AFA National Report

Dec. 1, 2009

The ICBM’s 50th

In October, Air Force Association Chairman of the Board Joseph E. Sutter took part in anniversary events at F. E. Warren Air Force Base in Cheyenne, Wyo., to mark the passage of 50 years since ICBMs went on full combat alert.

As a former commander of the 351st Strategic Missile Wing, Sutter—who spent most of his 28 years on active duty with ICBM units—joined a symposium panel highlighting “Fifty Years of Extraordinary People in ICBMs.” Three other panels covered the history of ICBMs, their role in the Cold War, and their future.

Secretary of the Air Force Michael B. Donley delivered the keynote address at the evening banquet that was a highlight of the three days of anniversary events. Other symposium speakers included Gen. Kevin P. Chilton, head of US Strategic Command; Gen. C. Robert Kehler, commander of Air Force Space Command; Lt. Gen. Frank G. Klotz, commander of Air Force Global Strike Command; and retired Gen. Larry D. Welch, former USAF Chief of Staff and also a commander of Strategic Air Command.

“It was,” Sutter noted, “ a ‘who’s who’ of the missile business.”

ICBMs first went on full combat alert Oct. 31, 1959 at Vandenberg AFB, Calif.

AFA Board Chairman Joe Sutter and his wife, Geri Sutter (both at right), joined Cheyenne Cowboy Chapter members in Wyoming for F. E. Warren Air Force Base activities noting the ICBM’s 50th anniversary. L-r: Mary Ann Marek, Stephan Pappas, Chapter President Irene Johnigan, and Richard Ames.

Cowboy Contributions

The Cheyenne Cowboy Chapter, led by Chapter President Irene G. Johnigan had a hand in several of the F. E. Warren ICBM anniversary events, with Chapter Government Relations Vice President Peter S. Iloway as overall project manager.

On opening day, the chapter sponsored a golf outing at F. E. Warren, with some 50 players. The chapter’s assistant treasurer, Leslie D. Swidecki, and Gaylene Hasert, chapter co-secretary, took the lead in organizing this tournament.

Volunteers headed by chapter officers and members Mary Ann Marek, Richard P. Ames, Mary Carroll, and Stephan A. Pappas operated in four shifts to man an AFA information booth at the symposium’s Technology Exposition. The volunteers loaded down visitors with copies of Air Force Magazine, AFA pens, and AFA pins, as well as membership applications.

In addition, chapter members helped solicit funds to carry out a barbecue lunch for symposium attendees.

A Model Donation

When the newly renovated planetarium at Pensacola Junior College in Florida reopened in October, a gift from the Hurlburt Chapter was hanging from the lobby ceiling: a scale model of the International Space Station. Also in the lobby was a collection of models of space objects, courtesy of the chapter.

The rockets, space probes, space telescopes, lunar orbiters, planets—more than 40 models built on a one-to-200 or one-to-48 scale—fill seven shelves in two glass display cases and are the work of the chapter’s aerospace education VP, John Jogerst.

Chapter President Dann D. Mattiza said that Jogerst started off building straw rocket launchers, then began constructing paper model airplanes for them. Soon, Jogerst branched out into space vehicles. Designs come from various Web sites, are printed on a color copier, and are constructed from the paper pieces, wooden dowels, “and the occasional wire,” as Mattiza put it. He called the results “literal works of art.”

Jogerst had been donating models to local teachers, for classroom use, but learned from chapter member and fellow model-builder John Whalen that the college was seeking space-related items for display in the planetarium building’s lobby. Rather than giving away his work “piecemeal,” Jogerst said he “just cleared the shelves” of his home collection. He said that he figured he could reach a wider audience at a planetarium that can host 100 visitors at a time.

The display case contains a placard crediting the Hurlburt Chapter with the donation.

Another Three-in-One Success

In July, AFA Ohio and partner groups hosted a trade expo, combined with a tech summit and an air show.

Two months later, the Wright Memorial Chapter applied the same one-two-three formula, again dovetailing a trio of events: On Sept. 3, the chapter hosted the AFA Technology Symposium at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. It brought together some 275 defense industry leaders and USAF officials from Air Force Materiel Command and Aeronautical Systems Center.

The symposium, first held and also hosted by the chapter last year, followed the semi-annual Air Force Materiel Command Senior Leaders Conference that took place on Sept. 1 and 2.

Symposium topics ranged from “green” technologies to strategies small businesses can use to land government contracts.

Gen. Donald J. Hoffman, AFMC commander, called the presentations and breakout sessions “a good nexus of events” for the government-industry partnership.

Other speakers included Lt. Gen. Thomas J. Owen, Aeronautical Systems Center’s new commander. He told the audience that the Air Force needs better definitions of realistic requirements up front, simplified source selections, more robust systems engineering, increased efforts at technology risk reduction, and competitive prototyping.

The third event combined with the conference and symposium was the 62nd Air Force Anniversary Ball, held at the National Museum of the US Air Force, at Wright-Patterson.

