AFA National Report

April 1, 2008

Gala in Florida

The Air Force Association’s and Air Combat Command’s Air Warfare Symposium culminated with the 24th annual Air Force Gala, hosted by the Central Florida Chapter in Orlando, Fla., in February.

The black-tie evening paid tribute to 50 years of service by the ICBM force—”the silent warriors,” as James E. Callahan, chapter president and master of ceremonies, described them. “These men and women—from industry, to operator, to maintainer, to support personnel—continue to meet the challenges with extreme dedication and professionalism,” he told the gala audience.

During ceremonies that evening, the chapter named retired Gen. Lance W. Lord as an AFA H.H. Arnold Fellow, noting that he had begun his career as a Minuteman combat crewmember. Lord retired in 2006 as commander of Air Force Space Command.

The chapter also named four AFA Gen. Bernard A. Schriever Fellows: all ICBM personnel (represented by Maj. Gen. Roger W. Burg, commander of 20th Air Force); the weapon and space systems company ATK, selected for its contributions in the solid-propulsion field; Lockheed Martin, chosen for its work on re-entry vehicles; and the Minuteman III Guidance Replacement Program team, for updating the reliability and accuracy of the only USAF ICBM launch vehicle on daily alert status.

US Rep. Jim Marshall (D-Ga.), the co-chairman of the Air Force Caucus and a member of the Armed Services Committee, and British Air Commodore Phil Goodman, dean of the foreign air attaché corps, were among the gala’s honored guests.

During 24 years of support for AFA’s aerospace education programs, the Central Florida Chapter has raised more than $650,000.

At the Air Force Gala in Orlando, Fla., Tommy Harrison (far left) and James Callahan (far right) present the Central Florida Chapter’s donation for aerospace education activities to (l-r) Michael Dunn, Sandy Schlitt, and AFA Board Chairman Bob Largent. Harrison was gala chairman, while Callahan was master of ceremonies. Dunn is AFA’s President-CEO. Schlitt is Vice Chairman of the Board for Aerospace Education. The chapter also presented $10,000 to the Air Force Memorial Foundation. (Photo by Dan Higgins)

Weather Report

Through an AFA Chapter Matching Grant, the Richmond Chapter in Virginia co-sponsored a series of lessons at an elementary school in their city. The topic was meteorology—air masses, density, fronts, temperature, barometric pressure. In short: weather.

Chapter President Dave Reisenwitz, an educator-marketing director from the Virginia Aviation Museum in Richmond, spent two days teaching students at Reams Road Elementary School. He worked with all 174 fourth- and fifth-graders, conducting 50-minute sessions with groups of about 25 at a time. Reisenwitz used a combination of lectures, interactive discussions, and attention-grabbing demonstrations to keep the kids interested.

All students received a ticket to the aviation museum, so they could later on see the vintage military and civilian aircraft on display, including an SR-71 Blackbird Mach 3, high-altitude reconnaissance airplane.

The educational outreach effort received coverage in a local newspaper, including mention of AFA’s sponsorship role.

An AFSOC Workshop

The Hurlburt Chapter (Fla.) organized a teachers’ workshop, held at Hurlburt Field in January. The “field trip” portion involved tours of aircraft on static display, an introduction to Air Force Special Operations Command squadrons, and even some aircraft simulator time. The classroom portion covered AFA educational programs and grants, as well as programs of other organizations such as the Civil Air Patrol and Experimental Aircraft Association.

The day began at the flight line, where visitors—among them several chapter members—toured an MH-53M Pave Low IV from the 20th Special Operations Squadron; an AC-130U Gunship of the 4th SOS; a CV-22 Osprey of the 8th SOS; and a “Hurricane Hunter” WC-130J flown by the 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron, Keesler AFB, Miss.

The Hurlburt guests visited the 19th SOS, an AFSOC training and mission rehearsal “school.” They tried out a few training devices and “flew” MC-130 Combat Talon I and II simulators.

During a working lunch at Hurlburt’s club, the teachers met the Hurricane Hunter crew and listened to presentations on aerospace education opportunities and on paper airplane construction by Ken Blackburn. An engineer with Jacobs-Sverdrup at Eglin AFB, Fla., Blackburn holds the Guinness record for time aloft for paper airplanes (27.6 seconds, set in October 1998 in the Georgia Dome in Atlanta).

In the afternoon, chapter members Casey Oliver, Glenn S. Rutland, and Ricardo V. Soria conducted workshops, along with Blackburn. Hurlburt Chapter President Dann D. Mattiza said that the teachers at this workshop came from northwest Florida and Alabama. AFA leaders on hand included Florida State VP Richard Schaller and Chapter VP Thomas E. Hull.

