AFA National Report

April 1, 2014

Florida Gala Salutes the Guard and Reserve

The Air Force Gala in Orlando, Fla., organized by the Central Florida Chapter, honored “citizen airmen”—the Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve.

Held in conjunction with the Air Warfare Symposium and Technology Exposition, the 30th annual gala also paid tribute to industry partners of the Guard and Reserve. As Chapter President William G. Palmby told the audience, employers “truly understand the importance of allowing these warriors the time they need for training and operational duty.”

The chapter named seven AFA Jimmy Doolittle Educational Fellows. Col. Frank L. Amodeo, commander of the 403rd Wing at Keesler AFB, Miss., accepted the award for his unit, singled out for its unique mission of hurricane reconnaissance. Maj. Jose Ariza accepted the honor on behalf of the 146th Airlift Wing at Channel Islands ANGS, Calif. The award recognized the ANG’s airborne firefighting mission. Together, Amodeo and Ariza represented the homeland responsibilities of the Guard and Reserve.

Maj. Michael Belardo (fourth from left in the photo at top), a B-2 weapons officer, accepted the award for the 131st Bomb Wing at Whiteman AFB, Mo. It was highlighted as the only ANG entity flying and maintaining Spirit stealth bombers. CMSgt. Gary Brown, the 310th Space Wing command chief from Schriever AFB, Colo., joined Belardo on stage. He represented the Reserve’s only space wing. Belardo and Brown symbolized the aerospace power projection capabilities of USAF’s two Air Reserve Components.

Southwest Airlines Capt. Chuck Magill and Dustin Baird were named Doolittle fellows—to underline corporate and small-business support for reservists—as was Ronald Young, executive director of DOD’s Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve organization.

In a culmination of the gala, the chapter named AFA President Craig R. McKinley as an H. H. Arnold Fellow. The honor served to spotlight McKinley’s 38 years of military service and his firsts: He was the first national guard officer to become a four-star general and the first National Guard Bureau chief appointed a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Yes, I Know Polly—Part II

Do you know Polly

With her help, the Gen. Bruce K. Holloway Chapter put AFA on Page 1 of its local newspaper.

The Daily Times in Blount County, Tenn., declared that “Top Stories for Monday, Feb. 24” included AFA’s $1,300 Chapter Matching Grant to a school in Maryville.

Chapter Treasurer Pauline K. “Polly” Morrisey presented the check to health sciences teacher Carla Woodard and students Allie Israel and Jessica Hechevarria (left to right in the photo) at William Blount High School.

But the grant really originated through another chapter member: retired Col. Thomas M. Shaughnessy, the AFJROTC senior aerospace science instructor at Blount.

Shaughnessy said, “We don’t even have a budget for textbooks. Our school is pretty needy.” He knew Woodard’s vocational-technical program wanted funding help. So, Shaughnessy said, “I hooked her up with Polly.”

He explained, “I know Polly Morrisey because we invite her every year to our banquet, and she presents the outstanding JROTC cadet award.”

Morrisey does far more than hand out the award; she keeps in contact with the student. As a result, months after the medal presentation, the cadet still knows her name. (See Search: Yes, I Know Polly.)

AFA Chapter Matching Grants promote science, technology, engineering, and math and can be used for activities such as science fairs, science and technology programs, field trips, or career days.

At Blount High School, the matching grant allowed Woodard to buy a microhematocrit centrifuge and basic supplies. The centrifuge determines the ratio of red-cell volume to whole blood volume and helps diagnose blood loss, anemia, and bone marrow failure, for example. Having the machine gives the students hands-on training for their future careers, commented Shaughnessy.

It’s the kind of thing that happens when you know Polly.

In This for the Long Haul

When the Massachusetts-based Collings Foundation brought its World War II aircraft to Fort Lauderdale, Fla., in February, the Gold Coast Chapter set up an AFA membership table at the air show. With its display, the chapter highlighted its own vintage fighter aircraft restoration effort.

