AFA National Report

Jan. 1, 2008

The Airfield in Afghanistan

Rocket attacks were common. Suicide bombers attempted to kill perimeter patrols. At a September meeting of the Lexington Chapter (Ky.), ANG Col. Steven P. Bullard described such incidents in his firsthand account of his assignment at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan.

Bullard served as the senior airfield authority for the NATO International Security Assistance Force from September 2006 to March 2007. Bullard described for chapter members how he and his staff combined NATO resources, managing maintenance and control of US and foreign aircraft and reconstruction of the runway and other facilities. He said that his team opened up the Kandahar terminal for use by Afghan civilians, the first time it had been operational since the fall of the Taliban. Bullard told the audience that he was particularly proud of the Air Force’s hosting of more than 5,000 followers of Islam who were making their pilgrimage to Mecca.

AFROTC cadets from the University of Kentucky were among the audience members listening to Bullard’s presentation. Also on hand: CMSgt. Jonathan G. Rosa, the AFA Kentucky state president and a USAF Outstanding Airman in 2004. An ANG combat controller, Rosa had his own firsthand knowledge of security challenges in Afghanistan, having been a member of the security guard for the country’s President, Hamid Karzai.

AFA Board Chairman Bob Largent presents the AFA academic achievement award to SMSgt. Gary Wilhite, at the graduation ceremony for the Senior NCO Academy’s Class 08-A at Maxwell AFB, Ala., in November. The award is named for former AFA Board Chairman James McCoy. (USAF photo by Tom Pullin)

Letter to a Soldier

When a wounded soldier from the Front Royal, Va., area needed support, the Northern Shenandoah Valley Chapter put member Stephanie L. Davis on the project.

Davis teaches at Randolph Macon Academy in the town and heads the school’s community service program. She encouraged cadets at the co-ed college-prep military school to write a letter not only to the wounded soldier but to other military personnel as well.

Davis told the cadets that the goal was to send a letter—and not necessarily to get a reply in return. So it was particularly gratifying when an ANG senior airman from Fort Collins, Colo., wrote back from Balad AB, Iraq.

“Your letter has brought a smile to every one of my fellow airmen,” said the F-16 maintainer. He added that he would welcome questions about serving in the military. “No other job on earth will give you the same sense of pride,” he wrote.

Chapter President Norman M. Haller said the cadets have sent out hundreds of letters to military personnel, and Jacob Skeith, who organized the processing and logging of letters at the school, recently received an AFA-Randolph Macon Academy scholarship, in part for his efforts on this project.

Col. H.M. “Bud” West Chapter President John Schmidt (front row, right) and Daniel Lopez from AFROTC Det. 145 display one of the Victory Boxes that Florida State University cadets sent to Southwest Asia as part of a chapter project. Chapter member and detachment commander Col. Jeffrey Spraggins is at the top row, far left.

Quick Victory

At the Col. H.M. “Bud” West Chapter’s executive council meeting in Tallahassee, Fla., in October, chapter member Elaine Combs suggested that the chapter support a Victory Box program. Victory Boxes are filled with donated items, packed by volunteers, and mailed to US military personnel in Iraq or Afghanistan. The service members then distribute the school supplies, clothing, and personal care items to local citizens.

The chapter council supported the idea, and Col. Jeffrey Spraggins, a council member and the head of Florida State University’s Det. 145 in Tallahassee, volunteered his cadets to help on this project. Then, as Chapter President John E. Schmidt Jr. explained, “before the chapter members could react to our announcement of our participation in this project, the cadet corps had already filled 68 boxes, ready to be mailed.”

Chapter members caught up to this quick victory by donating nearly $800 to cover the cost of mailing. One member alone gave $350, noted Schmidt. He added, “By the way, those cadets used their own monies to purchase and fill those boxes. That in itself is no small gesture of support by those young future officers.”

According to its Web site, the Victory Box Program began in fall 2005, as an initiative of Mary Margaret Halleck of Colleyville, Tex., who had been sending packages to her stepson while he was stationed with the Army in Iraq.

The cadets’ initial batch of Victory Boxes contained items for children—small toys, combs, toothbrushes, sandals, candy, snacks, and school supplies—and were scheduled to be distributed to schools, hospitals, or orphanages. Schmidt said the chapter is planning for more Victory Box shipments.

