AFA National Report

Aug. 1, 2011

Smarter, Faster, at Lower Cost

The biggest crowd in its 32-year history turned out for the Focus on Defense Symposium, co-hosted by the Ogden Air Logistics Center and Utah AFA: the Northern Utah Chapter, Salt Lake Chapter, and Ute-Rocky Mountain Chapter.

During the day-long symposium in June, some 440 government, military, and defense industry representatives discussed how to aggressively go after efficiency initiatives, a challenge laid down by Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates last summer.

Guest speakers—led by Frank Kendall, the principal deputy undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology, and logistics—provided perspectives on how the Air Force can achieve lower cost with the same performance; the same cost with improved performance; and improved effectiveness and efficiency.

AFA member Kevin J. Sullivan, a former Ogden ALC commander, and Walter W. Saeger of the Northern Utah Chapter, helped organize Focus on Defense and its two days of related activities.

AFA Chairman of the Board Sandy Schlitt speaks at a Focus on Defense event in Layton, Utah. The symposium attracted its biggest turnout in more than three decades.

Business Boot Camp

The Col. H. M. “Bud” West Chapter in Tallahassee, Fla., donated more than a thousand dollars in May to a program that assists disabled Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans become business entrepreneurs.

F. Randy Blass, director of the Entrepreneurship Boot Camp for Veterans with Disabilities program at Florida State University, had spoken to the chapter’s dinner meeting last year. EBV begins online, followed by nine days of on-campus boot camp, and a year of ongoing mentorship afterward, all with the aim of guiding veterans to success as entrepreneurs and small-business managers.

The program originated in 2007 at Syracuse University and has since been incorporated into the business schools of seven other universities, including UCLA and Texas A & M.

Bud West Chapter Vice President Donna J. Dye was among those moved by Blass’ presentation last year and volunteered to spearhead an effort to provide financial support from the chapter. After nine months of fund-raising, the chapter was able to present a $1,200 donation to Blass at the May meeting.

Selected veterans attend the entrepreneurship boot camp for free, with costs such as travel, lodging, and meals paid for by private donations.

The Bud West Chapter’s funds helped carry out the June 9 to 17 EBV boot camp.

Big Navy

The Southern Indiana Chapter’s May meeting featured a sister service.

Navy Capt. Charles S. LaSota, the commander of Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Division, spoke to the evening gathering about his 100-square-mile facility—located in southwestern Indiana—the Navy’s third-largest installation. Its mission: engineering and sustainment of sensors, electronics, and electronic warfare and special warfare weapons.

Chapter President James E. Fultz said LaSota covered Crane’s history, beginning in 1941, when it was a bomb and shell-loading and storage facility. It has evolved into an engineering center, with scientists, engineers, and technicians constituting more than 70 percent of its 3,000 Navy employees.

Too Big To Ignore

The Tennessee Valley Chapter in Huntsville, Ala., arranged some oversize publicity for CyberPatriot, AFA’s cybersecurity competition for high-schoolers.

Working with a Community Partner, Lamar Advertising, the chapter arranged for five digital billboards to promote CyberPatriot in the greater Huntsville area.

Digital billboards have a vibrant light-emitting-diode (LED) screen displaying a message for several seconds before moving on to another one. The chapter’s CyberPatriot message runs as a public service announcement, on a space-available basis, at no cost.

The electronic billboards flash a two-sentence message: “Is Your High School Part of the National CyberPatriot Competition? For more info, go to”

Susan Mallett, aerospace education VP for AFA’s South Central Region, said the chapter wants to expand this free advertising effort throughout Alabama. Thus the billboard emphasizes CyberPatriot, not a specific chapter, she pointed out.

The Tennessee Valley Chapter’s CyberPatriot team of Robert J. Kuehn and Gary Connor have been leading this publicity campaign, with help from Mallett, who is from the Montgomery Chapter (Ala.). Outreach has involved e-mailing city and school officials and presentations to local organizations such as the board of education.

Academic Approach to Acquisition

Gen. Bruce K. Holloway Chapter members in Tennessee attended a presentation by the National Defense Business Institute at the University of Tennessee on May 3.

David Patterson, the institute’s executive director, delivered the presentation.

Under the umbrella of the university’s College of Business Administration, the institute provides research and studies to help create efficient and effective defense acquisition programs.

A retired Air Force colonel, Patterson is also a former principal deputy undersecretary of defense in the comptroller’s office, and was a McDonnell Douglas executive as well.

Members of the East Tennessee Military Affairs Council and the Tennessee Veterans Business Association joined the chapter members for this event.

