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AFA in Action: AFA Nominees 2021-2022

July 22, 2021

Updates on AFA’s activities, outreach, awards, and advocacy.

Candidates for National Office and the Board of Directors.

The Air Force Association Nominating Committee met by video conference on May 1, 2021, and selected candidates to send forward for National Officer positions and National Director positions on the Board of Directors. The Committee consists of three past Chairmen of the Board, one person selected by each of the two Vice Chairman of the Board, two representing each geographic area, and one person each representing the Total Air Force, Air Force veterans, and aerospace industry constituencies. The slate of the candidates will be presented to the delegates in September.

Chairman of the Board

Gerald R. Murray, King Mountain, N.C., nominated for a third-year term as Chairman of the Board, joined AFA in 1994, becoming a Life Member in 2002. Murray served 30 years in the Air Force, culminating as the highest-ranking noncommissioned officer in USAF, the 14th Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force. Prior, he performed various duties in aircraft maintenance and logistics with F-4, F-16, and A-10 aircraft, and as a command chief master sergeant at wing, numbered air force, and major command levels. Murray’s previous AFA involvement has been as a National Director, on the Membership Committee, Chapter 331 President, Force Capabilities Advisory Group member, AFA National Director at Large, and as the Georgia and Utah State Delegate. He earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Saint Leo University in Florida and an associate of applied science in aircraft systems maintenance technology from the Community College of the Air Force. Murray has received the Air Force Distinguished Service Medal, a Bronze Star Medal, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, four AF Meritorious Service Medals, and three AF Commendation Medals. Additionally, he was the 1991 recipient of the Air Force Gen. Lew Allen Trophy. He has volunteered as an AFA Emerging Leader Mentor, with the AFA Focus on Defense Forum, and with the Top of Utah Military Affairs Committee. Murray currently serves on the USAA Board of Directors, the Air Force Association National Board of Directors, the Air Force Museum Foundation Board of Trustees, the Air Force Enlisted Village Development Council, and the Air Force Memorial Foundation.

Vice Chairman of the Board, Field Operations

James W. Simons, Minot, N.D., nominated for a second-year term as Vice Chairman of the Board, Field Operations has been an AFA member and Community Partner since 1995. Simons has held AFA positions including David C. Jones Chapter President and Treasurer, North Dakota State President, and the North Central Region President. He was a charter member of the AFA Field Council and also served on the National Membership Committee. Simons has received the Air Force Association Medal of Merit; Exceptional Service Award; Chairman’s Citation (2009); National Member of the Year (2014); and the Mary Anne Thompson Award (2009). He previously served AFA as the National Director, Central Area. Simons earned a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Michigan State University, a master’s degree in systems management from the University of Southern California, and a master’s degree in administration of justice form Wichita State University. A retired U.S. Army Military Police Officer of 18 years, Simons is currently a financial adviser for a financial services company. His volunteer work includes treasurer of a local community group and videographer at a community church. He is involved in Arnold Air Society/Silver Wings and is a member of the 2021 Wings Society.

Vice Chairman of the Board, Aerospace Education

Stephen K. Gourley, Aurora, Colo., nominated for a first, one-year term as Vice Chairman of the Board, Aerospace Education, joined AFA in 2007 and has served as the Mile High 127 Chapter President and Colorado State President and Executive Vice President. He is currently serving as Colorado Mile High 127 Chapter Vice President, Aerospace Education, and State Vice President, Veterans Affairs. Gourley also serves as Aerospace Education Council’s Co-Vice Chairman, on the AFA Strategic Planning Committee, and is the Director of StellarXplorers. He received the Colorado Medal of Merit; Exceptional Service Award; and Presidential Award for Excellence; as well as National level Medal of Merit Awards and a Special Citation, and a Chairman’s Citation. Gourley earned a bachelor’s degree in astronautical engineering and a master’s degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a master’s degree in national resource strategy from NDU. He retired from the USAF after more than 26 years of service in the space field, working in science and technology; research, development, test, and evaluation; and operations. He currently works as the president of an engineering and management consultant company.

