AFA National Report

March 1, 2009

Bigger and Better

Air Education and Training Command’s symposium, carried out with the Alamo Chapter in San Antonio in January, set an attendance record when more than 3,300 crowded into the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center to attend seminars, the AFA technology exposition, and the AETC-AFA ball.

AETC officials reported that this exceeded last year’s count by more than 1,000 guests.

The symposium of some 70 seminars, divided into six major topics, was so well attended that “The Coming War With China?” and “American History Lessons for AFRICOM” had standing room only. “Understanding Differences Between American and Arab Culture” began early when the room filled to capacity before the scheduled start time. “Wounded Warriors”—with SSgt. Christopher M. Slaydon, an explosive ordnance disposal technician recovering from wounds sustained in Iraq—was not only SRO, more than 100 watched a video replay.

At a Gen. Bruce K. Holloway Chapter event, Col. Tim Dearing describes operations at McGhee Tyson ANGB, Tenn. Listening in are (l-r) AFA Board Chairman Joe Sutter; Alfred Coffman, state president; James Mungenast, chapter president; and chapter member James O’Brien. Dearing commands the base’s 134th Air Refueling Wing.

The chapter’s expo filled its hall with more than 100 exhibits running the gamut from F-22 and F-35 flight simulators to scale-model aircraft such as the C-27 and full-sized items such as an M915 tractor truck, used by airmen for convoy-protection training. Even military working dogs from Lackland AFB, Tex., had a booth.

Keynote speakers were Gen. William M. Fraser III, the Air Force vice chief of staff; Gen. C. Robert Kehler, head of Air Force Space Command; and Maj. Gen. William T. Lord, commander of Air Force Cyberspace Command (Provisional).

The AETC-AFA ball completed the two days of information sessions and the expo. More than 1,100 attended the black-tie affair.

Chapter President Gary Copsey termed the trio of events a “complete success.” In his chapter newsletter, he credited John J. Politi, a former Air Force Association Chairman of the Board and now the chapter’s executive vice president, for leading the project and rounding up major sponsors. Copsey also noted the work of chapter members Randy Coggins, Richard P. Mihalik, Michael P. Nishimuta, David Pope, and Edward T. Reynolds III.

The ball and expo raised funds for the chapter’s scholarship program.

Steering Kids Toward Aviation

In Florida, the Gold Coast Chapter’s workshop for teachers had two goals this year. First: Familiarize teachers with a nearby resource, a general aviation airport. Second: Show them how to teach material their students need for an aviation career.

The chapter’s third Aerospace Teachers Workshop began with a tour of Pompano Beach Airpark, a city-owned facility. Virginia Knudsen, the chapter’s aerospace education vice president, arranged this orientation, and chapter member Steven Rocco, the airport manager, gave the guests a history and overview of its operations. The airpark dates to World War II, when it was an off-site training field for a naval air station at Fort Lauderdale.

In the workshop’s afternoon session, several instructors demonstrated how to incorporate aviation topics into the science and math curricula. Knudsen, who is a pilot as well as the organizer for this workshop, introduced a NASA teaching approach called “FlyBy Math.” It helps students in grades 5 through 9 solve problems involving distance, rate, and time.

The chapter’s Teacher of the Year, Randy Selnick from Crystal Lake Middle School in Pompano Beach, conducted demonstrations of science principles related to weather. Chapter member Patricia M. Lovarco, a retired science teacher, covered propulsion.

A. J. Tolbert, an assistant professor of aviation and director at Florida Memorial University in Miami Gardens, spoke to the workshop about how to encourage students to pursue aviation careers and his school’s role in preparing them. Also a retired American Airlines pilot with the rank of captain, Tolbert has extensive experience in speaking to schoolchildren about becoming a pilot.

Chapter Secretary Virginia S. Montalvo reported that the participants gave the workshop “outstanding” ratings in after-action evaluations.

Awards in Fort Wayne

In Indiana, Thomas Eisenhuth received the Member of the Year Award at the Fort Wayne Chapter’s annual awards dinner, held at a hotel-conference center on Dec. 7.

Eisenhuth is the chapter’s immediate past president and was joined in the winner’s circle by Samuel Conte, who received the Distinguished Service Award; Brandon M. Monticue, who took home a Special Recognition Award; and Hyrle A. Ivy Jr., Community Partner Gold Award recipient.

