Dear Ex or present member of the 17th TCS, 17th TAS, Firebirds, or units which were or are assigned to the C-130D aircraft.

Past members of these units have officially organized the 17th TCS, Firebird Association. Past members believe this is a unique unit since the Air Force only ordered 12 ski-equipped aircraft. Additionally, we would like to share our experiences with members of the 17th prior to the C-130D "lead sled." The C-130D is the only aircraft to land on the Arctic and Antarctic ice. Much history is closely associated with this aircraft and the 17th.

Our first reunion was held during the last weekend in May in Abilene, Texas. Members present voted to include all present and past members of the 17th, or individuals assigned or attached to the 17th Squadron or other C-130D units, to become members of this unique association. The charter dues were set at $10.00. This should be adequate for administrative costs for the first year. Additional yearly dues will be decided in future reunions. Initial dues entitle you to a charter membership card.

Members also voted to hold the second reunion in Abilene, Texas, during the second week of June, 1983. The first reunion was a resounding success. Members of this unique association should all share in the camaraderie so clearly evident.

As an individual eligible for membership, we extend a sincere invitation for you to become a member of our association. For only $10.00, you can become a charter member and receive a charter membership card. Further information on the second reunion will be forthcoming for all members.

We are also interested in acquiring names and addresses of eligible individuals you might know. Please send information to Walter H. Ott, 3838 Concord, Abilene, Texas 79603 and I will send them a copy of this letter. If you would like to become a member of this new and unique organization, send a check to Firebird Association and you will get your charter membership card. Don't make other plans for the second weekend in June. See you in Abilene.

Hope to hear from you soon,

(Signed Walt Ott)

Editor's Note: This letter from Walt Ott was received in 1982 following the reunion. Reunions were held in Abilene, Texas, in 1983, and again in 1984. At some date after the 1984 reunion, Walt earned another set of "wings" in Heaven…please provide further details if you have knowledge of his death.