AFA National Report

July 1, 2008

Field Trip!

Backed by an AFA Chapter Matching Grant, the Gen. Bruce K. Holloway Chapter in Tennessee helped offset the cost of a field trip that students from Knoxville made to the US Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Ala., in April.

The grant provided $700 to help pay the cost of transportation for 245 eighth-graders from South-Doyle Middle School, as they traveled some 200 miles to the center, which claims one of the most comprehensive collections of manned spaceflight hardware.

Derick E. Seaton, chapter secretary, went along on the trip. He said some of the science teachers told him that the annual field trip had always been a huge success over the past 17 years, but rising gasoline prices had made the cost seem out of reach for many of their students.

Seaton pointed out that the school uses the field trip not only to encourage the study of science, technology, engineering, and math, but also to motivate students to attend school, follow school rules, and strive for success.

AFA’s matching grants program helps chapters promote aerospace and math educational activities in their communities.

AFA Board Chairman Bob Largent (far right) joins retired CMSAF James McCoy (far left) and current CMSAF Rodney McKinley in congratulating MSgt. Linda McCoy. She received the Senior NCO Academy’s top academic award for Class 08-C at Maxwell AFB, Ala. She is from Sheppard AFB, Tex., and is not related to Jim McCoy, a former AFA Board Chairman for whom the award is named. (USAF photo by SMSgt. Todd DePorter)

Normandy Jubilee

In April, the Long Island Chapter (N.Y.) held a Jubilee of Liberty Medal Ceremony, honoring seven veterans of the June 1944 Normandy invasion.

US Rep. Tim Bishop (D-N.Y.) presented the medal to William Heagney of Mineola, N.Y., and to families of five other veterans: Vincent Berardi, Gustav Bruggemann, Frank Hassman, and Saul Riter. Antonio Imperial and the family of Metro Mitchell were to receive their medals later. All seven were soldiers.

The Jubilee of Liberty Medal was first minted for the Regional Council of Normandy, France, in 1994, to be presented to American veterans attending the 50th anniversary remembrance of the D-Day landing. The French government later asked the US to arrange for presentation of the medals to other Normandy veterans who weren’t able to attend the anniversary. The Long Island Chapter has conducted the presentation ceremony 18 times, recognizing more than 300 local veterans.

This latest ceremony took place at the American Legion Post in Riverhead, N.Y., and was covered by a local newspaper and cable TV station. Cathy T. Ward, chapter secretary, said that the chapter received requests for more medal presentations because of the coverage, and Fred DiFabio, New York state chief of staff, noted that even though 64 years have passed since the landing on the beachheads of France, the ceremony remembering Normandy still fills the audience with emotion.

Vintage Aircraft on Display

The Tidewater Chapter in Norfolk, Va., called their event a “gala,” but it was much more than dinner and dancing. There were also warbirds to see on static display. A mint-condition World War II aircraft even took to the air for a flight demonstration, and one chapter member had a chance to fly in the jumpseat of the P-51.

The gala took place at the privately owned Virginia Beach Airport, home to the Fighter Factory, where Gerald Yagen, owner of a national chain of vocational schools for aircraft mechanics, maintains, displays, and flies a collection of old and replica airplanes.

The gala attracted more than 250 guests. In the late afternoon, they toured the Fighter Factory. Yagen then took chapter member Edwin C. Spencer, a World War II veteran, up in the P-51 named Double Trouble Two.

The Navy’s Fleet Forces Band’s jazz ensemble, based in Norfolk, provided the music for the dinner.

Double Trouble Two was the main attraction at the Tidewater Chapter’s Gala, held in Virginia Beach, Va. The P-51 is owned by Gerald Yagen (center). Chapter Community Partner Charlie Hackworth (left) sponsored a demonstration flight of the vintage warbird. At right is Scott Van Cleef, Virginia state president.

We’re Back

Under the headline “Air Force Association Is Back,” the Web site for Keesler AFB, Miss., announced the first meeting of the John C. Stennis Chapter since Hurricane Katrina hit the base in 2005.

Maj. Gen. Michael C. Gould, commander of 2nd Air Force at Keesler, was guest speaker for this welcome-back luncheon meeting May 8. Keesler was the hardest hit of USAF’s Gulf Coast bases; it suffered extensive property damage caused by storm surge from the hurricane.

