AFA National Report

April 1, 2013

Dynamic and Continually Evolving

“The Central Florida Chapter is dedicated to supporting aerospace education,” Chapter President Michael J. Liquori told the audience at the Air Warfare Symposium Gala in Orlando, Fla.

The 29th annual banquet—part of the three-day Air Force Association event—emphasized this support by focusing on USAF education and training.

During awards presentations at the gala, Liquori characterized Air Education and Training Command, its components, and its industry partners as a “dynamic and continually evolving” system enabling the Air Force’s success.

Air University received the first honor that evening, followed by the AETC medical training organizations, Cessna Aircraft Co., AETC’s Technical Training Division, and the Community College of the Air Force. The Central Florida Chapter named all of these entities Jimmy Doolittle Fellows.

CMSAF James A. Cody and SrA. Emily Barchenger then joined Liquori and Gala Chairman John Timothy Brock on stage to highlight the more than 40 years that have passed since CCAF’s establishment in April 1972 at Randolph AFB, Tex.

Cody presented Barchenger with her diploma, marking the 400,000th associate degree in applied science awarded by CCAF. Barchenger earned the degree in intelligence studies and technology while deployed to the 379th Air Expeditionary Wing, Southwest Asia.

In other presentations at the gala, Central Florida Chapter members and supporters donated $10,000 to the Air Force Memorial Foundation. The chapter’s total donation to the memorial now comes to a quarter-million dollars.

Recognizing Excellence

The Central Oklahoma (Gerrity) Chapter recognized that it had an unusually strong CyberPatriot supporter in Rose State College.

So Chapter VP Mark L. Tarpley suggested that the community college be named a Center of Excellence for CyberPatriot, AFA’s national high school cyber defense competition. In January the school in Midwest City, Okla., received the designation. It is the CyberPatriot program’s fourth Center of Excellence. The others are the Los Angeles Unified School District, the City of San Antonio, and Spokane Public Schools.

Rose State College has nearly 12,000 students and had earlier been named a National Security Agency Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance. That’s when the Gerrity Chapter’s cyber security VP, David A. Wagie, began developing a connection between the school and the chapter.

James Putnam, chapter aerospace education VP, listed how the college has helped CyberPatriot in the past three years: First, computer science faculty members have conducted teaching sessions for teams interested in competing. Last fall, they held six Saturday sessions on cybersecurity basics.

Second, the instructors recorded the sessions and posted them online. Putnam said 15 of the 23 teams from Oklahoma worked directly with Kenneth Dewey and other Rose State College volunteers, and they know that at least one school—in California—used the online training.

Third, said Putnam,Rose State does a direct mailing of some 800 letters describing their free course. In addition, the state department of education helps the chapter promote CyberPatriot through e-mail announcements.

Putnam, who presented a CP briefing to a conference of teachers last August, commented that the college has made “over and above efforts to help the Oklahoma high school teams.”

The Academic Award in Hawaii

TSgt. Jason M. Hibbetts received the Academic Achievement Award, sponsored by the Hawaii Chapter, at his NCO Academy graduation at JB Pearl Harbor-Hickam in February.

AFA was well-represented at the Binnicker Professional Military Education Center’s graduation ceremony and awards banquet: Chapter President John Murphy was there, and retired CMSAF James M. McCoy served as guest speaker. McCoy had been AFA’s Chairman of the Board 1994-1996 and was in Honolulu this February to visit family and Hickam airmen.

Murphy said he always finds out the awardee’s name ahead of time, so he can get a plaque appropriately engraved, but the winner isn’t formally announced until the diploma-and-awards presentations, held at Hickam’s Tradewinds Enlisted Club. Hibbetts, from the 25th Air Support Operations Squadron, was “surprised and very pleased” by the award, Murphy reported.

Hibbetts earned the honor on the basis of test grades and writing and speaking evaluation scores. His class, 13-1, was the first to graduate this year from the NCO Adademy at the Binnicker PME Center.

Pacific Air Forces and Hickam’s 15th Wing dedicated the center in February 2012 to CMSAF James C. Binnicker, the ninth Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force (1986-1990).

The Winner Is One of Our Own

The Fort Worth Chapter of Texas recently learned that its Earle North Parker essay competition winner has won at the state level as well.

It seemed especially appropriate since the writing contest is named for the Fort Worth businessman who founded the chapter.

