AFA National Report

March 1, 2014


Do you still fit into your Air Force uniform

Many San Jacinto Chapter members manage to do so, at least once a year, for Vintage Uniform Night.

This time, the annual event in Texas featured as guest speaker chapter member Eugene F. Kranz, the former NASA flight director for Gemini, Skylab, and Apollo. He spoke to the audience at the evening banquet, held at the Hilton near the Johnson Space Center, about pulling together a team of both people and hardware capable of getting astronauts to the moon.

Kranz is probably best known for managing mission control during the Apollo 13 accident in space in April 1970. An oxygen tank exploded on the spacecraft’s service module during that mission to the moon. This forced the three astronauts to retreat to the lunar module, where they turned the spacecraft around and for four days survived with limited electricity, water, and heat. This saved the command module’s power, enabling a return to Earth and splashdown in the Pacific.

During the Apollo 13 mission—following a tradition that started with the Gemini 4 spacewalk mission in 1965—Kranz wore a white vest. White was his NASA team’s color. The vest, sewn by his wife, Marta, to boost team spirit became almost as iconic as Kranz’s crewcut. He donated the Apollo 13 waistcoat to the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum in 2006.

An AFA version of the white vest became an apropos focus for the San Jacinto Chapter’s Vintage Uniform Night.

Honors in Maintenance and Logistics

The Ute-Rocky Mountain Chapter in Ogden, Utah, recently awarded local top performers in the maintenance and logistics fields at Hill AFB, Utah.

Twenty-five people from Team Hill received Kevin J. Sullivan Awards at the chapter’s 20th annual banquet. The winners came from Ogden Air Logistics Complex, the 748th Supply Chain Management Group, and the 75th Air Base Wing. In addition, Kay Stowell received an award as outstanding volunteer at Hill Aerospace Museum.

Retired Maj. Gen. Robert H. McMahon served as keynote speaker for the evening. Before retiring in 2012 as commander of Warner Robins Air Logistics Center at Robins AFB, Ga., McMahon had served at Hill for three assignments.

Along with a guest speaker, the banquet included an honor guard from Northridge High School presenting the colors; singing of the national anthem by Chapter Membership VP Cory Jenkins; and a $4,500 donation presented by Chapter President Lacy Bizios to Operation Warmheart, a nonprofit organization that aids airmen having financial difficulties.

The Sullivan Award is named for retired Lt. Gen. Kevin J. Sullivan. He was stationed at Hill for more than seven years in total, with a stint from 2003 to 2007 as commander of Ogden Air Logistics Center.

Let it Snow—Community Partners

Sunny skies and temperatures in the low 30s offered perfect conditions for the military winter sports weekend called SnoFest at Keystone Resort, Colo.

The Lance P. Sijan Chapter donated $1,000 to this annual event, organized by the Air Force Academy and military facilities primarily in Colorado and Wyoming.

As a sponsor, the chapter set up a table at the resort’s conference center, where guests registered on Friday for two days of skiing, snowshoeing, snowboarding, buffet meals, a homemade- sled contest, and other family activities, all at discounted prices.

Chapter Treasurer Barbara L. Binn and member Brian Binn manned the AFA table all day, spelled by Chapter President David K. Shiller and his wife, Margy.

The Binns have been holding down this SnoFest AFA table for some 10 years, but this time, Barbara said, she realized that folks at the other tables represented ready-made Community Partners. She began recruiting them. She reported that the Navy Federal Credit Union, in particular, eagerly signed up because it was new to the area and had limited access to military facilities.

Pearl Harbor Remembered

A Pearl Harbor remembrance ceremony in the library at JB MGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J., involved members from several Garden State chapters: Hangar One Chapter, Thomas B. McGuire Jr. Chapter, and Shooting Star Chapter.

New Jersey State President Howard Leach Jr., in his CAP lieutenant colonel’s uniform, spoke to the audience gathered at the base’s “Librar-e and Resource Commons” about AFA, as well as CAP’s role in World War II.

He also formally presented to Lt. Col. Todd Randolph, commander of McGuire’s 87th Force Support Squadron, a print by Shooting Star member and aviation artist Keith K. Ferris. The print is called “Circus Outbound” and depicts a B-24 on a World War II combat mission. It will hang in the base library, a facility overseen by Randolph’s unit.

A brass plaque affixed to the print dedicates it to Hangar One Chapter member James E. Young. The retired brigadier general flew the Liberator—and several other types of aircraft—during service in three wars. Young was the New Jersey assistant adjutant general for air and also commanded McGuire’s 170th Military Airlift Group beginning in 1967.

