10 March 2011


Ok, I have had the opportunity to discuss several aspects of the plan with a nonprofit attorney.  I am ready and PUMPED! 

It is time to start getting serious!  I need all of you to really pass this site around:


This will keep you updated as these exciting changes take place. 

I got a TON of information and I will begin putting it all into action today...no better time than the present!

I am currently collecting suggestions for Board Members.  Please send me your recommendation and WHY you suggest this person.    Please send the suggestions ASAP to:


Thank you so much and please respond and become part of this.  I am very excited and so ready to work with you all!

08 March 2011

March Activities

Good morning!  Happy Fat Tuesday to everyone!  I plan to do some damage with some boiled crawfish this weekend!

The Museum Update:

I have been fortunate enough to find an attorney who has agreed, although very busy, to donate a little time to me so that I can get some initial questions answered.  So very nice of him to do so!

I will be meeting with him on Wednesday (tomorrow) and will ask him a ton of questions, whatever time will allow. 

I have been receiving emails from people being willing to write and submit their stories for use on the website!  Please do the same, if you haven't already!

Thank you to all who have been passing the website information out to people, I am starting to really see people come to the site and email me with questions.  Interest is out there and I plan to give them all what they want!

Continue to submit your stories (no matter how insignificant YOU think they may be...they aren't), continue to pass the site around to others and please FOLLOW the blog and LIKE the Facebook page!

Thank you, have a great week!

Angela Bennett-Engele
"Your Stories, Our History"

05 February 2011

Here we go!

The time has come for me to let you all know what I have been up to!  As I know several people who are involved in organizations who have something similar to my idea, please know up front that there is NO COMPETITION between us.  My idea is going to utilize a completely different medium and therefore will not be in any way related to your ventures. 

Please read and I hope you are all as excited as I am!

I started years ago trying to find men/women who knew my dad, who served with him or who went to school with him.  In doing this, I found hundreds of men and women who had so many stories of their own to tell.  Most interesting to me were the ones NOT related to their time with my father.  It was always difficult to explain to people that I wanted to here THEIR stories, not just tales of their interactions with my dad.  Their stories were equally as important to me.

Having decided to start this Blog, I ended up getting a wonderful response...even though I can't seem to explain how to "Follow" this page!  A lot of people who are thrilled about the page have not actually become a follower of it.  If you know anyone like that, please have them FOLLOW...it will be imperative that they do so, very soon!

On to my project:

I am in the process of building a website which will serve as a Virtual Museum.  The name of it is Museum of the American Military, the website is:  www.museumoftheamericanmilitary.com  Please visit as often as possible.  Currently, the website home page is set up to serve as a place holder while we build the actual site.

Without going into exact detail as to what our plans are with the museum and what all we will include, I do want to tell you that I am in need of ALL OF YOUR STORIES.  Many who I have talked to, especially those that are my age or younger, feel they don't really have a story to tell.  Not true, so not true.  I want stories relating to the following ideas:
  • How old were you when you joined the military?
  • Did you join out of high school or did you attend college first?
  • Did your military career start with playing with GI Joe dolls or ROTC?
  • Where all were you transferred?
  • Were you married?  Was this difficult for your family?
  • How often were you serving your country away from your family?
  • What is the most interesting thing that has happened to you?
  • Have you ever been involved in a war/conflict?
  • What was your MOS, your job?
  • How long did you serve?
  • Looking back (if you are currently out of the military), how do you feel about your time in the service?
  • What branch were you in?
  • If you do happen to have a story of war time, please tell it as well.
What I'm trying to say is this...In my opinion, the day you signed up for whichever branch of service you were part of, you became a very important part of our nation's history.  I don't want that to be forgotten.  No matter how insignificant you think your story is, I can promise you...I disagree.