Last fall, AFJROTC cadet Alexander Maberry, from Western Hills High School in Fort Worth, wrote a two-page essay on the assigned topic, remotely piloted vehicles and their role in national security. He covered, in particular, the demands of RPV operations on the enlisted personnel who run the sensors. “With all the training sensor operators receive, they become masters of intelligence, which makes them a valuable asset in national security,” Maberry wrote.

His essay earned him $1,000, as first-place winner for the chapter. Texas State President William Lawson made the presentation.

In February, the judges, led by Texas AFA Scholastic Awards VP Vance M. Clarke of the Northeast Texas Chapter, named Maberry as the 2013 statewide winner. This garnered the student another $2,000. Lawson said Maberry wants to become a Air Force officer.

The Parker contest is open to all seniors in Texas. Its namesake served as a fighter pilot with the Army Air Forces’ 94th Fighter Squadron in World War II. He became a banker in his civilian career and started the essay contest in 1963. Parker died in 1993.

California Teacher Flips It

In California, the Maj. Gen. Charles I. Bennett Jr. Chapter’s Teacher of the Year award went to an instructor using a “flipped classroom.”

Aaron Filbrun received the award during a surprise classroom visit from Chapter President Frank D. Walter­scheid in late January.

Filbrun teaches seventh- and eighth-graders life sciences and physical sciences, in alternate years, at Big Valley Christian School in Modesto, Calif. The school has more than 700 pupils, from preschool through high school.

A Big Valley teacher for the past nine years, Filbrun keeps up with technology that helps him motivate students, and he conducts seminars to share his knowledge with fellow teachers.

This school session, Filbrun decided to try the flipped classroom approach, combining technology with teaching: He provides the lesson content online ahead of time. Then, when his students come to class, they carry out discovery activities for their 50-minute period, instead of only listening to chalk talk.

Flipped teaching has been around for some 10 years, used by educational institutions ranging from elementary schools to Harvard. It uses teacher-produced or commercially made videos and podcasts that students access at home through computers and other mobile devices.

Project Bionic Arm

In California, the Robert H. Goddard Chapter president, Juan E. Cruz, attended a Santa Barbara County Education Office awards dinner in March.

On the chapter’s behalf, Cruz presented a $500 grant to Chris Ladwig, a seventh- and eighth-grade science teacher at Vandenberg Middle School. The funds from AFA will support a robotics activity called the Bionic Arm Project. It requires Ladwig’s students to integrate several science, math, technology, and engineering topics, among them: physics, hydraulics, electronic circuitry, and the properties of gases and liquids.

Earlier, Cruz spoke at an awards dinner for the Santa Barbara Civil Air Patrol unit. He told the audience at a restaurant at Santa Barbara Airport about AFA’s mission and the importance of studying STEM subjects.

He also described chapter- and national-level AFA incentives available to them: CAP aerospace educator and unit grants and the CAP Cadet Medal.

More Chapter News

In January, the Commander’s Call for the 203rd Red Horse Squadron included presentations for the 2012 Outstanding Airmen of the Year. Tidewater Chapter (Va.) President Kenneth S. Turner, VP Allan G. Berg, Treasurer Robert C. Hudson, and Executive Committee member Chip Moran attended this Camp Pendleton, Va., gathering to honor the Air National Guardsmen. Turner presented the awards and AFA memberships to Outstanding Airman of the Year SrA. Jacob L. Fleming, NCO of the Year TSgt. Arthur G. Wagoner, and Senior NCO of the Year MSgt. Andre S. Davis.

Mercer County Chapter’s Teacher of the Year has also been named the New Jersey State Teacher of the Year, Chapter President Stephen LaPoint has announced. Mark Lamb teaches aviation aerospace technology at Ocean County Vocational Technical School. Among the local officials at Lamb’s award presentation were Chapter VP Grieg Moore, Stewart Zitzner, and Jerry Iacona, chapter, state, and region aerospace education VP. Steve LaPoint is the chapter president.

Maj. Gen. Oris B. Johnson Chapter in Louisiana members watched “The Last Bomb” at their January gathering. The 1945 Army Air Forces documentary film covers the conventional-phase B-29 bombing of Japan. The audience, including AFROTC cadets from Louisiana State University, then got a personal viewpoint of such missions from Chapter Secretary Ralph Stephenson, a World War II Superfortress bombardier.


