Tickled by the Prince
At the Warrior Games in Colorado in May, Brandon Bishop—sponsored in part by Colorado State AFA—competed in sitting volleyball against other military services athletes and—oh, by the way—Britain’s Prince Harry.
To hear Colorado State President George T. Cavalli tell it, an exhibition match took place, with players including Gen. William L. Shelton, commander of Air Force Space Command; Misty May-Treanor, the Olympic beach volleyball gold medalist; and Bishop, among those on this US team.
Brandon Bishop and Tom Cavalli (right) display an AFA Wounded Airman Program Certificate of Recognition. (Staff photo by Caitie Craumer)
Bishop was sitting directly across the net from the prince—who is a British Army captain—when the sometimes mischievous royal reached out and tickled him. The two men began laughing, says Cavalli.
Bishop in fact told Cavalli that it had been years since he had smiled as much as he had at the Warrior Games. The week of athletic competition between injured veterans and service members—including those from the British armed forces—took place at the Air Force Academy and US Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs.
Bishop, a medically retired senior airman originally in security forces at F. E. Warren AFB, Wyo., traveled to the games from Milwaukee, with Colorado State AFA pitching in $800 to help defray expenses.
Cavalli, a Lance P. Sijan Chapter member, attended all seated volleyball games held in the evening. He also supported Bishop by listening to him, taking him to church—after noticing a cross highlighted in Bishop’s tattoos—and introducing him to people with similar backgrounds and others who could help him reach his goal of earning a degree in criminal justice and starting a security company. He bought Bishop a laptop computer and has tried to stay in touch with him daily.
Cavalli expressed admiration for the 24-year-old, pointing out that the young man played in the last volleyball games, including the one against the prince, even though he had pulled a leg muscle.
“Brandon has a very bright future ahead of him,” Cavalli commented in an e-mail. “He has a very positive attitude, and given his competitive nature, I know he will succeed.”
The 50 Air Force athletes and their alternates who competed in the games received one-year memberships in AFA.
A Visit From the Head Shed
Gen. Edward A. Rice Jr., the head of Air Education and Training Command, and AETC’s top enlisted leader, CMSgt. Gerardo Tapia, kicked off their tour of Columbus AFB, Miss., with a reception sponsored by the Golden Triangle Chapter in West Point, Miss.
In his remarks to guests at the reception, Rice spoke about changes in Air Force training priorities caused by sequestration. He said AETC’s flying training missions continue at the expense of standing down more than 10 CONUS-based combat flying squadrons, reported Chapter President Richard T. Johnson.
Eglin Chapter President Shannon Farrell and SMSgt. Chris McWilliams from the Eglin Top 3 Association hold the donation presented to the local Fisher House.
Rice also stated that it will take 20 years to recover from cuts made today and that he is comfortable with the numbers of pilots being produced, foreseeing no decline in the future, Johnson wrote.
The mayor of Columbus, Miss., Robert E. Smith Sr., and the 14th Flying Training Wing’s commander, Col. James R. Sears Jr., were among the community and base leaders at the June 17 event, held at Prairie Wildlife Preserve’s lodge.
A Word From Chief Cody
In Massachusetts, the Paul Revere Chapter invited CMSAF James A. Cody to Hanscom Air Force Base as keynote speaker for what President Keith M. Taylor calls “the chapter’s signature event”: the Chief of Staff Scholarship Dinner.
Cody arrived the night before and made the most of an opportunity to listen to Hanscom airmen. He held two enlisted calls, met base leadership, and, according to Taylor, found time for one-on-one mentorship sessions. Cody’s escorts included chapter members CMSgt. Cindy Rainey and CMSgt. Kathleen M. McCool—a 2011 Outstanding Airman of the Year—and CMSgt. Mitchell K. Balutski.
That evening, Cody served as keynote speaker at the annual scholarship dinner, held at a local hotel, addressing the audience of some 130 people.
He then helped Paul Revere Chapter President Keith M. Taylor present $15,000 in scholarships.
The prestigious Chief of Staff Scholarship went to Erika Hill, from Wachusett Regional High School, who heads to MIT this month. Other recipients were: SrA. John Fay from the 66th Air Base Group, SSgt. Justin Beckett from the 66th Medical Squadron, Hill, Halie LeSavage, and Tom Kobylarz, representing his daughter Karlie.
Fay’s and Beckett’s scholarships were named for Louis A. Emond, an AFA leader in New Hampshire and later North Carolina, who died in May 2012.
LeSavage and Kobylarz each received a $4,500 scholarship named for Charles E. Jones and Brian D. Sweeney, respectively. Jones, a retired USAF colonel, and Sweeney, a defense contractor, died on airliners that hijackers flew into the World Trade Center’s north and south towers on 9/11.
