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Misty FACs Inspire Next Generation during 33rd FW Tour

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Leandra Garcia
  • 33rd Fighter Wing

Members of the 33rd Fighter Wing welcomed MISTY Forward Air Controllers celebrating their 55-year reunion.

The Misty FACs are a group of combat-experienced fighter pilot volunteers who were brought together in South Vietnam to form a top-secret squadron.

Their mission was to disrupt enemy supply and equipment transfers down the Ho Chi Minh Trail while armed with only cannons and marking rockets.

“People always say we’re heroes when they hear we are Mistys, but I don’t think that’s true,” said retired U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Dick Rutan, Misty 40. “A hero is an average individual who is faced with an extraordinary set of circumstances and without exception will rise to the occasion. Every hero is a hero by circumstance; we did what was necessary to succeed in our mission.”

The Mistys, accompanied by their family members or family members of Mistys passed, were given a tour of the 58th Fighter Squadron, a mission brief from U.S. Air Force Col. Jack Arthaud, commander of the 33rd FW, followed by an opportunity to see an F-35A Lightning II static display.

“The technology advancement in the F-35 is eye-watering compared to what we flew,” said Rutan. “The capabilities of this jet are beyond any of the stuff we could’ve dreamed would be possible.”

During the Misty mission brief, anyone with base access was given the opportunity to watch ‘The MISTY Experiment: The Secret Battle for the Ho Cho Minh Trail’, followed by a storytelling/Q&A session at the Eglin Air Force Base Enlisted Heritage Hall.

“It’s hard to believe so many people want to hear our story,” said Rutan. “We did what we did so well, not knowing we would be considered trailblazers. We are honored that people are interested in the knowledge and information we have to pass along.”

After an hour of the Mistys recounting stories from their times in combat to the hundreds of attendees, their day at the 33rd FW came to a close.

“The 33rd is always first class,” said retired U.S. Air Force Veteran David Thomson, Misty 149. “It’s a pleasure to leave a base feeling like you are truly a part of that family. I always leave here knowing the Air Force is in good hands.”