AFA National Report

June 1, 2009

While We Have Your Attention

As the local newspaper reporter for The Meridian Star noted, the real reason for the Meridian Chapter (Miss.) reception in April was to present awards to outstanding airmen from the Air National Guard’s 186th Air Refueling Wing. But the guest speaker—US Rep. Gregg Harper (R-Miss.)—took the opportunity to promote the continuation of air missions in the area.

186th ARW airmen receiving honors that evening for outstanding performance and leadership were: A1C Steven N. Robinson, SSgt. Jeremy S. Stokes, MSgt. John J. Maloney, MSgt. David E. Miller, and SMSgt. Rodger S. Goodwin. Each airman received a plaque, AFA certificate, and a restaurant gift certificate. Civil Air Patrol cadet Lindsey Summerlin also received an award.

AFA Board Chairman Joe Sutter (second from left) conducts a meeting of AFA’s Senior Leadership Advisory Group in April. L-r: Richard Goetze Jr., Martin Harris (behind Sutter), Thomas McKee, Sandy Schlitt, David Blankenship, Bob Largent, Jim McCoy, and O. R. Crawford. Also at the meeting, but not pictured, were: Boyd Anderson, Pat Condon, Jack Price, and Gene Smith. (Staff photo by Eric Chang Lee)

Chapter President Larry D. Pace made the presentations.

Keynote speaker Harper told the audience of more than 100 guests that, with KC-135 refuelers scheduled to move out in 2011, it was important to ensure a long-term flying mission for the area. The 186th, located at Key Field, also operates RC-26 aircraft and is the temporary home for Project Liberty MC-12 mission qualification training.

“We must fight to keep a flying mission here,” Harper said. “I am committed to helping the 186th and its future.” The first-term Congressman is on the House Budget Committee and a member of the Air Force Caucus and the National Guard and Reserve Components Caucus.

Flapjacks for a Field Trip

Pancakes and an AFA grant helped the Tidewater Chapter (Va.) raise funds to sponsor an AFJROTC field trip to museums in the Washington, D.C., area in March.

Basic funding to charter four buses for this excursion came through $3,000 that the chapter raised by holding a pancake breakfast in February. Tidewater President William M. Cuthriell said chapter volunteers cooked the flapjacks and served them up at a local civic club’s facility, with AFJROTC cadets helping out by selling tickets and handling the setup and cleanup chores. More than 800 guests had pancakes that morning.

A $1,000 grant from AFA covered the rest of the cost for the cadets’ field trip.

Some 180 of them, from Deep Creek, Grassfield, Great Bridge, and Oscar F. Smith High Schools in Chesapeake, Va., traveled to Washington. The cadets stopped first at the two-year-old National Museum of the Marine Corps near Quantico, Va. Next, they visited the Air Force Memorial, located near the Pentagon, and then they went out to the National Air and Space Museum’s Udvar-Hazy Annex in Dulles, Va.

Langley Chapter (Va.) members Catherine Bacon and William V. Etchison lead the Smith High School and the Deep Creek High School AFJROTC units, respectively, and Gordon Strong from the Tidewater Chapter heads the Grassfield unit.

Tidewater Chapter members on the excursion included Cuthriell, Allan Berg, Robert Hudson, Leslie H. Kruger, and Randall Kruger.

AFJROTC cadet Michael Koon displays his AFA award at North Allegheny Senior High School in Wexford, Pa. With him are Pennsylvania AFA officials (l-r) Douglas May, Lee Niehaus, Robert Rutledge, and Tillie Metzger. At far right is Brig. Gen. Gregory Touhill.

Welcome Back

In Wexford, Pa., in March, presidents from the Greater Pittsburgh Chapter, Total Force Chapter, and the AFA state organization were on hand when North Allegheny Senior High School welcomed back a distinguished alumnus.

Brig. Gen. Gregory J. Touhill, Class of 1979, is today commander of the 81st Training Wing at Keesler AFB, Miss., and has been selected for reassignment as chief of the Office of Military Cooperation in Kuwait.

In March, however, he attended the 42nd annual AFJROTC Military Ball and Banquet at his old high school, where he was a member of AFJROTC unit PA-022. On hand, too, were Pennsylvania State President Robert Rutledge, Pittsburgh Chapter President Tillie Metzger, Total Force Chapter President Lee W. Niehaus, and VP Douglas C. May, who all turned out to present AFA awards to outstanding cadets.

