AFA National Report

July 1, 2012

A Double in Dallas

“This quarter’s membership meeting … is quite different from our routine get-togethers,” wrote Seidel-AFA Dallas Chapter President Robert Gehbauer in his group’s newsletter.

AFA Board Chairman Sandy Schlitt (l) and USAF Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz (c) attended a symposium in Dallas on manned aviation. The Seidel-AFA Dallas Chapter—whose president, Bob Gehbauer, stands at right—organized the event.

Indeed, the chapter in late April sponsored a particularly high-powered doubleheader: It led off with a morning symposium of military leaders including Lt. Gen. James M. Kowalski, commander of Air Force Global Strike Command. A luncheon followed, with USAF Chief of Staff Gen. Norton A. Schwartz as keynote speaker.

The symposium centered around the theme “Manned Aviation’s Role Now and in the Future.” Retired Lt. Gen. David A. Deptula, former deputy chief of staff for ISR, served as panel moderator and opened the conference with comments about the history of remotely piloted aircraft.

Retired Adm. Patrick M. Walsh, former commander, Pacific Fleet, provided a historical overview on the legitimacy of weapon systems usage. Kowalski addressed the strategic use of RPAs, and Vice Adm. Mark D. Harnitchek, Defense Logistics Agency director, spoke on the subject of funding, particularly manpower costs. Other speakers were Rear Adm. Chris Sadler, deputy commander of Naval Air Forces, and Coast Guard Capt. David Nichols, the staff judge advocate for the USCG 8th District.

Special guests included AFA Chairman of the Board S. Sanford Schlitt and a contingent of AFROTC cadets from Baylor University.

The F-35 Briefly

In March, a Lockheed Martin F-35 representative delivered a presentation to the San Jacinto Chapter in Houston, Tex.

William Diehl, manager of F-35 Customer Engagement, based at Fort Worth, spoke about the strike fighter’s capabilities.

Chapter member and event coordinator Tommy Thompson wrote that the more than 50 guests at the presentation included University of Houston Det. 003 AFROTC cadets—the very people who will soon fly, maintain, and support USAF’s newest fighter.

Thompson—a former F-111 pilot—called on his fighter-pilot contacts to book Diehl as a speaker. He reported that Diehl certainly had the background for an authoritative presentation: He retired as an Air Force colonel with more than 5,000 hours of fighter aircraft flying time, including a MiG kill during the Vietnam War and experience as a mission commander on the first daylight raid over Baghdad during Gulf War I.

Big Winners

At the Tennessee State Convention, State President Jim Mungenast (right) presents guest speaker Reginald Hyde with a memento: a football autographed by Nick Saban, coach for the football team from Hyde’s alma mater, University of Alabama.

Backed by generous sponsors, the C. Farinha Gold Rush Chapter in California awarded more than $20,000 in scholarships to 11 students at its annual Awards Night in April.

Jared Fong and Derek Ainsworth, respective winners of $5,000 and $3,000 scholarships sponsored by SAFE Credit Union, couldn’t break away from final exams to accept the awards in person in Sacramento. Neither could Monica Sing who won $4,000 through a scholarship funded by the Dwelle Family Foundation.

Fong is a sophomore, majoring in biological science, at the University of California, Davis, some 220 miles away. Ainsworth was across the state line, at the University of Nevada, Reno. And traveling to the Golden State’s capital was out of the question for Sing, also a UC Davis student; she is studying epidemiology in Ecuador. Her parents, and Ainsworth’s, accepted the scholarships at the banquet.

Eight local high school students received their scholarships that night: Kevin Love and Joshua Meuser from Del Oro High School; Joshua Jetter, Julia Lund, and Michael Tharratt from Oak Ridge High School; Kristen Hiatt and Christina Winters from Placer High School; and Raymond Chan from John F. Kennedy High School.

Chapter President Paul Bonnier also presented national-level AFA awards at the banquet to Ron Azarcon, Ray Coughlin, Dick Stultz, and Sandy Stultz.

