AFA National Report

Dec. 1, 2008

Speaking to AMC

Air Force Association Chairman of the Board Joseph E. Sutter addressed Air Mobility Command leaders at an AMC commander’s conference at Scott AFB, Ill., in October.

Invited to the three-day meeting by the head of AMC, Gen. Arthur J. Lichte, to learn about the challenges, successes, and way ahead for USAF’s mobility forces, Sutter spoke about the association’s history and how—today—it helps focus attention on airpower’s role in the Global War on Terror and on the need to replace aging aircraft.

“AFA supports not only people and quality of life issues, but needed modernization and sufficient funding to maintain our Air Force as second to none,” he told the audience of some 80 air mobility leaders.

Air Force Secretary Michael B. Donley and Gen. Duncan J. McNabb, head of US Transportation Command, also attended the biannual conference, called Phoenix Rally.

Sutter said he came away from the meeting with “great pride in the critical role of air mobility forces.”

AFA Board Chairman Joe Sutter stands fourth from right (dark suit), in this group photo at AMC’s Senior Leaders Conference at Scott AFB, Ill. Up front are (l-r) AMC Commander Gen. Arthur Lichte and Air Force Secretary Michael Donley. (USAF photo by A1C Wesley Farnsworth)

Veterans Day in Washington, D.C.

Sutter attended the 55th annual Veterans Day ceremony in Washington, D.C., held at Arlington National Cemetery on Nov. 11 at 11 a.m.

The observance of Veterans Day began with Vice President Dick Cheney laying a wreath at Arlington National Cemetery’s Tomb of the Unknowns.

The guests, who included Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates and Air Force Secretary Michael B. Donley, then entered the adjacent outdoor amphiteater. The ceremony there acknowledged the Veterans Day National Committee’s members and associate members, including the Air Force Association.

C-Span covered this in a live broadcast.

Sutter later joined committee representatives at the Tomb of the Unknowns, where he laid a wreath on behalf of AFA.

Region and State Presidents Meet

AFA’s region and state presidents met in Arlington, Va., in October for an orientation to the association and to their roles as field leaders.

In two days of information sessions, workshops, and meetings, they heard from some of AFA’s top elected officials and staff members. Topics ranged from the association’s strategy, department functions, programs, and finances to the Air Force Memorial. In short, it was a cram course in “AFA 101.”

AFA Board Chairman Sutter was unable to attend this meeting. In his place, James R. Lauducci, AFA vice chairman of the board for field operations, opened the meeting by welcoming the attendees: 26 of the 40 state presidents and 13 of the 14 region presidents. Lauducci noted that AFA’s No. 1 challenge is membership. He said that it is a “shared responsibility of every leader” and added that “the potential out there is unbelievable” because of the broader guidelines for membership eligibility and AFA’s additional mission of aerospace education.

One attendee, Virginia state’s new president Jeffrey L. Platte, said afterward that he found the orientation session valuable because field leaders talked about solutions to problems they all face. The Langley Chapter member said he was able to “pick up some great ideas” and got motivated to follow through on methods for improving AFA state-level communications.

Jim Lauducci, AFA Vice Chairman, Field Operations, has a chance to talk with Joan Sell, Rocky Mountain Region president, before two days of information sessions get under way at the association’s annual Region and State Presidents meeting. (Staff photo by Eric Lee)

More Exciting

“We thought that aerospace couldn’t get any more exciting,” wrote Megan Tucker in an e-mail to Hurlburt Chapter President Dann Mattiza. “But we were so wrong.”

Tucker is a fourth-grade teacher at Kenwood Elementary School in Fort Walton Beach, Fla. She and Casey Oliver, a fifth-grade teacher from West Defuniak Elementary School in Defuniak Springs, Fla., spent a week in July at the Space Academy for Educators. The Hurlburt Chapter and Boeing helped pay the teachers’ tuition.

Nicknamed Educator Space Camp, it involved five days at the US Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Ala., and featured a museum tour, hands-on projects, simulations, and presentations by aerospace notables such as six-time shuttle astronaut Story Musgrave.

