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Tampa Air Force Veteran Named Online Historian for My MacDill Community Pride Campaign

Tampa, Fla – (Tuesday, July 21, 2015) – Tampa Bay Defense Alliance Board Member Brig. Gen. Arthur F. "Chip" Diehl III (USAF, Ret.) announced today that Retired U.S. Air Force Master Sergeant Denny Cole will serve as the official online historian for the growing community pride campaign called “My MacDill.”

Cole had a 20 year career in the U. S. Air Force and 15 of those were spent right here in Tampa on MacDill AFB. In the mid-1980s, he was an F-16 Weapons System Instructor at MacDill and also President of the Board of Directors at the Florida Military Aviation Museum. Cole also worked with the DOD Starbase, a program for elementary-aged youths interested in STEM, or Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.

Beginning in late July, Cole will begin to post weekly facts and historic insights about MacDill AFB on a weekly basis; allowing interaction from anyone interested in participating online. Recently, Cole was contacted through the MacDill History Facebook page by Linda Rodgers, a Facebook user, to help her find more information regarding a 1944 plane crash involving her uncle. The crash killed her uncle and eight others of the 10 man crew. Rodgers wanted to know more details about the crash and reunite with the family members of those onboard. 

Cole said, “Linda’s passion and tenacity in learning and honoring this crew is contagious. All I wanted to do is help her.” It all started when Linda’s uncle was on a training mission that took off from MacDill, which tragically crashed in the Zephyrhills, Florida area. Cole was able to guide her to the official accident report from 1944 and together they are working to uncover more details. Cole ultimately wants to make a trip to the crash site with another aviation archeologist to see if there are any remains of the aircraft.

With Cole’s lifelong interest in aviation and technology, and his own inquisitive nature, it didn’t take long before he began to seek the history of the base. He can usually be found around aviation-related events, especially those involving youth and veterans. He also orchestrates the MacDill history display in the base hangar during the bi-annual MacDill AIRFEST.

Diehl said, “The stories and information he brings to the campaign will be plentiful. The My MacDill campaign is thankful to have a local military aviation historian to contribute valuable information and educate the Tampa Bay Community. Who knows what he may uncover with the help of some of our proud Tampa residents!”

To contact Denny Cole click here or call 855-MYMACDILL


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