The Old and The New
As part of their 34th reunion, eight World War II veterans of the 86th Fighter-Bomber Group toured Eglin AFB, Fla., in September. At least half of them came from AFA chapters from four states.
In the photo left to right are P-47 aircrew members John R. Dolny of the Tucson Chapter in Arizona; Wallis Hurlbutt from the Carl Vinson Memorial Chapter, Georgia; Ralph Frith; John Senneff of the L. D. Bell Niagara-Frontier Chapter, New York; John Botten; William B. Colgan from Florida’s Eglin Chapter; Roy Brown; and James Bowman.
The number of actual 86th FBG veterans may have been small, but their reunion group was big enough to need a bus to get around. This is because Senneff, for one, brought 11 family members to the reunion, including his children, grandchildren, and in-laws.
Their base visit included a docent-led tour of the Air Force Armament Museum, where a P-47 is on display, and a stop at the 33rd Fighter Wing’s Lightning II training center. A maintenance team had prepared the Air Force’s newest fighter, an F-35, for static display for the group, and an aircrew flight equipment team showed them the strike fighter’s life support equipment.
F-35 pilot and Eglin Chapter member Lt. Col. Bradley E. Turner spoke to the vets for an hour, describing the base’s operations today and its forecasted growth.
“It was an honor and a privilege to get to present the wing’s mission brief,” Turner said afterward.
Showing Off the Guns
Green Mountain Chapter members and a contingent from the Vermont Air National Guard toured the Army’s Camp Ethan Allen Training Site in Jericho, Vt., in October, hosted by defense contractor General Dynamics.
Camp Ethan Allen is home to the Army Mountain Warfare School and a firing range. General Dynamics has tested weapons at a range complex there since 1952.
GD Senior Director Keith R. Stearns presented briefings to the visitors, covering the site’s history and the testing of particular interest to his Air Force guests: the four-barreled gun system used by the three F-35 strike fighter variants. In fact, Chapter President Raymond Tanguay reported that his group observed a live firing—done on a test stand—of the external GAU-22A system for an F-35B, the short takeoff and vertical landing version. The Navy and Marine Corps will use it.
The AFA contingent included Guardsmen from the 158th Fighter Wing, based at Burlington Airport, invited by chapter member Col. Patrick M. Guinee. He is the wing’s maintenance group commander. Having aircraft maintainers who between them have served in four wars made for lively talk all afternoon about aircraft weapon systems, wrote Chapter Membership and Communications VP Richard F. Lorenz.
A Full Evening
Some 50 people turned out for the Northeast Texas Chapter’s October dinner in Greenville, Tex., to learn about ongoing projects.
The evening’s program featured retired USAF Lt. Gen. John C. Koziol. Before retiring in 2012, he was deputy undersecretary of defense (intelligence) for joint and coalition warfighter support and also the director of the DOD Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance Task Force.
Communications VP Vance Clarke reported that Texas A&M University-Commerce students also presented a program to the group that evening. They explained their “War and Memory” project of veterans’ oral histories. Clarke said the students have compiled more than 120 stories and that the chapter has donated funds for the effort.
Local Civil Air Patrol members spoke to the chapter about how they’ve used AFA funds for glider and flight academies and field trips.
For the second time in three years, a University of Washington AFROTC cadet in Seattle has been selected for AFA’s $15,000 Michael Wilson Scholarship.
Taylor R. Applegate received the award in October from Greater Seattle Chapter President Lance Bleakley, who presented it as part of the university’s homecoming events at Det. 910. Applegate is majoring in political science and law, societies, and justice. She aims for an assignment to the Air Force Office of Special Investigations.
UW senior Alexander Shuler had been one of the scholarship’s first two recipients in 2011. Major League Baseball pitcher Brian P. Wilson established the award that year in the name of his Air Force veteran father.
Washington’s AFROTC unit—headed by Chapter VP Col. Kevin P. Mastin—nicknamed its part of homecoming as “Rejoin” and invited ROTC graduates, former instructors, and AFA members to campus. So the chapter, including Bleakley and Communications Director Helen F. McGregor, conducted a meeting in conjunction with Rejoin events. Along with the Wilson scholarship, they awarded a $500 scholarship funded by Chapter Secretary Robert A. Coe.
Chapter members took part in a detachment open house and reception afterward and, later that weekend, attended a tailgate party outside the university’s stadium.