Hawaii Chapter President Timothy Saffold (right) helps dedicate a park at Hickam AFB, Hawaii, in August. Atterbury Memorial Park honors airmen who served in the Pacific. L-r: Col. J.J. Torres, 15th Airlift Wing commander; Chaplain Kordell Kekoa; and Gen. Paul Hester, PACAF commander. The chapter led the fund-raising to refurbish the park.

From Military to Civilian

San Antonio’s Alamo Chapter sponsored its first Defense Technology and Intelligence Career Day—a job fair at Lackland AFB, Tex., in November. It brought job-seekers together with potential employers.

A professional career-services company produced the event. It was aimed at those with a highly sought-after credential: a security clearance. The job fair was pitched to military and civilian personnel with IT, intelligence, scientific, or technical backgrounds, and especially those transitioning from the military to civilian life, but the positions to be filled included cooks, groundskeepers, and personal care givers, as well.

Chapter President Carlos H. Massiatte said 280 people attended the fair, with 19 employers manning booths, and the chapter expects to gain some Community Partners, as one result.

Been There, There, and There

A three-war veteran addressed the November meeting of the Columbus-Bakalar Chapter in Columbus, Ind.

Retired Col. John W. Lewis spoke mainly about his service during the Korean War, but his military career actually began with his 1942 enlistment for World War II. During that war, he flew P-40s, B-25s, and other airplanes, completing 69 combat missions. Recalled for active duty for Korea, he flew 50 combat missions in seven months, then returned to Indiana to join the Air Force Reserve. He was called again for the Cuban Missile Crisis and six years later for Vietnam. Lewis completed 51 combat missions in Southeast Asia, flying AC-119s from Tan Son Nhut AB, South Vietnam. He earned a Distinguished Flying Cross in each of the three wars.

Chapter Treasurer Owen D. Stickles had been a flight engineer in Lewis’ unit, the AFRC 71st Special Operations Squadron, and had flown many times with him. Stickles suggested him as a guest speaker for the meeting. Chapter Secretary James Alvis said the group is considering inviting Lewis back—this time to cover his Vietnam War years.

CMSgt. Jonathan Rosa, the Kentucky state president, cuts an Air Force 60th anniversary birthday cake with Lexington Chapter member John Hickey. The September chapter dinner meeting took place at the Aviation Museum of Kentucky. Rosa is an ANG combat controller. Hickey is a World War II veteran and retired colonel.

Medevac Briefing

A medevac nurse was the guest speaker for the November meeting of the Tarheel Chapter in Greensboro, N.C.

Lt. Col. Mary Jo Abernethy is chief nurse for the 932nd Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron (AFRC) based at Scott AFB, Ill. She recently returned from a four-month deployment to Ramstein AB, Germany, where she helped carry out air evacuations from Afghanistan. Abernethy, who is a chapter member, spoke about fatality rates from injuries incurred in all the conflicts from the Revolutionary War to today. Her PowerPoint presentation covered how aircraft were configured for medical evacuations, specialized equipment needed, and some of the unique cases handled under difficult conditions.

The Tarheel Chapter also recently elected Joyce W. Feuerstein as its president. Outgoing Chapter President Gilbert M. Slack welcomed Feuerstein to the post by handing her an oversize homemade gavel. He told her she would need it to command chapter members’ attention, but Feuerstein responded that she was up to the challenge: She said she would be using her “grown-up voice” just like the one she used to raise her three—now adult—sons.

More Chapter News

Is later better? To boost attendance, the Strom Thurmond Chapter in Clemson, S.C., tried a new format for meetings: It moved its November gathering’s start time to 4 p.m., held it at a Community Partner’s restaurant, and offered free “munchies.” Chapter President Col. Lance S. Young said the old luncheon meeting meant chapter members had to break away from work at midday and spend time driving to the meeting. He said the new venue pleased the Community Partner, and attendees gave him “a huge thumbs up.” He expects to sign up a couple of new members as a result. Donald R. Michels, the new AFA Southeast Region president, was guest speaker for this meeting.

The Frank Luke Chapter (Ariz.) has established a new award to recognize the best teamwork among the flights of airmen graduating from airman leadership school at Luke AFB, Ariz. Called the Team Spirit Award, the first recipients came from Phantom Flight, in Class 07-8: Senior Airmen Jennifer Barber, Ermenrene Barnett, Melvin T. Casler, Darryl Pruitt, Kyle Renbarger, Ricky Steelman Jr., Shelia Stoddard, Bryan W. Stowe, Angela M. Tate, and Stephen Wade. They were scheduled to receive a custom-designed Team Spirit commemorative coin and AFA memberships.