Reunion War Stories

When the World War II Eighth Air Force’s 351st Bomb Group held its reunion in Virginia Beach, Va., in June, Tidewater Chapter members saw an opportunity for piggybacking.

Why not? From its station at Polebrook, UK, the 351st flew B-17 Flying Fortresses and is credited with more than 9,000 sorties. The unit roster in World War II included movie star Capt. Clark Gable and Medal of Honor recipients 2nd Lt. Walter E. Truemper and Sgt. Archibald Mathies.

So when Tidewater Chapter officer William M. Cuthriell Jr. read in Air Force Magazine that the highly regarded unit would be in Virginia Beach for its 35th reunion, he and chapter member Chip Moran set to work. Moran arranged for a memorial service for reunion attendees. It took place at JB Langley, Va. Moran also arranged for the base’s Honor Guard and band to take part in the 351st’s reunion banquet.

The chapter organized a tour of Virginia Beach’s Military Aviation Museum, owned by Community Partner Gerald Yagen. The museum’s B-17 was in Canada at an air show, but Cuthriell reported that the reunion attendees nevertheless enjoyed seeing an old foe: the Fw-190.

To thank the chapter for its help on reunion activities, two 351st B-17 pilots, Richard G. Dinning and Clinton W. Hammond spoke at a chapter dinner meeting that weekend. Hammond showed the audience a D ring from his parachute and a piece of flak. Chapter members learned that B-17 crews sometimes held a lottery on missions: The winner was the crew of the aircraft returning home with the most flak and bullet holes.

The Flag: Teachable Moments

In May, Central Florida Chapter’s aerospace education VP presented a history lesson to the students of a former AFA National Teacher of the Year.

Richard A. Ortega, who is the state aerospace education VP as well, taught a class at Riverside Elementary School in Orlando, Fla., about the history of the US flag. The fourth-graders’ regular instructor is Barbara Walters-Phillips, who was the association’s top teacher in 1995.

“Sorry to tell you,” Ortega wrote later, “our K-12 students do not receive much training—if any—about the history of our US flag.”

He rectified this by teaching the youngsters about the flag’s background, beginning with Congress’ approval of the stars and stripes in 1777. He explained that each star represents a state according to the date it was accepted in to the union. He involved the students in his lesson by teaching them how to fold and handle the flag.

The students then competed for a brand-new $2 bill by answering questions on topics Ortega had just taught. He in turn used the opportunity to explain the scene depicted on the reverse side of the $2 bill: the presentation of the Declaration of Independence.

More Chapter News

In Virginia, the Gen. Charles A. Gabriel Chapter awarded its AFA Top Cadet Award to Sarah Graupp, a senior at Chantilly (Va.) Academy. In the top two percent of 110 cadets in the school’s AFJROTC unit, Graupp held the highest leadership positions in the detachment over the last two years, while maintaining a 3.988 grade point average and National Honor Society membership, reported Nancy T. Cribb, the chapter’s communications VP. Graupp will attend James Madison University in Harrisburg, Va., where she will study chemistry on an AFROTC scholarship.

At Youngstown ARS, Ohio, in May, the Steel Valley Chapter presented several awards at a banquet. Brian Foutty, a math teacher at Trumbull Career and Technical Center in Warren, Ohio, received the Teacher of the Year Award, presented by Chapter VP Fred Kubli Jr. An AFJROTC cadet from the same school received the Outstanding Cadet Award from Kubli. Lindsay Keller will attend Bowling Green University this fall on an Army ROTC scholarship.

On Memorial Day on Long Island, N.Y., more than 250,000 people attended an air show. All that weekend, Long Island Chapter members, led by Chapter President Fred Di Fabio, manned an AFA display associated with it. “This is always a great opportunity to talk to the public and educate them and explain our mission and our programs on Long Island,” commented Di Fabio. A B-25, B-29, B-17, and P-51 World War II warbirds, and other aircraft staged from the American Airpower Museum in Farmingdale. The chapter’s display was located next to the Superfortress.

As home to Fort Huachuca, it’s definitely an Army town, but in Sierra Vista, Ariz., in May, Cochise Chapter’s Air Force members led the observance of Memorial Day, reports George L. Castle, chapter president. The chapter’s communications VP, retired USAF Lt. Col. Gary M. Phillips, served as keynote speaker for the first service, sponsored by the local American Legion post. Retired USAF Col. Robert B. Strain delivered the main address at another service, organized by the Sierra Vista United Veterans Council.