Family members snap photos of World War II P-47 pilots and maintainers standing next to an F-35. (Photo by Mark Kulaw, courtesy of Northwest Florida Daily News)
The Thomas W. Anthony Chapter sponsored a luncheon at JB Andrews, Md., for USAF’s Wounded Warriors sitting volleyball team (l-r): TSgt. Jason Caswell, retired SSgt. Kevin Taylor, retired TSgt. Monica Figueroa, MSgt. Christopher Aguilera, retired TSgt. Corey Carter, and retired TSgt. Byron Ballard. The team later played the Marines, at the Pentagon Athletic Club, for the joint services championship Nov. 21 (at right). The Marines (in red) won the top trophy. (Photo by Joseph Hardy)
The Thomas W. Anthony Chapter sponsored a luncheon at JB Andrews, Md., for USAF’s Wounded Warriors sitting volleyball team (l-r): TSgt. Jason Caswell, retired SSgt. Kevin Taylor, retired TSgt. Monica Figueroa, MSgt. Christopher Aguilera, retired TSgt. Corey Carter, and retired TSgt. Byron Ballard. The team later played the Marines, at the Pentagon Athletic Club, for the joint services championship Nov. 21 (at right). The Marines (in red) won the top trophy. (Staff photos by Donna Lang)
The Thomas W. Anthony Chapter sponsored a luncheon at JB Andrews, Md., for USAF’s Wounded Warriors sitting volleyball team (l-r): TSgt. Jason Caswell, retired SSgt. Kevin Taylor, retired TSgt. Monica Figueroa, MSgt. Christopher Aguilera, retired TSgt. Corey Carter, and retired TSgt. Byron Ballard. The team later played the Marines, at the Pentagon Athletic Club, for the joint services championship Nov. 21 (at right). The Marines (in red) won the top trophy.
The Green Mountain Chapter visited the General Dynamics firing range at Camp Ethan Allen in Vermont and learned about the F-35’s gun system.
The Lewis E. Lyle Chapter in Arkansas awarded a Civil Air Patrol grant to a local squadron for a flight simulator computer. Here, Chapter President Larry Louden and his CAP cadet grandson Christian Louden “fly” a simulator.
Ricky Williams (at the podium), VP of Texas North, conducted the induction ceremony for Northeast Texas Chapter’s new leaders (l-r): Joseph Gauthier, SMSgt. Gregory Hamilton, SMSgt. Curtis Chism, and Trey Johnson.
Retired Maj. Charles Taylor, Piscataway (N.J.) High School, displays his State Teacher of the Year award. Sal Capriglione Chapter President Joseph Capriglione (front left) and Secretary-Treasurer Martin Capriglione (front right) presented the award. With them are Principal Elaine Davis and Taylor’s CyberPatriot team. The AFJROTC cadets placed first in the state, All-Service Division, in CP-V.
At the Harry S. Truman Chapter’s fundraiser, AFJROTC cadets tell the audience what they learned at leadership camp. Through this annual dinner and silent auction, the Missouri chapter raises money to send the cadets to leadership training. (Photo by Donita Plauman)
The South Alabama Chapter organized a Maxwell AFB, Ala., tour. Maj. Gen. Walter Givhan (center), then the doctrine center commander, hosted this visit.
Greater Seattle Chapter President Lance Bleakley presents cadet Taylor Applegate with the Michael Wilson Scholarship.
The Air Force Association began an Emerging Leaders Program in 2013 as an avenue to secure AFA’s future.
Emerging Leaders volunteer for a year. With guidance from a mentor, they participate on a national-level council, attend national leader orientations, and serve as National Convention delegates. Emerging Leaders will be profiled here in the coming months. Here’s the third one.
Capt. E. Miranda Hernandez
Home State: Texas.
Chapter: Baltimore-Ft. Meade.
Joined AFA: 2008.
AFA Offices: Maryland State President and Central East Region Executive VP. Was Maryland State VP and Baltimore Chapter President.
AFA Awards: National-level and Maryland Medals of Merit.
Military Service: 10 years, beginning as a communications computer systems control technician in the California Air National Guard. Now an Active Duty flight commander and cyberspace operations officer, Ft. George G. Meade, Md.
Education: AAS, Community College of the Air Force; B.A., University of California, San Diego. Working on an M.A., University of Oklahoma.
Social Media: Find the Baltimore-Ft. Meade Chapter at Facebook.com/afa160 and E. Miranda Hernandez on LinkedIn.
What have you learned on AFA’s Membership Committee I like the fact that we’re looking at … how we’re relevant to and supporting different parts of the community. We really are relevant to everyone—and not just the people in uniform.
How did you first learn about AFA When I was a cadet in San Diego. …The local chapter there was very interested in getting us involved.
How can AFA increase membership I joined AFA as a cadet because I could see the value of the organization in my life and in my future career. … New initiatives like the Wounded Airman and transition programs and the new option for e-membership are going to go a long way towards increasing our relevancy.
With less than a month’s training, Hernandez ran the 2012 Marine Corps Marathon—her second—in six hours, eight minutes. The finisher’s medal around her neck weighs a quarter-pound.
91st Bomb Group. May 21-25 in San Francisco. Contact: Mick Hanou (925-425-3220) (email@example.com).
55th Strategic Reconnaissance Wg/55th Wg/55th Wg Assn, including former members and Active Duty. April 9-13 at the LaVista Embassy Suites in Omaha, NE. Contact: Max Moore (402-291-8272) (firstname.lastname@example.org).
475th Fighter Group. May 1-4 in Chino Hills, CA. Contact: P. J. Dahl (813) 265-1133.
Air Force Public Affairs Alumni Assn., including associated personnel. May 8-11 at La Quinta Inn & Suites, San Antonio Convention Center. Contact: John Terino (703-239-2704) (email@example.com).
Pilot Training Class 56-M. April 23-27 in Branson, MO. Contact: John Mitchell (703-264-9609) (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Unit reunion notices should be sent four months ahead of the event to email@example.com, 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.