Community Impact

It comes down to who you know. In Owasso, Okla., the mayor chatted with Tulsa Chapter member Alfredo Ontiveros Jr. In turn, Ontiveros contacted Chapter President Lee E. Hayes. Next, Hayes called the 138th Fighter Wing at Tulsa Airport.

The result? Mayor Stephen Cataudella got a comprehensive briefing on the ANG wing and learned how Owasso could benefit from supporting it.

Although Cataudella is an Air Force veteran, for most in his town of some 34,000 residents, “contact with the ANG is the sound of F-16s taking off and landing at nearby Tulsa International Airport during training flights,” as the local newspaper put it.

Cataudella toured the Guard facility with Hayes and Ontiveros in January. He met Brig. Gen. Robert D. Ireton, the Oklahoma ANG chief of staff, and, for the past seven years, the chapter’s VP. He also met Col. Brewster Butters, wing vice commander.

Butters presented a video on the 138th FW and explained the unit’s mission and how it affects Owasso. Butters said the wing’s operations and personnel have a $162 million impact on the Tulsa area. He noted that nearly 200 more people will be added to the base rolls and that Owasso—located northeast of Tulsa—should consider planning how to house them.

Cataudella told the Owasso Reporter newspaper that meeting with the ANG leaders was a tremendous opportunity for him and that Owasso could provide wing personnel with “housing, meals, and places to work out.”

“We want to be an active community partner,” he said.

Samantha Viola helps a Santee Community Schools (Neb.) student fold a paper airplane. Lincoln Chapter aerospace education VP Diane Bartels took University of Nebraska Lincoln AFROTC cadet Vince Koziol (background) and Viola on a Visions of Exploration outreach visit to the Santee Sioux reservation in March. The paper airplane is like the one a Hurlburt Chapter workshop presenter used to set a world record. (See “An AFSOC Workshop.”) Koziol is a Lincoln Chapter member, and Viola belongs to Silver Wings, a service organization supporting AFROTC units.

Tuskegee Airmen in Pennsylvania

AFJROTC cadets rounded up through the foresight of AFA leaders in Pennsylvania added special touches to a tribute in Pittsburgh honoring the Tuskegee Airmen.

Retired SMSgt. Oreste DiCerbo, aerospace science instructor at West Mifflin Area High School, helped organize the young cadets for this Black History Month salute to America’s first black military airmen. DiCerbo is the aerospace education vice president of the Greater Pittsburgh Chapter. However, the idea to take part in the event really originated with Robert C. Rutledge, chapter secretary for the Lt. Col. B.D. “Buzz” Wagner Chapter of Johnstown.

Back in January, Rutledge read a newspaper article about an upcoming ceremony to spotlight the fact that an unusually large number of Tuskegee Airmen—at least 50—hailed from the Pittsburgh area of the Keystone State. Rutledge e-mailed a copy of the newspaper article to several AFA members and suggested that the Pittsburgh Chapter get involved.

Only three days later, DiCerbo responded that he had contacted the event organizers. “They were excited when we called to help,” he told Rutledge. DiCerbo’s saber team was invited to perform an opening ceremony.

At the Tuskegee Airmen tribute luncheon on Feb. 2, eight AFJROTC cadets of the saber team formed an arch of swords, and the Tuskegee Airmen walked under it as their names were announced to the audience gathered at the Sen. John Heinz History Center. Cadet Mikenna Manspeaker sang the National Anthem with a Civil Air Patrol cadet.

The AFJROTC cadets were proud of their part in this event, DiCerbo reported. He said they left the luncheon having learned more about the Tuskegee Airmen and having received positive comments from the audience “for helping honor our nation’s best.”

The Delaware 33

In February, the Delaware Galaxy Chapter held its annual awards reception, highlighting the accomplishments of 33 top performers from the Air Force community.

Held at Dover Air Force Base, the event honored personnel from the active duty 436th Airlift Wing, among them, Capt. Quoc-nam T. Nguyen, senior company grade officer of the year, and 1st Lt. Megan N. Schmid, junior CGO of the year. Reservists from the 512th Airlift Wing who earned awards included Capt. Lonnie Schmidt, CGO of the year, and MSgt. Veronica Aceveda, Senior NCO of the Year.

Cadets from the University of Delaware, Det. 128, in Newark; top junior and senior AFJROTC cadets from each of the seven high schools in the state; Civil Air Patrol cadets; and outstanding civilians rounded out the list of award recipients.

Delaware State President Richard B. Bundy hosted the awards night, which included remarks by Col. Randal L. Bright, 512th AW commander.