P-51 pilot Raymond Lepore spoke to fellow members of the Southern Indiana Chapter in Bloomington, Ind., in November. Chapter President Marcus R. Oliphant noted that Lepore flew 49 combat missions in World War II Europe before being shot down and becoming a POW. Oliphant said the audience was “spellbound” by Lepore’s account of this experience. At the meeting, Chapter Treasurer Gerhard W. Gaiser received a national-level AFA Medal of Merit, presented by Indiana State President William R. Grider and Oliphant.

In Indiana, Columbus-Bakalar Chapter member James Sellars (left) chats with guest speaker John Lewis after the retired colonel gave a presentation to the chapter on his wartime experiences.

Seeking to learn more about AFA, the Marion County Civil Air Patrol organization in Florida invited Michael H. Emig, president of the Red Tail Memorial Chapter, to be guest speaker at a CAP banquet in Ocala in October. Emig spoke about AFA’s history and its role today. He also presented an AFA award for Outstanding CAP Cadet to Heather Osborne.

The Thomas W. Anthony Chapter (Md.) received a Certificate of Appreciation in recognition of its support for the Joint Service Open House held at Andrews AFB, Md., last May. The chapter paid for and hosted a breakfast that was part of a mandatory safety briefing for the open house’s air show performers. Several chapter officers also manned a display during the open house.

In October, the Meridian Chapter (Miss.) introduced its new officers at a luncheon meeting: Langford Knight, president; Larry D. Pace, vice president; Bradley Crawford, treasurer; and Tom Williams, secretary. At this leadership kickoff, Mississippi State President Roy P. Gibbens presented Knight with two AFA national-level awards that the chapter earned in 2006-07: a Jack Gross Award and a Community Partner Membership Gold Award.

AFA’s National Committees for 2007-08

Executive Committee. Robert E. “Bob” Largent (Chairman), Judy K. Church, Peter J. Hennessey, Steven R. Lundgren, Lester L. Lyles, S. Sanford Schlitt, Joseph E. Sutter, Jerry E. White, James Hannam (ex officio), Michael M. Dunn (ex officio).

Finance Committee. Steven R. Lundgren (Chairman), David R. Cummock, Stephen J. Dillenburg, John J. Murphy, Jack G. Powell, Robert E. “Bob” Largent (ex officio).

Membership Committee. James R. Lauducci (Chairman), Nicholas Abate, Justin Faiferlick, W. Ron Goerges, Jerry Needham, Joseph E. Sutter (ex officio).

Constitution Committee. Edward W. Garland (Chairman), Joan L. Blankenship, William D. Croom Jr., Kevin Estrem, Judy K. Church (ex officio).

Strategic Planning Committee. James Hannam (Chairman), Julie Curlin, Paul W. Schowalter, Eric P. Taylor, Raymond Turczynski, Scott Van Cleef, Craig E. Allen (advisor), George K. Muellner (advisor), Richard B. Myers (advisor), Robert E. “Bob” Largent (ex officio).

Audit Committee. Charles A. Nelson (Chairman), David B. Poythress, Michelle Ryan, Charles G. Thomas, Carol Wolosz, Mark J. Worrick, Robert E. “Bob” Largent (ex officio).

Force Capabilities Committee. Richard E. Hawley (Chairman), Rebecca Grant, Monroe W. Hatch Jr., Ronald E. Keys, Lance W. Lord, Lester L. Lyles, Gregory S. Martin, Thomas G. McInerney, Thomas S. Moorman Jr., Lloyd W. Newton, Michael E. Ryan, John A. Shaud, Larry A. Skantze, Charles F. Wald, Larry D. Welch.

Senior Leadership Advisory Group. John R. Alison, L. Boyd Anderson, David L. Blankenship, John G. Brosky, Stephen P. “Pat” Condon, Oliver R. “Ollie” Crawford, George M. Douglas, Michael J. Dugan, Richard B. Goetze Jr., Martin H. Harris, Gerald V. Hasler, Monroe W. Hatch Jr., James M. Keck, Victor R. Kregel, Robert E. “Bob” Largent, William V. McBride, James M. McCoy, Thomas J. McKee, John J. Politi, Jack C. Price, John A. Shaud, R.E. “Gene” Smith, William W. Spruance.

