Three Community Wingmen were honored at the Air Force Ball on Oct. 24. They are Maj. Gen. (Ret.) Pat Condon and his wife, Judy, and Homer Cutrubus, a local businessman.
The three were honored at a private reception before the event, and will have their likenesses and contributions put on plaques to be hung in the Community Wingmen Hall of Fame in the Hill Aerospace Museum.
As Col. Francis "Gabby" Gabreski, a World War II pilot noted, "The wingman is absolutely indispensable. I look after the wingman, the wingman looks after me. It's another set of eyes protecting you. That's the defensive part. Offensively, it gives you a lot more firepower. We work together. We fight together ..."
Just before a private reception held in their honor began, when asked how his own experiences with the base have enriched his life, Condon replied, "Very much. When I was the Air Logistics Center commander, I observed community support for the men and women of Hill Air Force Base unlike any I'd ever experienced before. Everywhere we had been assigned, we had great support. We never had an assignment where there was not a good relationship between the base and the community, but the kind of support that we received at Hill from the community at the time I was there was just absolutely incredible. It was head and shoulders above any we had experienced anywhere else. I understood that the base had a big economic impact on Utah -- Northern Utah in particular -- but I used to tell people that the kind of support that we received from the community went way beyond what you would expect from somebody that just loved you for your money. This is a wonderfully patriotic part of the country with a wonderful work ethic in the community and on the base as well, and all of those things rolled together resulted in community support that was just unparalleled. So when I retired, we decided that we wanted to give back in some small way some of the support we had enjoyed while on base. We have been active in a number of support organizations such as the Top of Utah Military Affairs Committee, the Air Force Association, the Utah Defense Alliance, and the Hill Aerospace Museum. These activities have allowed us to continue to support the men and women at Hill AFB and all across the Air Force as well." Judy Condon agreed with her husband about the opportunity to meet with so many of the fine men and women in the Air Force and the rich experiences they enjoyed.
Homer Cutrubus, for his part, talked about the diversity and community ties the base brings to the area. "Being involved with the base, in most situations," he said, "You join committees and you are involved because you want to give back what they give to you. In this case it's been more of a relationship. It's something almost that everybody aspired to get on the Military Affairs Committee and quite frankly, it's been very easy to be involved with the military. The base is not to us - it's not Hill Air Force Base or an air force base - it's almost like it's a major part of these communities. It ties them all together and all the people, the diversity it brings in - it's been positive."
A charter member of the Top of Utah Military Affairs Committee, Cutrubus has served approximately 30 years and praised the experience highly.
The Condons, respectively, have given back through their service after the general's retirement from the Air Force . Their contributions were described as a two-for-one deal. When Pat served, Judy shared in his accomplishments, and they gave tirelessly and selflessly to the community.
All three wingmen's accomplishments were noted during the well-attended Air Force Ball in the main ceremony. Approximately 953 were in attendance, and the 23rd Army Band provided music for the Air Force Song and for dancing afterward.