AFA National Report

Feb. 1, 2010

Space Award in Los Angeles

At the November Air Force Ball sponsored by the Gen. B. A. Schriever Los Angeles Chapter in Beverly Hills, Calif., Maj. Gen. Stephen T. Sargeant received the Air Force Association’s national space award.

Sargeant, who heads the Air Force Operational Test and Evaluation Center at Kirtland AFB, N.M., accepted the Gen. Thomas D. White Space Award from Air Force Association Chairman of the Board Joseph E. Sutter.

Sargeant “revolutionized space acquisition by leading the center to create and codify a new space operational test and evaluation model,” the master of ceremonies, Patrick Coulter, told the audience. He said that Sargeant directs more than 800 military, civilian, and contractor personnel at a dozen locations. They carry out 70 major programs, 17 of them covering space, missiles, and missile defense.

The space award recognizes the year’s outstanding contributor to the nation’s progress in space. It is named for USAF’s fourth Chief of Staff, who served from 1957 to 1961. The National Geographic Society established the award in 1961, but AFA has sponsored it since 1996.

AFA Board Chairman Joe Sutter (right) presents the Gen. Thomas D. White Space Award to Maj. Gen. Stephen Sargeant (second from left) at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. Joining them on stage were Thomas Taverney, Schriever Chapter chairman (left), and Lt. Gen. John Sheridan, Space and Missile Systems Center commander. (USAF photo by Lou Hernandez)

Also at the Ball

Also at the 38th annual Los Angeles Ball, Lt. Gen. Larry D. James, 14th Air Force commander at Vandenberg AFB, Calif., was named a Gen. Bernard A. Schriever Fellow.

AFA’s Vice Chairman of the Board for Aerospace Education S. Sanford Schlitt and Chris J. Kalivas, Schriever Chapter president, made the presentation.

Raytheon Vice President Jon C. Jones, the ball’s general chairman, emphasized aerospace education, telling the audience that the Schriever Chapter sponsors 84 classrooms in the Visions of Exploration program. The joint AFA and USA Today newspaper program encourages students to study science, technology, engineering, and math.

Schlitt and Thomas Taverney, the chapter’s chairman, later presented $40,000—proceeds from this 2009 Air Force Ball—to AFA and the chapter’s education foundation.

The audience at this black-tie affair included Secretary of the Air Force Michael B. Donley and Gen. C. Robert Kehler, the commander of Air Force Space Command.

Inspiration From a Wounded Warrior

In Indiana, an Army NCO wounded in Iraq delivered a message of inspiration to a meeting of the Columbus-Bakalar Chapter in November.

MSgt. Jeffrey E. Mittman grew up in Indianapolis and served in the first Gulf War and in Afghanistan. In July 2005, he was on his second tour of Iraq. As an advisor to an Iraqi unit, he was driving a Humvee to meet with the group, when an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle.

The explosion destroyed parts of Mittman’s face, a finger, and most of his vision and teeth. He was unconscious for a month.

Since then, he has undergone more than 40 surgeries for facial reconstruction. Chapter President Robert J. Goedl learned of Mittman through an Army recruiter.

Goedl wrote afterward, “The chapter members who attended the meeting came away with a new appreciation of the selfless spirit our warriors exhibit.”

Mittman’s visit to the Columbus-Bakalar Chapter was part of the Army Wounded Warrior Program. Mittman meets with at least 15 groups a year, to highlight the importance of supporting the military.

At a reception to welcome pilot trainees to Columbus AFB, Miss., Golden Triangle Chapter President Linda Nuzzo (right) presented 2nd Lt. John Harris with a door prize: a trainingaidposter showing the cockpit layout of the T-6 trainer.

Pilot Partners

Golden Triangle Chapter officials in Columbus, Miss., co-sponsored a reception in November as part of a program to foster relations between Columbus Air Force Base, its student pilots, and the community.

About 30 specialized undergraduate pilot training students from Class 11-02 gathered at a pizza restaurant. Chapter President Lynda C. Nuzzo, VP Richard T. Johnson, Treasurer Michael A. Counihan, and Mississippi State President Carl W. Nuzzo were among those who served as hosts.

