2018 BSA Reunion

September 5-9, 2018
Omaha, Nebraska

Would you like to nominate someone as the Big Safari Association Person of the Year for 2018? Please read this notice: Big Safari Association Person of the Year Nomination

REGISTRATION MUST BE COMPLETE BY 20 JULY, 2018!,  Please read through this page carefully and then submit your registration using the link at the end.

Hotel:

Embassy Suites, Old Market
555 South 10th Street
Omaha, Nebraska 68102

Reunion Room Rate – $104 per night, plus tax, including complimentary Breakfast buffet and nightly manager’s cocktail reception.

Rate dates: September 5-9, 2018 only.
Special Room Rate Cut off date: August 6, 2018.

Hotel Reservations can be made by one of the following:

Web: http://group.embassysuites.com/BigSafariReunion
By phone: (800) 362.2779
MUST reference Big Safari Association GROUP CODE “MSR”

Welcome

Mark your calendars now to come to join us for the 2018 Big Safari Association Reunion at the Embassy Suites Downtown in Omaha, Nebraska. This is the 66th year since the establishment of the Big Safari program, and our reunion this year will be focused on honoring the men and women of the FightinFifty-Fifth Wing. This will be a chance to join in the camaraderie of former colleagues and meet Airmen standing watch today and celebrate your collective Big Safari achievements, past and present. As many of you know, members of the 55th Wing, have maintained our nation’s security and presence around the world since 1941 and for a remarkable 10,000 plus consecutive days deployed in SW Asia since August 1990. All of that has been possible due to the support of the Big Safari Program.  We invite you to be part of this celebration, connect with long-time friends and enjoy the planned festivities.

Getting Around

The Embassy Suites Downtown is conveniently just a few miles from Omaha’s, Eppley Airport. Rental cars, taxis, limos and shuttle bus service are available at the airport. If you are not staying at the reunion hotel, the majority of other Omaha hotels offer complimentary direct transportation to and from the airport, as well as shuttle service within a specific mile radius.

Airline Phone Numbers

Alaska Airlines           800-252-7522
Southwest Airlines    800-435-9792
American Airlines      800-433-7300
United Airlines           800-864-8331
Delta Air Lines           800-221-1212
US Airways                 800-428-4322
Frontier                       800-432-1359

Ground Transportation

Rental Cars

Rental car counters are located near Door #3 of the Eppley Airport. You can follow the directions of the counter agent to guide you to your vehicle once the reservation is set up.

Advantage             800-777-5500
Hertz                      800-654-3131
Alamo                    800-462-5266
Thrifty                   800-367-2277
Avis                        800-831-2847
National                800-227-7368
Budget                   402-348-0455
Enterprise             800-325-8007
Dollar                    800-800-4000

Shuttles

The Ground Transportation Center is located inside of Door #3 on the lower level of the terminal building. Certain shuttles have phones there. Local hotel/motel (with or without shuttles) phone boards/reservation centers are located near the north and south baggage claim areas.

Taxis:   One call serves the entire Omaha & Council Bluffs Area

Happy Cab, Safeway Cab, Yellow CabMetro Express Cornhusker Cab & Checker Cab:
402-331-5558 or 402-734-5556

A taxi to the hotel will cost approx $15. 

Upon Arrival/Hospitality Suite (Council Bluffs Room)

We will have a Hospitality Suite (located in the Council Bluffs Room on first floor of the hotel) open and available beginning the afternoon of Wednesday 5, September. There, you can sign-in for the reunion and pick up your welcome package that will include, among other things, local information, gifts, nametags, and the latest schedule of events for reunion activities. This would be a good time to verify tours and events for which you have signed up for or wish to participate in throughout the reunion.

The Hospitality Suite will serve as the gathering place to link up with old friends, meet new ones, and swap family stories and flying tales. The hotel will have a cash bar in the Hospitality Suite. Registration packages will contain drink tickets that will be accepted as cash.  The Big Safari Association will provide soft drinks and snacks. The Hospitality Suite will be open Wednesday night through Saturday night, with the exact hours posted in your welcome package.