Industry support makes these scholarships “self-sufficient,” says Taylor. Corporate sponsors bought tables at the dinner and the next day raised more funds at a golf outing.
Run for the Money
The Eglin Chapter in Florida joined forces with the Eglin Top 3 Association to host their third annual 5K run and walk—plus a one-mile fun run for kids—at Fort Walton Beach. Held in March, the event benefitted the local Fisher House.
Chapter President Shannon Farrell, who finished No. 35 overall in the 5K field of 215, said the runners and walkers “braved the unusually cold morning for Northwest Florida, where temperatures hovered around 40 degrees,” to support the cause. The Fisher House Foundation has built homes on the grounds of military and Veterans Affairs medical centers nationwide and in Europe. Fisher Houses enable family members to stay near loved ones who have been hospitalized for combat injuries, illness, or disease.
The Magnolia Grill hosted participants at an after-party and awards ceremony. The restaurant’s owner, Tom Rice, is both a Chapter Community Partner and board member of the local Fisher House of the Emerald Coast.
Combined with cash donations from Quality Toyota, Northwest Florida Regional Airport, and the Crestview Military Affairs Council, the chapter, and Eglin Top 3 raised $11,000 for the Fisher House.
The check presentation took place in June. On hand were: SMSgt. John Lang, Eglin Top 3 president; MSgt. Kerry Miller, a Top 3 VP; Eglin Chapter VP Eddie McAllister; Farrell; SMSgt. Chris McWilliams, Top 3 past president; Chapter Secretary Shirley Piggott, who is also on the Fisher House board of directors; Valene Harris, also a board member; Rice; and Chapter Treasurer Steve Czonstka.
More Chapter News
In Newport News, Va., Langley Chapter President Vince Wisniewski presented a $1,000 grant to Menchville High School’s AFJROTC senior aerospace science instructor, retired Lt. Col. Kristopher J. Alden, and cadet Grey Davenport. Alden is a chapter member. The chapter donated half the funds, with Virginia State AFA matching it. The donation helped cadets attend their Summer Leadership School. Chapter Communications VP John Murphy explained that the optional extracurricular SLS teaches cadets citizenship and leadership in a structured and focused environment. SLS took place in late June at JB Langley-Eustis, Va.
Sarasota-Manatee Chapter members, including President Michael Richardson and Bud Freeman, held a chapter barbecue in Florida. Martin Sobel spoke to the group about the Experimental Aircraft Association’s Young Eagles program.
18th Fighter Wg Assn, Korea. Oct. 17-20,Doubletree Hotel,Maryland Heights, MD. Contact: Rich (314-434-1380).
39th Fighter Sq Assn, all eras, including the 31st Pursuit Gp, 35th Fighter-Interceptor Wg, 39th, 40th, & 41st FS, 39th Flying Tng Sq. Oct. 23-27, San Antonio. Contact: L. Haddock (719-687-6425) (email@example.com).
93rd Bomb Sq. Oct. 2-7 at Barksdale AFB, LA. Contact: Mark Alvarez (318-529-3137) (firstname.lastname@example.org).
384th Bomb Gp. Oct. 10-13, Sheraton Norfolk Waterside Hotel, Norfolk, VA. Contact: 384th Bomb Gp, Armed Forces Reunions, Inc., 322 Madison Mews, Norfolk, VA 23510 (www.afr-reg.com/384bg2013).
485th BG, Italy (1944-1945). Oct. 9-13, Doubletree Hotel, Tampa, FL. Contact: Jim Scheib (email@example.com).
F-4 Phantom II Society and all F-4 fans. Oct. 21-25, National Museum of the US Air Force, Dayton, OH. Contact: Bill Crean (856-461-6637) (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Misty Fast FACs. Oct. 27-30, Ramada Plaza Beach Resort, Fort Walton Beach, FL. Contact: Jack Doub (229-415-3579) (email@example.com).
Phan Rang AB, Vietnam, all units, all eras. Oct. 3-6, San Antonio. Contact:Doug Severt (firstname.lastname@example.org).
REDHORSE Assn, all past and present and Prime BEEF members. Sept. 22-26, Holiday Inn University Plaza, Bowling Green, KY. Contact: Charlie Hogan (270-749-5461) (email@example.com).
Tac Recce Reunion Assn. Oct. 9-12, Fort Walton Beach, FL. Contact: C. Choate (850-279-3037) (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Travis AFB Aero Repair Shop and all aero repair shop alumni. Aug. 30-Sep. 1. Contact: Eric Jaren(email@example.com).
UPT Class 68-A, Webb AFB, Tex. Sept. 12-15, National Museum of the US Air Force and Holiday Inn, Fairborn, OH. Contact: Larry Bowers (540-828-4858) (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Unit reunion notices should be sent four months ahead of the event to email@example.com, 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.