In 1989 Gary Turnipseed was one of the Air Force students selected to host Hub Zemke
at that year's "Gathering Of Eagles" at Maxwell Field. With photographs kindly donated by Lt Col Benji Wolf (rtd)
Gary tells what it was like hosting Hub and what the event means to him.

Gathering of Eagles

Every year since 1982, the Air Command and Staff College Foundation of the Air University, Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama, has invited 20 people prominent in the aviation field to participate in activities associated with the graduating class of approximately 500 Air Force field grade officers (Major or Lieutenant Colonel).

The college faculty designates volunteers to host each individual in the group of 20.

For Gathering of Eagles 1989 I and two other students were fortunate enough to host Hub Zemke.

For me this marked one of the biggest highlights of my Air Force career, serving as Hub’s host for what is considered one of the premier annual Air Force heritage events.

Hub Zemke

Hub Zemke being interviewed
Rob Parker, Hub Zemke, Benji Wolf and Gary Turnipseed.
Gary Turnipseed and Hub Zemke 

In 1989 this was a three day event, composed of various activities including symposiums with small groups of Eagles so that class members would have the opportunity to hear the Eagles’ experiences in aviation and then ask questions afterwards. In between events, and this was the best part for me, there was a lot of one-on-one time spent with your host Eagle to get to know each other and interact at small social activities like an informal barbecue, off duty events at the Officer’s Club and other free time.

When I first met Hub, he was seated at a table in what we called the “signing room”, where each Eagle signed approximately 2000 limited edition lithographs commemorating the event. Hub was in an animated discussion with a man I soon found out was Günter Rall, the famous Luftwaffe Ace who was also present at Gathering of Eagles 1989. As I listened off to the side, it dawned on me they were recounting the famous aerial engagements of May 12, 1944, in which the Wolfpack attained an 8:1 kill ratio for the day’s activities. Without going into the myriad of fascinating details of that day, suffice it to say that both Hub and Günter Rall figured prominently in the day’s events, with Rall ultimately being shot down by the Wolfpack.

e/Hub Zemke and Ralph Havens

Bud Anderson and Hub Zemke

This is only one of many singular events that, when taken collectively represent, for a fighter pilot like me – well, I can only say it doesn’t get any better than this.

The second day Hub, Gabby Gabreski and Jerry Johnson participated in their own mini-symposium and this was yet another highlight of the three day event. Having three prominent Wolfpack Warriors at Gathering of Eagles 1989 made the event even more special.

The pictures in this small album were contributed by Major Benji Wolf (now a retired Air Force Lieutenant Colonel) and are the only pictures that document Hub’s one and only visit to Gathering of Eagles.

As you can see Hub not only appeared to have a grand time, he was indeed in his element. I’m proud to have been a part of that, but am even prouder that Hub and I remained friends until his passing in August 1994.

Hub Zemke and Jerry Johnson

Rob Parker, Gary Turnipseed, Hub Zemke, and Benji Wolf

Gary Turnipseed, Rob Parker and Hub Zemke