Offutt AFB Security

On Friday, the 7th of September, we will be visiting Offutt AFB for a visit to the 55th Wing.  Unless security conditions prohibit normal entrance to the base, individuals with military ID cards will be allowed access to the base driving their own vehicles or rentals. If you are using our reunion bus transportation during this tour, and dont have a military ID card, we will need to get your name,  date of birth, gender, citizenship, drivers license number and state on an access list provided to the base prior to our arrival. Therefore, please include this information on the registration form. Offutt AFB has all the amenities you would expect on a major Air Force installation – BX, commissary, banking, and recreation facilities. Access to any of these areas requires a military ID card.

Omaha, Nebraska and Sarpy County

Other Area Activities: (Things to do on your own) http://www.visitomaha.com/visitors/visitors-guide/

Nebraska Weather

Our reunion location experiences all four seasons or weather with extremes possible. In the fall, the average high temperature is around 85 degrees and the average low is about 50 degrees. It does rain in September. Please check the Omaha weather forecast prior to your departure and pack accordingly. The saying around Omaha is: “If you dont like the weather, wait a few minutes and it will change.”                                                                          

Hotel Information – Embassy Suites, Old Market, 555 S. 10th St. Omaha, NE 68102

Special Room Rate for the Reunion is $109 per night, plus taxes 18.16%.  This rate is good from 5 September through 9 September 2018.  The last day to make your reservations at this rate is 6 August 2018.  Rate includes daily complimentary breakfast buffet and managers cocktail reception each evening. Call 1-800-362-2779 and request either the group name

“Big Safari Association Reunion” or group code MSR.” You have until 6 August 2018 to make your hotel reservations! Anyone calling after that date will be told that the block is unavailable and will be offered the standard nightly rate (significantly higher).

Tours and Activities

Tours will only “GO” if a minimum of 20 people are signed up for each tour. A maximum of 56 seats are available on each large bus.  Depending on the tour provided refunds for cancelled tours may be provided at the end of Big Safari Reunion and will be mailed to you.

Reunion Schedule

Wednesday September 5, 2018

This day is your travel day. No activities have been scheduled with the exception of the Big Safari Association Board of Directors meeting. Registration will be available from 4:00pm to 7:00pm in the Hospitality Suite (Council Bluffs Room).  Light snacks and sodas will be available from Hospitality Suite and free adult beverages from the complimentary Managers Cocktail Reception at the hotel bar daily from 7:00pm – 9:00pm.

Big Safari Association Board of Directors Meeting

The BSA Board meeting will occur at 4:00pm to 6:00pm in the Board Room in the Embassy Suites Hotel.

Thursday September 6, 2018

*Registration open from 10:00am until 6:30pm*

Thursday’s activities will include your choice of Golf at the Willow Lakes Golf Course or area excursions. The BSA icebreaker will begin at 6:30PM in the Elkhorn Room at the Embassy Suites hotel.

Offutt Air Force Base Golf

Golf Outing

Cost $50 per person which includes Green fees, cart, and lunch (club rental will be extra). The bus will leave the hotel at 7:00am for a shotgun time of 8:30am with lunch to follow along with awarding prizes. Buses will leave the golf course at 2:00pm to head back to the hotel.

Willow Lakes Golf Course is a championship, 18-hole layout designed by the famous Robert Trent Jones, Sr.   The facility offers two practice putting greens, an outdoor driving range, club storage, a full fleet of golf carts, lockers, club-fitting, golf instruction, and golf club rentals.  In addition, the Willow Lakes Golf Shop offers a wide selection of the latest golf merchandise at very reasonable prices. It is located on 25th St. just south of highway 370, adjacent to Capehart Housing. www.offutt55fss.com/recreation/willow-lakes-golf

For the non-golfers:
Tours and excursions

FREE – You will find a tour of Omaha’s Old Market shopping a terrific experience for the morning. Get a group together and explore this amazing area. This is Omaha’s most historic, most entertaining neighborhood. The cobblestone streets are home to a diverse mix of shopping, galleries, restaurants, bistros and people watching. Don’t miss the Thomas Mangelsen Gallery – world famous wildlife photographer. Stroll around Omaha’s Old market area and see for yourselves, then have lunch at any of the unique cafes and bistros. http://www.oldmarket.com.

