POL members celebrate 50 year reunion

Seven members of the 50th anniversary “POL” military reunion reflect on what the base looked like during their tour of duty while  on their return tour of Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho, Oct. 7, 2011. All seven members told stories about sleeping on cold concrete floors in shifts and polishing metal barrels so well that they could be eaten off of while they served together in the 366th Logistics Readiness Squadron Fuels Flight from 1959 to 1963. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Angelina Drake)

Seven members of the 50th anniversary “POL” military reunion reflect on what the base looked like during their tour of duty while on their return tour of Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho, Oct. 7, 2011. All seven members told stories about sleeping on cold concrete floors in shifts and polishing metal barrels so well that they could be eaten off of while they served together in the 366th Logistics Readiness Squadron Fuels Flight from 1959 to 1963. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Angelina Drake/Released)

On Oct. 7, 2011, Elisha Robinette, a member of the 50th anniversary “POL” military reunion, stands outside the only unchanged building since being stationed at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho. Robinette served four years at MHAFB from 1959 to 1963. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Angelina Drake)

On Oct. 7, 2011, Elisha Robinette, a member of the 50th anniversary “POL” military reunion, stands outside the only unchanged building since being stationed at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho. Robinette served four years at MHAFB from 1959 to 1963. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Angelina Drake/Released)

The 366th Logistics Readiness Squadron Fuels Flight celebrates the return of seven of its brothers to Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho Oct. 7, 2011. The men served in the same squadron and flight from 1959 to 1963, and their visit to MHAFB marks the 50th anniversary of their service. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Angelina Drake)

The 366th Logistics Readiness Squadron Fuels Flight celebrates the return of seven of its brothers to Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho, Oct. 7, 2011. The men served in the same squadron and flight from 1959 to 1963, and their visit to MHAFB marks the 50th anniversary of their service. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Angelina Drake/Released)

MOUNTAIN HOME AIR FORCE BASE, Idaho -- Seven men who served together here in 1961 recently returned for a reunion sponsored by the 366th Logistics Readiness Squadron.

The men were all assigned to the petroleum, oil and lubricant section here and decided to come back to where their military service began.

"I was an extremely shy 20-year-old when I was stationed here in 1961," said John Harris, now a realtor living in North Carolina. "My mother had just passed away, so I was very hurt and sad. The principles and lessons I learned here brought me out of my shell and have been an inspiration in my life still today."

The men were granted special permission to land a civilian airplane on the flight line when they arrived Oct. 7, and were met by senior 366th LRS leadership. The group also met with Col. Ron Buckley, 366th Fighter Wing commander, and were given a tour of the base by fellow fuels flight Airmen.

"Having the new POL Airmen, or Fuels Flight as it's called now, show us around was a real treat for me," said Gary Cobbley, retired Air Force master sergeant. "POL personnel are a very tight-knit group no matter where you are stationed, and this new generation of Gunfighters is just fantastic."

The men were treated as VIP guests at a LRS barbeque luncheon and were able to mingle current fuels flight members and discuss how things here have changed in the last 50 years.

"I'm just so happy that the leadership was willing to have us here and show us some of the old buildings we worked out of, as well as the progress that has been made since we were stationed here," said Richard Cooney, who is now an advertising artist. "Nowadays, people don't expect the Air Force to take the time to give some old-timers like us such a great tour."

During the tour, the men revisited a pump house which is one of the few remaining buildings still here since the 1960's.

"Being here with these guys I served with inside the buildings we worked in is really the best part of this experience," said Richard Maxwell, who is retired from Case Tractor Company. "Being here has definitely stirred a lot of memories."

According to all of the former POL Airmen, this was a visit of a lifetime - a story to share with family and friends, and a memory they will have for the rest of their lives.

"These gentlemen are part of our POL family, history and heritage," said Senior Master Sgt. Brian Schexnider, 366th LRS squadron superintendent. "These guys laid the foundation for what the 2FOX1 career field has evolved into today. They are true pioneers of the Air Force legacy."