Yes, my father was killed in Vietnam.  Yes, he received the Medal of Honor for his sacrifice.  Yes, he is seen as an American Hero.  No, he's not the only one.  No, you do not have to have died or received the Medal of Honor to be considered a hero.  I have grown up talking to many of you, or others like you, and you shy away or downright denounce the idea that you could be seen as a 'hero'.  Well, the way I see it is that without each and every one of you, our country would have been that much more at risk.  You gave something to serve our country.  You all did (or do, if you are still active).  You gave up time with your wife, your children, your freedom to do whatever you want, have your haircut the way YOU wanted it to be (or not be, whatever the case!).  You put your freedom of speech on hold in many respects.  You just did what you were told and taught to do. 

Many of you would tell me you would do it all again without hesitation.  That is dedication.  That is service to your country.  That is honorable and that IS a hero, in my book.

So, I want your stories.  I will work with you to make them sound exactly the way you want them to.  I do not want any information that would be considered valuable to national security.  I do not expect you to risk anything to tell me of your service.  Even if you were involved in highly secured information or missions, you still have a story that can be told.  Just don't give me details!  Or, tell about some part of it that wasn't secret, like your favorite Officer's Club incident or your beginning.

Further, I would appreciate a picture to go with the story.  Prefer one during active duty.  Any other photos you wish to attach to your story, would be very welcome!  Pictures of any planes, tanks, equipment, duty stations, air fields, posts, etc.  Anything you wish to share about your time.

If you have never served in the military, I know you know someone who has!  Your father, mother, friend, neighbor, classmate, etc.  Do you have any stories that would help us know that person better?  Any contact information for that person so that I can contact them to see if they are interested in submitting their own story?  Of course you do!  Everyone (just about) knows someone involved in the military!

I am determined that this museum will serve as a way for anyone to log in and see a story of someone they decided to learn more about.  They will follow your story, see pictures to make you "real" to them and then we will do research to bring to life whatever specifics in your story that we can.  For example, if you say you were stationed at DaNang, we will find pictures or maps of DaNang as it was during the time you were there.

This is a huge project, I am aware of that.  But I am not above drumming up your support!  It would be easier if you simply start submitting your stories and information...but if you don't, I'll be happy to keep asking!  :)

Now...send your stories to me at:

As well, be sure to visit:

Follow the blog
Like the Facebook page (if you are a FB member)

In addition:

I do NOT want originals, unless you do not have a way to scan them in.  In which case I will accept them by mail and scan them and send them immediately back to you.

If you do not want to email me your story, please mail it to the following addresss:

Angela Bennett-Engele
754 Mockingbird Drive
Lewisville, TX  75067

Or you can call me at:


I am so very excited about this and cannot wait to really get things going.  If you are a member of another organization and would like your link put on my website as a reference for people to be able to visit your site or location, I would be happy to work with you on that!  Please contact me by using the information above (or email above) and we can discuss your site/organization and how we can help eachother educate this country on all the military does.

Thank you so much for your time, if anyone has any questions, please feel free to contact me so that I can explain further.

Angela Bennett-Engele
Museum of the American Military
"Your Stories, Our History"

02 February 2011

Cold in Dallas!

Day TWO of no school in our area!  It's not that there is a lot of snow on the ground, it is that there is a pretty thick layer of ice on the ground and the temps are remaining in the low 20's, high teens.  Therefore, the ice is not anywhere near melting and simply continues to re-freeze.

The same will be true for tonight and tomorrow.  We are not expected to get above freezing until Friday afternoon.  But, the kicker...we are expecting to get snow on Thursday  night.  SO, still freezing temps, still frozen roads and then add snow on top of it...wonder if it will even matter that Friday afternoon temps will be above freezing.

Concerned that the kids may not get to go to school much at all this week!  Pretty fun for them...until the snow day make up days come up!

I just recently added pictures to my last blog, our trip to the base for the ceremony.  Enjoy!

I'm going to go back to freezing now, have a wonderful day and stay safe and warm!

28 January 2011

Activation Ceremony

First, I apologize for the amount of time that has gone by between this great event and when I am writing the blog about it!  I have been swamped and quite frankly couldn't figure out the best way to write about our time there!  This particular ceremony was one that conjured up several different emotions in me.  In this blog, I will attempt to explain them all and tell you all I can about the wonderful time we had at the Activation Ceremony.