Rutledge said more than 400 students, family members, alumni, and representatives of military organizations attended the ball. Touhill not only gave an inspirational talk to the cadets, he presented his own challenge coin to each awardee.

At a Pentagon Enlisted Council ceremony in February, Nicholas Abate (far right), president of the Donald W. Steele Sr. Memorial Chapter, presented awards and AFA memberships to (l-r) TSgt. Melissa Abraham, MSgt. Todd Geehan, and Capt. Jacob Sotiriadis. Also receiving an award was SrA. Shawn Christensen.

Awards in Texas

The Northeast Texas Chapter recognized the work of three chapter members at an annual awards dinner that was enlivened by “war stories” from guest speaker O. R. “Ollie” Crawford, an Army Air Forces pilot and former AFA Board Chairman.

Joseph Thomas, a former chapter president, received a Special Appreciation award during ceremonies. The award recognized his management of the Community Partner program, boosting participation from less than 10 to more than 30 almost singlehandedly. Thomas also helped organize the chapter’s annual golf outing for the past 16 years. Last year, the “Golf Thing,” as it has been nicknamed, netted $20,000.

Linda S. Campbell, chapter treasurer for more than four years, received an AFA 2008 national-level Medal of Merit, presented by Chapter President Ricky L. Williams.

The chapter named Marsha D. Krotky as an AFA Texas Aerospace Education Foundation Ollie Crawford Fellow. Krot-ky is a former chapter president and for the past 10 years has organized the chapter’s entries in the AFA Texas Earle North Parker statewide essay contest for high school seniors.

Thomas Bailey reported that, at the speaker’s podium, Crawford told tales about his “adventures and misadventures” flying the P-40 Warhawk with the AAF and more recently in warbirds demonstration flights. Crawford, for whom the fellowship is named, also described the Texas Aerospace Education Foundation fellowship award program, established a year ago. There are five levels of fellowships. Krotky is the first to be named a Crawford fellow.

Crawford served as AFA Chairman of the Board from 1992 to 1994.

Northern Shenandoah Valley Chapter officers Norman Brander (left), Norman Haller (fourth from right), and Thomas Shepherd (far right) present a donation to Sacred Heart Academy in Winchester, Va. Next to Haller are (l-r) science teacher Kim Dooley and principal Rebecca McTavish.

Space Salute

In Virginia, Gary E. Payton, the deputy undersecretary of the Air Force for space programs, was keynote speaker for the Gen. Charles A. Gabriel Chapter’s third annual Salute to Space.

Held in March, the reception at AFA headquarters in Arlington, Va., brought together some 100 guests, including senior leaders from the Air Force space community: Maj. Gen. William N. McCasland, director of space acquisition; Joseph D. Rouge, director of the National Security Space Office; and Dan Stockton, program executive officer for environmental satellites.

The dozen award recipients came from the National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System (NPOESS) Office, the National Security Space Office (NSSO), and the Space Acquisition Directorate (SAF/USA). Individual awardees were: Capt. Anand Shah, Maj. Chris Brann, Steve Simione, Maj. Stewart Aitken-Cade, TSgt. Christie Parker, Doug Benskin, Maj. Jeff Douds, Maj. Alex Gracia, and MSgt. Fernando McLean.

Team awards went to: the NPOESS Preparatory Project Mission Operations Review Team, the NSSO Information Technology Support Team, and the SAF/USA Space Situational Awareness Team.

Terrence J. Young, the chapter’s military affairs vice president, and chapter VPs Nancy T. Cribb and Lisa Pembleton were among the chapter members and other volunteers who organized the Salute. With support from industry sponsors, Young’s group booked the venue, coordinated with the Air Force, and arranged for the catering and awards.

More Chapter News

In March, the Tennessee Valley Chapter, based in Huntsville, Ala., tapped a chapter newcomer as guest speaker. Former B-52 pilot Russell V. Lewey served for 26 years in USAF, reported Chapter President Frederick Driesbach. In his last assignment, Lewey was an air attaché to the Philippines (2000-03); thus he spoke with some authority on his topic that evening: “Counterterrorism Operations in the Philippines.” Lewey focused on five terrorist organizations, in particular the Islamist militant Abu Sayyaf Group and their May 2001 kidnapping of three Americans, missionaries Martin and Gracia Burnham and Guillermo Sobero.

