AFA National Report

Sept. 1, 2008

AFA as the Top Story

When Air Force Association Chairman of the Board Robert E. “Bob” Largent met with airmen at Pacific Air Forces bases in July, he garnered front-page headlines for AFA at every stop.

During Largent’s two-week journey to Hickam, Andersen, Elmendorf, and Eielson Air Force Bases, he explained AFA’s mission, addressed groups of airmen, and chatted with them individually to gather ideas on what the association can do for PACAF personnel. He also received command briefings and updates on Pacific region issues.

During a PACAF tour in July, AFA Board Chairman Bob Largent addresses a breakfast meeting in downtown Anchorage, Alaska. His audience included local business leaders and airmen. (USAF photo by SrA. Jonathan Steffen)

At his first stop, Hickam AFB, Hawaii, the base newspaper ran an extensive interview with Largent, covering everything from USAF’s role in the War on Terror to the high operations tempo of Hickam’s airmen. “I met two folks last night who had just returned [from Southwest Asia] less than three weeks ago and they’re leaving again in just a few months. And these are airmen from all specialties—housing, maintenance, logistics,” he told the reporter.

Hawaii Chapter members—led by Acting Chapter President Lance Bleakley and Nora Feuerstein—organized a joint services reception for Largent. Feuerstein pointed out that Hickam and Pearl Harbor could move toward consolidation of facilities and budgets under the Pentagon’s proposed joint basing strategy, so an Air Force-Navy guest list seemed appropriate. Gen. Loyd S. Utterback, the 13th Air Force commander, and USAF Lt. Gen. Douglas M. Fraser, the US Pacific Command deputy, were among the guests, as well as Navy Capt. Richard Kitchens, who commands Naval Station Pearl Harbor, and Navy Capt. Donald D. Hodge, the chief of staff for Navy Region Hawaii.

Largent later called on Gen. Carrol H. Chandler, PACAF commander, and visited 13th Air Force and the Kenney Air Operations Center; 15th Airlift Wing; and the Hawaii Air National Guard’s 154th Wing.

The AFA Chairman met with groups of Hickam’s active duty and ANG senior enlisted leaders—hosted by the command chief master sergeant CMSgt. Anthony L. Bishop—before heading to Guam.

Media Spotlight in Guam

At Andersen Air Force Base, Largent warranted the headline on the base’s Web site.

He told the Andersen reporter that the challenges USAF faces mirror AFA’s mission to educate, advocate, and support the Air Force: “We educate about winning the [Global War on Terror], advocate recapitalization of an aging fleet, and support the Air Force and the Air Force family.”

Largent met USAF’s officer and enlisted leadership team at Andersen, including Brig. Gen. Douglas H. Owens, 36th Wing commander. As at Hickam, joint basing with the Navy was one of the main topics. Some 8,000 marines, plus Air Force personnel, families, and civilians are projected to move to Guam, and new construction and infrastructure improvement projects are under way. Largent said later that he saw “a stark positive change” in the quality of life for airmen since his visit to Andersen on his previous orientation to PACAF bases two years ago.

Introducing USAF’s Best

By Day 9, Largent was at Elmendorf AFB, Alaska—outside Anchorage and the home of the Edward J. Monaghan Chapter—where his visit with an AFA national-award winner was prominently featured with a photo on the base Web site.

Largent had stopped at Elmendorf’s medical center to congratulate Capt. Becky M. Bautch, recently named the 2008 Juanita Redmond Award recipient for excellence in nursing. The award recognizes Bautch’s work at an intensive care unit at Balad AB, Iraq.

Also in Anchorage, Largent received briefings and met officials from the 3rd Wing, 11th Air Force, Alaskan Command, and Kulis Air National Guard Base.

AFA’s top elected official attended a “downtown breakfast” with the city’s civilian leaders, who were introduced to three of USAF’s finest from Elmendorf: Bautch, the Redmond awardee; TSgt. Jason Hughes from the 3rd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, who had just been named a 2008 Outstanding Airman of the Year; and SrA. Matthew C. Hulsman, a 2007 OAY.

On to Eielson

Brig. Gen. Mark W. Graper, the 354th Fighter Wing commander at Eielson, and Col. Donald Scott Wenke, commander of the 168th Air Refueling Wing (ANG), were among the Total Force members that Largent met during two days in Fairbanks. A photo of his breakfast meeting with airmen on base merited the lead position on Eielson’s Web site.

Information gathered on this trip by AFA’s Board Chairman will help form the AFA Statement of Policy and the association’s Top Issues for 2009. He explained in an interview at Elmendorf that he travels at the invitation of the Air Force Chief of Staff and PACAF commander and that when he addresses audiences—whether on Capitol Hill or at a local civic club—”I’m doing that with the knowledge that I’ve been to PACAF, I’ve talked about and seen joint basing issues. … I’ve visited with young airmen at the NCO academy, I’ve visited with senior officers, I’ve visited with civilians, and I’ve visited with community leaders to [get] a real appreciation of what’s happening out here in our Air Force.”