Appropos for the pilot trainees: The chapter donated a poster of a T-6 Texan II cockpit as a door prize. Second Lt. John Harris, 14th Operations Support Squadron, won this training aid.

The chapter and the local Chamber of Commerce team up for these receptions about every three weeks, to welcome each new batch of pilots arriving for the base’s 15 SUPT classes.

Johnson organized this Pilot Partner Program in 2002 and said that the newcomers’ reception brings the students together with at least two local businesses or civic organizations.

The goal is for the civilian partners to then attend milestone events during the pilots’ training cycle: visitors day, track-select day, assignment night, and graduation, for example.

Johnson noted that this program encourages public understanding of the Air Force and the base’s mission and showcases the community’s support of the base and its pilot-training mission.

68 Roses: Pearl Harbor Remembered

With 68 American Beauty roses as the centerpiece, New York’s Long Island Chapter hosted a Pearl Harbor remembrance ceremony at the American Airpower Museum at Republic Airport in Farmingdale, N.Y.

Afterward, an AT-6 warbird took off from the airport with the red roses—one for each year that has passed since Dec. 7, 1941—and one white rose to honor those who died in the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. The airplane dropped the flowers in the water around the Statue of Liberty at 12:55 p.m., the East Coast time of the Pearl Harbor attack.

This annual “Dropping of the Roses” tradition was begun in 1970 by the late Joseph S. Hydrusko, a Massapequa, N.Y., resident. Hydrusko was a Navy seaman on the hospital ship USS Solace in Pearl Harbor when the Japanese bombed the battleships anchored there.

Recognition of Pearl Harbor survivors highlights the remembrance ceremony, and William G. Stratemaier Jr., chapter president, reported that five of these veterans attended, this year. The youngest was 85 years old; two of them

were 91. They received a proclamation from President Obama and an AFA coin as part of the memorial service.

The event drew some 1,000 guests, including local elected officials and business leaders. Col. Thomas J. Owens II, commander of the 106th Rescue Wing, based at Francis S. Gabreski Arpt., N.Y., delivered the keynote address. Chapter members Cathy T. Ward and Alphonse A. Parise each received an AFA Exceptional Service Awards during the ceremony.

Stratemaier said the Dropping of the Roses serves as “a solemn and emotional tribute to all those who were lost that day.”

More Chapter News

In Hot Springs, Ark., the Lewis E. Lyle Chapter meeting in November featured “Life on the Home Front,” a program on America in World War II. Chapter Secretary Morris D. Cash said that local historian and genealogist Jeff Meek brought to his presentation wartime ration books, patriotic posters from that era, and a photo album. Meek, who has delivered this presentation at several venues, specializes in World War II history. For the Lyle Chapter meeting, he showed two videos, one on how US industry adapted for the war effort and another on how Americans adjusted: growing “victory gardens,” queuing in long lines for rationed gasoline, and saving bacon fat to be reused in making munitions.

In Virginia, the Northern Shenandoah Valley Chapter’s latest academic scholarship went to Randolph-Macon Academy senior Joseph Kurpiel. Chapter Secretary Kathleen S. Kays presented him with the award at a scholarship recognition assembly held during Family Weekend open house activities at the co-ed college-prep military school in Front Royal, Va. Among the other chapter members attending the ceremony was Chapter Communications VP Stephen Pederson.

Thirteen California AFA chapters attended the Golden State’s quarterly meeting in Los Angeles in November. California State President Martin W. Ledwitz, of the San Gabriel Valley Chapter, led the meeting. AFA Chairman of the Board Joseph E. Sutter, AFA Executive Vice President David T. Buckwalter, and newly elected AFA National Director Wayne R. Kauffman, of the Gen. B. A. Schriever Los Angeles Chapter, spoke to the gathering. Their topics ranged from updates on AFA to details on its 501(c)(3) tax status and upcoming events. Two new area leaders for the state were named: Christopher Underwood from the Tennessee Ernie Ford Chapter and Frank D. Walterscheid from the Maj. Gen. Charles I. Bennett Jr. Chapter.

