AFA National Report

Nov. 1, 2010

AFA’s National Teacher of the Year

The Air Force Association’s 25th recipient of the National Aerospace Teacher of the Year Award received honors at AFA’s National Convention, at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center near Washington, D.C., on Sept. 11.

Allen Robnett teaches physics, aviation, astronomy, and college-level algebra classes at Gallatin High School in Gallatin, Tenn., and was originally nominated by the Maj. Gen. Dan F. Callahan Chapter (Tenn.).

Allen Robnett, AFA’s National Aerospace Teacher of the Year, whirls student James Jackson in a swivel chair to demonstrate gyroscopic effects. At age 76, Robnett says, “I am having too much fun to retire.”

After earning degrees in electrical engineering from Princeton in 1956 and from the University of New Mexico in 1962, Robnett began teaching at Sandia National Laboratories. He has taught at Gallatin High School for 29 years, with an 11-year break for a stint as a computer consultant.

Robnett has generated an interest in science at his school in several ways: He built a small observatory on its rooftop. The nine-foot-diameter structure has a rotating dome and is outfitted with a telescope one foot in diameter. He painted two classroom walls with black paint and glow-in-the-dark spots to create a miniature planetarium. He rounded up 12 flight simulator stations to teach aviation theory. To draw attention to his math and science courses, he lets his students ride a leaf blower-driven hovercraft that glides around the cafeteria floor.

And don’t forget the paperwork: In establishing new courses at Gallatin, Robnett had to write the standards of learning and manuals for them.

The second- and third-place runners up for national-level teacher of the year were Carolyn Bushman of Utah and Cyndi Stone of Florida.

Clear Winners From Clearfield

Computers and cooking: Two entirely different skills, but Clearfield High School AFJROTC cadets in Utah excel in both.

In February, they won the CyberPatriot II championship at AFA’s Air Warfare Symposium in Orlando, Fla. Then in September, they won two of four categories in the Northern Utah Chapter’s chili cook-off.

For both events, the Clearfield senior aerospace science instructor, retired Maj. Kit K. Workman, was at the helm. He was also AFA Utah state president at the time.

The chili contest took place outside the Hill Aerospace Museum, on Hill Air Force Base near Ogden. It was part of Food for Life Day, when the museum collects nonperishable food donations.

Six teams entered this 16th annual chili cook-off. The spouses of some of Hill’s deployed airmen served as judges, picking winners in four categories.

Chapter President Robert George presented Certificates of Bragging Rights to Clearfield, voted No. 1 in the People’s Choice and Best Chili-Military categories. The secret to award-winning chili? All Workman would reveal was: “a variety of meats,” including steak, “a variety of beans,” and “good fresh vegetables.”

A Northrop Grumman team from the ICBM division wore matching aprons proclaiming that they were “Go1ng Ballistic.” They cooked the best chili in the nonmilitary category. The company’s “Wings” team wore cowboy hats, bandanas, and jeans to win top votes for best presentation.

Chapter Vice President James D. Aadland said the cook-off raised $2,000 for the Hill Airman and Family Readiness Center.

Field Visit

In North Dakota in June, the Red River Valley Chapter hosted the AFA state meeting, with James R. Lauducci, then AFA’s vice chairman of the board for field operations, as principal guest speaker.

Daniel J. Becker, who was chapter president at the time, reported that Lauducci visited the 319th Air Refueling Wing at Grand Forks Air Force Base, since he was in the area. Col. Donald L. Shaffer, the wing commander, spoke to Lauducci about the unit’s transition from KC-135s to remotely piloted aircraft. Lauducci, in turn, described some of AFA’s programs, including the CyberPatriot high school cyber security competition.

Later that day, the North Dakota AFA meeting took place at the University of North Dakota’s Army ROTC Armory. In attendance were AFA officials James Simons, North Central Region president; Ron Garcia, North Dakota state president; and AFA chapter leaders from the Gen. David C. Jones Chapter at Minot Air Force Base and the Happy Hooligan Chapter from Fargo.

Becker said that in the training session, Lauducci presented an overview of AFA’s programs and successes and stressed the need for new ideas and chapter growth.

The gathering provided a chance for AFA chapter members to network with AFROTC cadets and instructors from the University of North Dakota and North Dakota State University and with local Civil Air Patrol leaders.

Eagles in Alabama

The Montgomery Chapter in Alabama hosted its premier annual event, the Gathering of Eagles brunch, in June.

It’s a time when the chapter honors those who contributed significantly to the history of air, space, and cyberspace. It also marks graduation for Air Command and Staff College students, at Maxwell Air Force Base, who hold Gathering of Eagles seminars all week long. And it’s a time when the chapter jams the local golf and country club with a sell-out crowd for the brunch that brings them together in an informal setting.

This year was no exception.

Eagles on hand for the brunch were: retired Col. John T. Carney Jr., “father of Air Force Special Operations”; Chief Warrant Officer 5 David Cooper; Violet Cowden, a World War II Women Airforce Service Pilot; retired Col. George E. Day and retired Col. Joe M. Jackson, both Vietnam War Medal of Honor recipients; retired Col. Billy G. Edens, retired Lt. Gen. Charles G. Cleveland, and retired Col. Charles B. DeBellevue, who are aces from World War II, Korea, and Vietnam, respectively; Maj. Gen. Gregory A. Feest, then 19th Air Force commander at Randolph AFB, Tex.; Cmdr. Kenny Fields, author; and retired Lt. Col. Alexander Jefferson, a Tuskegee Airman.

Assistant Marine Corps Commandant Gen. John F. Amos—recently confirmed as the next Commandant—and retired Navy captain and astronaut John Young were also named Eagles.