Mark J. Lewis, North Potomac, Md., nominated for a first, one-year term as Vice Chairman, Aerospace Education, has been an AFA Life Member since 2004. Lewis earned a bachelor’s degree in aeronautics and astronautics; a bachelor’s degree in earth and planetary science; a master’s degree in science; and a doctorate in science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He received the USAF’s Exemplary, Meritorious, and Exceptional Civilian Service Awards and the Secretary of Defense Outstanding Public Service Award, to name a few. He was Chief Scientist of the USAF (2004-2008). From 2010-2011, Lewis was President of the American Institute of Aeronautics & Astronautics, subsequently serving as chair of the AIAA Foundation which funded student scholarships and design competitions. He served as the Director of the Science & Technology Policy institute (2012-2019), and is a professor emeritus at the University of Maryland where he was a faculty member for 25 years. Lewis was the Director of Research & Engineering in the DOD, and also acting Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Research & Engineering. Lewis is a member of the International Academy of Astronautics, a Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, a Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society, and an honorary Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics & Astronautics. He has also authored more than 320 publications, and is currently the executive director of NDIA’s Emerging Technologies Institute.

National Secretary

Robert “Bob” George, Ogden, Utah, nominated for a first, one-year term as National Secretary is a Life Member of AFA, joining in 1978. He has served as AFA’s Arizona State President, Rocky Mountain Region President, Arizona Chapter President, Vice President, and Chapter officer and was recently elected to serve as an AFA Board member. Ogden earned a bachelors degree in political science from the University of Nebraska and a master’s degree in business finance from Webster University in St. Louis. He commissioned in the Air Force as a second lieutenant and entered flight training at Craig Air Force Base, Ala., in 1972. Over the next 28-plus years he served as an officer in munitions, aircraft maintenance, weapons safety, logistics and acquisition. His last assignment was as director, air-to-surface munitions at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, where he procured expendable munitions, explosive ordnance disposable tools, and missile components,and also managed the worldwide munitions stockpile. In 2019, George retired from Young’s Engineering Services, Inc., which he co-founded, serving as vice president of operations; security officer; and EEO officer.

Michael J. “Mike” Liquori, Springfield, Mass., has been an AFA Life Member since 2000. He received his bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Boston University and a master’s degree in managerial economics from the University of Oklahoma. He is a retired lieutenant colonel having served on Active duty for 12 years and as an Individual Mobilization Augmentee in the Air Force Reserve for 13 years. He is a member of the Martin H. Harris Chapter (Fla.) where he has served as President, Executive Vice President, AF Gala Chairman, AWS Awards Chairman, AWS Golf Chairman, and webmaster. Liquori was selected as an AFA Emerging Leader in the 2014-2015 class. He currently serves as a National Director at Large on AFA’s Board of Directors. At the national level he has served as Chairman of the Membership Committee and Audit Committee and he has also previously been a member of the Field Council, Nominating Committee, and Finance Committee. Liquori received an AFA Medal of Merit, Exceptional Service Award, and a Chairman’s Citation. He currently works in the real estate development/asset management field in Orlando, Fla.

National Treasurer

Charles L. Martin Jr., Fort Mill, S.C., nominated for a third-year term as National Treasurer. An AFA Life Member since 1977, Martin has served as AFA National Treasurer, on the Finance Committee, and the Fresh Look Initiative Committee. Martin has received the AFA Special Citation; AFA Medal of Merit; AFA Colorado Chapter Meritorious Service Award and Certification of Appreciation; and AFA Scheidecker Award. He earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from Manhattan College, N.Y., and an MBA in accounting from Michigan State University. Retiring after 28 years in the USAF as a comptroller, he served in executive staff or volunteer positions in national not-for-profit associations. Chuck holds certifications as an Internal Auditor and an Association Executive. His volunteer memberships now include the S.C. Governor’s Task Force on Military Organizations, VFW, Indian Land Post-Investment Committee, Sun City Carolina Lakes Finance & Investment Committees, and Audit Committee, American Academy of Audiology.

