AFA National Report

Aug. 1, 2008

Team of the Year

The Air Force Association held a reception and awards banquet in May to honor five enlisted personnel as the AFA 2008 Team of the Year. The team comes from the Air Force Office of Special Investigations, a field operating agency based at Andrews AFB, Md.

The Team of the Year members are: SSgt. Eric M. Ackerstrom, 7th Field Investigations Squadron, Andrews AFB, Md.; SSgt. Megan N. Fordham, Det. 102, Hanscom AFB, Mass.; MSgt. Lonnie R. Isaac II, Det. 207, Whiteman AFB, Mo.; TSgt. Wayne C. Pugh, 3rd Field Investigations Squadron, Lackland AFB, Tex.; and SSgt. Timothy J. Rivera, Det. 810, Los Angeles AFB, Calif.

AFOSI was selected for team recognition this year by CMSAF Rodney J. McKinley and other major command-level command chief master sergeants.

At Shaw AFB, S.C., AFA Board Chairman Bob Largent speaks to a gathering of airmen about AFA’s mission. See “Convention in South Carolina.” (USAF photo by TSgt. Josef Cole)

During their visit to Washington, the team members toured the city, the White House, and the Pentagon, where they met with Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Duncan J. McNabb, Brig. Gen. Dana A. Simmons, the AFOSI commander, and McKinley. The Air Force’s top enlisted leader also hosted a reception for the team at his home.

While on Capitol Hill, team members visited the offices of Senators or Representatives from their home districts. They also had a luncheon on the Hill, with guest speaker Matt Chilbert from the FBI’s counterintelligence task force.

Convention in South Carolina

Lt. Gen. Terry L. Gabreski, vice commander of Air Force Materiel Command, and AFA Chairman of the Board Robert E. “Bob” Largent were guests of honor at the South Carolina State Convention, hosted by the Swamp Fox Chapter in May at Shaw AFB, S.C.

At the awards luncheon, Gabreski spoke about USAF’s R&D mission. “Air dominance is not something guaranteed to us,” she said. “It’s going to take advanced systems and technologies to reach our goals.”

Awards went to the top squadron, logistician, aircraft technician, aviator, and mission support person from the state’s three bases—Charleston, Shaw, and McEntire Air National Guard Station—as well as to AFROTC, AFJROTC, and Civil Air Patrol units. Vickie Davis received the State Teacher of the Year award. She is a seventh-grade math teacher at Irmo (S.C.) Middle School.

Attending the convention in Sumter provided Largent with an opportunity to call on Maj. Gen. William L. Holland, 9th Air Force vice commander at Shaw and the deputy commander of US Air Forces Central. Largent also addressed Shaw personnel at the Airman Leadership School and at an AFA-sponsored luncheon for company-grade officers. He told the airmen that his goal “is to make sure you have the tools, resources, people, and dollars to do your job.”

Stand-down for Vets

Harry S. Truman Chapter volunteers took part in the annual Heart of America Stand-down for veterans in Kansas City, Mo., in June. The stand-down aided homeless veterans by providing them with food, clothing, medical screening, legal counseling, and information on services and benefits.

The Department of Veterans Affairs and other agencies sponsor stand-downs in cities nationwide. In Kansas City, it was Truman Chapter member James Lannigan who suggested that the chapter get involved with the event. As a first step, the chapter set out a 55-gallon barrel in the lobby of the Disabled American Veterans building, to collect donations. The AFA group of volunteers included Missouri State President Patricia J. Snyder, Chapter President James Snyder, Programs VP Joan M. Boyd, Treasurer Robert E. Seibolt, Anita Seibolt, Amy Johnson, Valerie Walls, and Mark Edwards.

The group set up 50 large folding tables and pitched tents to cover them. Chapter President Snyder called this phase “hard labor.” His volunteers sorted donated items—everything from military surplus clothing to personal hygiene items to packets of stationery—and manned these donation stations from noon to 4:30 p.m. on the first day of the stand-down.

The Kansas City Star reported that more than 400 veterans received help during the stand-down and that about 1,800 homeless vets live in the area.