In April, several Virginia AFA field leaders paid an office call on US Rep. Glenn C. Nye (D) at his Virginia Beach office. Jeffrey L. Platte, state president, was joined by D. Blair Ellis, Langley Chapter president; William M. Cuthriell, Tidewater Chapter president; Tidewater member Allan Berg; and Richmond Chapter Leadership Development VP Thomas O. Moran for the meeting with the freshman Representative. Nye is on the House Armed Services and Veterans’ Affairs Committees. The AFA members invited him to Langley Air Force Base’s April air show called Airpower Over Hampton Roads and discussed the personnel and weapons systems challenges facing USAF.

At the Northeast Texas Chapter’s awards banquet, Texas State President David Dietsch (left) and O. R. Crawford (right) name Marsha Krotky as an Ollie Crawford fellow.

In March, the Steele Chapter held a Salute to the Air National Guard, to recognize some 20 ANG personnel and action officers. Chapter President Nicholas Abate served as master of ceremonies for the reception, held at a steak house whose windows framed a view of Reagan National Airport. Among the chapter members on hand were Tom Veltri, the chapter’s VP for the Salute Program; Michelle R. Ryan, VP for scholarships; and Sean Ryan.

Vietnam War Medal of Honor recipient Jack H. Jacobs was guest speaker for New York’s Iron Gate Chapter in April. In March 1968, he was an Army infantry captain, advising a South Vietnamese Army battalion, when it came under attack. Despite his wounds, he organized a defense, evacuated several injured soldiers to safety, and drove off the enemy three times. Chapter President Frank T. Hayes said that Jacobs spoke to the Iron Gate members about responsibility, having the courage to make the right decision, and how the values he grew up with governed his actions during two tours of duty in Vietnam. Hayes described Jacobs, currently a lecturer at West Point, as a “most dynamic motivational and patriotic military-political analyst.”

The Northern Shenandoah Valley Chapter (Va.) gathered up various resources and donated $3,000 to help stock the new science lab at Sacred Heart Academy in Winchester, Va. According to the Winchester Star newspaper, a chapter member learned that the science lab—just completed in January—had run out of funds for more equipment. He donated $1,500 and got the chapter to involve the Virginia state AFA organization, which chipped in $500, and AFA, which donated $1,000. The donation will allow science teacher Kim Dooley to buy microscopes, hot plates, pulleys, safety goggles, and an aquarium. Chapter President Norman M. Haller, VP Norman Brander, and Thomas G. Shepherd, VP for aerospace education, presented the donation.

Unit Reunions

1st Flight Det, MACV-SOG, Nha Trang AB, RVN. Oct. 14-18 in Branson, MO. Contact: Roger Gibson, 2090 Beach Blvd., Biloxi, MS 39531 (228-209-1180) (

2nd Bombardment Assn. Oct. 15-17 at the Crowne Plaza Airport in San Antonio. Contact: Crowne Plaza Airport Hotel, 1111 North East Loop 410, San Antonio, TX 78209 (210-828-9031).

3rd Special Operations Sq (1968-69). Sept. 25-26 in Branson, MO. Contact: Junior Skinner (352-307-6564) (

13th FIS. Oct. 7-11 at the Hope Hotel and Wright-Patterson AFB in Dayton, OH. Contact: Bill Hensley (317-462-3103) (

19th BG, including 14th, 28th, 30th, 93rd, and 435th Sqs. Oct. 20-24, in Dayton, OH. Contact: Jerry Michael (317-253-9265) (

21st/6461st Troop Carrier Sq (Korean War). Oct. 1-5 in Herndon, VA. Contact: Dana Mansur (908-782-1657) (

39th FS and 40th and 41st FS, 35th FG. Nov. 5-7 at the Radisson Hotel San Antonio Downtown Market Square in San Antonio. Contact: Roger Rehn (530-644-7346) (

48th FS, FIS, and FTS. Sept. 16-19 in Sacramento, CA. Contact: Joe Onesty, 455 Galleon Way, Seal Beach, CA 90740 (562-431-2901) (

61st/75th TC & TA Sq. Sept. 10-13 at Little Rock AFB, AK. Contacts: Bill Brown (352-259-8340) ( or Ron Patch (

64th Troop Carrier Gp. November at Apache Junction, AZ. Contact: Vern Montgomery, 6744 Carlsen Ave., Indianapolis, IN 46214 (317-241-5264) (317-439-3420).