More Chapter News

A former Air Force intel officer spoke to the Columbus-Bakalar Chapter in Columbus, Ind., in February. Mel Lantz had been an engineering student and ROTC cadet at Ohio State University in 1949. On graduation, he was commissioned and assigned to Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio, to Technical Intelligence Class 54-D. Chapter Secretary James R. Alvis said Lantz had always been closed-mouthed about his intel past, and most of his friends and co-workers from his civilian career at Cummins Engine never knew he had served in the military.

More than 60 guests turned out for the Richard D. Kisling Chapter’s January meeting in Sioux City, Iowa. Col. Brian Miller, 185th Air Refueling Wing (ANG) commander, was guest speaker and provided an update on the unit’s deployments and transition from KC135E to R models.

Unit Reunions

4th Emergency Rescue Sq Assn. Oct. 15-19 at the Radisson Hotel at Opryland, Nashville, TN. Contact: Chet Gunn (781-944-6616) (

8th AF, 457th BG, including 748th, 749th, 750th, and 751st BSs. May 24-28 in Peterborough, England. Contact: Will Fluman, 120 South Ridge Rd., Boiling Springs, PA 17007 (phone: 717-258-3090 or fax: 717-258-0560) (

39th, 40th, 41st FSs of the 35th FG. Oct. 22-25 at the Country Inn & Suites in Montgomery, AL. Contact:Roger Rehn (530-644-7346) (

50th TFW officers. Aug. 12-15 at the AF Museum in Dayton, OH. Contact: Skip Sedgwick, 41916 N. Emerald Lake Dr., Anthem, AZ 85086 (602-315-9208) (

98th BG, 98th BW, veterans. Oct. 14-19 in Cincinnati. Contact: Billy Seals, 2526 Plumfield Ln., Katy, TX (281-395-3005) (

483rd BG Assn. Sept. 8-14 in St. Peters-St. Charles, MO. Contact: George Stovall, 825 NE Lawndale Pl., Corvallis, OR 97330 (541-758-0009) (

Army Air Corps Pilot Classes of WWII. Sept. 18-21 in Virginia Beach, VA. Contact: Stan Yost, 13671 Ovenbird Dr., Fort Myers, FL 33908 (239-466-1473).

B-58 Hustler Assn. June 3-6 at the Gold Coast Hotel, Las Vegas, NV. Contact: Bill Shunney, 7249 Adobe Hills Ave., Las Vegas, NV 89113-3040 (

Pilot Tng Class 52-F. Oct. 22-25. Contact: W.R. Dusenbury, 9063 Northpoint Dr., Beach City, TX 77520-8350 (281-303-0085) (

Pilot Tng Class 60-F. Spring 2010, in Dayton, OH. Contact: Robert Suhrheinrich, 2135 Dovefield Dr., Pensacola, FL 32534 (850-478-1316) (

SAC Airborne Cmd Control Assn. Oct. 15-19 at the Doubletree Hotel in Dayton, OH. Contact: Wilton Curtis (804-740-2290) (

Seeking Berlin Airlift veterans in TX, NM, AR, OK, LA for a reunion. Contacts: Kai-Uwe Spicher, Deputy Consul General, 1320 Post Oak Blvd., Ste. 1850, Houston, TX 77056 (phone: 713-627-7770 or fax: 713-627-0506) ( or Meyer Minchen, 1753 North Blvd., Houston, TX 77098 (phone: 713-528-6967 or fax: 713-528-6979).

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.


Brig. Gen. Robert Ireton (right), the Tulsa Chapter’s vice president, helped conduct an orientation tour of the 138th Fighter Wing (ANG) at Tulsa Airport for Stephen Cataudella (left). Cataudella is mayor of the nearby town of Owasso. (Photo by Jerry Whited of the Owasso Reporter)

Donald Persinger (left) thanks Col. Brian Miller for his presentation at the February Richard D. Kisling Chapter meeting. Miller is commander of the 185th Air Refueling Wing (ANG), Sioux Gateway Arpt./Col. Bud Day Field in Sioux City, Iowa. Persinger is the chapter’s activities chairman.

At a teachers’ workshop, organized by the Hurlburt Chapter at Hurlburt Field, Maj. Gen. Clay McCutchan (front row, left) waits to be called on to welcome the teachers. McCutchan is the mobilization assistant to the commander of Air Force Special Operations Command. Next to him is Lt. Col. Chris Foltz from AFSOC. Behind McCutchan is Richard Schaller, the Florida State AFA vice president. Behind Foltz is teacher and chapter member Glenn Rutland. She and Schaller made presentations at the workshop.

Contributions to “AFA National Report” should be sent to Air Force Magazine, 1501 Lee Highway, Arlington, VA 22209-1198. Phone: (703) 247-5828. Fax: (703) 247-5855. E-mail: Digital images submitted for consideration should have a minimum pixel count of 900 by 1,500 pixels.