San Antonio, Texas -- On April 12, 2014, United States Army War College Class of 2014 student, Col. Pierre Gervais, introduced and presented retired Chief Warrant Officer Thomas "Hoot" Gipson, Jr. into the DUSTOFF Hall of Fame at a ceremony in San Antonio, Texas.
The DUSTOFF Association is an organization for all officers and enlisted Army Medical Department personnel, aviation crewmembers, and others who are, or ever were engaged in or actively supported in any capacity, Army aeromedical evacuation programs in war or peace. Each year, at a ceremony in San Antonio, Texas, the association inducts members who demonstrated extraordinary sacrifice and rose above others in the performance of DUSTOFF operations.
Gervais and Gipson became close friends three years ago while Gervais was commanding the 470th Military Intelligence Brigade based at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio. Through their friendship, Gervais learned of the great accomplishments of Gipson during his time in DUSTOFF, which spanned across two extended tours in Vietnam. While evacuating 2,639 U.S. Military, civilians and enemy combatants over 935 combat missions, Gipson earned the Silver Star, five Distinguished Flying Crosses, Bronze Star, Army Commendation Medal with Valor, four purple hearts and 38 air medals. Gervais realized his new friend was a hero in the DUSTOFF community and represented all the criteria to for induction into the prestigious Hall of Fame. Gervais nominated Gipson for the Hall of Fame and on April 12th, Gipson was honored by his friend and the Association by being inducted into the DUSTOFF Association Hall of Fame.
In front of hundreds of friends, family members and former and current members of the DUSTOFF Association, Gervais spoke of the Gipson as a warrior stating, "A warrior is someone with that undying spirit…an unending willingness to get across the finish line -- no matter the cost. Tom "Hoot" Gipson was a warrior in Vietnam and has always been a warrior for this nation." Gipson on receiving the honor thanked Gervais stating the two of them have formed a special bond that spans across the generation of Vietnam vets and the current generation of combat veterans. Gipson was humbled and honored to have his name placed on the Hall of Fame wall and his friend Gervais was proud to see his friend receive his long overdue recognition as one of the elite members of the DUSTOFF community.