Afternoon Walking Tour: The Durham Western Heritage Museum

A short walk to the crest of the overpass south of the hotel will bring you to the Durham Museum.

The Durham Museum provides beautiful architecture blended with memories of a time gone by. The museum is home to one of Omaha’s unique treasures: Union Station. Union Station opened its doors to the public on January 15, 1931, as one of the finest art deco architectures in the United States. The Durham Museum provides a fascinating look at the history of the region. It offers a broad-range of traveling exhibits ranging from history and culture, to science, industry and more through its affiliation with the Smithsonian Institution. The museum also maintains strong ties with the Library of Congress, National Archives and the Field MuseumYou will be on your own to follow the indicated tour and spend as much time as you please. https://durhammuseum.org/

Refer to the top of the page for additional visitors guide places to see.

Thursday September 6, 2018
Planned Big Safari Association Excursions

Tour A—–The Strategic Air Command & Aerospace Museum

Fee $30. Per person.  

Nebraska Crossing Shopping Mall (Free)

Buses will leave the Hotel at 9:15am and drop off shoppers at Nebraska Crossing Outlet Mall en-route to the SAC Aerospace Museum. Museum tour fee includes admission and lunch.  Buses will leave the museum at 1:00pm and pick up shoppers at 1:30pm and return to the Hotel at about 2:00pm.

The SAC Aerospace Museum is located between Lincoln and Omaha at exit 426 off Interstate 80, has over 300,000 square feet of exhibits, education, and event space to educate, inspire, and entertain its guests who come from Nebraska, across the country, and around the world.  The museum opened in 1959 with the mission to commemorate the aircraft of the Strategic Air Command (SAC).  The museum became well known by giving the public the opportunity to visit an impressive array of aircraft that helped SAC preserve the peace during the Cold War. www.sacmuseum.org    

The Nebraska Crossing Outlet Mall opened on 15 November 2013 and has been recently updated. This development is approximately 400,000 square feet and includes some of the world’s best retail brands.  www.nexoutlets.com/

 

Tour B—– Henry Doorly Zoo

Fee $25. per person. Onsite restaurant for lunch on your own.

Tour length – 5 hours.

Bus will leave from the hotel at 8:45am and drop you off at the Henry Doorly Zoo. Buses will pick you up at 2:00pm and return to the hotel.

Evolving from the public Riverview Park Zoo established in 1894, today the Henry Doorly Zoo includes several notable exhibits. Featuring the largest cat complex in North America, “Kingdoms of the Night” is the world’s most extensive nocturnal exhibit and indoor swamp; the Lied Jungle is one of the world’s largest indoor rainforests; and the “Desert Dome” is the world’s biggest indoor desert, as well as the largest glazed geodesic dome in the world. The Henry Doorly Zoo is Nebraska’s number one paid attendance attraction. www.omahazoo.com/

Tour C—– Ollie the Trolley Historic Tour of Omaha.

Trolley will pick up at 9:00am and drop off at the hotel at 12pm.

Fee including transportation: $35. per person.

