The COVID-19 pandemic kept the Air Force Association from holding its annual convention for field delegates, but it didn’t stop a team of staff and volunteers from putting on a virtual fundraiser and leadership development event that raised more than $40,000 for educational and outreach efforts and exposed thousands of people from across the Air Force family to AFA.
Dubbed “AFA 20/20: A Celebration of Where We’ve Been, Where We Are, and Where We’re Going,” the virtual field leadership development event took place Sept. 12-13 with addresses from AFA, Air Force, and Space Force leaders, including a virtual fireside chat between two Chief Master Sergeants of the Air Force: AFA Chairman Gerald R. Murray, CMSAF 14, and CMSAF JoAnne S. Bass, the 19th Airman and first woman to hold the position. Their talk was streamed live on Facebook and was viewed 20,812 times in 24 hours.
AFA President Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Bruce “Orville” Wright moderated a conversation in leadership with Maj. Gen. Barry R. Cornish, Commander, 9th Air and Space Expeditionary Task Force-Afghanistan and Deputy Commander-Air for U.S. Forces-Afghanistan, and Maj. Gen. John E. Shaw, commander of Combined Force Space Component Command at U.S. Space Command and also of the Space Force’s Space Operations Command at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif.
“Our Airmen at Basic Training and Tech Training get drilled into them they are now part of this Air Force family,” Bass said. “We need every level of leadership to continue that mantra.”
Retired Lt. Gen. David Deptula, dean of AFA’s Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies, joined Sam Grizzle, AFA’s Georgia State President and chairman of the Field Council advocacy team, and Mark Tarpley, an AFA national director, for a session on how AFA members can be more effective advocates for Air and Space power.
Cornish echoed that point: “That ability to advocate, even at the smallest level, can make a huge impact—that, I think, is in the true spirit of Jimmy Doolittle.”
To see the videos and resources, go to AFA.org, and search for “AFA 20/20.”
Preserve Renamed for World War II Combat Flier
By Chequita Wood
World War II veteran and Shooting Star (N.J.) Chapter member Lt. Col. Thomas R. “Bob” Vaucher was honored in August with the naming of a 36-acre property that will be now known as “The Vaucher Revolutionary Preserve At Steele’s Gap.” The preserve was purchased as an “open space” to be preserved as historic land by New Jersey’s Bridgewater Township, Somerset County, and Crossroads of the American Revolution.
Vaucher has lived in his family home on Foothill Road where the property is located for the past 70 years. He was instrumental in creating the township police department, shaping its government, securing land for the local high school, pushing for road improvements, and was a founding members of the Foothills Civic Association.
Vaucher, who is 102 years old, flew 117 combat missions in WWII, earning two Distinguished Flying Crosses, five Air Medals, eight Battle Stars, and over a dozen commendations and citations.
“I want to say how deeply honored I am to be recognized for my contributions to my beloved country as a member of the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II, as well as my contributions to Bridgewater, which I’ve cherished as my home for 70 years, Vaucher said.
AFA’s Shooting Star Chapter purchased a painting of the “Steele Gap” and presented it to the Bridgewater Township in Bob Vaucher’s honor, to be hung in the Township Municipal Building in Bridgewater, along with a dedication.