AFA National Report

Oct. 1, 2011

Iron Gate Salutes 50 Years

In New York City in July, the Iron Gate Chapter celebrated its golden anniversary with a salute to the Air Force—and a visit from the Air Force Chief of Staff, Gen. Norton A. Schwartz.

Chapter President Frank T. Hayes says that five decades ago, another USAF Chief of Staff, Gen. Curtis E. LeMay, “saw the need for an increased Air Force presence in Manhattan and suggested an AFA chapter.” Hayes says this prompted Maxwell A. Kriendler—a Reserve colonel and an owner of the 21 Club—to establish the chapter, name it, and give it a home at the restaurant. The midtown eatery is fronted by a wrought iron fence and balcony, thus the name Iron Gate.

For the 50th anniversary celebration, an Air Force flag flew above the restaurant’s entrance, in honor of the AFA guests, who included Georgette Mosbacher, a cosmetics company CEO.

Even New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg took note of the event. He sent a proclamation, read at the luncheon by the city’s veterans affairs commissioner, Terrance C. Holliday. It proclaimed July 28 as Air Force Day in New York City. The document highlighted some of the Empire State’s links to the military, including Fiorello LaGuardia’s World War I service with a bomb squadron in Europe. (La Guardia at the time was serving in Congress and went on to become New York City’s mayor, 1934-45.)

Schwartz, who grew up in Toms River, N.J., spoke to this sold-out luncheon audience about the budget constraints facing the Air Force.

The chapter named Schwartz as an H. H. Arnold Fellow, and he later helped present several awards, including Chapter Teacher of the Year. Science teacher Peter Giles received the honor. Among those named as Jimmy Doolittle Fellows were: New York State President Maxine Rauch; W. Glenn Mackey, chapter aerospace education VP; and Carol Nelson, chapter secretary. The chapter named the late retired Maj. Gen. J. Stanley Holtoner as an Arnold Fellow.

USAF Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz addresses the Iron Gate Chapter’s 50th anniversary celebration in New York City. The chapter caught his attention through an invitation hand-delivered to the Pentagon. Iron Gate meets at the 21 Club, whose decorative jockey statues (background) were gifts from racehorse owners.

A silent auction took place as part of the anniversary activities, with guests bidding for items such as models of the F-16, B-1, and F-105.

Three USO singers presented a musical tribute to Bob Hope, and a Broadway vocalist sang two numbers, including the Air Force Song.

And what’s a birthday without presents? Guests went home with a gift bag filled with a 50th anniversary medallion; souvenir program; CD by singer Rebecca Henricks; and the books If Not Now, When?, by Medal of Honor recipient retired Army Col. Jack H. Jacobs, and We Served With Honor, about the 91st Strategic Reconnaissance Wing.

Lone Star Convention

At the Texas State Convention in Fredericksburg in July, Justin M. Faiferlick, the AFA vice chairman of the board for field operations, provided an update of AFA initiatives and a preview of the national convention.

Donald Taylor, a member of AFA’s Veterans/Retiree Council, and William D. Croom Jr., from AFA’s Aerospace Education Council, also delivered briefings.

Among award recipients highlighted at this state convention was Texas Teacher of the Year Darren Carollo, from Lincoln High School in Dallas. A physics and environmental systems teacher for the 11th and 12th grades, Carollo had earlier been named the Seidel-AFA Dallas Chapter’s Teacher of the Year.

Another awardee, the winner of the Earle North Parker essay contest, came from the Denton Chapter area. Student Brandon Bear wrote an essay on this year’s theme, excellence in all we do, one of the Air Force’s core values. The contest is named for a Fort Worth businessman who died in 1993. Parker had served in the Army Air Forces in World War II and later founded the Fort Worth Chapter.

AFA honorees received their awards at the convention’s evening banquet, where Brig.Gen. Mark A. Ediger served as guest speaker. He is commander of the Air Force Medical Operations Agency at Lackland AFB, Tex.

Hot Bats

“Warm and steamy,” wrote Northern Shenandoah Valley Chapter VP Norman M. Haller.

He was describing conditions at the chapter’s annual baseball outing in Winchester, Va., organized for clients of the VA Medical Center in Martinsburg, W.Va.

Out on the diamond, the bats were hot, too. With the AFAers cheering in the stands, the hometown Winchester Royals won both games: three to two, then 10 to five against the Covington Lumberjacks.

On that 95-degree Wednesday evening in July, the chapter hosted 28 veterans plus staff from the Department of Veterans Affairs facility, so they could attend this Valley Baseball League double-header.

Chapter veterans affairs VP Jim Phillips always arranges this event. Along with Phillips and Haller, other chapter members at the game were Thomas G. Shepherd, Raleigh H. Watson Jr., Stephanie D. Portillo, and Ed Bell.

Before the second game got under way that evening, the announcer acknowledged the AFA visitors, who included veterans from the Vietnam War and Operation Iraqi Freedom.

At the Texas State Convention, AFA Field Operations Vice Chairman Justin Faiferlick (left) reads the oath of office to new state AFA leaders, with guest speaker Brig. Gen. Mark Ediger at his side. L-r: Bill Lawson, Gary Copsey, Ricky Williams, Joan Lopez, and Bob Gehbauer.

