Neither Rain, nor...
Hosted by the Everett R. Cook Chapter in Jackson, Tenn., the Tennessee State Convention featured Air Force Association Chairman of the Board Joseph E. Sutter and Army National Guard Col. Arthur W. Oliver as keynote speakers—and a record-breaking 16 inches of rainfall and flooding.
Amidst torrential rains, the convention got under way on April 30, with an awards banquet attended by nearly 50 guests. Among the honorees: MSgt. Brian R. Fisher, of the 332nd Recruiting Squadron, and TSgt. Richard Blankenship, of the 345th Recruiting Squadron, named Recruiters of the Year; the 164th Airlift Wing from Memphis Airport, named Outstanding ANG Unit; and Capt. Derek Wrench, 164th Logistics Readiness Squadron, honored as Outstanding Guardsman.
AFA Board Chairman Joe Sutter congratulates cadets from North Side High School, Jackson, Tenn., whose unit was named tops in the state at the Tennessee State Convention. Left to right: Trey James, Sutter, Natalie Haynes, Rico Wade, and Frank Perry.
According to Cook Chapter President James A. Van Eynde, hotel staff woke up guests at 3:30 a.m. the next day to usher them into a lower interior area because of a tornado warning. A few hours later, the AFAers held their business meeting, re-electing their current state officers: from the Gen. Bruce K. Holloway Chapter, President Alfred M. Coffman Jr., Secretary Derick E. Seaton, and Treasurer Pauline K. Morrisey. Dan F. Callahan III of the Maj. Gen. Dan F. Callahan Chapter was re-elected vice president.
Sutter reported that when convention-goers headed home that day, a foot of rain had already accumulated in Jackson, located west of Nashville. It took Cook Chapter Treasurer Glenn Fuller five hours, in driving rain, to get home to Memphis.
RED HORSE in the Reserve
In North Carolina, a recent Scott Berkeley Chapter meeting featured a Rapid Engineer Deployable, Heavy Operational Repair Squadron, Engineer unit—better known as RED HORSE.
Guest speaker Col. Timothy Lamb heads Air Force Reserve Command’s new 567th RED HORSE Squadron, established at Seymour Johnson AFB, N.C., in November 2008.
Chapter President Michael E. Hartsfield reported that Lamb spoke about the history of RED HORSE and its contribution to the War on Terror.
Lamb mentioned "the father of RED HORSE," Brig. Gen. William T. Meredith, who began his career as a private in the US Army Corps of Engineers in 1941. Meredith led construction of airports in India and received a battlefield commission in 1943, after an ambush cut off his patrol for two weeks, forcing the men to walk 127 miles out of enemy territory. In 1961, Meredith began restructuring civil engineering organizations to provide direct combat support. The results were PRIME BEEF (Base Engineer Emergency Forces) and RED HORSE.
Hartsfield said that the chapter members, gathered at a local barbecue restaurant for this meeting, were mostly active duty retirees and asked Lamb about commanding a Reserve unit. They wondered, for example, where the squadron members come from (four states, it turns out).
Hartsfield said he invited Lamb to address the chapter not only because he heads the base’s newest unit but because they are both Reservists and in the same career field. "Most of our speakers are from the flying side of things," Hartsfield explained.
In North Carolina, Scott Berkeley Chapter President Michael Hartsfield presents a thank you gift to guest speaker Col. Timothy Lamb of the 567th RED HORSE Squadron, Seymour Johnson AFB, N.C.
RED HORSE: Air National Guard
In Virginia, the Tidewater Chapter has benefitted from RED HORSE construction know-how, as well as the generosity of a host of Community Partners.
The 203rd RED HORSE Squadron, Virginia Air National Guard, recently began work on a parade float that the chapter hopes to debut on Veterans Day.
The float will feature a Christen Eagle II kit aircraft, minus the engine, modified to look like a T-6 Texan II. Robert Felten of Virginia Beach donated the frame.
