AFA National Report

Aug. 1, 2012

Golden State Gathering

The Palm Springs Chapter hosted the California State Conference in May.

Events kicked off with an evening reception on Thursday, May 10, at the Palm Springs Hilton Hotel. Afterward the guests strolled through the Palm Springs VillageFest, a Thursday-night street fair with arts, crafts, food, and entertainment.

At the California State Convention, AFA Board Chairman Sandy Schlitt (right) and California State President Rex Moen (left) present an Outstanding Sustained Performance Award to Martin Ledwitz, state Area 3 president and a San Gabriel Chapter member.

The next morning’s golf outing earmarked proceeds for the AFA California state education foundation. Later on, convention-goers toured the Palm Springs Air Museum, which bills itself as home to one of the largest collections of flyable World War II aircraft.

The convention got down to AFA business the next day, with workshops, a luncheon focused on AFA member awards, and an evening banquet featuring military award winners.

AFA National Chairman of the Board S. Sanford Schlitt addressed the luncheon, and AFA’s Vice Chairman of the Board for Aerospace Education, George K. Muellner, was guest speaker for the evening awards banquet.

In elections, the conventioneers voted in as state president Lee M. Barnby of the Robert H. Goddard Chapter; as state VP Martin W. Ledwitz of the San Gabriel Chaper; and Nancy J. Driscoll from the Bob Hope Chapter as treasurer.

Laid to Rest

On Armed Forces Day in Farmingdale, N.Y., Iron Gate Chapter members joined several funeral homes and a host of local agencies and veterans organizations to lay to rest the unclaimed remains of area veterans.

The cremated remains of 56 veterans and six dependents had been in the care of 14 Long Island funeral homes for years.

Several of the vets had served in World War I. One had served in the Spanish-American War and had died in 1913. Families of these veterans had moved away, died, or lost touch, leaving the remains unclaimed. The funeral directors—organized by Iron Gate Chapter members Beth Costello and Kevin Costello—recently decided to band together and provide a formal tribute to and final resting place for these vets’ cremains.

The mass inurnment took place at the Department of Veterans Affairs Long Island National Cemetery on May 19.

From each funeral home, hearses first gathered at a muster area and formed a procession, led by police and fire department escorts. The sight caused people on the street to stop and render signs of respect, a local news account reported. Local elected officials, Patriot Guard motorcycle escorts, Boy Scouts, first-responders, and a local choir took part in various stages of the ceremony.

Each veteran’s urn was placed in a columbarium, with an engraved stone for each niche.

The audience at the tribute numbered in the hundreds and included New York State President Maxine Rauch and Iron Gate Chapter President Frank T. Hayes.

Big Sign for the Winners

When the Lt. Col. B. D. “Buzz” Wagner Chapter in Pennsylvania learned this spring that two state-level CyberPatriot competition winning teams came from its Johnstown area, Chapter Secretary Robert C. Rutledge took action.

He tracked down the two teams’ coaches and asked them what their students might like as a memento for their wins in the cyber security competition for high schoolers.

The coaches suggested banners: oversize signs to mount on the walls. So Rutledge collected images of the logos for each high school, for CyberPatriot, and for AFA and ordered two banners.

In his other role as state president, Rutledge joined Chapter President William B. Burns and Chapter Treasurer James M. Kirkstadt at an evening awards ceremony at Windber Area High School in Windber, Pa. They presented the CyberPatriot team with their banner, reading: First Runner-up, Open Division, Pennsylvania State.

William Burns (right), president of Pennsylvania’s Lt. Col. B. D. “Buzz” Wagner Chapter, and Chapter Treasurer James Kirkstadt (left) present Windber Area High School’s CyberPatriot team with a banner to commemorate their state-level achievement.

At the podium, Rutledge described the cyber defense competition to the audience. Dressed up in shirts and ties, team members Ben Crow, Zack Mattis, Josh Maurizio, and Brett Wargo stepped onto the school auditorium’s stage to accept the banner. Behind them on the stage sat all the seniors in their graduation gowns.

To the Bishop McCort High School CyberPatriot Team in Johnstown, Rutledge presented a banner that said: Third Place, Open Division, Pennsylvania State.

Team members Michael Barron, Krista Alt, Lisa Vatavuk, and Haoyun Liang accepted the chapter’s gift.

The students were “very excited … that the team actually received something,” Rutledge commented. He pointed out that the banners cost some $30 each, “not all that expensive for the chapter to do.”

Role Reversal

Usually, it’s an AFA chapter that presents an award, but in Ohio, University of Cincinnati students reversed the roles when they gave the Gen. Joseph W. Ralston Chapter an AFA Silver Wings award.