Late last year I was notified that my father's unit from DaNang, Vietnam was going to be reactivated.  My father was in the 20th TASS (Tactical Air Support Squadron) from April 1972 through June 29, 1972, when he was killed.  My dad was a Covey FAC (Forward Air Controller).  His call sign was Covey 87.  They had a Snoopy patch for their unit! 

The unit had be deactivated and reactivated several times in the past.  The latest was to be in January 2011 where it would become the 20th RS (Reconnaissance Squadron), and we were invited to attend the ceremony as their guests of honor.  Of course I would go!  To be a part of the history of my dad's unit would be an honor for me

After working with the Lt. Col. who would be the Squadron Commander, we got all the details in order and my husband, kids and I made our plans to go to up north...in the winter!  SNOW!  Much different than Texas!  The kids were thrilled, not only because we had a trip to take but also because one of their middle school friends had moved away in their 8th grade year and happened to live nearby.  We included seeing him as part of our trip!  Oh, they were so excited!

So, Thursday afternoon, we make our way to the event location and when we got there, the first thing that hit us was, you got it, the COLD!  We arrived there around 10:00 PM and met up with Lt. Col. Travis Burdine, a wonderful host!  We were immediately "at home" and felt completely taken care of.  We were surprised with the fact that we were staying on base, in the Officer's Quarters.  They had a really cute three bedroom, two bath home for us to stay in while we were there.  It was fabulous! 

The gate entrance!

The very first thing that happened once we got to the house was that we were shown around, given a tour, of the house by Lt. Col. Burdine and then decided to go unpack the car while he and my husband, Paul, ran up to the store for some drinks to keep in the fridge.  The kids and I all headed to the car and "slam", the door shut behind us.  OOPS, the key is inside and it automatically locked!  So, Elizabeth, my daughter, is credited with locking us out of the house within the first 30 seconds of our being there!

The best thing about the house was the two little trees in the front, they looked like little Christmas trees with snow all over them!  The snow covered the yard, it was beautiful.  We could see all kinds of stand alone plane displays from our front door...not that you could stand the front door being open too long!  Too cold!  Brr!

Our accommodations while we were there.
 When we arrived we were told some of the old 20th TASSers were hanging out for the evening but we were really too worn out to get dressed and go meet with them.  We decided to take it easy for the night and just get some sleep.  Having recently gotten over the flu and still dealing with a messed up right foot (I broke it a couple of months ago and it is still in a boot), I was ready to hit the sack!

Friday morning we woke up and were escorted to the Bowling Ally for breakfast!  They had the BEST biscuits and gravy!  Fantastic breakfast!  While we were there, some of the old TASSers showed up.  And, appropriately, the first thing they said to Elizabeth was, "Oh, yes, the girl that locked her family out of the house as soon as they got there!"  HA HA!  She was a good sport and quickly blamed it on me for leaving the key on the desk!  We got to see some old friends and make some new ones!  Paul had a computer buddy with Capt. Goldsmith!  They debated MAC vs. PC over breakfast! 

Every time I attend a ceremony I am constantly amazed at how nice, accommodating and open the men from my dad's unit are.  All of these men either knew or knew of my dad and they all made a point to come over and talk to me and my family.  It's always so nice to see them, it's like a little family reunion!

So after breakfast we made our way over to the Stealth Bomber!  Jake could not wait for this.  We got to see it up close and personal....ok, not too personal!  We were allowed to walk around the outside of the plane and look all our hearts desired.  We were not, however, permitted across the red rope they had surrounding the plane, or to take pictures.  No pictures allowed.  To enforce our good behavior, there were armed guards surrounding the plane.  Nice little M-4's (or that's what they looked like!)...loaded and ready for use!  So...I'll mind my manners!  Plus, it was like 19 degrees out there and I was freezing!  So, after a nice walk around (far around) the plane I made my way back inside to hang out in the warmth!

But not for long!  We were now headed to the stagnate B-52 so that I could get a better history of the plane that my dad used to fly in out of Thailand in 1970.  We were accompanied by Maj. Dan Taylor and a couple of 20th TASSers.  They gave me all kinds of interesting details about the plane and the crew that would have flown in it.  Again, it was FREEZING outside!  And to make things worse, I stepped in a pile of snow with my boot...and got snow in the toe of it!  The boot is an orthopedic boot, so it is an open toed one...not too handy in the snow!

