News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Local & Bistate

July 12, 2014

Celebrating 60 years of pride at Hulman Field

Former airmen, artist, Congressmen mark lengthy 181st Intelligence Wing tenure in Terre Haute

TERRE HAUTE — The buildings may have changed, and the mission has certainly changed, but the pride remains the same when those celebrating the 60th anniversary of the 181st Intelligence Wing of the Indiana Air National Guard came together Saturday at Hulman Field.

Back in 1954 when the unit moved from Stout Field in Indianapolis to the eastern edge of Terre Haute, the mission added a lot of air traffic to the skies of the Wabash Valley. The jets are now gone, and the mission is one of technology, support and surveillance of military operations around the globe.

A group of retired guardsman who made the move from Stout Field were among those honored during the ceremony.

Senior Master Sgt. Terry Mills recalled working in Quonset huts and plane hangars that no longer exist on the base.

“It kinda hurts when you see all the stuff you spent time on gone, but they have a different mission now,” Mills said.

He saw the transformation of the farmland around the airport as the air base was added. He recalled with a laugh how the guardsmen had to water a nearby farmer’s cows after they covered up his well.

A highlight in the ceremony was the unveiling of a painting by artist Bob Follett. It includes renderings of all the aircraft that were flown from 1954 through 2008 by the 181st at the base, as well as a panel of people monitoring unmanned systems via technology.

Follett said he spent about 100 hours creating the framed art, which will hang in the 181st headquarters.

He said he started talking about the design of it in April, working out details with base leaders, and researching the planes.

“It’s a watercolor, so it’s very challenging to create,” Follett said. “One mistake ruins it all.”

Major General R. Martin Umbarger, Indiana National Guard adjutant general, commended Follett for showing the history of the base.

Umbarger recalled that 10 years ago, during the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the unit in Terre Haute, there was an uncertainty about the future of the base.

The flying era for the Racer family ended in 2007, but the new mission of distributive ground service and air support operations squadron gave new life to the base.

“It was tough on all of us,” Umbarger said of the change, but he was impressed at how the skilled people already at the base chose to learn new skills to keep the wing located in Terre Haute.

“You became a highly regarded intelligence wing in not only the National Guard, but also in the entire United States Air Force,” Umbarger said.

He also noted that the 181st costs the government only 28 cents on the dollar compared to the costs of an active duty air wing, yet the 181st handles the same jobs as well.

Terre Haute Mayor Duke Bennett also said he and the area residents are grateful that the 181st has remained at Hulman Field for so many years. It is an economic benefit to the community, he said, and it requires highly trained people who reside in the area.

Congressman Larry Bucshon added his praise for the 181st to the ceremony, and letters of support were read from Sen. Dan Coats and Sen. Joe Donnelly, who were unable to attend the celebration.

Reporter Lisa Trigg can be reached at 812-231-4254 or Follow her on Twitter @TribStarLisa.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local & Bistate
Latest News Poll
AP Video
Last Mass Lynching in U.S. Remains Unsolved Raw: Fight Breaks Out in Ukraine Parliament Bodies of Malaysia Jet Victims Leave Ukraine Raw: Truck, Train Crash Leads to Fireball Judge Ponders Overturning Colo. Gay Marriage Ban Clinton: "AIDS-Free Generation Within Our Reach" Disabled Veterans Memorial Nearing Completion Home-sharing Programs Help Seniors Fighting Rages Amid Mideast Truce Push Ex-NYC Mayor: US Should Allow Flights to Israel Obama Signs Workforce Training Law Raw: Massive Explosion in Gaza City Raw: Typhoon Brings Heavy Wind, Rain to Taiwan Crash Victims' Remains Reach Ukraine-held City Raw: Plane Lands on New York Highway Raw: Secretary of State Kerry in Israel NYPD Chief Calls for 'use of Force' Retraining Raw: Israel Hits Gaza Targets, Destroys Mosques Police Probing Brooklyn Bridge Flag Switch CDC Head Concerned About a Post-antibiotic Era
NDN Video
CDC Director Warns Of A World Where Antibiotics No Longer Work Whoa! Watch "Housewives" Star Do the Unthinkable Raw: Fight Breaks Out in Ukraine Parliament Chris Pratt Interrupts Interview To French Braid Intern's Hair Shirtless Super Mario Balotelli Dances While Ironing - @TheBuzzeronFOX LeBron apologizes to neighbors with cupcakes Justin Bieber In Calvin Klein Underwear Shoot Samsung Pre-Trolls The IPhone 6 With New Ad Jimmy Kimmel Introduces His Baby Girl Swim Daily, Nina Agdal in the Cook Islands Guilty Dog Apologizes to Baby for Stealing Her Toy Prince George Turns 1 and is Already a Trendsetter Train Collides With Semi Truck Carrying Lighter Fluid Kanye West Tells-All on Wedding in "GQ" Interview Tony Dungy Weighs in on Michael Sam Scarlett Johansson Set To Marry In August New Star Wars Episode XII X-Wing Revealed Obama: Putin must push separatists to aid MH17 probe Michigan inmates no longer allowed to wear orange due to 'OITNB' Adam Levine Ties the Knot

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
  • -


    March 12, 2010