Civil Air Patrol scholarships went to David Minser and Caleb Alley.

An honor guard from the Wayne High School’s IN-941 AFJROTC unit posted the colors. A pianist played music from the 1940s and 1950s during the dinner, and Ron Smith, a local singer, provided other entertainment.

Special guests included Michael Malast, president of the Central Indiana Chapter.

At the AETC-AFA symposium ball in San Antonio, Sandy Schlitt, AFA’s Vice Chairman of the Board for Aerospace Education (far left), and Alamo Chapter President Gary Copsey (right) thank Maj. Gen. William Lord, a keynote speaker. The chapter plans to present a scholarship in his name to a University of Texas student. At the podium is Lloyd Newton, master of ceremonies. (See p. 75.)

More Chapter News

In Pennsylvania, Total Force Chapter Vice President Douglas C. May presented TSgt. Leanne A. Horgan with a Pitsenbarger Award at a Community College of the Air Force ceremony in January. Horgan, who is now a chapter member, is from the 911th Airlift Wing (AFRC) at Pittsburgh Arpt./Air Reserve Station. AFA’s Pitsenbarger Awards are grants of $400 that go to top airmen graduating from CCAF and planning to pursue a bachelor’s degree.

AFA officials in Oklahoma represented the association at an informal dinner for Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton A. Schwartz, who was on a two-day visit to Vance AFB, Okla., in January. Terry Cox, the Texoma Region president; James J. Jacobs, Oklahoma state president; and Dan Ohnesorge, president of the local Enid Chapter, were among the guests at the Vance Club dinner, invited by the 71st Flying Training Squadron. Schwartz traveled to Vance to speak to the 19 graduates of Joint Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training Class 09-04.

Retired Lt. Col. Stuart S. Carter, from the Cochise Chapter in Arizona, donned his uniform to represent the Air Force at a Wreaths Across America ceremony in Sierra Vista, Ariz., in December. Carter joined Civil Air Patrol cadet Bethany McNeil in placing a wreath at the base of the Air Force flagpole at the Southern Arizona Veterans Memorial Cemetery. Wreaths Across America began 16 years ago when the Worcester Wreath Co. of Harrington, Maine, began placing wreaths at headstones in Arlington National Cemetery. Other cemeteries took up the practice, and the company reported that on Dec. 13, 2008, more than 350 locations held simultaneous wreath-laying ceremonies. Chapter President Ross B. Lampert attended the ceremony hosted by the CAP squadron in Sierra Vista.

Helped by some original Red Tails themselves, the Red Tail Memorial Chapter ran an AFA membership table at a Collings Foundation air show at the Ocala, Fla., airport in January. Chapter President Michael H. Emig said 17 chapter members helped run the AFA display. Among those viewing the foundation’s B-17, B-24, and P-51 warbirds were three Tuskegee Airmen: Haldane King, Bob Walker, and Steve Lawrence. In World War II, Tuskegee Airmen flew fighter aircraft—like the Mustang at this air show—with tails painted red and thus gained the nickname “Red Tail.” The nonprofit Collings Foundation is based in Stow, Mass., and provides “living history” and a tribute to the military by sending aircraft on tour around the US.

The Tidewater Chapter in Virginia Beach, Va., sponsored a regional drill meet in December, with eight AFJROTC units participating: Six came from Chesapeake; two came from Suffolk. Judges represented all the armed services and the Coast Guard. Though they came from a school that only opened in 2007, the unit from Grassfield High School in Chesapeake won the top trophy. Chapter President William M. Cuthriell said this was undoubtedly due to chapter member Gordon Strong, the unit’s aerospace science instructor, who had been specifically recruited by the Grassfield principal to lead the cadets.

Participants in the Gold Coast Chapter’s aerospace education workshop take shade under the wing of a Cessna at Pompano Beach Airpark. (See p. 75.)