Jeff A. Liffick, then Wright Memorial Chapter VP and now its president, headed up the chapter’s contributions to symposium activities. He reported that the chapter organized a silent auction and a reception in conjunction with the ball. The auction offered more than 100 items that, together with proceeds from the technology symposium, raised $21,000 for the Air Force Aid Society.

At the Air Force Ball, hosted by the MiG Alley Chapter in Seoul, South Korea, SMSgt. Scott Myers of the 607th Air Support Operations Group at Osan Air Base, prepares to present a leather flight jacket to US Ambassador Kathleen Stephens. Lt. Gen. Jeffrey Remington, 7th Air Force commander, is at the podium.

MiG Alley’s Air Force Birthday

In Seoul, South Korea, the MiG Alley Chapter helped USAF celebrate its 62nd anniversary, too.

US Ambassador to South Korea Kathleen Stephens was guest speaker for the Sept. 26 black-tie birthday ball, held at a Seoul hotel and hosted by the chapter.

Lt. Gen. Jeffrey A. Remington, 7th Air Force commander at Osan Air Base, introduced Stephens to the audience of more than 900 guests, some of whom traveled in from remote sites and from Kunsan Air Base, about 100 miles away.

Col. Lee A. Flint III, chapter president, wrote in an e-mail that Stephens described to the audience the “three pillars of American foreign policy in northeast Asia: defense, development, and diplomacy.”

Stephens also made personal observations on progress on the Korean Peninsula, reported Flint. Stephens became the ambassador 15 months ago but was a Peace Corps volunteer in South Korea from 1975 to 1977.

Flint, who is chief of the 607th Air and Space Operations Center’s strategy division at Osan, headed the group of chapter officers at the ball: Raymond F. Allen III, the VP; Capt. Dustin C. Richards, secretary; and Lt. Col. Michael L. Furey, treasurer.

This was the fifth Air Force Ball hosted by the MiG Alley Chapter, supported by more than two dozen of its Community Partners.

Eternal Flame: Going Green

The eternal flame had gone out in Bakersfield, Calif., but an AFJROTC cadet came up with a solar-powered solution to keeping it lit. In August, the Charles Hudson Chapter recognized the ingenuity and leadership of Jonathan R. Black with a Distinguished Achievement Award.

Ken Nishiyama, chapter president, explained that the eternal flame dated to 1967 and honored military veterans laid to rest at Union Cemetery in Bakersfield, but the large bowl-like vessel atop a three-legged tower had been lit for only nine years because of the cost of natural gas.

Cadets at Bakersfield High School had raised funds to decorate the same cemetery with thousands of American flags on Memorial Day 2008. This impressed cemetery officials so much that they asked Black and his family to take on the neglected eternal flame.

Black, then a 17-year-old junior at Bakersfield High School, sat down with his parents, Jan and William Black, and came up with the idea of using a solar-powered LED system that would send light through a piece of industrial-quality plastic shaped like a flame.

Through the fall and winter of 2008-09, numerous companies pitched in, providing everything from the solar and “flame” components to welding, sandblasting, and powder-coating services. In addition, Jonathan led fund-raising activities such as a chili dinner, for the $10,000 needed for the effort. The flame was turned on again on Memorial Day 2009.

Nishiyama said that the chapter works closely with local cadets, and the flame project shows what a tremendous resource they are.

More Chapter News

Backed by $1,000 from the Hurlburt Chapter (Fla.), teacher Amy Davis spent a week in “space”—five days in July at the US Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Ala., in a program formally called Space Academy for Educators. A third- and fourth-grade teacher at Eglin Elementary School, Eglin AFB, Fla., Davis built model rockets at space camp, carried out simulated space shuttle missions, whirled around on a multiaxis trainer, parachuted from a tower on a zip line, “flew” an F-15 simulator, and evacuated a helicoper that had “crashed” in water. Davis told the chapter that she gained self-confidence in teaching aerospace topics, a network of aerospace-oriented teachers, and “a plethora of ideas for my classroom.” She now teaches at Kenwood Elementary School in Fort Walton Beach, Fla.

The Chuck Yeager Chapter in West Virginia helped AFJROTC cadets mark the end of a successful week of leadership training, this past June. The annual Mountaineer Cadet Officer Leadership School took place at Concord University in Athens, W.Va., directed by retired Maj. Phillip A. Suydam, the senior aerospace science instructor at Dobyns-Bennett High School in Kingsport, Tenn. Ira S. Latimer Jr., chapter president, and Herman N. Nicely II, secretary, attended the cadet graduation ceremony. The chapter provides all the plaques and trophies for the event. David F. Slaughter organized the first MCOLS in West Virginia in 2001. He was a Chuck Yeager Chapter member back then and now belongs to the Gen. Bruce K. Holloway Chapter in Tennessee.