At an April meeting, Ralston Chapter President Robert L. Brewster accepted a James A. McDonnell Outstanding AFA Chapter Award from AFROTC cadet Jeremy J. Dunbar, an area commander for the Arnold Air Society and also a chapter member. Dunbar made the presentation on behalf of the university’s Silver Wings organization, which is affiliated with the AAS.

According to their manual, the Silver Wings college-level professional service organization awards the McDonnell honor to an AFA chapter that helps a SW chapter reach its goals. It is named after an AFA headquarters liaison who, before his retirement in 2000, fostered ties between the association, cadets at the high school and college level, and their support organizations.

Asked why his chapter received the award, Brewster said three activities stand out.

The chapter donates funds to help the students carry out an Air Force military ball each spring. Second, it donates to a football game tailgate party for freshmen students in the fall. Brewster mans the grill at this event, slapping down hamburgers, hotdogs, and sausages called metts—Cincinnati shorthand for the pork-based mettwurst.

Third, Silver Wings and AAS volunteers help the chapter co-host a Super Bowl party for residents of Cincinnati’s Veterans Affairs Medical Center. The visitors provide soft drinks and snacks for the patients during the game, and 14 pizzas donated by another supporter arrive at halftime. Brewster said the VA residents go for the pizza with gusto. “They don’t get that at the hospital,” he explained.

Even more appreciated are the Silver Wings students themselves. Brewster said they listen to the vets’ “war stories,” and “the patients just really enjoy the attention they get.”

Symposium and Salute

In Virginia, the Langley Chapter carried out at least four major activities in the course of two days in May.

The chapter hosted the seventh annual Combat Air Forces Airpower Symposium at Joint Base Langley-Eustis on May 16 and helped celebrate the Salute to Air Combat Command and Team Langley the next day.

This year, the symposium covered “Securing the High Ground: Dominant Combat Airpower for America.”

At a Memorial Day ceremony in Richmond, Va., Richmond Chapter President Harper Alford (left) and Leigh Wade Chapter President Gary Metzinger (right) present an AFA wreath.

Chapter President Jimmy W. Ruth wrote that it provided “an outstanding opportunity to strengthen government-to-industry relationships, fostered an excellent exchange of information with senior leaders, and provided information to industry on future CAF business opportunities.”

The head of Air Combat Command, Gen. G. Michael Hostage III, was symposium keynote speaker. Following his remarks came a panel discussion by CAF leaders: Gen. Donald J. Hoffman, from Air Force Materiel Command; Gen. Gary L. North, the Pacific Air Forces commander; Gen. Edward A. Rice Jr., head of Air Education and Training Command; Gen. Mark A. Welsh III, head of US Air Forces in Europe; Lt. Gen. James M. Kowalski, commander of Air Force Global Strike Command; and Brig. Gen. Derek P. Rydholm, Air Force Reserve Command’s director of air, space, and information operations.

Other ACC officials presented briefings and took part in panel discussions on topics such as air superiority, global integrated ISR, and personnel recovery.

The chapter later held a reception at the Langley Club.

The chapter hosted the annual morale-boosting Salute to ACC and Team Langley the next morning, beginning with a golf tournament at the Langley Eaglewood Golf Course.

At the Salute Dinner held that evening at the Langley Bayside Commonwealth Center, the chapter donated $1,600 to ACC and Team Langley to help fund programs supporting airmen.

More Chapter News

In California in March, the Monterey Bay Area Chapter officially changed its name to the Stan Hryn Monterey Bay Chapter. Stanley J. Hryn served in USAF from 1942 to 1954 and reached the rank of technical sergeant. He joined AFA in 1948, starting out as treasurer of what was then called the Fresno Squadron, one of AFA’s original charter chapters. Through the decades he has served as California state secretary, Northern California VP, state president, state board chairman, and veterans affairs chairman. In 1959 he organized the Monterey chapter, reported Chapter Communications VP 1st Lt. Erin C. Mires. Hryn served as chapter president for 13 years. The chapter marked the name change with a ceremony held during the California AFA Area 1 meeting in Seaside, Calif.

Hawaii Chapter representatives took part in the Memorial Day ceremony that the mayor of Honolulu hosts every year at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific. Col. Sam C. Barrett, 15th Wing commander at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam; CMSgt. Robert W. Rodewald, the wing’s command chief; Chapter President John F. Murphy Jr.; Executive VP Newton H. Wong; and Far West Region Leadership VP Nora Ruebrook attended the event at the cemetery known informally as Punchbowl. As did other organizations, the AFAers laid a wreath, with the cemetery’s Honolulu Memorial as the backdrop. (TV viewers would recognize this location because the memorial’s iconic statue appears in the opening credits of the show “Hawaii Five-O.”)