In May, RED HORSE volunteers CMSgt. Robert Laws, MSgt. Dennis Boyd, MSgt. Andre Davis, and TSgt. Terence A. Sheridan provided the muscle and a vehicle to move aircraft sections to a 203rd facility at Camp Pendleton in Virginia Beach, where the float building will take place and where it will be stored in between parades.
Hoy Construction Co. of Norfolk donated the trailer, and the RED HORSE volunteers prepared it so the airplane can be mounted on it.
Led by Chapter President William M. Cuthriell, chapter members have volunteered for the float building and have lined up several Community Partners to cover everything from technical support to painting the aircraft to providing decals and signs for the float.
Drill in Virginia
With a performance by special guests, the US Air Force Honor Guard from JB Bolling, D.C., as inspiration, AFJROTC cadets competed in the Virginia State AFA Drill Championship in April. The Tidewater Chapter and Richmond Chapter cosponsored the event.
More than 450 cadets from 23 units gathered at Atlee High School, just outside of Richmond, Va., for this fifth annual competition.
The cadets competed for 59 awards and trophies in categories such as color guard, armed and unarmed regulation, armed and unarmed exhibition, and inspection. Cadets from E. C. Glass High School in Lynchburg won the state champion trophy, taking first place in the color guard and inspection divisions.
Tidewater Chapter President Allan G. Berg noted that all Virginia chapters have a hand in this drill meet, providing financial support.
The latest awards banquet organized by the McChord Chapter in Lakewood, Wash., received tremendous support from Community Partners, says Chapter President Tommy L. Carson.
"We have so many Community Partners that stepped up and contributed to the awardees," he wrote in an e-mail. A hotel donated a night’s stay, restaurants donated meals, and some of the other Community Partners—whose numbers approach 150—donated cash and AFA memberships.
Among those who received AFA awards for outstanding performance were: Capt. Jonathon Waller, MSgt. Angela Fernandez, MSgt. Thomas Prochazka, TSgt. Lara Koler, SrA. Joshua McCabe, and civilian Charles Thornton.
Carson said their unit commanders took part in the awards ceremony, describing the day-to-day work and community service of each recipient. "They know the awardee better than anyone," commented Carson, "and [this] is a great way to get them involved in this annual awards event."
Guest speaker was Lt. Col. Bruce Beyerly, commander of the 5th Air Support Operations Squadron at JB Lewis-McChord, Wash. The unit provides tactical air control party personnel to three Stryker brigade combat teams. Last year, Beyerly served at Contingency Operations Base Speicher, near Tikrit, Iraq, as senior Air Force advisor to the 25th Infantry Division.
Home to a Medal of Honor
In April, the Richmond Chapter (Va.) held a luncheon meeting at the family home of the late Col. William A. Jones III, the Vietnam War Medal of Honor recipient.
Chapter Secretary Elizabeth H. Jones and Anne Gilfillan—daughters of the Air Force hero—and Rusty Gilfillan, Anne’s husband and also a chapter member, hosted the AFA group. While Chapter President Harper S. Alford manned a grill, cooking up hamburgers and hotdogs for lunch, some of the 22 visitors toured the house.
The two-story Victorian Queen Anne-style farmhouse is located in Warsaw, Va. The original structure was burned during the Civil War, so the present house dates to about 1888.
William Atkinson Jones, a US Representative who served in Congress from 1891 until his death in 1918, built it. Jones sponsored the Philippine Autonomy Act of 1916, committing the US to granting the Philippines its independence.
The Jones house contains memorabilia associated with that event.
The Congressman’s grandson lived for a time in Warsaw but grew up in Charlottesville, where today an AFA chapter is named in his honor. As a special operations squadron commander in 1968, Lieutenant Colonel Jones led an A-1 Sandy mission to rescue a downed pilot in North Vietnam. AAA hit his Skyraider, and fire engulfed the cockpit. Though severely burned, Jones flew the A-1 back to base in Thailand and relayed the position of the downed pilot. He later died in a private airplane accident in Virginia before he could formally receive his Medal of Honor.
The medal is among the items displayed at the home.