Aerospace Education Council. S. Sanford Schlitt (Chairman), William D. Croom Jr., Peter J. Hennessey, Jay W. Kelley, Lester L. Lyles, Paul W. Schowalter, Vic Seavers, John A. Shaud, Ronald D. Townsend, Charles P. Zimkas Jr., Matt O. Grossey (advisor), Bryan L. Lozick (advisor), Sandra Mueller (advisor), Matthew T. Schneider (advisor).

Field Council. Joseph E. Sutter (Chairman), Joseph Bisognano, Michael J. Bolton, Rodgers K. Greenawalt, Joan Sell, William G. Stratemeier Jr., Richard C. Taubinger, Marvin Tooman, Scott Van Cleef.

Development Committee. Jerry E. White (Chairman), Oliver R. “Ollie” Crawford, George M. Douglas, Robert Slaughter, Robert E. “Bob” Largent.

Unit Reunions

22nd FS. Oct 16-18 in Santa Fe, NM. Contact: Jim Wright (jwright633@aol.com).

36th TFW/525th TFS, Bitburg AB, Germany. Sept. 26-28 in St. Charles, MO. Contact: Dean Yarolimek (dyarolim@mail.win.org).

435th OMS Enroute Section. Oct 8-11, 2009, in Dayton, OH. Contact: Stan Miller, 7213 Avila Dr., Fayetteville, NC 28314 (910-922-4383) (flymiller@mindspring.com).

485th Tactical Missile Wing. June 5-8 at the Sheraton Great Valley in Frazer, PA. Contact: John Rudzianski (570-278-2482) (jrudz@epix.net).

494th BG (WWII). May 15-19 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, 2200 Centreville Rd., Herndon, VA 20170. Contact: Marshall Keller, 7412 Vassar Dr. East, West Bloomfield, MI 48322 (248-626-3684) or John Loser, P.O. Box 24333, Louisville, KY 40224 (269-565-3124).

AF Public Affairs Alumni Assn., including present PA, broadcast and band personnel. May 14-17 at La Quinta Inn & Suites, San Antonio. Contact: Hal Smarkola, 18006 Keystone Bluff, San Antonio, TX 78258 (210-838-1681) (terinocom@earthlink.net) (halandpeggy@aol.com).

C-123s in Southeast Asia. May 5-9 in Dayton, OH. Contact: Bill Kehler (501-985-0547) (bbkehler@aol.com).

Mayaguez recovery-Koh Tang, Cambodia, veterans (May 1975), including Jolly Green, Knife, air control, and air support units. April 30-May 3 in Fort Walton Beach, FL. Contact: Dan Hoffman (803-647-9034) (dhoffman@sc.rr.com).

SHAEF/ETOUSA. October in Dearborn, MI. Contact: Jackie Voelkl, 17 Cedarlake, Irvine, CA 92614 (949-552-5246).

Unit reunion notices should be sent four months ahead of the event to reunions@afa.org, or mail notices to “Unit Reunions,” Air Force Magazine, 1501 Lee Highway, Arlington, VA 22209-1198. Please designate the unit holding the reunion, time, location, and a contact for more information. We reserve the right to condense notices.

Additional Images

The Meridian Chapter’s (Miss.) new officers were introduced at a recent meeting. L-r: Tom Williams, secretary; ANG Lt. Col. Bradley Crawford, treasurer; Larry Pace, vice president; and Langford Knight, president.

Southern Indiana Chapter’s longtime treasurer Gerhard Gaiser receives an AFA national-level Medal of Merit from William Grider (left), the Indiana state president, and Marcus Oliphant, chapter president (right).

Tarheel Chapter (N.C.) new president Joyce Feuerstein wields a ceremonial big gavel, presented to her by the outgoing president, Gilbert Slack.

AFRC Lt. Col. Mary Jo Abernethy, guest speaker for the Tarheel Chapter in November, receives a hug from husband and fellow Tarheel member Lawrence Lane.

Red Tail Memorial Chapter (Fla.) President Michael Emig presented an Outstanding Civil Air Patrol cadet award to Heather Osborne at a Marion County CAP banquet in October.