Prescott/Goldwater Chapter members helped out at a Veterans Day Parade in Prescott, Ariz. They joined volunteers from the Arnold Air Society—an AFA affiliate—and its partner Silver Wings organization from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Prescott and the University of Northern Arizona. Together, they escorted patients from an extended care facility, outside to view the parade. Chapter President Thomas Rowney noted that one of the high-profile volunteers was the Arnold Air Society national commander, cadet Jun Ko from Embry Riddle.

Kelly Jones was in charge—not only as AFA Texas state president, but also because he was driving. He was at the wheel of a Mustang GT convertible, the Abilene (Tex.) Chapter’s entry in the city’s Veterans Day parade. The chapter placed a giant AFA banner on the hood and Abilene Chapter signs on the car’s two doors. Joining Jones to ride in the “parade float” were Chapter Treasurer William G. Zavatson, sporting an AFA ballcap, and John F. Nuding wearing his Air Force dress blues.

With Arizona State President Harry H. Bailey on hand to see her off, Frank Luke Chapter’s Teacher of the Year, Joanne Henning, embarked on an incentive small-airplane ride provided by the 313th Civil Air Patrol Squadron at Goodyear Arpt., Ariz., in November. Henning, whom Bailey—from the Luke Chapter—had originally nominated for the award, teaches fourth grade at Glendale American Elementary School in Glendale, Ariz. AFA State and Chapter Teachers of the Year receive CAP membership, a requirement for participating in this incentive flight program. AFA chapters can sponsor other teachers for CAP membership.

Unit Reunions

87th Aerial Port Sq Assn. June 3-6 at the Drawbridge Inn in Fort Mitchell, KY. Contact: Charles Hampton (859-468-8873) (

303rd BW. April 22-25 at Viscount Suites Hotel in Tucson, AZ. Contact: Don Bott (520-825-2056) (

525th FIS. June 4-6 in Colorado Springs, CO. Contacts: Bill Galvan (719-597-4905) ( or Frank Litt (817-294-1136) (

4080th SRW. May 27-29 at the Ramada Inn of Del Rio, TX. Contact: Laughlin Heritage Foundation Inc., P.O. Box 1348, Del Rio, TX 78841 (830-719-9380) (

Pilot Tng Class 55-B. June 17-19 in Colorado Springs, CO. Contact: Dick Nemeth (703-280-5075) ( (

Pilot Tng Class 56-I. June 3-7 at the Doubletree Hotel Crystal City in Arlington, VA. Contact: Richard Taylor, 5498 Aryshire Dr., Dublin, OH 43017 (614-766-6420) (

Pilot Tng Classes 58-C/D. April 19-22 at Westward Look Resort in Tucson, AZ. Contacts: Phil Smith (952-833-0033) ( or Joe Young (928-505-2302) ( or Conrad McEachern (972-239-6448) (

Seeking 434th FS personnel, George AFB, CA, for a reunion in Branson, MO. Contact: Bob Thorpe (608-676-4925).

Unit reunion notices should be sent four months ahead of the event to, 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.


Listening to AFA Chairman of the Board Joe Sutter (second from left) at a California State Meeting are (l-r): Wayne Kauffman, David Buckwalter, and Martin Ledwitz.

Pearl Harbor survivor Seymour Blutt receives a proclamation and AFA coin from Col. Thomas Owens II at the Long Island Chapter’s Pearl Harbor remembrance ceremony.

Arnold Air Society National Commander Jun Ko greets a spectator at the Prescott, Ariz., Veteran’s Day parade. The Prescott/Goldwater Chapter helped vets attend the parade.

Arizona AFA Teacher of the Year Joanne Henning and CAP pilot Rick Amundsen check a map before her incentive flight from Phoenix Goodyear Arpt., Ariz.

Texas State President Kelly Jones drives the AFA entry in the Veteran’s Day parade in Abilene, Tex. With him are Jack Nuding (front seat) and Bill Zavatson (back).