AFA officials at the ceremony included McGuire Chapter President Maritza N. Mendoza and, from the Shooting Star Chapter, State Government Relations VP Susan Loricchio and State Membership Director Tobia F. Terranova.

Other commemoration events organized by and held at the library that afternoon included presentations on the Army, Navy, and the Army Air Forces responses to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, a program by Jason Hall and Ken Kersch from the Battleship New Jersey museum, and a book signing by local artist Francis McGinley. He is author of a book of narratives and art called Let Us Never Forget.

More Chapter News

Utah’s three chapters—Northern Utah, Salt Lake, and Ute-Rocky Mountain—led AFROTC, AFJROTC, and Civil Air Patrol cadets in assembling holiday gifts and delivering them to veterans in December. Volunteers began this annual project by filling tube socks with fruit and candy, personal hygiene items, and a Christmas card, some made by sixth-graders from Syracuse Elementary School. More than 80 AFA members, cadets, and family members then visited the George E. Wahlen Ogden Veterans Home in Ogden and, in Salt Lake City, the George E. Wahlen Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center and William E. Christofferson Salt Lake Veterans Home to distribute the gifts.

Second Lt. Brian Goodman, president of the Otis Chapter in Massachusetts visited CAP Coastal Patrol 18, Cape Cod Squadron, in January and presented an AFA CAP Outstanding Squadron Cadet of the Year Award to Kevin Wilson. The cadet is the squadron cadet commander. CAP officer Dennis P. Mills later wrote: “After the award ceremony, Lieutenant Goodman shared his United States Air Force story and participated in a Q&A session with the cadets. His professionalism and polished approach in explaining his USAF career significantly contributed to helping the cadets understand the ‘big picture’ of life.”

Jorge Laurel, president of the Baltimore Chapter, presented awards at a local CAP unit in December. At the annual Glenn L. Martin Composite Squadron awards banquet, he helped honor the group’s CyberPatriot Team with a participation award. Team members were Wyatt Hartman, George Eliss, and Anthony Cole. Laurel also helped present Hartman with the AFA award for the CAP Outstanding Squadron Cadet of the Year.

Emerging Leaders

The Air Force Association began an Emerging Leaders Program in 2013 as a way to secure AFA’s future.

Emerging Leaders volunteer for a year. With guidance from a mentor, they participate on a national-level council, attend national leader orientations, and serve as National Convention delegates. Here’s the fifth Emerging Leader’s profile.

Lt. Col. Cristina F. Lussier

Home State: California.

Chapter: Montgomery.

Joined AFA: 1996.

AFA Offices: Several at chapter level, including Community Partner VP, Donald W. Steele Sr. Memorial Chapter. Now on the Montgomery Chapter Executive Committee and on the national-level Strategic Planning Committee.

AFA Award: None.

Military Service: 17 years on Active Duty.

Occupation: Commander, AFROTC Det. 17, Troy University, Ala.

Education: B.A., Pepperdine University. M.A., University of San Diego. M.A., Naval Postgraduate School.


How did you first learn of AFA? As a cadet in the AFROTC program. … Our cadre members were very enthusiastic about getting involved with the local chapter.

Why did you join AFA? From the get-go, cadre members and faculty members at Pepperdine had always said if you want to be a true professional, you need to support the group that supports you.

How is AFA of value? When I first came on Active Duty, I joined AFCEA, MOAA, AFA—almost every one out there. … I stuck with AFA because AFA gave everything I needed: the Air Force Magazine gives me the education on what’s going on around the globe. It helps advocate for what our senior leaders are doing. … AFA helps support me and my subordinates—awards for example.

How can AFA increase membership? The value of networking that AFA can provide us as professionals is something we should really focus on to get the younger generation interested.

Lussier called this “a photo with my beautiful family.” A new baby joined them in November.

How To Take Advantage of a Podium

The guest speaker from the Chuck Yeager Chapter in West Virginia did not mince words: “To network better with the AMRAAM user community, I joined the Air Force Association and have been a member for over 10 years,” Gordon R. Snurr II told the audience.

He was referring to the Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile and a period during his 33-year career with Alliant Techsystems—better known as ATK—when he had responsibility for missile propulsion subsystems technology. Namely, the AMRAAM. AFA membership gave him access to symposiums at the Air Armament Center at Eglin AFB, Fla., and at Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio, where he met people working with and on the missile.

Today Snurr directs the Strategic Facility Program Management Office for ATK at the Allegany Ballistics Laboratory in Rocket Center, W.Va.

In January, he helped present the AFA Civil Air Patrol Outstanding Squadron Cadet of the Year Award to Martin Turner of the Potomac Highlands CAP Composite Squadron in Petersburg, W.Va. There, he took the opportunity to deliver that solid pitch for joining AFA.

