilia items, thanks to donations including some from Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force Rodney J. McKinley. Selecting a handful of uniforms and shipping them was handled by some key enablers back home -- Sergeant Waid's family.
Sergeant Waid's two teenage children, Andrew and Chelsey, were excited to help out. They handled the collection, took photos of selected uniforms, and packaged them for shipment. His wife also helped.
Capt. Jonathan Harmon, 379th Expeditionary Communications Squadron operations flight commander, modeled the officer's white summer transition service dress uniform, which was in use until the 1970s.
"I feel the energy and the reception we received from everyone was great with a lot of cheering. People wanted to touch the uniform, take a lot of pictures and a few said it looked sharp," said the Mauldin, S.C., native. "It was a great experience to actually see Air Force history instead of just reading about it."
(Report by by Tech. Sgt. Shad Eidson, 379th Air Expeditionary Wing.)
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