Chapter President Virginia Montalvo, Secretary Fran C. Shaw, and Treasurer Ransom Meriam manned the table, with a large photograph of F-86H, No. 53-1255, as the focus.

This Sabre began its association with the chapter in 1970 when then-leader Robert M. Rawls persuaded Fort Lauderdale to acquire it from the Maryland Air National Guard for display.

By 1999, however, the aircraft had fallen into disrepair because of weather exposure. Chapter members then organized a restoration that involved trucking the fighter jet down the coast to Homestead Air Reserve Base.

Reservist volunteers worked for five years on the restoration, with the chapter funding materials and supplies.

In 2004, the chapter dedicated the F-86 at Fort Lauderdale’s Holiday Park. The next year, Hurricane Wilma knocked it off its display pedestal. The chapter again led a restoration and rededicated it for Veterans Day 2010.


Nation’s Capital Chapter President Bruce A. VanSkiver awarded an AFA Silver Medal to Ellen Petersen, the outstanding Aerospace Studies 300 cadet at Det. 130, based at Howard University in Washington, D.C.

Lt. Gen. David S. Fadok, commander of Air University, was guest speaker for the event and helped with the presentation, along with detachment commander Lt. Col. Darryl Terrell. Petersen is finishing her junior year at American University, one of several colleges in an AFROTC consortium with Howard University. According to VanSkiver, she has been selected for the remotely piloted aircraft career field.

Emerging Leaders

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. Here’s the sixth Emerging Leader’s profile.

TSgt. Timothy J. Tichawa

Home State: Illinois.

Chapter: Robert H. Goddard.

Joined AFA: 2011.

AFA Offices: Member of the national-level Aerospace Education Council. California State VP for aerospace education. Was Goddard Chapter Secretary.

AFA Awards: State-level Meritorious Service award. Chapter-level Presidential Exceptional Service.

Military Service: 12 years on Active Duty.

Occupation: Flight chief (space operations), 533rd Training Squadron, Vandenberg AFB, Calif.

Education: A.A.S., Community College of the Air Force. B.A., Ashford University. Working on an M.S., Colorado Technical University.


How did you first learn of AFA I had a group commander, and he was asked to put together the state convention. … I didn’t attend the state convention, but I helped plan it. I thought, “Wow, this is a great organization.”

How is AFA of value I’ve benefitted most from my networking. … Between networking and professional development—that’s another big one—I’ve gotten to meet some of the great NCOs and leaders.

How can AFA increase membership By helping people realize that the organization is for the Total Force, by really telling the enlisted story. Everything that AFA does should include the enlisted perspective to it. … We should somehow tie in e-membership to that—that it may be more affordable [for junior enlisted]. That was a great move to reach out to the young.

Tichawa fishes from a kayak off California’s Gaviota State Park with the Jurassic Sport Fishing group.

How To Stand Out at the Science Fair

The Sarasota-Manatee Chapter in Florida continues to build its presence at a local science fair.

In January, Chapter President Michael R. Richardson presented awards for two projects at the Lockheed Martin-Manatee Regional Science and Engineering Fair.

Anna Zimmerman, a ninth-grader from Braden River Middle School, evaluated the performance of a hybrid rocket motor using beeswax versus a paraffin-based fuel. She entitled her project “An Eco-Friendly Rocket Fuel.” (Beeswax came out on top.)

Merritt Kendzior, a ninth-grader at Southeast High School experimented with varying a wing’s angle of incidence to change the speed needed to create a specific amount of lift. Both students come from Bradenton, Fla.