For Memorial Day in the 50th State, Hawaii Chapter President Nora Ruebrook joined chapter members Col. Sam C. Barrett, 15th Wing commander at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, and CMSgt. Craig S. Recker, the wing’s command chief master sergeant, at the Honolulu Mayor’s Memorial Day Ceremony at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific. On behalf of AFA, they were among some 60 military and veterans organizations representatives who laid floral wreaths in tribute to more than 51,000 people interred at the cemetery.

By the numbers: The Thomas W. Anthony Chapter in Maryland calculated that in the past nine years, it has distributed 131,000 complimentary back issues of Air Force Magazine, most recently some 1,650 copies at the open house and air show held each May at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland. In addition, chapter members have provided the local Airman Leadership School and NCO Development Program with nearly 8,000 free magazines.


Col. H. M. “Bud” West Chapter VP Donna Dye presents Randy Blass (far right) with a donation to aid a Boot Camp for Veterans With Disabilities. Chapter President Cliff Palmer is at center.

The Tennessee Valley Chapter arranged for this CyberPatriot billboard through a Community Partner, Lamar Advertising.

Gen. Bruce K. Holloway Chapter’s Community Partner VP Steve Dillenburg (left) presents a CP plaque to (center, l-r) Jim Cagle and Lee Cross, with Joe Sutter, former AFA Board Chairman (far right). The Cagle Cross & Dillenburg group is the chapter’s newest CP.

Southern Indiana Chapter President Jim Fultz thanks the chapter’s guest speaker, Navy Capt. Charles LaSota.

AFJROTC cadet Sarah Graupp receives the Top Cadet Award from the Gen. Charles A. Gabriel Chapter’s Gina Giles, aerospace education VP.

AFJROTC cadet Sarah Graupp, the Gen. Charles A. Gabriel Chapter’s Top Cadet awardee, receives a ribbon from retired Lt. Col. Tim Lambert, senior aerospace science instructor, Chantilly Academy, Va.

Walter Saeger Jr., a Focus on Defense organizer, helps out at a charity golf tournament held in conjunction with the symposium. The tournament raises funds for the Utah Aerospace Education Foundation.

Central Florida Chapter members Richard Ortega (right) and Barbara Walters-Phillips taught her class of fourth-graders about the American flag, even using a $2 bill to illustrate a point.

Presenting the Hawaii Chapter’s wreath at a Memorial Day ceremony in Honolulu were Col. Sam Barrett (l), 15th Wing commander, JB Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, and CMSgt. Craig Recker, the wing’s command chief master sergeant.

Cochise Chapter’s Bob Strain addresses the audience at a Memorial Day ceremony in Sierra Vista, Ariz.

Also in Sierra Vista, Ariz., on Memorial Day, Cochise Chapter’s Communications Director Gary Phillips was keynote speaker at a ceremony.

Retired Brig. Gen. Bill Webb of the Col. H. M. “Bud ” West Chapter stands next to a display in the Senate chambers of Florida’s Old Capitol Building. He met with prospective students (and parents) of the Air Force Academy in March, as part of US Service Academy Day, hosted by US Rep Steve Southerland (R-Fla.)


1st Fighter Assn. Sept. 14-18 at the Mission Inn in Riverside, CA. Contact: Pete Marty (

5th Aerial Port, Evreux-Mildenhall. Aug. 18-21 in Fairborn, OH. Contacts: Bill Bishop ( or Lee Jarrett (

18th Fighter-Interceptor Sq. Sept. 26-29 in Colorado Springs, CO. Contact: Jim Sidebottom (303-913-9104) (

40th Fighter/Test Sq Assn. Oct. 6-9 at the Hilton House NASA Clear Lake, Houston. Contact: Keith Kosan (850-687-0009) (

384th Air Refueling Sq. Sept. 9-11 at the Wichita Marriott Hotel in Wichita, KS. Contact: Kenneth Godstrey, 12018 Maycheck Ln., Bowie, MD 20715 (301-464-1150) (

405th Bomb Sq, Laon AB, France (1953-59). Sept. 20-24 in Las Vegas. Contact: Willie Wise (717-838-1561) (

Johnson AB, Japan (1946-62). Sept. 29-Oct. 1 in Nashville, TN. Contact: Keith Swinehart (303-814-0800) (

National Red Horse Assn, including Prime Beef. Oct. 16-20 at the Holiday Inn San Antonio Downtown, San Antonio. Contacts: Paul Sattler (303-650-1215) ( or Greg MacDougal (912-396-1359) (

Randolph UPT Class 70-05. Oct. 27-30 in Savannah, GA. Contact: Howard Hackney, 605 S. Lapeer Rd., Oxford, MI 48371 (248-505-1964 or 248-236-9050).

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.