Arlington, Va. --
Airmen from the 94th Intelligence Squadron held two events to honor Vietnam veterans from both the 361st Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron (TEWS) and the 6994th Security Squadron May 11, 2016.
During the Vietnam War, Aircrew members from the 6994th flew Airborne Radio Direction Finding (ARDF) missions from the back end of EC-47 aircraft. Unarmed, Alone, and unafraid, the 6994th ARDF backend crew members flew in partnership with the 361st TEWS pilots, navigators, and flight engineers in and around Vietnam, where they had one of the highest causality rates and were one of the most decorated units of the Air Force Security Service.
Airmen from the 94th Intelligence Squadron performed a wreath laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery at the memorial site for the crew of Baron 52, an EC-47 aircraft that was shot down over Laos in February, 1973. All the eight crew members of Baron 52 are interred in a group memorial at Arlington National Cemetery. The ceremony opened with the posting of the colors by the 70th ISRW Honor Guard and the National Anthem was sung by the 94th IS choir, appropriately named Baron 52.
As the keynote speaker, retired Chief Master Sgt. Tom Nurre, 6994th SS, spoke about the then state-of-the-art ARDF mission, as well as life as an aircrew member serving in Vietnam. Nurre’s remarks were followed by Lt. Col. Timothy Richardson, 94th Intelligence Squadron commander, who highlighted the similarities of the missions between the ‘Combat Cougars’ of the EC-47 generation and the missions the Cougars of the 94 IS execute today.
“Whether you call it Electronic Warfare of the Combat Cougar generation, or you call it Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance of our current generation, the mission is still about finding our enemies, using cryptologic equipment and cryptologic skills, and removing them from the battlefield,” Richardson said.
Following the wreath laying ceremony, the veterans of the 6994th and 361st joined Airmen from 94th Intelligence Squadron for a potluck style lunch at the American Legion in Severn, Md. In coordination with the Vietnam War Commemorative Partner Program, Nurre led a “Vietnam War Veteran” Lapel Pinning ceremony to appropriately honor the Vietnam veterans who were present.
Nurre also presented a short video that culminated with former Speaker of the House, John Boehner, highlighting the need for a grateful nation to thank and honor our Vietnam Veterans and their families. Because Vietnam War Veterans did not come home celebrated as service men and women do today, Nurre called the lapel pinning ceremony a “do over.” A chance for American’s today to commemorate and recognize the sacrifices made by these Veterans.