"The United States Air Force" wrote:Last B-52 gunner retires from active duty
by Senior Airman Joe McFadden
1st Special Operations Wing Public Affairs
2/20/2013 - HURLBURT FIELD, Fla. (AFNS) -- When a young Frank Dailey II entered the Air Force in 1985, he expected to start his career as an inventory management specialist.
But a single viewing of a recruiting video for the then-Strategic Air Command's defensive aerial gunner position changed his mind about his future.
Now, more than 20 years after that careerfield was retired, Chief Master Sergeant Dailey, superintendent of the 361st Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Group, ended his more than 27-year career as the last former defense aerial gunner - Air Force specialty code 111X0 - on active duty.
More than 100 Airmen and family members gathered to celebrate Dailey's career during his retirement ceremony at the Special Tactics Training Squadron at Hurlburt Field, Fla., Feb. 14.
"I learned a long time ago that wherever you go, you never go there alone," Dailey said. "And no matter how much you achieve, you never did it yourself. Today is about the team and saying 'thank you.'"
In 1986, Dailey completed Aerial Gunnery Training in then-Castle Air Force Base, Calif. He then served as a tail gunner on board the B-52 Stratofortress.
As part of SAC's Single Integrated Operational Plan for nuclear deterrence in the Cold War, Dailey served as a briefer for various missions, including for the SAC commander on five separate occasions.
"For the next four years, I flew just shy of 1,000 hours as a gunner," he said.
Dailey then volunteered for retraining into Intelligence, beginning a career that would take him with special operations forces in assignments around the world like Africa, Afghanistan and South Korea.
And in the same year the Soviet Union collapsed, the Air Force retired the Air Force specialty career of B-52 gunner in 1991. SAC later became inactivated as a major command the following year.
As of today, many B-52 gunners have retired or currently serve in other fields as part of the Reserve since their former careerfield's inactivation. But Dailey's retirement did not focus on being the last-of-a-kind as much as it highlighted the importance of being part of a team, a family and a legacy of service.
"Today, I pause and say thank you to all of you coming out to celebrate our service to the nation," Dailey said, surrounded by his friends and family. "I may pass the banner to the next generation of leaders, and they will carry it on into the future and assure our nation is stronger, better and faster than today."
After the ceremony, Dailey invited all in attendance--ranging from commanders and chiefs to junior Airmen and civilians--to pose for a group photo, all as members of his family and "Team Dailey."
"Thank you all for being brothers and sisters, family and friends," Dailey said. "Wherever I went for the last 27 years, I always had you with me, and no matter what I achieved, you were always by my side."
John Greenewald, Jr.
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