Regularly Scheduled Meetings
April 4, 2019 marks he fortieth anniversary of the chartering of the George E. “Bud” Day Flight, Flight #61 of the National Order of Daedalians.
Twenty-three qualified officers petitioned the National Order on March 16, 1979, and the flight was originally chartered as Seagull Flight on April 4, 1979 at Hurlburt Field, Florida, now the home of the U.S. Air Force Special Operations Command. Michael Couvillon, one of the original petitioners, is a National Life Member and remains active with flight. The flight now has more than 160 members and a scholarship fund in excess of $120,000.
On December 18, 2012, the flight was officially renamed in honor of Colonel George E. “Bud” Day, a distinguished member of the flight.
Colonel Day was born on February 24, 1925, in Sioux City, Iowa. He dropped out of high school and enlisted in the Marines in December 1942, serving in the Pacific Theatre until November 1945. After receiving a Bachelor of Science degree and a PhD in Humane Letters from Morningside College, he attended the University of South Dakota, earning a Juris Doctorate and admission to the South Dakota Bar Association in 1949, all while serving in the United States Army Reserves. He later transferred to the Iowa Air National Guard and, in July 1950 was called to active duty and assigned to Webb Air Force Base, Texas, where he earned his pilot’s wings in September 1952.
He served two Korean War tours in the Republic F-84 Thunderjet; at RAF Wethersfield, England, in the F-100 Super Sabre; and commanded the ROTC unit at St. Louis University. After attending Armed Forces Staff College from August 1963 to January 1964, he served as Air Force Advisor to the New York Air National Guard at Niagara Falls, NY.
In 1967, Bud volunteered for a tour in Vietnam, where he served as an F-100 Assistant Operations Officer at Tuy Hoa Air Base. After 72 missions, in June 1967 he was assigned as the first commander of the Misty Super FACs at Phu Cat Air Base, where he flew an additional 67 missions into North Vietnam. On a mission to eliminate a surface-to-air missile site, the North Vietnamese shot down his plane. Although he suffered three breaks in his right arm and dislocated his left knee, he escaped from his initial captors, but was recaptured two weeks later near Quang Tri City, and spent the next five and a half years as a POW in North Vietnam. By the time of his release on March 14, 1973, he had survived 2,028 days as a prisoner of war.
Bud returned to Luke Air Force Base, Arizona, where he flew fighters and completed a PhD in political science at Arizona State University. His last military assignment was as Vice Commander of the 33rd Tactical Fighter Wing, Eglin Air Force Base, Florida. He retired from active duty on December 9, 1977, with 6,000-plus flying hours and nearly seventy medals, including the Air Force Cross and the Medal of Honor. Bud Day died on July 27, 2013, and is buried at Barrancas National Cemetery at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida.
Colonel Day is a 2016 enshrinee of the National Aviation Hall of Fame and on June 8, 2018, was posthumously advanced to the rank of brigadier general by order of the President.
His namesake Bud Day Flight currently supports seven local high school Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) detachments, including Army, Navy, and Air Force units; provides Daedalian Flight Training Scholarships to deserving future aviators each summer, and awards annual academic scholarships of more than $20,000 to outstanding students aspiring to a career as a military aviator.
COL RICHARD G. GASPARIAN, USAF, RET.
Member # 6405
Deceased – 4/10/2019
PO Box 448
Shalimar, FL 32579
Wife – Nadine
Arlington – TBD
Col. Richard Gasparian, USAF Ret., “The Great Gaspar”, left this earth on April 10, 2019. Following a brief but valiant fight with brain cancer, he made his opinion known and slammed the door on the way out. He was absolutely himself until the end as every nurse and doctor can attest.The Colonel had a highly decorated career with the US Air Force. He enlisted to avoid being drafted and finagled his way into pilot training. While he knew how to fly planes, his heart was in helicopters. He flew numerous missions in Vietnam at Cam Ranh Bay (and elsewhere) and flew all over the world. He would decline to pick a favorite post, but some of his best stories (and jokes) came from his time with RAAF in Amberly, Australia, Whiteman AFB, MO, and Osan AB, Republic of Korea. The loss of any brother-in-arms weighed heavily on him, and he would humbly dismiss the countless lives that were saved through his actions and leadership.
Once he retired from the Air Force, “Gassy” did not end his service to his country and community. For decades he worked with New York Life to help people take care of themselves and their families. He was very active in the Playground Area Kiwanis, and he was dedicated to helping the children and families of his community. One of his proudest accomplishments is a playground in Fort Walton Beach that he was instrumental in bringing to fruition.
Rich loved to fish and be on his boat or just stand on his dock and watch the world. He was a phenomenal cook and the consummate host. He had great comedic timing, and he will always be one of the greatest storytellers. He was said he was the best helicopter pilot ever, but we questioned that every time he tried to pilot a 36-foot fishing boat.
There is nothing that defines Rich more than his love of his family. When he was diagnosed with cancer, the only thing on his bucket list was to spend time with his children and grandchildren, and that is exactly what he did. He is survived by his eldest son, Scott Gasparian, his daughter, Kathleen Gasparian and her husband Alex Rawls, and his youngest son Gregory (Krikor Gasparian) Gasparian, and his wife Nadine Gasparian. His legacy lives on his grandchildren, Clara Rawls and Aran Gasparian. He was bewildered by his love for them. In the end, he spent every day with one or both of them, and he was in heaven.Scott, Kathleen, and Gregory wish to thank everyone who has given so much love and support over the past few months. Family, friends, and friends we choose as family, thank you. We would like to give special thanks to all of the medical staff at the University of Birmingham, at Ochnser in New Orleans, and at Community Home Health and Hospice in Washington for the care and respect you showed to us in such a terrible time. We would also like to give special thanks to our uncles for the almost daily check-ins. And, last but not least, a special thanks to Eric Riggenbach who has put up with enough shit from the Gasparians to be called brother.
We are working on services to be held at Arlington in accordance with Rich’s wishes, and we will be sure to update when we have the details. We appreciate any stories or pictures you can share, but trust us, we have heard ALL the jokes. In lieu of flowers, we ask that you support the Jolly Green Scholarship Fund in his memory. Until we have a formal service, we would ask that you share a toast with us. Easter was our Dad’s favorite holiday, and symbolically it is a wonderful time to cherish the life around us. As you sit down to roast beast this weekend, we ask that you raise your glass to the Great Gaspar. In his own words, “What A Ride!”.