WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE — Stories honoring the heroic actions and dedicated service of veterans, patriots and loved ones were commemorated Friday at the Air Force Museum Foundation’s Legacy Data Plate Wall of Honor Tribute Ceremony.
Every one of the 665 data plates on the Wall of Honor represents a unique and lasting tribute to veterans, patriots and loved ones. Data plates are custom-etched aviation-grade stainless steel plates displayed near the entrance to the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force.
Traditionally, all military aircraft have a data plate which identifies the builder and includes the aircraft model designation, serial number, and other important information. These Legacy Data Plates extend this tradition as a means to recognize and honor individuals.
Keynote speaker Col Frank Alfter, former deputy director of Airborne Accessories, Oklahoma City Air Logistics Complex, Tinker Air Force Base, spoke about one of his heroes, his father, SSgt Glen Alfter. SSgt Alfter enlisted in the Army one year and one day following Pearl Harbor and was assigned to 384th Bomb Group as a tail gunner on B-17s. On April 13, 1944 he was shot down on his 23rd mission to Schweinfurt, Germany. He spent the rest of the war as a prisoner of war.
“I love to stand in front of the Shoo Shoo Shoo Baby in the museum and tell the story of my father,” said Col Alfter.
Also speaking was Charlie Castilano, recent museum volunteer Rookie of the Year award recipient and son of a World War II fighter pilot.
“During the last two years, I’ve purchased data plates for three people who I believe have earned the respect and honor to be recognized this way,” he said. “None of them are famous. They are just good people who deserve to have their names placed in company with others who are also being celebrated by their families, friends and peers.”
“These stories are part of what brings our Museum to life—stories of dedication and hard work, happy stories and tragic stories, and stories that teach us,” said Fran Duntz, chairman of the Air Force Museum Foundation’s Board of Managers. “This week take the time to remember the great stories of service experienced by the important people in your life. Capture those memoires and hold them close.”
To view stories of the honorees on the Legacy Data Plate Wall of Honor, or to find out how you can honor a loved one with a Legacy Data Plate, visit www.legacydataplates.com or contact Michele Giefer at firstname.lastname@example.org or 937-656-9615.