How did this happen?

Chapter President Herman Nicely lived four hours away from Petersburg, so he needed a local stand-in. He telephoned Snurr. “He was quite an exceptional person to talk to,” said Nicely, remembering the phone call.

Turned out Snurr had lots of experience giving commencement speeches and business presentations. He enthusiastically took on the AFA assignment and researched and wrote out his remarks over the course of several days.

In his keynote to the audience of some 50 guests, he described his three decades with ATK. He acknowledged CAP’s role in developing young people. But he also worked in mention of AFA’s missions, publications, websites, and seminars.

He wrapped up his AFA remarks by saying: “If you continue to pursue aviation, you will certainly benefit from a student membership … to start networking now.”

“He went the extra mile-and-a-half” for the association, commented Nicely.

At the CAP ceremony at Grant County Arpt., W.Va., Martin Turner (left) accepts an AFA Certificate from Gordon Snurr. Afterward, cadets and parents—following advice in Snurr’s speech—came up to him and began networking.


28th Air Refueling Sq. Sept. 5-7, Ellsworth AFB, SD. Contact: Doug Botts (512-394-9992) (

55th & 58th Weather Recon Sqs. June 11-13, Savannah House, Branson, MO. Contact: Conrad Layton (918-446-6945) (

84th Air Transport Sq/Military Airlift Sq. May 16-17, Hampton Inn Vacaville, CA. Contact: John Burnett, 3013 Red Maple Ct., Vacaville, CA 95687 (

601st-615th Airborne Warning & Control Sq, Germany. April 28-May, Tucson, AZ. Contact: Francis Gosselin (352-588-9295) (

Air Weather Assn. April 30-May 4, InnPlace Charleston Airport Hotel, Charleston, SC. Contact: Kevin Lavin (434-296-2832) (

Del Rio UPT Class 74-06. May 9-10, San Antonio. Contact: Charlie Stylc (443-883-5280) (

Graham AB, FL. May 16-18, Marianna, FL. Contact: Bob Hoff, Graham Reunion, PO Box 347, Marianna, FL 32447 (850-294-5978).

Ramstein AB fighter sqs (1952-94). Sept. 27-29,Colorado Springs, CO. Contact: Mike Ingelido (719-473-3807) (

SAC Airborne Command Control Assn. June 25-29, Rushmore Plaza Holiday Inn, Rapid City, SD. Contact: Rod Berlin (937-469-5473) (

US AAC Pilot Classes of WWII. Sept. 10-14, St. Louis. Contact: Stan Yost, 13671 Ovenbird Dr., Fort Myers, FL 33908 (239-466-1473).

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.

In Texas, former NASA Flight Director Gene Kranz models the San Jacinto Chapter’s gift of a white vest, like the one he wore while shepherding Apollo 13 safely back to Earth in 1970. Kranz retired from NASA in 1994.

For San Jacinto Chapter’s Vintage Uniform Night, Bill Rothschild (left) wore classic fatigues. Bob Kjar (below) wore his mess dress.

For San Jacinto Chapter’s Vintage Uniform Night, Bill Rothschild (left) wore classic fatigues. Bob Kjar (below) wore his mess dress.

The Ute-Rocky Mountain Chapter in Utah highlighted its Sullivan Award winners with photos and summaries of their accomplishments. Nearly 300 guests attended this banquet.

Ute-Rocky Mountain Chapter President Lacy Bizios (left) presents a Sullivan Award to Barbara Gaehle, an Ogden Air Logistics Complex analyst. At right are Bob McMahon and Maj. Gen. H. Brent Baker Sr., the OALC commander.

Paul Revere Chapter President Paul Zauner (left) presented an AFA Michael Wilson Scholarship to AFROTC cadet James O’Connor. At right: Lt. Col. Michael DeRosa, Det. 340 commander from Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Mass. Major League baseball pitcher Brian Wilson established the $15,000 scholarship in the name of his father, an Air Force veteran.

At a Pearl Harbor remembrance event at JB McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J., are: Susan Loricchio, retired Navy Capt. James Steinbaugh, CAP Lt. Col. Howard Leach, Francis Mc-Ginley (seated), James Young, Ken Kersch, and Jason Hall.

CAP cadet Luke Lewandowski stands at attention as Fort Dodge Chapter Treasurer Justin Faiferlick prepares to present him with an AFA CAP Outstanding Squadron Cadet of the Year Award in Iowa.

Otis Chapter President 2nd Lt. Brian Goodman congratulates Kevin Wilson on his CAP Outstanding Squadron Cadet of the Year Award. Wilson is in PT uniform because the squadron wanted the award to be a surprise.