Steele Scholars

The Donald W. Steele Sr. Memorial Chapter in Virginia presented its 2011 Open Scholarships at a July chapter luncheon, with Lt. Gen. Loren M. Reno, USAF deputy chief of staff for logistics, installations, and mission support, as guest speaker.

In his remarks, Reno encouraged the educational-scholarship recipients to pursue learning throughout their lives.

SSgt. Daniel Young and Ashtin Jeney each received $2,000 from the chapter. Young is enrolled at American Military University, earning a bachelor’s degree in Middle Eastern studies. Awards luncheon organizer Kevin Lewis reported that Young is an intelligence operations manager at Fort Meade, Md., and proficient in four languages. Jeney began medical school this fall.

Recipients of $1,000 scholarships were Lisa Hill, currently studying philosophy at Christendom College; Sebastian Goodridge, now majoring in engineering at Pennsylvania State University; and Shannon Ellis, now a Florida State University business management major.

Connections and Cooperation

When Salt Lake Chapter’s John W. Barainca received the Civil Air Patrol’s highest award for aerospace education, a fellow AFA member in Utah, Grant Hicinbothem, called it “a great story” showing AFA and CAP cooperation.

CAP officials presented Barainca with the Frank G. Brewer Memorial Aerospace Award for Lifetime Achievement at their national convention in August in Louisville, Ky.

Barainca was AFA’s National Teacher of the Year in 1988, noted Hicinbothem, who is the Rocky Mountain Region President, and Utah AFA also had a direct hand in this latest award. Among his notable achievements, Barainca in 1999 designed and built for sixth-grade students a “Mission to Mars” simulator, inside a 40-foot- long trailer.

Utah AFA originally funded this project, said Hicinbothem, and continues to donate $1,000 a year to its upkeep.

By 2009, Barainca’s school district could no longer support the trailer, so AFA members stepped in, using their connections to transfer the trailer to CAP purview, ensuring more years of usefulness to the students.

This “exemplifies what AFA/CAP cooperation can produce,” said Hicinbothem.

More Chapter News

Gen. Bruce K. Holloway Chapter member Joseph E. Sutter turned to chapter members, including Charles R. Harr and James R. Cundall and daughter Joanna E. Sutter of the Ak-Sar-Ben Chapter in Nebraska, for help in carrying out the latest Honor Flight from Knoxville, Tenn., in August. Honor Flight is a nationwide program founded to fly World War II veterans to Washington, D.C., so they can visit the memorial commemorating their military service. Honor Air Knoxville has conducted 10 flights, Sutter reported, bringing more than 1,100 veterans to the nation’s capital. The itinerary always includes a stop at the Air Force Memorial, he added.

In New York, the Chautauqua Chapter’s July meeting took place at the Dresser-Rand Challenger Learning Center in Allegany, N.Y., where Chapter Teacher of the Year Tom Moser is director. Moser arranged for chapter members to tour the facility, one of 48 centers located in the US, Canada, Britain, and South Korea. “Very impressive,” commented Chapter President Steve Kockler after the tour. “You strap into seats that shake for the launch sequence.” Named for the space shuttle that exploded in January 1986 just after liftoff, the centers offer realistic mission simulations and teacher training. They reach some 400,000 students a year.


At the Iron Gate Chapter’s anniversary celebration, (l-r) Chapter President Frank Hayes, Bill Gibbons, Mary Jane Holtoner, and Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz display a Hap Arnold Fellowship plaque.

Gen. Norton Schwartz greets retired Army Col. Jack Jacobs, Vietnam War Medal of Honor recipient, at the Iron Gate Chapter’s anniversary.

Justin Faiferlick, AFA’s vice chairman of the board for field operations, addresses the Texas State Convention.

Justin Faiferlick, AFA’s vice chairman field operations, accepts an award from Kelly Jones, outgoing AFA Texas state president.

At the Texas State Convention, (l-r): Bob Slaughter; Brandon Bear, the Earl North Parker essay contest winner; Bill Lawson, incoming AFA Texas President; Justin Faiferlick, AFA vice president field operations; Darren Carollo, Teacher of the Year; and Kelly Jones, outgoing state president.

Northern Shenandoah Valley Chapter’s Jim Phillips (second from left) poses with some of the guests hosted by the chapter at a baseball game.

World War II veterans and escorts line up at the Air Force Memorial in Arlington, Va., during an Honor Air-Knoxville visit, organized with help from the Gen. Bruce K. Holloway Chapter.

Pete Lindquist of the Air Force Memorial (left) welcomed Honor Flight-Knoxville volunteers to the monument (l-r): Joanna Sutter, Joe Sutter, Eddie Mannis, Charlie Harr, and Jim Cundall.


Pilot Classes 57-O, P, Q, R, S and Navigation Class 57-10 and 11. April 17-21 in Orlando, FL. Contact: E. Mead, 517 Johnson St., New Bern, NC 28560 (252-636-1054) (

871st AC&WS, Villatobas, Spain. May 16-20, 2012, in Fresno, CA. Contact: Larry Bohannon (440-238-9774) (

SAC Airborne Command Control Assn. Aug. 22-26, 2012, in Washington, DC. Contact: Wilton Curtis (804-740-2290) (

Seeking members of UPT 65-G, Reese AFB, for a March 2012 reunion. Contact: Pete Fleischhacker (210-493-5274) (

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.