|C-7A Caribou Association is a war
veterans' association tax exempt under the provisions of IRC 501(c)(19)
and consisting of USAF and ex-USAF
personnel who had the distinct honor of being assigned in one way or another to duty with
the Air Force C-7A Caribou aircraft. We
have no animosity whatever toward our Army Caribou brethren, but this organization exists
for the Air Force chapter in the Caribou's history.
The organization can be traced all the way back to 1985, when John Davis, an expatriate of the 457th TCS, 1967, had a heart attack. In John's own words:
"In 1985 I had a heart attack and while I was pondering my mortality, I thought I would like to get the eight Pilots that were in my hooch in 1967 back together one more time before some of us were gone.
I started with Bill Componovo, since he and I had maintained contact over the years and I asked him for any orders he might have to get the exact spelling of names. We found Charlie Shipp and he had some more orders and contacts. Over the next 5 years I found all of the guys in the hooch and then some. Guys like TJ Haas, Dr. Kugler (Bandaide 3), and Nick etc., etc. I sent out a letter to all of them asking them to come to Nashville on a weekend in August 1990."
The original seed planted by John Davis in 1985 sprouted and grew to encompass the entire 483th TCW — and it became to be known as THE CARIBOU ASSOCIATION. It was John's contemplation of his mortality after his 1985 heart attack, driven by his desire to just get the eight guys together from his 1967 457th TCS hooch before any of them made their final STOL landing (as in 6 feet under) that gave birth to our outfit. John, assisted by Bill Componovo spent the next four years locating these eight fellow hooch mates and other members of his former 457th TCS. In 1989, John sent out letters to all of the people he had names on and asking them to come to Nashville on a weekend in August 1990.
The event was pulled-off by John at Nashville. The following people should be regarded as the charter members of what, unknowing to them at the time, would be the Caribou Association: John Davis, Dr. Kugler, Bill Componovo, TJ Haas, Bill Higgins, Nick Evanish, Tom Rheem, and Charlie Shipp.
John Davis also coordinated the second reunion that was held at Warner Robbins, but because of job commitments his participation has since been curtailed.
After this second reunion, Nick Evanish stepped forward to take the reigns and expanded the reunions to include all those who had been associated with the C-7A. Though Nick's efforts the active membership numbers grew to nearly 400 — with members from every unit of the wing in Vietnam, of the CONUS training bases and the Reserve and Guard who flew the Bou after the war.
The organization would like to hear from anyone who had anything to do with the Caribou. Whether pilot, flight mechanic, line mechanic, aerial port people, you are all part of the Caribou chapter in Air Force and Vietnam War history. The aircraft is no longer in the inventory, but this organization is dedicated to its memory and to the memory of the men for whom it was a part of their lives.
The Association holds periodic reunions and sends out a newsletter. It survives on the donations of its members. For a mere $10.00 per year you are entitled to claim membership and receive the newsletter. Please check the FAQ for for advice on how to join and other questions. If all else fails, contact Jim Collier for additional information.
First Caribou Reunion