More Chapter News
From Tallahassee, Fla., Col. H. M. "Bud" West Chapter Vice President John E. Schmidt Jr. and Gary B. Sharpe drove north some 40 miles across the border into Georgia to attend an AFJROTC awards banquet at Thomasville High School in April. Schmidt presented an AFA medal to cadet Kendra Osborn.
Membership Dues To Increase
On Sept. 13, 2009, AFA convention delegates approved the first association dues increase since 2001. (Previous increases were in 1993 and 1997.) One-year membership will increase to $45; three-year membership to $110; and life membership to $600. The increase will be implemented for all categories on July 1. The delegates also directed a review of the dues structure. The review will begin in 2012.
8th Tactical Fighter Wg, Itazuke AB, Japan. Oct. 13-16 at the Hilton East in Tucson, AZ. Contact: Bob Delaney (520-878-0555) (email@example.com).
91st BG Memorial Assn (WWII). Sept. 29-Oct. 3 in Dayton, OH. Contact: Jim Shepherd (714-970-5540).
98th BG/BW Veterans Assn. Sept. 12-16 in Savannah, GA. Contact: Bill Seals (281-395-3005) (firstname.lastname@example.org).
390th SMW, Davis-Monthan AFB, Ariz. Oct. 27-31 at El Tropicana Hotel, San Antonio. Contact: Elaine Lasher, PO Box 17916, Tucson, AZ 85731 (520-886-7157) (email@example.com).
Airborne Battlefield Command & Control Center veterans. Oct. 7-10 at the Ramada Plaza in Dayton, OH. Contact: Ken Witkin (301-758-8365) (firstname.lastname@example.org) (abcccassociation.org/abcccreunion.html).
Assn of Former Office of Special Investigation Agents. Sept. 15-19 in Colorado Springs, CO. Contact: Dick Law (email@example.com).
B-47 Stratojet Assn. Sept. 23-26 in Omaha, NE. Contact: Dick Purdum, 13310 South 26th Ave., Bellevue, NE 68123 (402-291-5247) (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Karmursel AS, Turkey (1957-61). Sept. 18-21 at Beach Cove Resort, Myrtle Beach, SC. Contact: Pete Johnson (704-243-6769) (email@example.com).
Korean War veterans and families. July 27 in Washington, DC. RSVP requested. Contacts: J. Norbert Reiner, 6632 Kirkley Ave., McLean, VA 22101 (703-893-6313) or Tony Dzierski, 6610 Greenview Ln., Springfield, VA 22152 (703-451-5591).
Malden AAF, Mo., all personnel. Sept. 9-11 in Malden, MO. Contact: Barb (573-276-2279) (www.maaps.net.).
Mt. Hebo AFS, Ore., including 14th Missile Warning Sq, 689th AC&WS, 689th Radar Sq, and civilian employees. Sept. 11-12 in Tillamook, OR. Contact: Van Silas (541-779-0723) (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Tan Son Nhut Assn. Oct. 7-10 in San Antonio. Contact: George Plunkett (email@example.com).
At the Tennessee State Convention, AFA Board Chairman Joe Sutter (right) joined Dan Callahan III (left), president of the Maj. Gen. Dan F. Callahan Chapter, in presenting the State Teacher of the Year Award to Allen Robnett of Gallatin (Tenn.) High School.
At the Tennessee State Convention, Lt. Col. Bob Butler, 164th Airlift Wing, Memphis Arpt., Tenn., accepted the Outstanding ANG Unit award from James Van Eynde, Everett R. Cook Chapter president.
Col. H. M. “Bud” West Chapter representatives present an AFA Medal to AFJROTC cadet Kendra Osborn (center) at Thomasville (Ga.) High School. L-r: Retired SMSgt. James Packer, instructor; Gary Sharpe, chapter member; John Schmidt, chapter VP; and retired Lt. Col. Stanley McCleod, instructor.
AFJROTC cadets Michael Hale and Mary Grace Lemon from E. C. Glass High School, Lynchburg, Va., display first-place trophies presented by State President Randy Hobbs (right) at the Virginia State AFA Drill Championship.
At the Virginia State AFA Drill Championship, the rifle team from Grassfield High School, Chesapeake, Va., heads into competition.