The Commissioner Says “Congrats”

Hosted by the Chattanooga Chapter, the Tennessee State Convention put cybersecurity in the spotlight through its keynote speaker and also with a presentation of CyberPatriot awards.

Reginald D. Hyde, deputy undersecretary of defense for intelligence and security, delivered the keynote address at the convention’s Friday night awards banquet.

Among those recognized with awards were: Recruiters of the Year TSgt. Rachelle Johnson and TSgt. Thomas Sinkewicz; Outstanding ANG Airman of the Year TSgt. Tommy Allen; and the 241st Engineering Installation Squadron of Chattanooga, named Outstanding ANG unit. Frank Wood from Knoxville’s L&N Academy, received the State Teacher of the Year honor. Derick E. Seaton of the Gen. Bruce K. Holloway Chapter was named Tennessee AFA Volunteer of the Year.

New to the awards lineup this year were CyberPatriot’s Tennessee winners, so the competition’s commissioner, Bernard K. Skoch, traveled to the convention to talk to the audience about the high-school-level cyber defense program. He helped congratulate the CyberPatriot team from Farragut High School in Knoxville, winners of the state-level Open Division, against 20 other high schools. A Williamson Country CAP team took first in the state-level All-Services Category.

The local Times Free Press newspaper interviewed Skoch, who pointed out that the Internet-dependent nature of US infrastructure presents vulnerabilities easily exploited with a few keystrokes.

The newspaper also quoted Tennessee State President James M. Mungenast as saying, “We’d love to have 100 schools” involved in the CyberPatriot competition.

English Teacher-Cyber Coach

Paul Revere Chapter members—including Chapter President Keith Taylor (on the ground, at far right)—donated $1,000 to fuel this P-51 for a flyover celebrating the centennial of Boston’s baseball stadium, Fenway Park. The Mustang also visited Hanscom AFB, Mass., for two days, so airmen could tour the warbird.

A substitute English teacher who coaches a CyberPatriot team became the General Doolittle Los Angeles Area Chapter’s Teacher of the Year and went on to receive the state title at the California State Convention.

Benjamin F. Fernandez, of Franklin High School in Highland Park, received the honor in May at the AFA Golden State gathering in Palm Springs.

Doolittle Chapter President Harry Talbot explained that Fernandez—who majored in journalism and normally teaches grammar, SAT vocabulary preparation, and the novels of George Orwell and J. D. Salinger—essentially is “self-taught” when it comes to computers, but he has been advising CyberPatriot teams for more than two years.

This year, his kids earned a trip to the competition’s National Finals at National Harbor, Md., in March. This feat got them feature-story coverage in the Los Angeles Times.

Talbot said that Fernandez actively seeks out potential cyber team members and last fall rounded up four girls for his six-person team.

White Suit

An AFA Educator Grant helped bring a presentation called “Living in Space” to fifth-graders—creating excitement with a bulky white space suit just like astronaut Neil Armstrong wore to walk on the Moon.

Sandra R. Vicksta, from Hunt Elementary School in Colorado Springs, Colo., received a $250 grant from AFA and used it to bring in flight directors Jay Stutz and Deb Haase from the local Challenger Learning Center.

These educational centers came about after the 1986 space shuttle Challenger explosion that killed seven crew members. Their families decided that space-focused learning centers would serve as a living memorial to the crew and could inspire youngsters to study science, technology, engineering, and math. Nearly 50 Challenger Learning Centers have been established in schools, museums, and other locations.

Stutz and Haase brought a replica Apollo-mission space suit—technically called an extravehicular mobility unit—to the classroom. As a student-volunteer donned each piece, the flight directors explained its role in protecting and providing life support to the astronauts while they carry out tasks outside the space vehicle. Stutz said the helmet always creates a stir: “Students love being able to see the world from inside the helmet.”

