On an ordinary night, the aircraft hangar would have been filled with student pilots and their instructors carrying out the Columbus Air Force Base mission of producing pilots, advancing airmen and “feeding the fight” by preparing airmen for eventual deployment. But Friday, the hangar was the setting for a dignitary-studded soirée that carried on well into the night as the base celebrated the 70th anniversary of its first graduating pilot class.
GUARD SENDOFF: Lindsay Wingo celebrates ‘Christmas’ with family and friends before deploying to Afghanistan
The partygoers wore short-sleeved shirts and shorts, and the crackling “fire” in the cardboard fireplace mercifully cast no heat, but that didn’t stop the small throng of people gathered at Beersheba Cumberland Presbyterian Church from celebrating Christmas Friday night. After all, the guest of honor — Lindsay Wingo — will be far from New Hope this holiday, and they couldn’t miss the opportunity to send her away with a dash of Christmas cheer. Wingo, 24, is one of approximately 70 area soldiers deploying for Afghanistan today to serve with the Army National Guard in Operation Enduring Freedom.