Tucker and Oliver took part in exercises that are billed as being close to actual astronaut training. A “space shot” allowed them to experience three Gs and weightlessness; a helicopter “crash” in water gave them practice in evacuation and rescue procedures; and they carried out a “shuttle mission,” with Oliver as commander and Tucker as a mission specialist.

As a culmination activity, the teachers attended a dinner that was part of the Space and Rocket Center’s reunion for Saturn V rocket and Apollo mission personnel. Attendees included astronauts Musgrave, Robert L. Gibson, and James D. Halsell Jr.

Tucker said that she and Oliver returned from the camp “saturated with ideas and curriculum to bring back into our elementary classrooms” and “pumped up” for the school year.

The US Space and Rocket Center was established in 1970 as an extension of NASA’s Marshall Spaceflight Center in Huntsville to serve as a museum and archive. It later began educational camp programs to encourage schoolchildren—and adults—to explore science, technology, engineering, and math.

Tech Symposium

The Wright Memorial Chapter sponsored its first AFA Technology Symposium on Sept. 26 at Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio. The symposium piggybacked on Air Force Materiel Command’s Senior Leaders Conference.

Led by AFMC commander Gen. Bruce Carlson, the Senior Leaders Conference involved some 100 field commanders and top AFMC officials, who gathered for two days of briefings and discussions. They took time out to celebrate a chapter co-sponsored Air Force Birthday Ball, held at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. The chapter, led by Kent D. Owsley, presented three of its most prestigious awards during the festivities.

Carlson received the chapter’s Heritage Award. US Rep. Michael Turner (R-Ohio) was named as the Ambassador Award recipient. He is a member of both the House Armed Services and Veterans’ Affairs Committees. William U. Borger, who retired last summer after 37 years in Air Force research and development, received the chapter’s Legacy Award.

Following the conference, the AFMC officials attended the AFA Technology Symposium. Its purpose was to highlight the role AFMC plays in life cycle management of Air Force weapons systems. Owsley said later that the Air Force Research Laboratory took the lead for this symposium, but, in future years, the lead will go to other AFMC units, in turn.

The chapter also conducted a silent auction and hosted a golf outing in conjunction with the activities.

A grant from the Hurlburt Chapter helped teacher Megan Tucker (shown here in a shuttle mission simulation) attend Educator Space Camp last summer.

The F-22 and the State Convention

The prospect of an F-22 demonstration flight, seen from a VIP chalet on the flight line, ensured a good turnout for the Indiana State Convention. Representatives from the state’s six chapters—Central Indiana, Columbus-Bakalar, Fort Wayne, Grissom Memorial, Lawrence D. Bell Museum, and Southern Indiana—gathered for their convention, held during the Indianapolis Air Show at Mount Comfort Airport in August.

Indiana State President William R. Grider counted some 50 AFA members on hand, including state officers Harold F. Henneke, vice president; James E. Fultz, secretary; and Michael Malast, treasurer. The AFAers joined forces with the Indiana Air National Guard to host more than two dozen AFROTC cadets and 150 ANG personnel at an AFA chalet—a huge tent where food and beverages were served. Grider explained that the chalet had room for 250 people, so there was space to hold state and chapter meetings, as well.

In a highlight of the state convention, Lyle W. Marschand, then president of the Lawrence D. Bell Museum Chapter, received the first annual Great Lakes Region Member of the Year award. Marschand served in the US Army from 1940 to 1960, then in the Air Force Reserve for the following 15 years.

In addition to the star attraction F-22 Raptor and a Navy F/A-18 Hornet, the 12th annual Indianapolis Air Show showcased other current USAF aircraft—such as the A-10 and C-130—plus World War II warbirds and aircraft from other services.

Outreach to Congress

In August, Northern Shenandoah Valley Chapter leaders escorted two Capitol Hill legislative assistants to the 167th Airlift Wing (ANG) at Eastern West Virginia Airport in Martinsburg, W.Va.

Cynthia Klapmust and Thomas M. Culligan Jr. are both from the office of US Rep. Frank R. Wolf (R-Va.).