In Wyoming, Cheyenne Cowboy Chapter President Irene G. Johnigan and Rocky Mountain Region President Gayle White from Colorado presented the State Teacher of the Year award at the annual AFA Armed Forces Day Banquet in Cheyenne. Michelle Powers, a first-grade teacher at the city’s Pioneer Park Elementary School, received the award during the gathering. The chapter hosts it for 90th Missile Wing airmen from F. E. Warren Air Force Base. It took place at the Holiday Inn and featured Maj. Gen. C. Donald Alston, 20th Air Force commander, as guest speaker.

Susan Loricchio, AFA New Jersey and also the Shooting Star Chapter Government Affairs VP, represented the association at a Memorial Day ceremony aboard the former aircraft carrier Intrepid, now a museum on New York City’s west side. Special guests that day included US Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney (D), US Fleet Forces Commander Adm. John C. Harvey, and the city’s police commissioner Raymond W. Kelly.

Col. George M. Livers, 1920-2012

Retired USAF Col. George M. Livers, a former AFA Tennessee State President, died June 19 in Memphis, Tenn. He was 92 years old.

Born in Martinsburg, W.Va., he joined the Army Air Corps for World War II and served for 30 years, flying in three combat theaters, including Korea and Vietnam. After retiring from the Air Force in 1971, he worked for the Mississippi-Arkansas-Tennessee Council of Governments.


At the California State Convention, George Muellner, AFA’s Vice Chairman for Aerospace Education, presents an award to SMSgt. Lorenzo Perez Jr. of the California State Military Reserve. Next to Perez is AFA Board Chairman Sandy Schlitt, with California State President Rex Moen. At the podium is Norm Marous.

Pennsylvania State President Bob Rutledge (left) presented a CyberPatriot banner to Bishop McCort High School’s team members Michael Barron, Krista Alt, Lisa Vatavuk, and Haoyun Liang. Their coach Mark Anderson is at right.

Ralston Chapter President Bob Brewster receives a Silver Wings award from cadet Jeremy Dunbar. The University of Cincinnati cadet presented the award on behalf of the school’s Silver Wings president, Taryn Strait.

The Monterey, Calif., chapter is now named for Stan Hryn (front row, right). With Stan is Chapter President Christian Haun. Back row (l-r): Far West Region President Richard Taubinger and State President Rex Moen.

California State President Rex Moen speaks at the Area 1 state AFA meeting in Seaside, Calif.

Col. Sam Barrett (left) and CMSgt. Robert Rodewald line up to present the AFA Hawaii wreath at a Memorial Day ceremony in Honolulu.

Hawaii Chapter Executive VP Newton Wong (left) and Hawaii Chapter President John Murphy Jr. pose with the AFA Hawaii wreath at the National Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu.

Teacher Michelle Powers receives the Wyoming State Teacher of the Year award from Cheyenne Cowboy Chapter President Irene Johnigan (left) and Rocky Mountain Region President Gayle White (right).

Shooting Star Chapter’s Susan Loricchio, wearing an AFA polo shirt, represented the association at a Memorial Day ceremony attended by NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly (second from right). Surrounding them are women pilots of the Ninety-Nines.

Sandy Schlitt speaks at a farewell reception for AFA President-CEO Mike Dunn (left) at AFA headquarters in June. Dunn led the association’s professional staff and managed AFA operations from 2007 through July 1012.

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz (center) smiles at Schiltt’s remarks during the farewell reception for Dunn. Secretary of the Air Force Michael Donley also attended the event.


5th Bombardment Gp, USAAF, (WWII). Sept. 20-23 in San Diego. Contact: Dag Larsen (949-725-6460) (

317th Troop Carrier Veterans Group. Oct. 11-14 in Columbus, GA. Contact: Jim Timmons, 758 221st St., Pasadena, MD 21122 (410-255-2735) (

365th Fighter-Bomber Gp. Sept. 27-29 in Pigeon Forge, TN. Contacts: Don Barnes (408-859-7088) ( or Di Williams (951-677-6321) (

384th Bomb Gp, 8th AF (WWII). Oct. 18-21 at the Hyatt Regency in San Antonio. Contact: Carol Alfter (937-306-2142) (

774th Tactical Airlift. Oct. 5-6 in Abilene, TX. Contact: W. C. Robinson (806-470-7034) (

IFR Assn, boomers. Oct. 15-19 at the Silver Legacy Hotel in Reno, NV. Contacts: Judge Brown (209-358-2898) ( or Jorge Mangual (478-953-6539).

UPT Class 71-01, Laredo, TX. Oct. 18-22 in Las Vegas. Contacts: Phil Duval (831-479-7282) ( or John Powers (253-350-5029) (

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.