•  presents

    75th Anniversary of "Operation Thursday" (The Creation of the 1st Air Commando Group) AND the Completed Restoration of the Gulfview Hotel


  • The address of the Gulfview Hotel is 115 Miracle Strip Pkwy, SE, Fort Walton Beach.   Click here for a map to the Gulfview. 

  • Gulfview-Flyer-2
  • One Night Only - Tuesday, March 5, 2019

    5:30 to 7:30 pm


    Sponsored by:



  • Ticket sales are limited to the first 200 people.  $50 per person.  All proceeds will benefit the FWB Chamber's pledge to the Gulfview Restoration Project.  Click here to purchase your ticket. Tickets must be purchased in advance.  No tickets available at the door.


  • Featuring: 

    • Lt. Col. Dick Cole (the last surviving member of the Doolittle Raiders);
    • SMSgt Bill Cartwright; and
    • SSgt Patt Meara

    All three are the last known surviving members from the 1st Air Commando Group of World War II. 


    The Air Commandos of World War II pushed American airpower into a new dimension, and established a number of firsts in our military history, including:

    • first air unit designed to support a ground unit

    • first composite air unit
    • first air unit employed with total autonomy
    • first aerial invasion into enemy territory
    • first nighttime heavy glider assault landing
    • first nighttime combat glider recovery
    • first gliders airlift of large animals
    • first major employment of light aircraft in combat
    • first military unit to employ helicopters in combat
    • first helicopter combat rescue
    • first use of aircraft-fired rockets in combat
    • first air unit employed with total autonomy


  • Food sponsored by Magnolia Grill



  • Wine sponsored by Twisted Grape Wine Bar and Cafe



    Beer provided by Props Craft Brewery


    Parking Available across the street from the Gulfview at DeFrance Antiques.

    Business Casual attire.

    Checks should be made payable to Foundation of the Greater Fort Walton Beach Chamber, and may be mailed/dropped off to:

    Greater Fort Walton Beach Chamber of Commerce

    34 Miracle Strip Pkwy, SE,

    Fort Walton Beach, FL 32548. 


  • Be among the VERY FIRST to visit the newly refurbished Gulfview Hotel (FWB's oldest building, built in 1903) BEFORE it opens as the FWB Welcome Center.  (It will not be furnished until early April.)


    Author Dennis Okerstrom will make a presentation about the Air Commandos at 6:15 pm, and photo ops will be available with our special guests.




  • Special Guest:  Dennis R. Okerstrom, Author:  Dick Cole's War and Project 9 - The Birth of the Air Commandos in World War II.  (Signed copies available for $40 each)


    Also available:  Dick Cole "Payback" print, autographed by Col. Cole - All proceeds benefiting the Doolittle Raider Foundation.