The tour is a historical tour of South Omaha and takes you from its original development to its growth by various industries, cultures, and a widely varied population. “South O” as it is known, grew and fueled the livestock market/industry as it gathered momentum in the early 1900s. The tour guide brings you up to date to the present time. Tour cost is $35 and limited to 30 people. http://www.olliethetrolley.com/ 402-597-3596  

Thursday Evening:  Hosted Icebreaker and Reception – 6:30pm to 8:30pm

The reunion Icebreaker/reception will occur in the Elkhorn Room at the Embassy Suites between the hours of 6:30pm and 8:30pm.  Enjoy the numerous hot and cold heavy hors d’oeuvres. This will be a great opportunity to meet with personnel from the 55th wing as well as old friends. Members of the 55th Wing leadership team will be invited so please make sure you say hello to them as well! Following the reception, you can enjoy further socializing in the Hospitality Suite, which will be open until midnight.

Friday September 7, 2018
Offutt Air Force Base Tour and Bar-B-Que

Briefings by the 55th Wing and tour of the base followed by Beer & Bar-B-Que with Wing Personnel.

Buses depart at 9:30AM from the Embassy Suites Hotel

Base Tour: 10:00 – 10:30; Briefings & Aircraft Tours: 10:30 – 12:00; Lunch 12:00 – 2:00

Bar-B-Que $35 per person

Offutt AFB is home to the FightinFifty-Fifth Wing, United States Strategic Command, the USAF Weather Wing, and many other units. This tour will include the following:

Offutt Historical Tour – go back in time to discover the historical origins of Offutt AFB. Visit the Offutt cemetery and see the graves of some of Offutt/Ft Crook’s earliest soldiers and families. Visit General’s Row and the nearby parade grounds. See where Army leaders of the past and today’s Wing and USSTRATCOM leaders reside. Pass by Building D, the site of the Martin Bomber factory, where the Enola Gay was constructed, and receive a windshield tour of the base—sure to bring back fond memories. The cost to tour Offutt AFB will be free.

At the Bennie Davis Maintenance Facility, you will receive the 55th Wing’s Unit Mission Briefing. The day at Offutt AFB will culminate with a Bar-B-Que at one of the Nose Docks in the Bennie Davis building.

Aircraft Static Displays may also be available of the wing’s premier ISR platform, the RC-135 – the hidden hero of the skies. Explore the plane and talk with current crewmembers about the importance of their roles in the Global War on Terrorism and worldwide aerial reconnaissance.  www.offutt.af.mil/

The Hospitality Suite will be open until midnight for snacks, sodas and adult beverages for purchase. Dinner is on your own.

Saturday September 8, 2018

Big Safari Membership meeting and Briefings/Symposium from 9:30am – 12:00pm

Members of the Big Safari Association are invited to gather in the designated room for a membership meeting from 9:30am – 12:00pm. Spouses and widows are also welcome to attend. The membership will elect the Board of Directors, discuss special topics, select a location and timing for the next reunion, and take care of any other Association business, as necessary. You will want to participate in this process of your Association’s governance.

Saturday Evening: Big Safari Association Banquet

The banquet will be held in one of the banquet halls on the first floor of the hotel from 6:30pm to 9:30pm. There will be a no host bar available during the banquet. On each table there will be a bottle of red and white wine at no extra cost to you.

Sunday September 9, 2018

Farewell Breakfast Buffet

Make sure you stop down in the lobby for your complimentary breakfast buffet (for hotel guests) and best wishes for safe travels, farewells and good-byes…. until we meet again!

Registration

Register online at:

 https://www.regonline.com/2018bigsafariassociationreunion

Spouses and other guests who will be participating in reunion activities must also individually register using the link above. If your spouse or guest is only planning on attending the Banquet, they can register using the link below instead. You can use the same email address for multiple registrations.

If you have a guest who is ONLY going to the banquet and will be YOUR guest, please have them register with the following URL and enter your name as their sponsor:

Banquet Guest Registration: https://www.regonline.com/2018bsareunionguest

**ONLY AS A LAST RESORT**

If you prefer not to register online, download and mail in the document below for your registration. Please remember that YOU SAVE the association money and effort if you use the online system using the link above.

https://bigsafariassociation.org/wp/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/BigSafariAssociationRegistrationPackage2018.pdf

 

For questions, please email: reunion@bigsafariassociation.org