SMSgt. Claude Weidow drew an Air Force medic at work and presented the picture to Central Florida Chapter’s Tim Brock (l) and Mike Liquori (r). A flight chief with the 383rd Training Squadron, Weidow had represented AETC medical training at the Florida symposium and gala.
L-r: AFA Board Chairman George Muellner, AFA Treasurer Len Vernamonti, AFA Secretary Ed Garland, and Gen. Edward Rice Jr., commander of Air Education, and Training Command, at the Florida symposium and gala.
University High School student Hamza Siddiqui signs a copy of his award-winning CyberPatriot poster for Bonnie Callahan at the Florida symposium expo.
Vandenberg Middle School teacher Chris Ladwig holds a plaque noting a grant for his science classes. The Robert H. Goddard Chapter donated $500 to Ladwig’s project.
At a Fort Worth Chapter award ceremony for the Earle North Parker essay winner (l-r): Mark Cerja, Western Hills High School assistant principal;Texas State President Bill Lawson; Alexander Maberry, contest winner; and AFJROTC cadre retired Col. Russ Malesky, retired CMSgt. Lana Castle, and retired MSgt Joe Ayala.
L-r: Stewart Zitzner, Grieg Moore, Mercer Chapter VP; New Jersey Teacher of the Year Mark Lamb; Nancy Weber-Loeffert (assistant superintendent for Ocean County Vocational Technical Schools; and Jerry Iacona, chapter, state, and regional aerospace education VP, display Lamb’s award.
Maj. Gen. Oris B. Johnson Chapter’s Mike Cammarosano, Phil Jones, Ralph Stephenson, and Rodney Breland sport green, gold, and purple Mardi Gras necklaces. They opened their January chapter meeting with necklace-tossing, warming up for a famous activity in the New Orleans Mardi Gras parade.
Steel Valley Chapter’s honorary colonel Fred Kubli Jr. receives the rank of honorary brigadier general. Brig. Gen. Brian Dominguez, 910th AW commander, and Brig. Gen. Karl McGregor, USAF deputy director for strategic planning, pin on the stars. Kubli was “promoted” as thanks for volunteer work for Youngstown ARS, Ohio. USAF photo by TSgt. Brenda Cosola.

20th Fighter Wing Assn, including 20th Fighter Gp, Fighter-Bomber Wg, Tactical Fighter Wg (1930s-present). Oct. 23-27 in Charleston, SC. Contact: Dave Skilling (770-429-9955) (

20th-81st TFW, UK. Sept. 25-29 in San Antonio. Contacts: Dave Hayes (330-225-7153) or Richard Voytasko (210-436-8643).

49th Fighter-Interceptor Sq. Oct. 3-6 in Dallas. Contact: Ron Morrissette (

81st FW Assn. Sept. 21-24 at the Hyatt Regency River Walk, San Antonio. Contact: Harry Eckes (972-539-7259) (

677th, 932nd, 933rd, 934th Aircraft Control & Warning Sq. Oct. 7-11 at the Magnuson Hotel & Meridian Convention Center in Oklahoma City. Contact: William Chick (803-422-9486) (

AF Security Forces Assn. Sept. 19-21 in Tampa, FL. Contact: Jerry Bullock, 818 Willow Creek Cir., San Marcos, TX 78666 (1-888-250-9876) (

B-57 Canberra Assn. Oct. 3-7 at Wright-Patterson AFB, OH. Contact: Gayle Johnson (920-261-3879) (

Pilot Training Class 55-I. Sept. 10-14 at the Grand Plaza Hotel in Branson, MO. Contact: Darold Korzan, 1030 NE 451st Rd., Concordia, MO 64020 (660-463-5799) (

Retired USAF Fire Chiefs. Aug. 6-8 at the Homewood Suites Mayfaire in Wilmington, NC. Contact: Charlie Richardson (386-760-6286) (

US Air Forces Escape & Evasion Society. May 8-12 in Tampa, FL. Contact: Richard Shandor, PO Box 254, Cresson, PA 16630 (814-886-2735).

Wolfhounds of Soesterberg. Sept. 13-21 at Soesterberg, Netherlands. Contact: Cynthia Wilson (+31-6-244-32-607) (

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.