Stutz and Haase described the Apollo program’s history and how astronauts adjust to zero gravity, exercising with resistance bands to prevent bone density loss, for example. They gave the students “astronaut ice cream,” illustrating how NASA prepares food for space missions.

Vicksta said the presenters even left lesson plans with her, as well as ideas to “extend the learning experience.”

“Your grant made this wonderful experience possible,” she wrote, thanking AFA.

More Chapter News

With Arkansas State President Jerry Reichenbach at the wheel, this truck pulled a Vietnam War-era UH-1 in a Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans parade in March in Jacksonville, Ark. David D. Terry Jr. Chapter members participated in this event.

Swamp Fox Chapter members in South Carolina manned a seven-person booth during Shaw Air Force Base’s AirExpo 2012, held the first weekend in May. USAF’s aerial demonstration team, the Thunderbirds, and the Army’s Golden Knights parachute team were the big attractions, and Chapter President Bush Hanson said, “There was constant airborne activity from 11 a.m. to 4:30 [p.m.] each day.” The Swamp Fox booth sold souvenirs and raised $1,600 for its scholarships, CyberPatriot outreach efforts, and Visions of Exploration classrooms. Visions of Exploration is a joint program of AFA and USA Today that promotes STEM education by providing newspapers to students and lesson plans for teachers.

In New Mexico, Fran Parker Chapter members helped the local Experimental Aircraft Association carry out its Young Eagles program in May. The EAA initiative encourages an interest in aviation by offering kids free incentive flights on civil aircraft. Parker Chapter members flew youngsters in their private aircraft, reported Chapter President Lt. Col. Matthew J. Martin. Chapter members also helped out on the flight line, escorting kids and getting them registered for the airplane rides.

The Thomas W. Anthony Chapter of Maryland presented $1,500 in May to Lt. Col. Scott Grundahl, director of the Joint Service Open House air show that took place at Joint Base Andrews in mid-May. The donation specifically supported safety briefings. Chapter VP Shedrick Roberts and Chapter Treasurer James Warren made the presentation.

An instructor first selected by the Thomas W. Anthony Chapter as its Teacher of the Year became the state winner, also, in June. Erin Nauman teaches math and science to kindergartners at Imagine Andrews Public Charter School at JB Andrews, Md., and has seven years of experience in classrooms ranging up to the fourth grade.

Louis A. Emond, 1944-2012

Retired Maj. Louis A. Emond, AFA North Carolina state president, died May 23 of a heart attack. He was 67 years old and a resident of Morrisville, N.C.

A native of Worcester, Mass., he served in USAF from 1968 to 1988 in assignments ranging from air weapons controller to NATO liaison to the French Air Force. He had a bachelor’s degree in French from Fordham University and a master’s degree from the University of Southern California. In his civilian career, he was an executive coach and marketing executive.


Retired Army Maj. Jack Shields, a former UH-1 pilot, and Tamara Bacon, wife of the late Medal of Honor recipient Nick Bacon, sit in a Huey in a parade in Jacksonville, Ark., to honor Vietnam vets. David D. Terry Jr. Chapter members participated in the parade. Bacon was the only Arkansan to receive the Medal of Honor for Vietnam War service. He died in July 2010.

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz poses with Baylor University AFROTC cadets at a Seidel-AFA Dallas Chapter luncheon. Schwartz attended the Dallas Military Ball that evening. The Air Force was the service in the spotlight at that annual formal, this year.

Seidel-AFA Dallas Chapter symposium participants included (l-r): Lt. Gen. James Kowalski, Vice Adm. Mark Harnitchek, Rear Adm. Chris Sadler, panel moderator retired Lt. Gen. David Deptula, and USCG Capt. David Nichols. Chapter President Bob Gehbauer is at far right.

Keynote speaker Reginald Hyde, deputy undersecretary of defense for intelligence and security, addresses the Tennessee State Convention.

CyberPatriot Commissioner Bernie Skoch (left) and Tennessee State President Jim Mungenast at the podium at the state convention.