From there we attended a luncheon where we had a great meal.  I guess it's true, the Air Force does have the best food!  It was very nice, and it was there where we really got to know and become close with Maj. Dan Taylor.  He was awesome!  We had a blast hanging out with him that day. 

The B-52 that was on display.
 During the luncheon, Col. William Tart gave a speech/lecture on various aspects of the mission of this newly reactivated unit.  Without knowing what I can and cannot divulge to the public, we will leave it at that!  He was a great speaker and very nice man.  We enjoyed meeting him as well!

From there we toured the new 20th RS building.  It was fantastic, very well done.  We were told that just a few short days/weeks that area would be considered top secret and we would not have been allowed in!  Woo hoo...we saw it first!  That was cool!  They had a wall going down one of the main hallways that had all of my dad's pictures up there.  When I turned the corner, the first thing I saw was a very large sketching of my dad's military photo.  I immediately got a lump in my throat, it was amazing.  Simply amazing.  Then I found out that Lt. Col. Burdine's 11 year old daughter had drawn it just a few days prior to the ceremony...and it only took her a few hours to do it.  Incredible.  I can still see it perfectly clear,  it was absolutely an honor to him.

The artists rendition of my dad's picture.  She did a truly amazing job.
We were then given a tour of the control room.  You know the control room in Transformers?  Well, it was a lot like that!  It was so cool!  I almost felt like I was in a movie!  I am sure a lot of very great work will take place in that room.  I know my dad would have probably loved to have seen it! 

Control room...there is nothing top secret on the screens, it is all prerecorded looped videos

Not the best picture of me, but hey...I love my jacket!  This was also prerecorded demo videos.
The mission of the 20th RS seems to be very close to that of the 20th TASS.  The major difference is that these men and women will be able to do it and remain quite a bit safer than the FAC's were a long time ago.  It is so comforting to know that strides are being made to ensure the safety of our troops...and maybe fewer kids will be left without their dads (or moms) in the future.  Congratulations to all of them, I hope they enjoy their role in the history of the Air Force.  It's truly amazing how things have changed and improved.

From there we went to the Activation Ceremony.  Now this was a real treat for us!  We got to see a Change of Command Ceremony.  How awesome was THAT!  Congratulations to Lt. Col. Burdine!  It was so cool to see how that is done!  I sat next to his mother, she was so very proud of her son!  Can you imagine?!  It must be such an honor!  The ceremony was fantastic and the 20th RS was official!  The unit members were all so nice and fun to be around!  One of them had the last name "Bennett"...we decided we had the best last name ever!  She was sweet!

Change of Command ceremony, it was an honor to see this.
 We wrapped up the day with drinks and appetizers...and cake...at the Officer's Club.  We all got to sit and visit with eachother and listen to stories of then and now.  I brought the Medal of Honor with me so that people could see it and read the citation.  I think they enjoyed being able to see one up close and personal.  I admired the amount of respect shown to the Medal.  It was surprising to me how many of them didn't want to pick up the shadow box that I have it mounted in.  They would rather just look at it on the table.  It was interesting, a learning experience for me.  It was very nice to spend time with everyone there and get to know more about the 20th RS and to hear more about the 20th TASS.

The 20th TASS...the "old guys"!

The new leaders of the 20th RS with myself and my family!
Later that night, we decided to go to dinner with Maj. Taylor so we went to a steakhouse off base.  It was so much fun!  He is a great guy.  Our kids really hit it off with him and he seemed to really like our "family dynamics" as he called it!  He missed his family, who will join him at his location later this summer.  I am very sure they miss him as well, he must be a great dad!

The next day we left to start home.  After a while on the road, we found the Osceola Cheese Factory.  It has all kinds of cheeses and you can sample them.  They are fantastic!  We didn't have a way to keep all the cheese cold on the way home to Texas so we just bought one.  The lightly smoked bacon cheddar.  Oh my.  It is so yummy!  I strongly recommend them if you love cheese like we do!  They have a website too, look them up!