Into the Hall of Fame

With several members of the Richard I. Bong Chapter (Minn.) looking on, Raymond T. Klosowski, chapter vice president for government relations, was inducted into the Minnesota Aviation Hall of Fame in May.

Klosowski told a Duluth newspaper, “This is probably the biggest honor I’ve ever had.”

James A. Armstrong, chapter treasurer, had submitted the nomination package on Klosowski. It was a big job, since Armstrong had a lot of material to work with: Klosowski began his military career in 1963 with the 179th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron, Minnesota Air National Guard, in Duluth. In 1996, he was promoted to brigadier general and became commander of the Minnesota ANG. In his civilian career, he has been executive director of the Duluth Airport Authority.

Some 400 guests gathered for the induction ceremony for Klosowski and five other aviation pioneers who were honored for the year 2007. Portraits of all 117 hall of fame aviators hang at Duluth’s airport.

Raymond Klosowski of the Richard I. Bong Chapter shows the audience his plaque at his induction ceremony into the Minnesota Aviation Hall of Fame. A dozen chapter members attended the ceremony to honor Klosowski, a former fighter pilot and commander of the Minnesota Air National Guard.

More Chapter News

The 29th annual Focus on Defense symposium in Layton, Utah—sponsored by the state’s Northern Utah Chapter, Salt Lake Chapter, and Ute-Rocky Mountain Chapter—took place in mid-June. Its theme, “Integrated Life Cycle Management,” focused on strategies for cradle-to-grave stability in weapon systems programs. Lt. Gen. Kevin J. Sullivan, a former Ogden Air Logistics Center commander and now the deputy chief of staff for logistics, installations, and mission support, was among the speakers for the June 18 event.

Four members of the Cochise Chapter (Ariz.) served as science fair judges in Sierra Vista, Ariz., in March. Chapter President Ross B. Lampert; Susan R. Struck, aerospace education vice president; Harold W. Thomas, VP for membership; and TSgt. Dwight L. Bechel took part in the 25th annual Youth Engineering and Science Fair. The chapter sponsored two awards for projects having an Air Force connection. An entry on wind energy garnered one of the awards for Hannah Carignan from Colonel Smith Middle School at Ft. Huachuca. Michael Clark and Manuel Galaz from Bowie School in Bowie received the other award for their project on hot air balloons.

The Cochise Chapter also named Sandra Trevino as Teacher of the Year. She took home the State Teacher of the Year award a week later at the Southwest Region Conference in Tucson, Ariz. Trevino heads the math department at Buena High School.

The Hurlburt Chapter (Fla.) donated $1,000 to the Air Force Enlisted Village in May. The funds will be used for a video camera to capture oral histories from residents of the retirement facility in Shalimar, Fla. President Dann D. Mattiza presented the chapter donation to James C. Binnicker, president and CEO of the facility and the ninth Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force. The oral history project began last fall as an initiative of chapter member SMSgt. Francis Dailey II, and the collection will be submitted to the Library of Congress.

The Gen. Joseph W. Ralston Chapter in Cincinnati received a guided tour of General Electric’s Brian H. Rowe Learning Center at Evendale, Ohio, as part of its April membership meeting. Rick Kennedy, a GE Aircraft Engines spokesman, led the chapter members through the center, where engines familiar to Air Force personnel were displayed along with commercial airliner power plants. AFAers on hand for the tour included John W. McCance, Ohio state president; Robert L. Brewster, chapter president; Howard E. Hiler, chapter secretary; and Ronald Thompson, from the Wright Memorial Chapter in Dayton.

Long Island Chapter members attended a Cradle of Aviation Museum lecture in Garden City, N.Y., in May, featuring retired USAF Maj. Gen. Frederick C. Blesse. A two-tour Korean War ace, Blesse also flew 108 combat missions in the Vietnam War. Before his lecture at the Long Island museum, Blesse joined Northeast Region Director Maxine Rauch and Alphonse A. Parise, the Long Island Chapter’s aerospace education VP, in presenting the chapter’s Teacher of the Year award. Diana Soehl received the honor for her work as a science teacher at Robert Moses Middle School in North Babylon, N.Y.

