My father was Maj George Glen Duke, and I would like to express my appreciation and admiration for the Air Commando community. Starting off with an innocuous visit to the Air Commando Association HQ when I was visiting my cousin in Navarre Beach, FL., I gained an opportunity to make connections and learn from my father's brothers-in-arms. The ACA provided me the connection to attend the reunion of the Nimrods in Ft Worth, TX and, more special to me, the indication that I would have the opportunity to meet Mrs. June Tanimoto at the 50th Anniversary Air Commando Convention in Oct. Mrs Tanimoto is the widow of Capt Miles Tanimoto, the navigator who was killed along with my father, Maj George Glen Duke, in the crash of their A26 at NKP in July 1966. As related by Ken Alnwick, this would be the first ACA Reunion she would attend and would provide me the opportunity to meet her for the first time. But first, I attended the reunion of Nimrods at Ft Worth and had the chance to fly on the last airframe my father flew. The event exceeded any expectations and the Nimrods and their spouses completely embraced me, my wife, and our grandson. It was a phenomenal event highlighted by the son and great-grandson of a fallen Nimrod to get to know him better through the stories and experience of his wingmen.Click here for more photos.
The 50th ACA Anniversary Convention was an equally eventful weekend and included meetings with a number of Air Commandos who had previously served with my father. Without a doubt, the most significant meeting during the Convention was the one with June Tanimoto. Having been only three years old at the time of my fathers death, I had never met Mrs Tanimoto. She was a warm, kind, and strong lady who immediately embraced my wife and I and absolutely made the long drive down from Kansas City worth while. I cannot begin to thank the Air Commando community enough for opening your doors and hearts to a surviving son of a fallen air commando and providing me some stories that my mother was either unaware of or chose to edit when I was young. After having retired from the Army after serving 30 years, I fully appreciate the esprit de corps, sacrifice, camaraderie, and heritage of the organization that was shared with me during this event. I am also proud of my father having a part in the company of such great men and women. Thank you again.