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“The only war the U.S. was ever engaged in where air power decided the whole thing.”
That’s how Lt. Gen. Vern M. “Rusty” Findley II (ret.) described his role in the conflict over Kosovo in 1999 during a presentation to the Sun Lakes Aero Club (SLAC) gathering April 21. General Findley commanded the 92nd Air Expeditionary Wing, then based in Spain. The unit included 250 aircraft, including 120 land-based fighters, seven B-52 bombers, six B-25s, 10 reconnaissance aircraft, 50 aerial tankers plus other various aircraft.
“Enemy opposition in the air was virtually non-existent,” he said. “We were more afraid of mid-air collisions than the of enemy.” The conflict lasted three and one-half months, he said.
Gen. Findley also described his role during Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan, where he commanded the 437th Airlift Wing. Flying 200 missions at night, the unit’s C-17 transport aircraft dropped 35,000 packets of humanitarian daily rations over the war-torn country. He showed his audience one of the packets signed by crewmembers from one of the aircraft he commanded during one of the flights.
Now in its 17th year, SLAC sponsors programs the third Monday of each month November through April at the Sun Lakes Country Club. The programs are open to all Sun Lakes residents and others interested in aviation. More information on the club is available from Bob Walch at 895-8869 or Gary Vacin at 298-7017 or at the club’s website at www.sunlakesaeroclub.org.