Airman for Life

Sept. 1, 2019

Attending a luncheon at Mountain Home AFB, Idaho (l-r) Kevin Coates, MSgt. Travis Stubblefied, AFA President Lt. Gen. Bruce Wright, and Maj. Carl Mortensen work to strengthen AFA’s presence in the community. Photo: Roger Fogleman/Idaho AFA


The Air Force Association held a luncheon with the 366th Wing from Mountain Home AFB, Idaho, and the surrounding community on June 27. Col. Joseph “Solo” Kunkel, former 366th Wing commander and his wife, Jenney, were in attendance as well as AFA President Bruce A. Wright, AFA Northwest Region President Bill Striegel, and local AFA Chapter leader Roger Fogleman. A Q&A session was held with former Idaho State Senator and US Senate Chief of Staff John Sandy, who offered thoughts on improving the Idaho legislature and how to garner congressional support for the 366th Wing and USAF mission.

Colonel Klunkel emphasized his appreciation for the Air Force Association and pointed out that as a teenager he came across an issue of Air Force Magazine which motivated him to attend the Air Force Academy. That particular issue featured an F-15E on the cover, and he still has it today. He went on to command the 366th Wing Gunfighters.

Among the nearly 20 attendees were leadership from the Mountain Home Military Affairs Committee, the new Idaho Defense Alliance initiative which promotes veteran hiring, and Ethan Huffman from the Idaho National Laboratory (INL). Some of the projects being discussed involved potable water availability in the Mountain Home area due to deep wells with declining aquifier levels, the child development center which needs an overhaul, as well as possibly adding an additional AFA Idaho State Chapter to focus on nuclear research, cyber, and advanced technology.

Leaders at AFA headquarters, in conjunction with the AFA Vice Chairman for Field Operations and regional/state AFA leadership, will continue to encourage congressional and state legislative support for the 366th Wing as well as ANG units in the state, such as the 124th Wing at Gowen Field in Boise.

L-r: Brig. Gen. Leonard Isabelle, assistant adjutant general of the Michigan ANG; Michigan Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Sen. Jim Stamas; 127th Wing Commander, Brig. Gen. John Slocum; Michigan State Senate Majority Leader Sen. Mike Shirkey; Sen. Michael MacDonald; and Sen. Peter Lucido enjoying a tour of Selfridge ANGB, Mich. Photo: Randy Whitmire/Michigan AFA


Previous AFA Michigan State Chapter Vice President, Sen. Michael D. MacDonald (R-Mich.), was chosen as the chapter’s Vice President for Government Relations. In his role as senator, MacDonald serves on the Appropriations Committee and co-chairs a new Michigan Legislative Aerospace and Defense Caucus, which raises awareness and promotes Michigan’s role in aerospace and defense issues. It also enables aerospace and defense experts and legislators to share their unique perspectives.

Senator MacDonald supported a supplemental state funding bill that includes a $2 million state grant for the Michigan Launch Initiative that will conduct surveys of possible locations for an $80 million launch site and satellite command center. “Michigan’s geography, access to talent, existing manufacturing infrastructure, and global positioning make our state uniquely situated for polar orbit launches and technical support for post-launch satellite operations,” MacDonald said. “We must attract new investment and job creators to our region and state, and I look forward to continuing to work with the Michigan AFA on the proposed Michigan Launch Initiative and other projects that offer exciting opportunities for Macomb [County] and the entire state.”

Left: Jason McMullen with his Arkansas Chapter Teacher of the Year Award. Right: John Stokes was also named an Arkansas Chapter Teacher of the Year and also the State Teacher of the Year. Photos: Arkansas State Chapter


The Lewis E. Lyle Chapter (Ark.) selected teachers Jason McMullen of Springdale Har-Bar High School and John P. Stokes of Hot Springs World Class High School as Arkansas Chapter Teachers of the Year. McMullen teaches mathematics and created an aviation club for students, which gave them an opportunity to pursue aerospace and aviation careers. Stokes, the Education Accelerated by Service and Technology (EAST) facilitator, guided students in creating a project to help solve future flooding in the floodplain of downtown Arkansas, which was adopted by the city council as their new plan of attack, and he was also selected as Arkansas State Teacher of the Year.