On the day before the 70th anniversary of D-Day, the Minot Area Chamber of Commerce's Military Affairs Committee dedicated a B-52H model that now "flies" in front of the Dakota Territory Air Museum in Minot.
The model is a token of the community's appreciation to the U.S. Air Force.
Minot Air Force Base's 5th Bomb Wing has B-52H bombers. The B-52 at the air museum is a model of the last H model to come off the assembly line.
Col. Alex Mezynski, second from left, commander of the 5th Bomb Wing at Minot Air Force Base, and Bruce Carlson, third from right, chairman of the Minot Area Chamber of Commerce’s Military Affairs Committee, unveil a plaque at the base of the B-52H model at the Dakota Territory Air Museum in Minot on Thursday. Former U.S. Rep. Earl Pomeroy is at far left. John Kegley, manager of Business Development for the B-52/Legacy Tanker Program at The Boeing Co. in Oklahoma City, is second from right and Don Larson, president of the air museum board, at far right. The B-52 model was dedicated as a token of the community’s appreciation to the U.S. Air Force.
Another B-52 model that one of the commander's plane is located near the bomb wing headquarters building on base.
The Chamber's Military Affairs Committee held a community drive to raise $75,000 for the two models, said John MacMartin, Chamber president.
The Boeing Co. contributed and was instrumental in helping put together the B-52 model project.
During the dedication event, the Etchberger family was recognized for the Medal of Honor award that was presented posthumously to the family in a ceremony at the White House in 2010.
The Medal of Honor, the nation's highest military honor awarded for personal acts of valor above and beyond the call of duty, went to Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Richard L. Etchberger for his heroic actions during the Vietnam War. Assigned to a secret radar site in Laos, he died in 1968 when it became under attack by North Vietnamese soldiers. At one time, Etchberger was stationed at the former Bismarck radar site.
Etchberger's three sons: Cory Etchberger, of Collegeville, Pa., Steve Wilson, of Redlands, Calif., and Rich Etchberger, of Vernal, Utah, and also Cory Etchberger's daughter, Madison Etchberger, of Collegeville, attended the dedication. Cory and Rich Etchberger also made a presentation about their father and the CMSGT Richard L. Etchberger Foundation that they have set up to help Air Force members and their families with scholarships and other needs.
Former Rep. Earl Pomeroy, now with Alston & Bird, a law firm in Washington, D.C., also attended the ceremony. While he was in Congress he and his office staff were instrumental in obtaining the Medal of Honor for the Etchberger family.
More about Chief Master Sgt. Etchberger and the foundation that his sons have set up will be in a future Sunday Military page in The Minot Daily News.