Chapter President Norman M. Haller and past president Arthur Andraitis brought the professional staffers to the wing not only for an informal update on its operations but specifically to highlight an aerospace education program that takes place at its facilities.

The group had lunch—in view of the flight line and the unit’s C-5 transports—with Col. Brian A. Truman, wing vice commander; Capt. (now Maj.) Melissa Shade, the wing chief of staff; Sherra Triggs; and Laura Meske.

Triggs and Meske lead a Starbase educational program, hosted by the wing. DOD-sponsored Starbase programs take place at several military facilities nationwide and guide young students in hands-on science, technology, engineering, and math activities, while also giving them a chance to interact with military personnel. At Martinsburg, Starbase is geared to fifth-graders.

Strike Eagle Pilots

Several 4th Fighter Wing pilots from Seymour Johnson AFB, N.C., were guest speakers at the September meeting of the Tarheel Chapter in Durham, N.C.

Maj. Michael Ebner, an intelligence officer from the 4th Operations Support Squadron, spoke first. Following him were Maj. Mark Peters, Capt. David Cochran, and Capt. Pritchard Keely, all 335th Fighter Squadron F-15E pilots.

Joyce W. Feuerstein, chapter president, reported that they described their deployment to Afghanistan, with PowerPoint presentations showing how stark and difficult the terrain is and how weather is always a challenge.

“The living conditions seem dire to us,” yet the airmen were enthusiastic about their work, she said.

AFROTC cadets from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and North Carolina State University were among the audience at this chapter meeting.

Feuerstein said chapter members stuck around after the meeting to chat with the guest speakers. “That pretty much tells you how impressed and grateful our members were to spend time with these men from Seymour Johnson,” she said.

At the Indiana state meeting, State President William Grider (l) congratulates Lyle Marschand on being named as the first Great Lakes Region Member of the Year.

More Chapter News

In New York City, a full house greeted the Iron Gate Chapter’s September guest speaker US Coast Guard Capt. Daniel A. Ronan. Commander of the Long Island Sound (N.Y.) sector, Ronan spoke about Coast Guard operations and the challenge of the melting Arctic ice cap, which has led to wrangling over what country has jurisdiction over water that used to be unpassable. During the meeting, Ronan, Pamela Freytag, and the late New York National Guard Sgt. Nelson D. Rodriguez-Ramirez were named as AFA Jimmy Doolittle Educational Fellows. Freytag helps her US Representative select candidates for the military academies. Rodriguez-Ramirez died in June while deployed to Afghanistan. He was the cousin of chapter member Alaida Rivera.

In Pennsylvania, retired SMSgt. Oreste DiCerbo, aerospace science instructor at West Mifflin Area High School, received an AFA Medal of Merit in an October presentation before his AFJROTC cadets, detachment commander, and school administrators. The Greater Pittsburgh Chapter aerospace education VP earned the award because he volunteered his cadet sabre team for a Black History Month ceremony honoring the Keystone State’s Tuskegee Airmen, last February. The state AFA organization also recognized DiCerbo’s initiative by issuing an AFA Citation. Pennsylvania State President Robert C. Rutledge and Greater Pittsburgh Chapter President Tillie Metzger made the awards presentations to DiCerbo.

Unit Reunions

20th Air Police Sq, Wethersfield, England (1953-63). May 12-14, 2009, in Chattanooga, TN. Contact: Earl Czech, 3682 104th Ave., N.E., Circle Pines, MN 55014 (763-784-8975) (

Pilot Training Class 57-I. May 3-7, 2009, at the Peppermill Hotel/Casino in Reno, NV. Contact: Al Brezinsky (530-938-1671).

Seeking Iceland radar site members of the 667th, 932nd, 933rd, and 934th AC&W for a reunion in 2009. Contact: William Chick (803-932-9596) (

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.


SMSgt. Oreste DiCerbo, aerospace science instructor at West Miflin Area High School, receives an AFA award from Tillie Metzger, the Greater Pittsburgh Chapter president, and Bob Rutledge, Pennsylvania state president.