The CyberPatriot team from Farragut High School in Knoxville, Tenn., receive state-level awards from CyberPatriot Commissioner Skoch (third from left) and Hyde (far left).

The CyberPatriot team from Williamson County (Tenn.) CAP receive state-level honors as Tennessee’s top all-service category winners.

AFA received this photo of thanks from Educator Grant recipient Sandra Vicksta in Colorado Springs. Holding the sign with a Hunt Elementary School student are Deb Haase and Jay Stutz, guest speakers from the Challenger Learning Center.

AFA California Teacher of the Year Benjamin Fernandez (back row, left) visited the Air Force Memorial with his CyberPatriot team in March, when they traveled to Washington, D.C., as finalists in the national-level competition.

Chapter VP Shedrick Roberts (far left) and Chapter Treasurer James Warren (right) donate $1,500 from the Thomas W. Anthony Chapter to Lt. Col. Scott Grundahl, director of the Joint Service Open House air show at JB Andrews, Md. The donation supported safety briefings.

AFA Maryland Teacher of the Year Erin Nauman shows an earthworm to her kindergarteners at Imagine Andrews Public Charter School at JB Andrews, Md.


8th Tactical Fighter Wg. Oct. 10-14 in Fort Worth, TX. Contact: Pete Nash (480-223-2351) (

19th AREFS, SAC, Homestead AFB and Otis AFB. Sept. 2-5 in Sacramento, CA. Contact: Ron Hines (919-728-2914) (

29th Fighter-Interceptor Sq. Oct. 3-6 in Branson, MO. Contacts: Harold Philips (405-341-0621) or Grace Springer (785-889-4396).

39th Fighter Sq Assn, including 35th Fighter-Interceptor Wg, 39th, 40th, 41st FS, 39th Fighter/Flying Tng Sq, USAF/Army Air Corps. Oct. 10-14 in Colorado Springs, CO. Contacts: L. Haddock (719-687-6425) ( or Maj. Brian Haines (210-787-0102) (

48th Sq Assn, 48th FS, 48th FIS, 48th FTS. Sept. 19-23 at JB Langley-Eustis, VA. Contact: John Classen, 15100 Southwest 145th St., Miami, FL 33196 (305-259-0864) (

316th Tactical Airlift Wg, all personnel at Langley AFB, VA (1965-75). Sept. 18-23 at the Crowne Plaza Hampton-Marina, in Hampton, VA. Contact: Rex Riley (757-294-3253) (

376th Air Refueling Sq. Sept. 25-27 in Bossier City, LA. Contact: Bill Bryan (360-692-3609) (

623rd Aircraft Control & Warning Sq Assn, 624th Sq, 851st Sq, 529th Gp, 305th Fighter Control Sq, 313th ADIV, 2152nd Comm Sq, and 51st FIW and anyone engaged in air defense of Okinawa. Oct. 17-21. Contact: Jack Hinton, 1313 Wilcox Ln., Yukon, OK 73099 (405-350-1158) (

815th Troop Carrier Sq. Sept. 20-23 in Fairborn, OH. Contact: Bob Tweedie, 2783 Double Eagle Dr., Beavercreek, OH 45431 (937-426-7947) (

Bitburg AB, Germany, K-9 Section. Sept. 6-8 at the Holiday Inn, 400 Arch St., Philadelphia, PA 19106. Contact: Dick Reitz (507-327-5996) (

Nuclear Weapons Technician Assoc. Oct. 18-20 in Albuquerque, NM. Contact: Robert Welz, P.O. Box 156, Connellsville, PA 15425 (502-645-3181)(

Society of Wild Weasels. Sept. 28-29 at the Crowne Plaza and Virginia Air & Space Center, Hampton, VA. Contacts: Bill Miller (757-880-3599) ( or Ed Ballanco (757-810-1751) (

Vietnam Security Police Assn. , including those stationed in Thailand. Oct. 3-7 near Eglin AFB, FL. Contact: Dennis Evans (866-672-6533) (

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.