Escorting Largent to the 49th state’s Air Force facilities were AFA National Treasurer Steven R. Lundgren; David Gardner, Fairbanks Midnight Sun Chapter president; chapter member Fredrick A. “Butch” Stein; and Kara G. Moriarty, new president of the Monaghan Chapter.

Hawaii Chapter’s Col. Marc A. Luiken, PACAF director of staff, was Largent’s escort throughout the tour.


In Houston, the San Jacinto Chapter held an “AFA at NASA” afternoon at the Johnson Space Center in June.

Former astronaut and retired Air Force Col. Brewster H. Shaw Jr., now vice president, Boeing Space Exploration and a chapter member, delivered a presentation about the space shuttle during the segment of the event devoted to space. Shaw made three shuttle flights between 1983 and 1989.

During the awards portion of the gathering, the chapter honored its Educator of the Year: John J. Antel, the dean of the University of Houston’s College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences.

Chapter President Robert H. Kjar pointed out that Antel was selected because he has been a mentor to Air Force ROTC Det. 003 at the university, helping establish it in 2003. The unit was expecting to enroll 90 cadets by this past August. In 2007 it was selected as the best small detachment in the Southwest ROTC Region.

Antel, who is an economist—and the father of a Navy F/A-18 pilot—told his university’s newspaper that AFROTC is unique in teaching leadership, “something that is absent from most of the academic curriculum.”

Antel was keynote speaker for the awards ceremony, where, among the military awardees, the 111th Fighter Squadron from Ellington Field received the chapter’s Distinguished Unit Citation.

An Infantryman in WWII

For his presentation to the Central Indiana Chapter in June, retired Army Lt. Col. John R. Kerr brought maps—the better to illustrate his memories of fighting in some of the most famous battles of World War II Europe.

A 78th Infantry Division NCOIC during the war, Kerr fought in the Battle of the Bulge. This December 1944 fight in the Ardennes pushed back the Germans from their incursion into American lines—a situation that had created a “bulge” threatening to split Allied forces. The battle was the last German offensive of the war.

Kerr went on to battles on the Cologne Plain and, in spring 1945, in the Ruhr Pocket campaign, an Allied encirclement of German troops. During the war, Kerr’s unit manned observation posts and conducted patrols, sometimes behind the lines, to scout the terrain and learn enemy locations.

Chapter President Michael Malast said that the former infantryman described to the chapter dinner meeting a particularly memorable sight: a German V-1 missile passing overhead.

Kerr is today a retired elementary school principal.

Joe Sutter (right), AFA Vice Chairman of the the Board, Field Operations, attended the Tennessee State Convention in May. He stopped for a photo with (l-r) Civil Air Patrol Capt. Bob Turpin, retired USAF Lt. Col. Martha Shaffer, and AFROTC cadet Channara Tep.

Banquet for a Trio

Three teachers shared the spotlight at the second annual Utah AFA Teacher of the Year Banquet, held at Salt Lake City Community College in May.

Matthew Smith was named State Teacher of the Year. He taught science at Bountiful (Utah) Junior High School and had been Teacher of the Year for the Ute-Rocky Mountain Chapter. Bonnie Bourgeous, a biology teacher from Clearfield (Utah) High School, was the Northern Utah Chapter’s Teacher of the Year. The Salt Lake Chapter chose Hailey Forsgren as its Teacher of the Year. She is a sixth-grade teacher at Meadowlark Elementary School in Salt Lake City.

Jake Garn, the first to fly in space while serving in Congress, was guest speaker for the banquet. Garn was a pilot in the Navy and Air National Guard and was a Republican Senator from 1974 to 1993. He went into space as a payload specialist on Discovery in 1985 and spoke to the AFA audience about his experiences on this mission. He also stressed the important role of science teachers.

The state’s AFA Aerospace Education Foundation sponsored the event, with Dennis J. Guymon heading a group of Utah AEF Board members who organized it: Kit K. Workman, Wally Saeger, Andy Clark, and Laurie Steed.

Surprise—and Surprise

Joe Walker-Mon Valley Chapter officials in Monessen, Pa., had two surprises up their sleeves when they honored their Chapter Teacher of the Year during an informal presentation.

Thomas Thompson has taught astronomy and physics at Belle Vernon (Pa.) Area High School since 1988. Chapter President James M. Cain, Chapter Secretary Thomas A. Hamer, and William Worthington showed up unannounced at Thompson’s class one morning in May to present him with the award in front of his students.

The chapter members gave Thompson an AFA Certificate, a year’s membership in the association, a check, and a tote bag. Then they surprised him again by announcing that he had just been chosen as State Teacher of the Year, as well.

The double award was featured on the school’s Web page, along with a description of the Air Force Association and its teacher awards.

