OF EAGLES - 1989
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
Gary tells what it was like hosting Hub and what the event
means to him.
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).
college faculty designates volunteers to host each individual
in the group of 20.
Gathering of Eagles 1989 I and two other students were fortunate
enough to host Hub Zemke.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.