The late Frank P. Reamer was an F-105 Thunderchief ("Thud") pilot in the 421st Tactical Fighter Squadron (TFS). Based at the Royal Thai Air Force Base in Korat, Thailand in 1966 and 1967, the 421st flew missions over North Vietnam as part of the "Rolling Thunder" campaign. Although several other types of aircraft were being flown in Vietnam at the time, the "Thud" was the primary bomber in the North. The F-105 was originally designed to deliver nuclear weapons, and was on the verge of being retired, but the changing situation in Southeast Asia required it to be tasked to use conventional bombs.
Back when "jets were hard to fly", the "Thud" did not have all the modern electronic and computer aided devices of modern planes. It did have enviable characteristics... It was fast: Mach 2+ (@1400 mph). It could carry a huge payload, and could climb straight up at 600 feet (two football fields) per second. Despite these virtues, three hundred and thirty F-105's were lost between 1965-1968.
There you have a small bit of F-105 history, but to really understand and know the history, you've got to delve a little deeper… “Who were the warriors that flew these ‘Birds’ and made the history?”
After Frank’s passing in 1998, his daughters, Terrie Manning and Tammie Walters, started trying to recover their fathers' Air Force records and memorabilia. After all, being a fighter pilot had always seemed to define him.
While researching Frank’s Air Force career, Terrie corresponded with many of the pilots who had flown with her father, as well as other Vietnam Fighter Pilots and River Rats. The positive response from these former warriors was so informative and produced so much information about Major Frank P. Reamer’s military history, that Terrie, her husband Bill, and sister Tammie, needed some way to “Keep the Honor Alive". Hence the 421st TAC FTR SQD Reunion, a gathering of the 421st pilots and their families, as well as other fighter pilots of the Vietnam era.
Started in 2005, the 421st reunion, hosted by Terrie and Bill Manning, and Tammie Walters, is held every year on the 3rd weekend of October at Terrie's home, The Old Church in Willow City, TX, set in the beautiful Texas hill country. Bill passed away in 2011 and it was his wish that the reunion continue. He considered it to be one of the most important things he had ever been part of so it continues as a tribute not only to Frank and the 421st but also to Bill. The pilots and their families come from all over the United States and are treated to a casual afternoon of reuniting with old friends as well as meeting new, a homemade B.B.Q. lunch, light entertainment, and some surprises. The event is free of charge, however donations are alway very much appreciated and helps us continue to "Keep the Honor Alive".
A note from Terrie:
Every year we have been fortunate enough to have had the aid of several pilot organizations, including the International Bird Dogs, the Red River Swift Wing as well as the Commemorative Air Force , staging a flyover at our past reunions!
On Saturday, October 15th 2016, we will be Keeping the Honor Alive by holding our 12th annual 421st reunion. We would like to encourage everyone to start making their plans now to attend. Fredericksburg and the surrounding area is a very popular place. Accomodations fill quickly and early. We would also love to hear from anyone from the 388th Wing of which the 421st was a part.
I urge anyone interested in attending or participating in this years' reunion to contact me, Terrie Manning, at 830-685-3237 or e-mail me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Take a look at our photo archives and see how far we've come in "Keeping The Honor Alive"!!!
Let me not forget, a SPECIAL THANKS to Sheryl Beardsley, daughter of Bob Dundas, 421st FTR PLT, for coming up with the idea of a 421st reunion website as well making it happen.
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2008 Sheryl Beardsley
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