Duke Field Air Reserve veterans breakfast every first Thursday

vets breakfast carl gay duke field

Carl Gay, co-founder of the monthly Duke Field veterans' breakfasts, sips his coffee as George Kilcrease, left, and Gene Rein swap stories.

BRIAN HUGHES | News Bulletin
Published: Tuesday, March 12, 2013 at 11:30 AM.

CRESTVIEW — Some of them may not move as fast as they once did, and some may forget things now and then, but when the first Thursday of the month rolls around, 30 or more Duke Field Air Reserve Technicians, or ART, veterans make a beeline for breakfast.

Uncle Bill's Family Restaurant, which doesn't normally open for breakfast, is soon abuzz as old friends catch up over coffee, eggs, grits, sausage and French toast. There are backslaps and guffaws as a favorite joke is recited — again — and expressions of concern over pals who are absent or sick.

"Everybody catches up, tells war stories and lies a little," six-year Army and 28-year ART vet Russ Chamberlain says.

Breakfast with patriots

The monthly breakfast gatherings started in 1984, just a couple years after Carl Gay, Clyde Spencer and Ronnie Adams retired from Duke Field.

"We'd meet at Hardee's, just the three of us," Gay says. "We'd have a good talk and coffee and say, 'See you in a month.'”

More veterans learned about the gatherings and joined them; eventually, they moved the breakfasts to a bigger place.

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