Capt. Richard R. Parent and Capt. Michael P. Zink put in what Parent called “months of hard work” to “bring the chapter back on its feet.”

AFA leaders at this first meeting of the revitalized chapter included South Central Region President Leonard R. Vernamonti, Mississippi State President Roy Gibbens, and Alabama State President Mark Dierlam.

More Chapter News

Could this be a repeat? Col. Lance Young hopes so. President of the Strom Thurmond Chapter in Clemson, S.C., he presented the chapter’s Teacher of the Year award in April to Nancy LeMaster, who has taught science at D. W. Daniel High School for 25 years. The school’s faculty includes physics teacher Patrick A. Welsh, who was AFA’s National Teacher of the Year in 2005.

The Air Force’s deputy chief of staff for manpower and personnel, Lt. Gen. Richard Y. Newton III, was guest speaker for the Ak-Sar-Ben Chapter’s annual Scholarship and Awards Banquet at Offutt AFB, Neb. Six $1,000 scholarships went to high school students and ROTC cadets from the University of Nebraska at Omaha. The chapter also recognized its Teacher of the Year, Jan Elliott, who teaches physics at Bellevue West High School.

In New York, the Iron Gate Chapter’s May luncheon featured AFA’s President and CEO, retired Lt. Gen. Michael M. Dunn, as guest speaker. Chapter President Frank Hayes said that Dunn gave the chapter members a “fresh outlook” on national security, backed by facts and figures. The luncheon also served to honor chapter Teacher of the Year Julia Weisser, a science teacher from New York City.

Red Tail Memorial (Fla.) Chapter President Michael H. Emig presented AFA’s 2008 national-level W. Randolph Lovelace Memorial Award in April to cadet Tyler F. Holley of Det. 150 at the University of Florida in Gainesville. It was the detachment’s second consecutive win of the same award. Last year’s winner was cadet Maureen A. Hartney. The award is named for Lovelace, a NASA director of space medicine in the 1960s and also the first Chairman of the Board of the Aerospace Education Foundation, AFA’s former affiliate. (The two entities merged in 2006.)

At the latest Jubilee of Liberty Medal Ceremony sponsored by the Long Island Chapter, US Rep. Tim Bishop (D-N.Y.) chats with William Heagney (left). Heagney was among those presented with the medal, which honors veterans of the June 6, 1944 D-Day invasion at Normandy.

Col. G. Barney Rawlings, 1922-2008

Retired Col. G. Barney Rawlings, an AFA national director in the 1960s, died May 8 in Las Vegas, a city that called him an “ambassador extraordinaire.” He was 86 years old.

He enlisted in the Army in October 1942 and served in Europe from July 1944 until the following January, flying 282 combat hours in the B-17. After the war, he became a performer, emcee, and executive director of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority. Most recently he headed his own production company.

Born in Provo, Utah, he was a member of the Northern Utah Chapter and had entered the Retired Reserve in 1974 at the rank of colonel.

Unit Reunions

4th Emergency Rescue Sq (WWII). Oct. 15-19 at the Guesthouse Inn & Suites in Nashville, TN. Contact: Robert Roy (615-459-4635).

28th Wg Assn. Sept. 4-8 in Rapid City, SD. Contacts: Al Leenknecht (605-348-7244) or 28th Wg Assn, P.O. Box 3092, Rapid City, SD 57709.

29th FIS. Sept. 23-25 in Fort Worth, TX. Contact: John Jobe (817-279-6283) (

38th BG (WWII), Pacific. Oct. 1-5 in Dayton, OH. Contact: Jack DeTour (808-487-2842) (

49th FG Assn. Aug. 27-31 in Seattle. Contact: George Smith, 3604 26th Pl. W, #202, Seattle, WA 98199 (206-283-1675) (

62nd and 87th FIS, K.I. Sawyer AFB, MI. July 12. Contact: Lani Duquette, 193 Sunset Dr., Negaunee, MI 49866 (906-475-7179) (

71st and 341st Air Refueling Sqs, SAC, Dow AFB, ME. Aug. 27-31 in Bangor, ME. Contact: Ron Atwood, P.O. Box 7, Whitefield, ME 04353 (207-549-3327) (

