350th ARS Inaugural Order of the Falcon
By Staff Reports, 22nd Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs
/ Published May 11, 2016
MCCONNELL AIR FORCE BASE, Kan. -- Past and current members of the 350th Air Refueling Squadron "Red Falcons" recently celebrated the Inaugural Order of The Falcon reunion.
Various events provided a unique opportunity for Airmen of all ranks to celebrate the heritage of the 350th ARS.
The Red Falcon's have a proud heritage, from their service in World War II as a bombardment squadron to it's re-designation as an air refueling squadron in 1982. The 350th provided refueling support for SR-71 Blackbird from 1983-1990 and has furnished air refueling support for long-range operations since 1991, according to the Red Falcon Lineage document.
The Order of the Falcon began with a re-dedication ceremony of the squadron's Heritage Room, affectionately known as the "Red Room," followed by a social event attended by more than 100 active-duty personnel, retirees and family members.
The guest of honor was retired Lt. Gen. Vern M. "Rusty" Findley, who was the commander of the 350th ARS when the squadron was stationed at Beale Air Force Base, California from April 1992 to July 1993.
Findley retired in 2011 as Air Mobility Command vice commander after 35 years of service.
"We had 92 past and present Red Falcons from all over the country attend the banquet," said Lt. Col. Jason Pavelschak, 350th ARS commander. "We celebrated our heritage and fostered camaraderie across several generations of Airmen."
Over the past four months, unit personnel worked to complete a self-help project to remodel the "Red Room" to include installing new flooring, tile work, paint, heritage photos and a six-foot Red Falcon mural.
"Squadron personnel donated nearly 200 hours and used over $3,000 of Unit Advisory Council funds to update the Red Room and it turned out spectacular," said Pavelschak.
The event concluded with a banquet which featured traditional military events such as presentation of the colors, Echo Taps and a POW/MIA presentation performed by the base Honor Guard.
The evening culminated with remarks from the guest of honor, Findley, and concluded with music and dancing.
"The Inaugural Order of the Falcon was a huge success," said Pavelschak. "I am very proud of everyone who helped make this weekend a tremendous success and feel blessed to be a part of such an amazing organization."