National Director at Large

The Nominating Committee submits four names for National Director at Large. Two will be elected for a three-year term. (Only two names were submitted this year)

Mark Tarpley, Edmond, Okla., an AFA Life Member, joining in 1989. He retired as a colonel from the USAF after 27 years. Tarpley served as a navigator (AC-119K, KC-135,RC-135, and E-3), war planner, Air Staff planner, Expeditionary Operations Group Commander, and Inspector General. He received the Air Medal seven times (1972 to 1981); the Vietnam Service Medal (1972); the Legion of Merit Medal (1998); the Defense Meritorious Service Medal (1991); and the Meritorious Service Medal (1984). Tarpley has held various AFA offices including: Gerrity Chapter Vice President Aerospace Education (2005-2010); Gerrity Chapter Vice President (2010-2013); Gerrity Chapter President (2013-2015); and Oklahoma State President (2015-2017). He has served as a Field Council Advocacy Subcommittee Chair (2014-2017); on the Aerospace Education Council ( 2017-present); Advocacy IPT Committee (Chair 2017-2020); and on the Strategic Planning Committee (2020). Tarpley received the AFA Medal of Merit Award (2011); AFA Exceptional Service Award (2013); AFA Chairman’s Citation (2017); and the AFA Member of the Year Award (2020). He has over 15 years of leadership experience at AFA Chapter, State, and National levels.

Jacqueline C. Trotter, Warner Robins, Ga., is an AFA Life Member, joining in 2005. She has served as the AFA Georgia State President and Southeast Regional President. She received AFA’s Medal of Merit Awards (1993 and 2017) and also the Exceptional Service Award (2020). Trotter earned a bachelor’s degree in communications from Southern Illinois University. She served in the public affairs and media relations field as a civilian and in the USAF for over 40 years. She worked for the Red Cross as the director of community services and worked as the Chief of Media Relations for Air Force Reserve Command News Service, and as Chief, Publications Management for Air Combat Command. Trotter is currently retired and working as a volunteer in several community organizations.

National Director, West Area

The Nominating Committee submits two names for National Director, West Area, who will be elected for a three-year term. (Only one name was submitted this year)

Roberta Pike Oates (Bobi), a Life Member since 1994, is currently the Thunderbird Chapter President and Southwest Region President. She is also a member of the Field Council. Oates is the face of AFA at both Nellis and Creech AF bases in Nevada, and incredibly involved with Airman and Guardians at both. She is a retired U.S. Air Force aircraft maintenance Senior Master Sergeant, with 23 years of service (1976-1999). She was handpicked as one of four individuals to stand up the Air Force’s first Remote Piloted Aircraft Predator Squadron at Creech Air Force Base. As Production Superintendent for the 11th Reconnaissance Squadron she led the initial Air Force Cadre of Maintenance personnel through training at the UAV training center at Fort Huachuca, Ariz., then on to Taszer, Hungary, for the first Air Force Deployment in support of Operation Joint Endeavor. During her Air Force career, she served at several overseas and stateside bases in various Aircraft Maintenance positions. After retirement she worked at Armed Forces Bank, starting as a part-time teller, later becoming the Exchange Branch Manager. Oates is very involved in the state and local community supporting Veterans and their families. She is the connector between them and the information they need.

National Director, Central Area

The Nominating Committee submitted one name for National Director, Central Area, who will be elected for a two-year term.

Susan B. Mallett, Montgomery, Ala., an AFA Life Member, joining in 1993. A member of the Montgomery Chapter she has served as South Central Region Aerospace Education Vice present since 2007 and as the Central Area National Director since 2020. She currently serves as National Director, Central area. Mallet is also on the AFA Aerospace Education Council and Membership Committee. She received the AFA Medal of Merit Awards (2009, 2013, and 2016); the Distinguished Sustained Aerospace Education Award (2012); the Chairman’s Achievement Award (2017); and the AFA Member of the Year Award (2019). She currently works for Civil Air Patrol National Headquarters as their Education Outreach Manager.