“Old–Timer” volunteers get dirty to help keep it clean Published Nov. 8, 2009 By Capt. Jefferson S. Heiland 103rd Airlift Wing, Public Affairs BRADLEY ANG BASE, East Granby, Conn -- Several volunteers from the Old-Timers Reunion Committee gathered at the Air Park near the main gate at Bradley Air National Guard Base Oct. 14. They did not assemble for a reunion or retirement ceremony, but to get dirty in an effort to help keep the park clean. Retired Senior Master Sgt. Roger Hinkel, chairman, Old-Timers Reunion Committee, said that the group had met on Sept. 16 to discuss the results from the Old-Timers' Day event held on base in June. After the meeting, one of the committee members noticed that the Air Park had become overgrown and was in need of attention. The group decided that they would tackle the responsibility as a way to give back to the community of Flying Yankees. The Old-Timers group has been in existence for nearly 35 years, starting as an informal gathering in one of the retiree's back yards. "A hand full of retired officers and non-coms gathered together as comrades for the purpose of keeping their long military association from being lost," Hinkel explained. The group continued to grow over time until it became necessary to find a larger, more accommodating place to gather. Eventually, Hinkel, who was serving as president of the NCO Club, arranged for the group to use the club's facilities. "The primary purpose of this gathering is obvious. It serves as a venue for retirees and guardsmen who were in the unit at some time in the past to share in the comradeship of those they served with. Over the years, the 103rd has given us their complete support and the Old-Timers are now part of the CTANG tradition. We, the retirees, feel that the long history of the CTANG is being preserved in this manner. We take great pride in being part of what is happening today and lend our support to the CTANG in any way we can," Hinkel said.