The executive director of the Florida Department of Veterans’ Affairs was guest speaker for the May meeting of the Col. H. M. “Bud” West Chapter in Tallahassee, Fla. Retired Navy Reserve Rear Adm. LeRoy Collins Jr. spoke about legislation affecting the state’s 1.7 million veterans—particularly those now returning from the War on Terror—and described some of the state and federal benefits that they can receive.

The Chuck Yeager Chapter in Charleston, W.Va., has named Sherra L. Triggs as Chapter and State Teacher of the Year. At the ANG’s 167th Airlift Wing in Martinsburg, Triggs directs a Starbase educational program. The Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Reserve Affairs sponsors Starbase programs at several military facilities nationwide. The programs give students 20 to 25 hours of hands-on activities at a base. The activities cover science, technology, engineering, math, space, and aviation.

We organized it, managed it, and led it. So said Alfred E. Smith, president of the Genesee Valley Chapter in New York, describing his group’s role in the city of Rochester’s Memorial Day parade. Smith served as grand marshal for the parade. In addition, the chapter sponsored two units in the parade.

Unit Reunions

39th TCS Assn (WWII to present). Oct. 1-5 at the Hilton East in Tucson, AZ. Contact: Frank Morton, 6981 E. Calle Cerca, Tucson, AZ 85715 (520-790-8613) (

40th BG Assn, 20th AF, including members from the Caribbean, US, CBI, and Pacific. Oct. 16-20 in St. Louis. Contact: Jean Suitt, 10366 Brangus Dr., Crowley, TX 76036 (1-800-959-2582) (

312th BG Assn, SWPA (WWII). Sept. 18-21 at the Memphis Hilton in Memphis, TN. Contact: John Happy, PO Box 848, Haines City, FL 33845 (863-439-6657) (

459th BG Assn (WWII), Guilia Field, Cerignola, Italy, including 756th, 757th, 758th, and 759th BS and Gp Hq. Sept. 25-28 at the Airport Marriott, Atlanta. Contact: Susan Rawlston (770-934-5067) (

B-26 Marauder Historical Society. Oct. 27-29 at the Ramada Gateway Hotel, Kissimmee, FL. Contact:MHS Hq. (520-322-6226) ( (

China-Burma-India Hump pilots. Oct. 28-Nov. 3 at the Hyatt Regency in Boston. Contact: Nick Hudson, P.O. Box 489, Deer Park, WA 99006 (800-233-1234) (

Pilot Tng Class 56-D. Oct. 3-5 at the Hope Hotel at Wright-Patterson AFB, OH. Contact: Dick Drake, 303 East St., Radcliffe, IA 50230 (515-899-2168) (

Pilot Tng Class 66-A (Reese AFB). Oct. 12-14 at the Crockett Hotel in San Antonio, TX. Contact: Ed Blum (714-281-9171) (

Schilling AFB Maintenance Personnel. Oct. 7-9 at the Westwood Inn Motel in Branson, MO. Contact: Arthur Cook (580-864-7780) (

USAF Military Tng Instructor Assn. Oct. 22-24 at Lackland AFB, TX. Contact: John Pavey Jr. (828-226-2409) (

Westover AFB AF Special Projects Production Facility, including 8th Recon Tech Sq, 497th Recon Tech Gp, 6594th Test Sq, 7405th Support Gp, and 7499th Support Gp. Oct. 2-6 at the Holiday Inn Select Hotel-Opryland Airport in Nashville, TN. Contact: Dick Temple (703-786-4743) (

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.


Retired CMSAF James Binnicker (right) receives a donation for the Air Force Enlisted Village’s oral history project from Dann Mattiza, Hurlburt Chapter (Fla.) president.

Cochise Chapter President Ross Lampert presents Hannah Carignan with an AFA Citation at the Youth Engineering and Science Fair in Sierra Vista, Ariz.

Joseph W. Ralston Chapter members and guests (l-r Fred Williams and Don Reasoner) received a guided tour, covering GE aircraft engines, as part of a chapter meeting held at the GE Learning Center, Evendale, Ohio.

“Boots” Blesse (far right) helped the Long Island Chapter (N.Y.) honor Teacher of the Year Diana Soehl (next to Blesse). L-r are Maxine Rauch, the Northeast Region president, and Al Parise, chapter aerospace education VP.