A man who dedicated much of his Air Force career to keeping B-52 bombers flying was honored today at Minot Air Force Base.
Chief Master Sergeant Fred Gantzer died about two years ago, but his name now lives on in a huge new structure that was dedicated today at the base.
Jim Olson reports.
(Harriet Gantzer, Widow of Fred Gantzer) “It just took my breath away and I thought he would be so proud.”
That’s how Fred Gantzer’s widow reacted to seeing this – a massive new hangar at Minot Air Force Base named in her husband’s honor.
Chief Master Sergeant Gantzer worked on B-52 bombers for much of his 31-year Air Force career and, Harriet Gantzer says, this photo captures him perfectly – working in the heart of one of his babies.
(Harriet Gantzer, Widow of Fred Gantzer) “He could hear an airplane five miles away and he’d say, one of my babies, one of my babies.”
(Col. Clifton Mosteller, USAF Retired) “I would give you a hug right in front of everybody.”
Colonel Flifon Mosteller was Chief Gantzer’s superior at the Minot base and quickly came to realize that Gantzer was special.
(Col. Clifton Mosteller, USAF Retired) “It wasn’t always by the book. Pilots talk about procedures, they talk about techniques. Fred had 31 years of techniques. They always worked and he was mission oriented.”
But Gantzer’s uniqueness went beyond the maintenance shop. Co-workers say he did special things for the men and women he worked alongside.
(MSgt. Michael Long, USAF) “Him and his wife would gather meals and inconspicuously show up at a randon airman’s house and deliver the food to them, no questions asked”
(Fred Gantzer, II, Son of Fred Gantzer) “He was from and early age, taught about honor, love of country, and the importance of family.”
Chief Gantzer’s son says his father’s talents were well understood in the Air Force – he cited his last annual performance review done by the commander in chief of Strategic Air Command in the late 1980s.
(Fred Gantzer, II, Son of Fred Gantzer) “He wrote, if I had to go to war with one man, it would be with Chief Gantzer.”
(Col. Matthew Brooks, 5th Bomb Wing) “Chief Gantzer’s story, him exemplary service, the devotion and dedication to his airmen, his determination to make things happen, and his willingness to go above and beyond will always reach beyond these walls.”
Walls that will be emblazoned with the name of Chief Master Seregeant Fred Gantzer for decades to come. At Minot Air Force Base, Jim Olson, KX News.
The new Gantzer Maintenance Facility is the only hangar on the base that can hold two B52s completely inside.