Chapter Communications VP Joseph A. Panza Jr. wrote that the brunch concluded with an audio-visual presentation that depicted aircraft associated with the 2010 Eagles. He added that the ACSC commandant, Brig. Gen. Anthony J. Rock, commenting on the brunch, said, “This is a magnificent way to conclude a memorable week none of us will ever forget.”

More Chapter News

The Swamp Fox Chapter’s August dinner meeting featured Maj. Gen. Mark W. Graper, assistant deputy commander of US Air Forces Central at Shaw AFB, S.C. Graper, who is also assistant vice commander of the 9th Air Expeditionary Task Force, was a follow-up to the chapter’s March guest speaker, Maj. Gen. William L. Holland, at the time 9th Air Force commander. The bottom line, wrote Chapter President David Hanson, is that between the two meetings, the chapter members received a high-level update on the organizational split between CENTAF and 9th Air Force.

In Minnesota, Richard I. Bong Chapter members listened to a presentation by one of their own, ANG SMSgt. Kelvin R. McCuskey of the 148th Fighter Wing at Duluth Arpt., Minn. He is an emergency management flight chief with more than two decades of service and recently returned from deployment to Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan. He spoke to the chapter about his unit’s security and emergency management tasks at the base, located 35 miles north of Kabul. McCuskey covered the challenges he faced, such as fuel spills, an aircraft crash, rocket and ground attacks on the airfield, caring for earthquake victims, and training local citizens.

Instead of the usual label of “quarterly meeting,” the Southern Indiana Chapter is considering nicknaming its meeting featuring AFROTC cadets as “Youth Night.” Every year, Indiana University cadets attend the chapter’s meeting in the fall, to make short presentations about the summer orientation programs they have completed at different Air Force bases. “America and the future of the Air Force are in good hands,” said Chapter President James E. Fultz, commenting after hearing the cadets’ talks. The meeting also saluted the Chapter and State Teacher of the Year, Scott R. Wallace, a chemistry and algebra teacher for 10th graders at New Technology High School in Bloomington, Ind. Then-State President William Grider, who is also president of the Grissom Memorial Chapter in Kokomo, joined Fultz in presenting Wallace with his awards.

The Steel Valley Chapter in Youngstown, Ohio, held its annual picnic for cadets—and their families—from Kent State University AFROTC Det. 630; the Trumbull Career and Technical Center of Warren, Ohio; and the local Civil Air Patrol unit. Some 70 people gathered at Youngstown ARS, Ohio, for the August picnic that Chapter VP Fred Kubli Jr. called “a summer highlight,” unique for including the students’ families. Although billed as a “bring a covered dish” affair, the chapter provided hamburgers, hotdogs, and fixings. Joining Kubli at the picnic were chapter officers Secretary Lori Stone and Treasurer Amy Cervone.

The Hawaii Chapter sent member Richard C. Jackson to the National POW/MIA Recognition Day Ceremony, held Sept. 17 at Honolulu’s National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific. Jackson helped present a wreath on behalf of AFA. Joining him were chapter members Col. Sam C. Barrett, the commander of 15th Wing at JB Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, and the wing command chief, CMSgt. Craig S. Recker. The Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command organized the commemoration, noting that there are some 84,000 unaccounted-for Americans from World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and the Cold War.



Military spouses helped judge chili at the Northern Utah Chapter’s chili cook-off.
Clearfield High School cadet Zachary Hayes stirs a pot of chili later judged No. 1 in two categories.
Clearfield High School cadet Emily Rees fries up meat for the award-winning chili.
Northrop Grumman’s Cowgirl Chili team used this mascot to help win the competition’s Best Presentation category.
At Grand Forks AFB, Neb., Jim Lauducci (third from left), then AFA vice chairman of the board, field operations, poses with wing and local AFA officials (l-r): Dan Becker, then Red River Valley Chapter president; CMSgt Dave Carlson, 319th Air Refueling Wing command chief; Lauducci; Col. Don Shaffer, wing commander; Jim Simons, North Central Region president; Ron Garcia, North Dakota state president; and Col. John Quinn, wing vice commander.
Retired Col. Joe Jackson (r) dines with CMSgt. Brye McMillon, Air University’s command chief, at Montgomery Chapter’s Gathering of Eagles brunch. Along with his Medal of Honor, Jackson wears a medallion as one of the GOE honorees.
Medal of Honor recipient retired Col. Bud Day (center) and his wife, Doris, sit with Lt. Gen. Allen Peck, Air University commander, at the Gathering of Eagles brunch.
L-r: Montgomery Chapter Community Partners Sieu Tang Wood and Virginia Whitfield have a warm greeting for Violet Cowden, a World War II Women Airforce Service Pilot (WASP), at the Gathering of Eagles brunch.
Montgomery artist Jay Ashurst (l) and Maj. Gen. Gregory Feest, outside the Gathering of Eagles brunch. The GOE program honored Feest as an F-117 pilot who dropped the first bombs of Just Cause and Desert Storm.
Bill Grider (l), then Indiana state president, presents the state Teacher of the Year award to Scott Wallace. At right is Southern Indiana Chapter President Jim Fultz.
At the Southern Indiana Chapter meeting, cadets from Indiana University AFROTC Det. 215 spoke about their summer training program at Air Force bases.
Representing the Hawaii Chapter, Richard Jackson (second from right) attended the POW/MIA ceremony at the National Cemetery of the Pacific. With him (l-r): Col. Sam Barrett, 15th Wing commander, JB Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii; Carol Michael; and CMSgt. Craig Recker, wing command chief.
Unit Reunions

Pilot Tng Class 54-G. April 12-15, 2011, in Phoenix. Contact: John Schaefer (623-561-5000) (

Super Sabre Society. April 12-15, 2011, at the Gold Coast Hotel in Las Vegas. Contact: Les Frazier (512-930-3066) (

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.