More Chapter News

The Maj. Gen. Dan F. Callahan Chapter in Nashville, Tenn., hosted the state convention in May, with retired Vice Adm. David C. Nichols as the awards banquet’s keynote speaker. Some 75 guests listened to remarks by Nichols, who recently retired as US Central Command deputy commander. Earlier in his career, he had been deputy commander for the CENTCOM combined air force in Iraqi Freedom and for Joint Task Force Southwest Asia. He had also directed a combined air operations center during Enduring Freedom. At the AFA convention, Nichols spoke about the US military strategy in Iraq and Afghanistan. State President Winston J. Daws conducted the awards ceremonies, where James A. Van Eynde, president of the Everett R. Cook Chapter in Memphis, received the Volunteer of the Year award.

At the Virginia State Convention in Fairfax in June, Daniel R. Waters was recognized as the State Teacher of the Year. A career and technical education teacher at George Washington High School in Danville, he had been the Chapter Teacher of the Year for the Danville Chapter, headed by Gerald L. Hovatter. Waters had also received an AFA Chapter Matching Grant for a robotics project at his school. He brought his family—wife, Tammy, and children, Christopher and Kathryn—to the state convention, where he received the award from AFA’s President and CEO Michael M. Dunn, National Director Mary Anne Thompson, and Virginia State President Scott P. Van Cleef.

In New Hampshire in May, Kevin M. Grady, who heads the Brig. Gen. Harrison R. Thyng Chapter, presented the State Teacher of the Year Award to Nancy Musey during the awards ceremony at an area science fair. Musey teaches at Indian River School in Canaan, N.H., and was nominated for the award by Daniel W. Caron. Caron is the chapter and state aerospace education VP and was at the science fair ceremony, too. Caron was AFA’s 2004 National Teacher of the Year.

Unit Reunions

19th Air Refueling Sq, Homestead and Otis AFBs. Oct. 12-15 at the Marriott Hotel in San Antonio. Contact: Charlie Fischer (830-367-5601) (

40th BG (WWII). Oct. 16-20 in St. Louis. Contact: Jean Suitt (800-959-2582) (

40th FS/Flight Test Sq Assn. Oct. 15-18 at the Crowne Plaza Atlanta in Marietta, GA. Contact: Frank L. Hettlinger (812-877-4039) (

47th BW Assn (WWII), including all units. Nov. 5-9 at the Holiday Inn in Pooler, GA. Contact: Charlie Palmer, 652 Fischer Ave., Anchorage, AK 99518 (907-332-0296) ( (

91st Strategic Recon Wg Assn (1949-57). In 2009 in Gatlinburg, TN. Contact: Jim Bard (410-549-1094) (

363rd FG & 161 Tac Recon Gp. Oct. 30-Nov. 2 at the Radisson Hotel in San Francisco. Contact: Art Mimler (209-966-2713).

Bartow AB pilot instructors/students. Oct. 15 at the Chalet Suzanne Restaurant & Inn, in Lake Wales, FL. Contact: The Chalet (800-433-6011) (

Borinquen Field/Ramey AFB, all military and civilian units (1939-73). April 21-25, 2009 at Ramey, in Aguadilla, Puerto Rico. Contact: Ken Coombs, 412 A Depot St., Andover, NH 03216 (603-735-4291) (

OCS 56-C & D, and all OCS graduates. Oct. 22-26 in Charleston, SC. Contact: H. E. Saden, 26 Brummel Ln., Crossville, TN 38558 (931-456-6076) (

Pilot Class 49-A. Nov. 4-6 at Cape Canaveral, FL. Contact: Stephen Moore (813-839-4257) (

Society of Wild Weasels. Sept. 11-14 at the Holiday Inn in Fairborn, OH. Contact: Larry LeMieux (day: 937-320-7426, night: 937-320-3684) (

Seeking senior enlisted advisors from 17th Air Force installations in Germany (1980-84) for a reunion. Contact: Frank Gregory, 1552 Donna Ave., Panama City, FL 32404 (850-871-0002) (

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.


In New Hampshire, Kevin Grady, president of the Brig. Gen. Harrison R. Thyng Chapter, presents the State Teacher of the Year award to Nancy Munsey of Indian River School in Canaan, N.H.

The San Jacinto Chapter named John Antel, dean of the University of Houston’s College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, as Educator of the Year. Here, Capt. Albert Chapman, from the university’s AFROTC Det. 003, presents a C-17 model to Antel.

The Virginia State Convention honored Daniel Waters (far right) as State Teacher of the Year. L-r are Danville Chapter President Gerald Hovatter, AFA President-CEO Michael Dunn, Waters’ wife Tammy, and his children, Christopher and Kathryn.

Joe Walker-Mon Valley Chapter surprised Thomas Thompson of Belle Vernon Area High School with the Pennsylvania State Teacher of the Year award. L-r: Thomas Hamer, chapter secretary; Gregory Zborovancik, principal; Thompson; James Cain, chapter president; Maria Weightman, assistant principal; and William Worthington.