Dyess Air Force Base

Abilene Chamber of Commerce and Dyess Air Force Base joined forces to put up a memorial to all airmen from Dyess that have been killed in the line of duty. The grandson of a gentlemen instrumental in getting Dyess Air Force Base put at Abilene Texas designed the memorial. The base reached out to Keith and Bryan for help contacting the four families of the four flyers lost in the Emigrant Peak accident. They reached out to all of the families and invited them all to attend the dedication. The families of Capt. William Faulconer, 1st Lt. Lloyd Sawyers, 1st Lt. David Sutton, and 1st Lt. Fred Hixenbaugh invited Bryan, Keith and I to attend with them. We readily accepted the invitation. At 10:00 a.m. on Friday, July 19, 2019 we attended the dedication of the memorial under a hot, windy Texas sky. Upon completion of the ceremony Joanette began talking to one of the Air Force officers, inquiring about a Colonel Don Vandenbussche. Don is the son-in-law of Hot Springs Montana’s Mike and Trudy Wigton. He was not at the event, but she gave our names to the nice officer so he could share them with him.

The crowd gathering.
The Family of Lloyd Sawyers
The Family of David Sutton

After the dedication ceremony a wonderful luncheon was held at the Abilene Country Club. As soon as we walked in the nice officer Joanette had been talking to earlier was standing across the room with Colonel Vandenbussche and we were able to meet the Wigton’s son-in-law.

Keith, Joanette and Col. Don Vandenbussche

We were again honored to join the families for a luncheon, listening to more speeches including General (four star) Maryanne Miller, the Commander of the Air Mobility Command. All in all a wonderful day.

Later we had a lovely dinner at Perini’s Ranch Steakhouse in Buffalo Gap, Texas (between Abilene and our campground), where we saw a giant armadillo.

Then after a good night’s sleep, cousin Bryan headed back to Montana in the wee hours of the morning, and Keith and Joanette headed north to Amarillo after sleeping in!

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  1. I have been keeping my eye on your travels, you two must be having an amazing time. Keep on posting updates it is so interesting to read about your journey.


    1. Thanks Deb! We are having a great time. Seeing some of the lesser known sites and attending a wonderful memorial dedication! We are glad that somebody is following our blog and enjoying it! We are definitely looking forward to a few days or weeks at a time in one place! Settling in, as well as not burning so much fuel! Where does your next adventure take you?


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