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Apollo 13 NCO Addresses Hickory Comp Squadron

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The keynote speaker of the evening, Mr. Ron Williams, addresses the crowd. PHOTO CREDIT: Lt Col Tony Wright, CAP (click image to view full size)
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Dining Out event a big success

3/21/2017––The Hickory Composite Squadron hosted a formal Dining Out event and was addressed by a former sergeant in the U.S. Air Force who participated in the Apollo 13 mission. 

The formal dinner was held at the United Baptist Church in Valdese, North Carolina. Senior members and cadets, along with family, friends, and distinguished guests, were in attendance. Military traditions and rules of the mess were observed including toasts, a POW/MIA table, and a grog bowl. 

The keynote speaker of the evening was Mr. Ron Williams. Mr. Williams served in the U.S. Air Force from 1966 to 1972, including a tour in Vietnam. He was one of the most highly qualified aircraft instrument specialists in the Air Force (having been recognized as a top Instrument Specialist several times) and, along with working on the SR-71 program early in his Air Force term of duty, was selected to join 20 other airmen in supporting the Apollo 13 mission. 

Mr. Williams’ mission was to maintain the modified EC-135 which served as an antenna array and relay station between the Apollo 13 spacecraft and Houston. This aircraft was vital for assisting in the survival of astronauts Lovell, Haise and Swigert during the failure of several systems onboard their command module. Mr. Williams brought many souvenirs from the Apollo mission and his presentation was enthusiastically received by all in attendance. 

Several awards and promotions were also made during the evening. Promotions included the following: C/Am Luke Ryan, C/SSgt Evan Randolph, C/SSgt Micah Randolph, C/MSgt Dorian Mathews, C/SMSgt Nathan Powell, and C/1Lt Madeline Nagele. Cadet John Harwell was recognized for his recent promotion to cadet Captain.

C/Col Harrison Nagele was presented with the DAR Outstanding Cadet Silver Award by the Daughters of the American Revolution. Ms. Robin Meyer and Ms. Renee Ross represented the DAR, and presented the award. Two cadets received awards from the Veterans of Foreign Wars: C/SMSgt Nathan Powell was presented the VFW award for NCO’s, while C/Capt John Harwell received the VFW officer award. C/SSgt Evan Randolph and C/SSgt Micah Randolph received their Wright Brothers Awards and Evan Randolph was named the squadron’s Honor Cadet of the Quarter. After his presentation, Sgt Williams received a Certificate of Appreciation from Lt Col Tony Wright, Squadron Commander. 

Remarks were given by C/Col Harrison Nagele, C/Capt John Harwell, and Lt Col Tony Wright.