A piece of wing history returns home

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Melissa Harvey
  • 301st Fighter Wing

Forty-eight years ago, the 301st Tactical Fighter Wing reactivated at Carswell Air Force Base, Texas. A piece of history belonging to that era recently returned to what is now known as the 301st Fighter Wing.

More than a year ago, Mr. Keith Snyder, a local 301st Fighter Wing supporter, saw an item for sale which he recognized as a part of the wing’s history.

The flight suit of retired Maj. Gen. John E. Taylor Jr., the 301st Tactical Fighter Wing’s first commander, when the unit was reactivated on Jan. 10, 1973, was listed for sale.

“I found it on an Ebay auction, got in contact with the dealer, who had got it from someone who purchased it from Maj. Gen. Taylor’s estate sale,” Snyder said.

When Taylor had passed away earlier that year on Jan. 15, 2019, wing members, his family, and those who served beside him held a memorial service on the base he once served.

Not wanting the uniform to go to a private collection, Snyder reached out to a friend, Master Sgt. Troy Quigley, a 301st Fighter Wing Aircraft Maintenance Squadron weapons load team chief, so that the uniform could be returned to the unit.

“ … My father [Staff Sgt. David Quigley] was an air reserve technician, F-105 crew chief, when the 457th Tactical Fighter Squadron stood up ...,” Quigley said. “My father, and others who I have encountered, have spoken very fondly of Maj. Gen. Taylor and admired him for his leadership style and how he cared for his Airmen.”

The squadron, now known at the 457th Fighter Squadron, was reactivated under the 301 TFW, an Air Force Reserve unit, on July 8, 1972, according to the Air Force Historical Research Agency.

Quigley then reached out to the 301st Restin Crew, a local group of current and former 301st Fighter Wing members, who assisted with getting the item back to the wing as well. Quigley facilitated getting the item framed.

The flight suit’s return to base was delayed due to COVID-19, but more than a year after it was posted for sale online, it came home.

On Sunday, March 7, 2021 the framed uniform was presented to the 457th Fighter Squadron, by Snyder and Quigley. It will be hung up in the squadron, along with other items representing the history of the unit and those who served in it.

"It is such an honor to have Maj. Gen. Taylor’s flight suit on display in our squadron, as it will serve as a historic reminder of his years of service...He is a warrior held in the highest regard not only within the Air Force, but particularly here in the 457 FS. Now that his flight suit is on display in the squadron, it will serve as a visible reminder to the men and women of the 457 FS of Maj. Gen. Taylor’s legacy and service to our nation," said Lt. Col. Charles Huber 457th Fighter Squadron commander. "Again, we must give Mr. Snyder and the 301st Fighter Wing’s own Master Sgt. Troy Quigley our collective thanks for bringing Maj .Gen. Taylor’s flight suit back home."

Taylor was a combat pilot in World War II, Korea, and Vietnam. He earned multiple decorations throughout his career, including the Silver Star, Distinguished Flying Cross, and the Purple Heart.


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