Osceola Cheese Factory...worth the stop!
It was SO COLD!  Paul, Elizabeth and Jake bravely stood for the picture!

We stopped to see our kids' friend, David.  As soon as he walked in, I recognized him!  He hasn't changed at all.  We all had a great time and a good lunch before we had to get back on the road.  His dad came to get him and we left.  The rest of the trip home was fun, as usual!  Our kids travel GREAT!  We saw the most amazing sunset.  It was beautiful!  We also met a puppy at a rest stop!  He was cute!

Jake, David and Elizabeth...it was great to be able to get them together again!
 A special "thank you" to the base, the 20th RS, Maj. Dan Taylor and Lt. Col. Burdine.  If I didn't name someone else specifically, it was not intentional!  ALL of you were wonderful!

I did not post the exact location due to security issues.
I was not able to post several pictures that I think would be very interesting due to the nature of security.  I didn't want to post anything that would compromise them or their mission.

Thanks for reading, pass this link on to anyone you think may be interested!  Before you leave, be sure to click on "FOLLOW" in order to follow this blog!  There are some interesting and exciting plans in the works...I don't want you to miss out!

20 January 2011

20th RS/20th TASS Ceremony

My family and I recently returned from the Activation Ceremony of the 20th RS.  We had a fantastic time, I cannot wait to share it with you!  I am working on that blog now and should publish it within a couple of days!

Stay tuned and keep on writing your own stories!  Send them to angelaengele@gmail.com


January 20, 2011

Good morning to everyone!  So much is going on, I wanted to take the time to share the latest with you!

We are still working on the website, please be patient while we get it up and running.  In the meantime please "follow" this page.  There is a button to click on that will make you a follower of the blog, please be sure to click on that!  Also, please "like" my Facebook page.  There is a link to it on this blog!

I wanted to explain what I need from everyone with regards to "stories", I don't think I explained it well before.

My goal is to collect any and all stories related to military service.  When I have contacted people, I think they assume I want stories about my dad and how they relate to him.  I do not!  Course, if you knew my dad...feel free to write about him as well...but I want YOUR history.  Your service is what I am interested in.  Additionally, if you did not serve but are related (by family or friend) to someone who did serve, I want your stories as well.  I want to know how the military has impacted your life.  I want stories ranging from the desk job that you had in the military to the job defending the front line!  It doesn't matter to me, if you were in the service, or were impacted by someone who was, tell me your story!

My goal is to allow the community to appreciate and respect all aspects of the military and those who serve.  If you enlisted in the military, you are my hero.  I do not care if you were injured or have some wild war story.  I care that you served.  I care that your family and friends write in and tell how proud they are of you and anyone who served.

For example, I could write about my dad.  I could write about my ex-husband.  I could write about all the men who I have met through the years that knew my dad, and those that didn't know him but served and served proudly.  I could write about my mother and how I saw how my dad's death impacted her both positively and negatively.  I could write about my husband's family history of service.  I could write about all the wives I have talked to and how they have bravely supported and stood by their servicemen.

You can write several different stories, feel free to write a story about each person or event that you feel close to.  There is no limit to how many submissions you can make!  Write away!

See, all stories count!  I dare say that everyone has been impacted on some level by the military.  Even if your experience was negative, I want to know it.  As you all know, I could probably write a negative letter if I chose to!  My dad being killed when I was 2 1/2 years old is not something that leaves a "good taste in my mouth", but I tend to choose to look on the bright side about it.  He died doing what he loved and believed in. 

Regardless of your story, please just try to keep it "clean"!  And any negative letters are welcome, just please keep them respectful.

Please send all letters to my dedicated email:  angelaengele@gmail.com

Once I receive your story I will send you a release form.  Please fill the release form out and email it back to me.

This project is going to take time, but I promise you we will all be proud of it when it is finished.  However, I need your help, I need your stories.

Thank you so much for your interest in this project, I look forward to reading your stories and thoughts!

Thank you,
Angela Engele
214-601-8055 (if you have questions)