Tidewater Chapter officials also arranged an F-15 orientation flight for a Community Partner. Gerald Yagen, who owns the new Military Aviation Museum at the Virginia Beach Airport, supports Air Force and Navy events in the area with his collection of World War I and World War II aircraft. For the chapter in particular, his museum is now the site of the annual gala and displays AFA membership applications at its entrance. He has been a chapter guest speaker and provided a flyover to memorialize a chapter member. Yagen owns aviation maintenance schools, and according to the museum newsletter, his background is in general aviation. Capt. Bradley Brumbaugh, 71st Fighter Squadron, 1st Fighter Wing, at Langley AFB, Va., provided the orientation flight.

When former AFA national director Vivian P. Dennis from the Edward J. Monaghan Chapter was promoted to lieutenant colonel at Elmendorf AFB, Alaska, in November, several AFA officials gathered from across the state—and even from the lower 48—to congratulate her. AFA National Treasurer Steven R. Lundgren and Alaska State President Fredrick A. Stein traveled down from Fairbanks for the ceremony. Former AFA Chairman of the Board Robert E. Largent flew in from Arkansas. Closer to home, Chapter President Kara Moriarty was also on hand.

Unit Reunions

20th Air Police Sq, RAF Wethersfield, England (1964-74). May 7-10 in San Antonio. Contact: Roy Johnson, 12919 Satterlee Rd., Anacortes, WA 98221 (360-929-3791) or Gerald Dickey (724-799-0919) (

20th/81st Tactical FW, England. Sept. 16-20 in Williamsburg, VA. Contact: Dave Hayes (330-225-7153) (

27th Air Transport Gp; 310th, 311th, 312th, and 325th Ferrying Sqs; 86th, 87th, 320th, and 321st Transport Sqs; 519th and 520th Service Sqs. Oct. 15-18 in Oklahoma City. Contact: Fred Garcia, 6533 W. Altadena Ave., Glendale, AZ 85304 (623-878-7007).

351st BG, Polebrook, England (WWII). July 23-27 in Branson, MO. Contact: Gatherings Plus, PO Box 1023 (417-338-4048) (

667th, 932nd, 933rd, 934th AC&WS. April 26-30 in San Antonio. Contact: William Chick (803-932-9596) (

BAD2, Warton, England. Sept. 10-12 in Omaha, NE. Contact: Mick Wickham, 315 N. Grant St., Fremont, NE 68025 (402-727-5283) (

FB-111A reunion, all are welcome. Oct. 1-4 in Fort Worth, TX. Contact: Gerry Patterson, 104 Amberjack Ct., Georgetown, TX 78633 (512-863-9363) (

JTF 1-79, Desert One, Ricebowl, Iran Rescue (all personnel). April 24-25, 2010 in Fayetteville, NC. Contact: Ron Lenahan (757-565-1737) (

Nagoya/Komaki AB, 5th AF. June 7-10 at the Lodge of the Ozarks Hotel, in Branson, MO. Contact: John Campo, 8905 NE 109th Terr., Kansas City, MO 64157 (816-407-0055) (

USAFSS Misawa AB reunion. June 11-14 in SeaTac, WA. Contact: Andy Anderson (360-724-4663) (

Seeking members of US Strategic Bombing Survey for a reunion. Contact: Curtis Curtis, 13063 5th St., #38, Yucaipa, CA 92399 (909-446-8410) (909-801-0779).

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.


The Tidewater Chapter arranged an F-15 orientation flight for Community Partner Gerald Yagen (left). Capt. Bradley Brumbaugh (center), 71st Fighter Squadron, Langley AFB, Va., was the pilot. Chapter President William Cuthriell is at right.

USAF Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz (center) met local officials on a visit to Vance AFB, Okla. L-r: Terry Cox, Texoma Region president; James Jacobs, state president; Col. Chris Nowland, 71st Flying Training Wing commander; and Daniel Ohnesorge, Enid Chapter president.

Retired Lt. Col. Stuart Carter, from the Cochise Chapter, and Civil Air Patrol cadet Bethany McNeil represented the Air Force at a Wreaths Across America ceremony in Arizona.

L-r: Red Tail Memorial Chapter President Michael Emig joins Tuskegee Airmen Haldane King, Bob Walker, and Steve Lawrence and chapter member Howard Burke at an Ocala, Fla., air show.

Total Force Chapter’s Vice President Douglas May presents TSgt. Leanne Horgan with a Pitsenbarger Award at a Community College of the Air Force graduation.