At its recent chapter meeting, the Tidewater Chapter in Virginia Beach, Va., heard US Rep. Glenn C. Nye’s viewpoints on hot topics on Capitol Hill. Nye, a Virginia Democrat and member of the Armed Services and Veterans’ Affairs Committees, commented on F-22 production, C-17 procurement, and the KC-135 tanker replacement controversies, reported Chapter President William M. Cuthriell. The Congressman addressed local Navy issues, as well: the proposal for an auxiliary landing field to ease the F/A-18 training traffic at NAS Oceana and the possibility of Mayport, Fla., becoming a second port, rivaling Newport News, Va., for East Coast-based aircraft carriers. Although the chapter gave Nye a Boeing KC-767 model as a memento, “we were not taking sides in the tanker debate,” Cuthriell was quick to note.

US Rep. John C. Fleming (R-La.) was guest speaker for the September meeting of the Ark-La-Tex Chapter at Barksdale AFB, La. A first-termer and member of the House Armed Services Committee, Fleming’s district includes Barksdale and the Army’s Ft. Polk. However, what the audience of 64 really quizzed the former family physician about were health care proposals under consideration on Capitol Hill, said Chapter President Jack M. Skaggs. Lt. Gen. Frank G. Klotz, commander of Air Force Global Strike Command at Barksdale, was among the VIP guests that evening.

The Red Tail Memorial Chapter hosted a ceremony in September in Ocala, Fla., where US Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.) received the AFA Florida Legislator of the Year Award. More than 100 guests attended the event at Ocala/Marion Veterans Park. AFA leaders on hand included Tommy G. Harrison from the Central Florida Chapter, then-Region President John T. Brock, and Red Tail Memorial Chapter President Michael H. Emig. Emig took home an award from the ceremony, too: an AFA national-level Florida Region Exceptional Service Award.

The Hawaii Chapter’s awards chairman, Jack Murphy, attended the NCO Academy graduation at Hickam Air Force Base’s Professional Military Education Center in September to present the AFA Hawaii Academic Achievement Award to TSgt. Gabriel F. Perez. A graduate of NCOA Class 09-3, Perez is assigned to the 56th Air and Space Communications Squadron.

Iron Gate Chapter (N.Y.) member John T. Gwynne stepped up to the challenge of filling in at the last minute as guest speaker for the October meeting. He described his Air Force career, including 135 F-4C combat missions in the Vietnam War, and his later work as chief of flight test at Grumman’s Calverton, N.Y., facility. During the meeting, the chapter named three Jimmy Doolittle Fellows: guest speaker Gwynne, chapter member Irwin Gorman, and Chapter President Frank T. Hayes. Also at the meeting, Chapter VP W. Glenn Mackey and special guests Pamela Freytag and Elayne Kitchen were presented with books: Bruce Whitman, Medal of Honor Society director, presented copies of If Not Now, When?, by MOH recipient and retired Army Col. Jack Jacobs. Chapter member Philip H. Van Deusen gave them the book We Served With Honor.

Unit Reunions

100th BW, Pease AFB, NH. April 22-26, 2010 in Tucson, AZ. Contact: Pat Dwyer, 210 Cutler St., Watertown, CT 06975 (860-274-6501 or 203-578-5364) (

815th TCS, Tachikawa, Japan. March 25-28, 2010 at the Wyndham Hotel in North Little Rock, AK. Contact: Jim Elmer (501-771-4106) (

3389th Pilot Tng Sq., including instructor pilots and students. April 15-18, 2010 at the Quality Inn Hotel in Biloxi, MS. Contact: Chuck Davies (210-653-1475) (

Battle of the Bulge Veterans. Sept. 1-6, 2010 in Columbia, SC. Contact: Ralph Bozorth, 608 Treaty Rd., Plymouth Meeting, PA 19462 (610-825-9409) (

Pilot Tng Class 56-F. May 5-8, 2010 at the Holiday Inn in Cocoa Beach, Fla. Contact: Jim Bower, (321-480-8721) ( (

Pilot Tng Class 65-F. March 2-4, 2010 in Cocoa Beach, Fla. Contact: John McNamara (904-373-0583) (

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.


At the Mountaineer Cadet Officer Leadership School in West Virginia, the Chuck Yeager Chapter’s Herman Nicely (left) and Chapter President Ira Latimer and retired Maj. Phillip Suydam (right) flank the award-winning cadets.

With US Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.), second from left, at the AFA Florida Legislator of the Year award ceremony in Ocala, Fla., are (l-r): Tommy Harrison, Central Florida Chapter; John Timothy Brock, then Florida Region president; and Michael Emig, Red Tail Memorial Chapter president.

TSgt. Gabriel Perez receives the NCO Academy Academic Achievement Award at Hickam AFB, Hawaii, from Jack Murphy of the Hawaii Chapter. At right is CMSgt. Stephen Cron, guest speaker at the ceremony. USAF photo by Vanessa Forloine.

The Hurlburt Chapter (Fla.) sent teacher Amy Davis, shown here in front of a multiaxis trainer, to Space Camp this summer.

The Hurlburt Chapter (Fla.) donated the International Space Station model hanging in the Pensacola Junior College planetarium’s lobby. Display cases at left hold other models also donated by the chapter.