This is the chapter’s third year of involvement with the science fair. How did they do this

  • Ask the school system. “We knew we needed to do something in the aerospace education field,” recalled Richardson, so he began phoning school officials. On his second try, he reached a teacher who complained, “Gee, I’m really busy right now. I’m getting ready for the science fair.” Bingo. He was in.
  • No need to be a judge. The chapter got on the radar by providing awards to highlight aerospace-oriented projects, not by judging entries.
  • Stand out from the crowd. Richardson said, “I made an effort to provide distinct awards”: an AFA Certificate that he prints on heavy card stock on his computer and places in a blue presentation folder; an AFA calendar; an aerospace-related book; a medallion hanging on a ribbon; and a backpack of Air Force goodies from the local recruiting station. He presents this bounty at the fair’s awards ceremony, where the chapter’s recipients differ from the other awardees. “They walk away from me with their hands full,” Richardson said. “That makes them stand out.” His marketing background taught him this technique.
  • Compile a list of media contacts. “I went around town and picked up every paper I could find,” Richardson said. He looked through each newspaper’s staff list to find pertinent email addresses.

A web search in February revealed that all of the after-action coverage of this science fair originated with Richardson’s emailed press releases to those on this contact list.

Anna Zimmerman displays her AFA Certificate and Recognition Medal. The science fair awarded the First in Class plaque on the right.

Merritt Kendzior’s research produced a project called “Wing It!”


34th BS. Oct. 2-5 in San Diego. Contact: Rod Breland, 5731 Hickory Ridge Blvd., Baton Rouge, LA 70817 (225-751-2058) ( (

606th Special Ops Sq. April 24-26 at Hope Hotel near Dayton, OH. Contact: Phil French (937-287-4766) (

Radar station veterans. May 18-23 in Reno, NV. Contact: Woody Woodworth (927-868-2495) (lgwdwrth@roadrunner. com).

SAC. May 15-17 at Sam’s Town Hotel and Casino in Shreveport, LA. Contact: (318-529-3023).

Pilot Tng Class 62-G, Laredo AFB, TX. May 12-15 in Las Vegas. Contact: John Kikta (702-876-6216) (

Wheelus AB. June 27-29 in Dayton, OH. Contact: Judy Martin Moore (276-728-5391) (

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.
Maj. Michael Belardo and CMSgt. Gary Brown receive applause at the Central Florida Chapter’s Gala. L-r: Tim Brock, gala chairman; CMSAF James Cody; Gen. Mark Welsh, USAF Chief of Staff; Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James; and Bill Palmby, chapter president. (Photos by Dan Higgins)
Maj. Jose Ariza (second from left) and Col. Frank Amodeo accept congratulations from Welsh and James. (Photos by Dan Higgins)
Polly Morrisey (far right), the Gen. Bruce K. Holloway Chapter treasurer, presents an AFA matching grant to William Blount High School. The funds paid for the centrifuge in the foreground. (Photo by Darryl Sullivan, courtesy of The Daily Times)
At the CAP awards night in Waukesha, Wis., Alexander Vargo (far left) was part of the color guard and also received an AFA CAP Outstanding Squadron Cadet of the Year award. Billy Mitchell Chapter President Victor Johnson made the presentation.
Gold Coast Chapter’s (left to right) Virginia Montalvo, Fran Shaw, and Ran Meriam with a photo of Fort Lauderdale’s F-86. Standing is new chapter member Marine veteran Edward Weber.
American University cadet Ellen Petersen received an AFA Silver Medal from (l-r) Lt. Col. Darryl Terrell, Nation’s Capital Chapter President Bruce VanSkiver, and guest speaker Lt. Gen. David Fadok, Air University commander.
Susan Loricchio, a New Jersey state VP (left), presented Isaac Alberto with an AFA CAP Outstanding Squadron Cadet of the Year Award. At right: Jersey City Composite Squadron Commander Gilberto Sanchez.

Sal Capriglione Chapter VP Anthony Devino (second from left) and President Joseph Capriglione (third from right) presented an AFA CAP Outstanding Squadron Cadet of the Year Award to John Glidden III (center). Glidden is from the Teaneck, N.J., Composite Squadron.