98th BG/BW Veterans Assn. Sept. 15-19 in Albuquerque, NM. Contact: Bill Seals, 2526 Plumfield Ln., Katy, TX 77450 (281-395-3005) (

323rd BG (454th BS) and 344th BG. Oct. 7-10 in Colorado Springs, CO. Contact: George Cornett, 8250 E. Obispo Ave., Mesa, AZ 85212 (480-984-3676) (

361st FG Assn. Sept. 13-16 at the Francis Marion Hotel in Charleston, SC. Contact: William Street, 1103 Henry Dr., Alabaster, AL 35007.

366th FG/FBW/TFW, WWII to present. Oct. 8-12 in Williamsburg, VA. Contact: Joe Daniel, 6281 Applewhite Rd., Wendell, NC 27591 (919-365-7123) (

394th BG, including 584th, 585th, 586th, and 587th Bomb Sq (WWII). Sept. 17-20 in St. Louis. Contact: Elden Shook, PO Box 277, Enon, OH 45323 (937-864-2983) (

463rd Tactical Airlift Wg. Aug 31-Sept. 3 at the Mainstay Inn & Suites, Pigeon Forge, TN. Contact: Rick Kirkpatrick (765-472-7595) (

526th FIS/TFS, Ramstein, Germany. Oct. 8-11 in Omaha, NE. Contact: Don Wenzlick (402-980-7054) (

815th TCS, Ashiya, Japan (1954-60). Nov. 9-13 at the Radisson Hotel Austin-Town Lake in Austin, TX. Contact: Jim Meador (512-288-3341) (

AF Navigators and Observers Assn. Oct. 14-16 in Dayton, OH. Contact: Sostenes Suazo (973-431-8542) (

AF Postal & Courier Assn. Sept. 24-27 at the Holiday Inn Seattle in Renton, WA. Contact: Jim Foshee (254-774-7303) (

AF Security Forces Assn. Oct. 1-3 in Shreveport, LA. Contact: AFSFA, 818 Willow Creek Cir., San Marcos, TX 78666 (888-250-9876) (

Bartow AB, pilot instructors/students. Oct. 14 at the Chalet Suzanne Restaurant and Inn, in Lake Wales, FL. Contact: The Chalet (800-433-6011) (

Johnson AB, Japan. Nov. 5-7 in Orlando, FL. Contact: Keith Swinehart (303-814-0800) (

Karamursel AS, Turkey,USAFSSmembers and other personnel stationed there (1957-61). Contact: Pete Johnson (704-243-6769) (

KC-10 Tanker reunion, all active, reserve, and retired operations & maintenance sqs. Oct. 9-11 in Shreveport, LA. Contact: Charlie Hale (903-984-5210) (

Pilot Tng Class 53-E, Bainbridge & Bryan. Oct. 8-11 in San Antonio. Contacts: Jerry Bergh ( or John Anderson (800-605-0405).

Pilot Tng Class 56-B. Oct. 29-Nov. 5 in San Diego. Contact: Myles Rohrlick, 1501 India St., Unit 408, San Diego, CA 92101 (619-255-9405) (760-458-5433) (

Pilot Tng Class 60-D. Oct. 21-25 in Fairborn, OH. Contact: Obidio Pugnale, 2140 Hidden Woods Blvd., Beavercreek, OH 45431 (937-241-7272) (

Pilot Tng Class 68-A, Laughlin AFB, TX. Sept. 23-27 in Las Vegas. Contact: Al Ghizzoni (702-293-3138) (

Pilot Tng Class 68-A, Webb AFB, TX. Sept. 10-12 at the Doubletree Guest Suites Historic Charleston in Charleston, SC. Contact: Ed Carter (843-709-2555) (

Pleiku AB Assn. Sept. 16-20 at the Landmark Hotel in Myrtle Beach, SC. Contact: Harry Beam, 403 N. Jefferson Ave., Canonsburg, PA 15317 (724-745-9129).

RED HORSE. Aug. 31-Sept. 4 in Branson MO. Contacts: Tom Gallagher ( or Greg MacDougal (

Seeking USAF OTS 60-A members for a reunion. Contact: Nedson Crawford, 5108 Tedorill Ln., Charlotte, NC 28226 (

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 his Virginia Beach, Va., office, US Rep. Glenn Nye (D-Va., third from right) welcomes a visit from area AFA officers (l-r) Thomas Moran, Allan Berg, Jeffrey Platte, Blair Ellis, and William Cuthriell.