75th Air Depot Wg, Kelly AFB, Korea, Japan, Europe (1952-55). Sept. 25-28 in Charleston, S.C. Contact: Walt Walko, 13616 Paradise Villas Grove, Colorado Springs, CO 80921 (719-488-1106) (

81st TFS. Sept. 26 at the Hilton Inn in Lewisville, TX. Contact: Kelso Jackson (425-392-3321) (

86th FBG (WWII). Sept. 4-6 at the Holiday Inn Downtown/Market Square in San Antonio. Contact: Sid Howard, 211 Brownstone Dr., La Habra, CA 90631-7397 (714-992-2504) (

361st FG Assn. Sept. 23-26 at the Holiday Inn in San Antonio. Contact: Bill Street, 1103 Henry Dr., Alabaster, AL 35007 (205-663-0326).

366th Wg. Sept. 11-15 in Boise, ID. Contact: John France (817-860-2780) (

384th BG. Oct. 2-5 at the Holiday Inn in Fairborn, OH. Contact: Frank Alfter (937-306-2142) (

491st BG (WWII). Sept. 24-28 at the Crowne Plaza in McLean, VA. Contact: Harry Mellinger (719-634-4215).

506th FW. Oct. 15-19 in Dayton, OH. Contact: Bill Henderson (405-359-8558) (airpirate

526th FS. Oct. 17-19 in Nashville, TN. Contact: Wayne Rebischke (763-682-2685) (

623rd AC&W Assn, including 624th, 851st Sq, 529th Gp, 305th Fighter Control Sq, 313th Air Div, 51st FIW, 2152nd Comm Sq, and anyone engaged in air defense of Okinawa. Sept. 10-14 in Colorado Springs, CO. Contact: Jim Simpson (719-599-7919) (

AACS Alumni Assn. Sept. 24-28 at the Stone Castle Hotel in Branson, MO. Contact: Gene Sheridan (816-373-3027) (

AC-119 gunship. Sept. 11-14 in Branson, MO. Contact: Jerry McDonald (417-385-6403) (

Hq TAC Engineering & Services, military and civilian. Sept. 26-28 at the Marriott in Newport News, VA. Contacts: Dick Aldinger (407-859-7436) or Wayne Hudson (757-754-0805).

JCAFB Navigator Tng Class 63-01, student officers and aviation cadets. Oct 2-5 in Dayton, OH. Contacts: Jerry Witt, 6347 Pheasant Valley Rd., Dayton, OH 45424 (937-233-7076) ( or Ken McNair, 12037 210th Pl. SE, Issaquah, WA 98027 (425-226-5501) (

Pilot Tng Class 49-B. Oct. 2-5 at Wright-Patterson AFB, OH. Contacts: Jack Stolly, 11323 Cotillion Dr., Dallas, TX 75228 (972-681-8290) ( or Bob Skoog (937-393-4792).

Pilot Tng Class 56-B. Nov. 7-9 at The Plaza in Las Vegas. Contact: Larry Phillips (262-784-1498) (

Pilot Tng Class 62-A. Oct. 2-4 at the Crockett Hotel in San Antonio. Contact: Mike Intille (214-821-9813) (

Seeking pilots and navigators from the 6100th Operations Sq, Tachikawa AB, Japan (1961-66), for a reunion in San Antonio. Contact: Chuck Davies, 4435 Monaco Dr., San Antonio, TX 78218 (210-653-1475) (

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. Gen. Michael Gould, 2nd Air Force commander, speaks to the John C. Stennis Chapter at Keesler AFB, Miss., in May. It was the first chapter meeting since Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

At the University of Florida’s AFROTC Det. 150, Red Tail Memorial Chapter President Michael Emig presents the W. Randolph Lovelace Award to cadet Tyler Holley. In the background is cadet Maureen Hartney, the 2007 recipient.

Gen. Bruce K. Holloway Chapter Secretary Derick Seaton (in dark glasses) and South-Doyle (Tenn.) Middle School students and teachers watch the “Space Shot” amusement-park ride while on a field trip to the US Space and Rocket Center, Ala.

Lt. Gen. Richard Newton III, USAF deputy chief of staff for manpower and personnel, delivers his speech, “Why We Serve,” at an Ak-Sar-Ben Chapter banquet at Offutt AFB, Neb.