The Air Force Association National Convention at Gaylord Hotel and Convention Center, National Harbor, Maryland, in September 2019. AFA
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Airman for Life: AFA Nominees 2020-2021

July 1, 2020

Candidates for National Office and the Board of Directors.

The Air Force Association Nominating Committee met by video conference on May 2 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

Thinh D. Nguyen/Lockheed Martin

Gerald R. Murray, King Mountain, N.C., nominated for a second-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


Peter E. Jones, Potomac Falls, Va., nominated for a first, one-year term as Vice Chairman of the Board, Field Operations, is a Life Member who joined AFA in 2000. As the current Central East Region President, Jones has also served as President of the D.W. Steele Memorial Chapter (2009-2011); President of the Virginia State AFA (2011-2013); and as an AFA Director at Large (2013-2015). He is currently a member of the Field Council, Strategic Planning Committee, IT Subcommittee, and Field Leaders Development Subcommittee; he also serves as chair of the Region President’s Subcommittee. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Grove City College, Pa., in electrical engineering and a master’s degree in systems management from the University of Southern California, in Los Angeles and Honolulu. As a career USAF communications officer, Jones was responsible for designing, engineering, installing, testing, maintaining, and upgrading USAF communications/computer systems all over the world. He worked at base, Numbered Air Force, major command, and joint levels and held command positions at the squadron and group level. After retiring from the Air Force in 1997, he worked with industry partners developing and advocating for customer requirements and missions. He retired from industry in 2019 and now focuses exclusively on supporting and advocating for AFA and field initiatives.

Brian Schade/Courtesy

Ross B. Lampert, Hereford, Ariz., nominated for a first, one-year term as Vice Chairman of the Board, Field Operations, is a Life Member who joined AFA in 1975. He has held numerous AFA positions, including President Gerrity/Central Oklahoma Chapter; President Cochise Chapter, Arizona; President Arizona AFA; and President Southwest Region. National AFA offices held by Lampert include: National Secretary (2017-18); member of the Field Council (2012-present); he created the Field Council Training Subcommittee in 2012, serving as Chairman until 2018, and continuing as a member to the present; and Chairman of the Field Leadership Development Team (2018-present). His has received the Oklahoma AFA Medal of Merit (2002); four Oklahoma Exceptional Service Awards; Oklahoma AFA Person of the Year (2003); and also an AFA Presidential Citation, two AFA Exceptional Service Awards, and two AFA Chairman’s Citations. Lampert earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Colorado in physics, a master’s degree from the University of Southern California in Geilenkirchen, Germany, in systems management, and a master’s degree from the University of Central Oklahoma in English, with honors. He retired from the Air Force in 2000 after serving in command and control and air battle management roles, receiving Defense Meritorious Service Medals, Air Medals, Aerial Achievement Medals, and an Air Force Commendation Medal. Lampert currently serves as a CyberPatriot Advocate for the Cochise Chapter in Arizona.


James W. Simons, Minot, N.D., nominated for a one-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 currently serves 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 2020 Wings Society.

Vice Chairman of the Board, Aerospace Education


James T. Hannam, Burke, Va., nominated for a third, one-year term as Vice Chairman, Aerospace Education, an AFA Member since 1976. Hannam earned a bachelor’s degree in engineering science from the United States Air Force Academy, a master’s degree in applied mechanics from Stanford University, and a master of business administration from Auburn University. He was a fighter pilot with 100 combat missions over North Vietnam in F-105 Thunderchiefs. He also flew F-4 Phantoms in Southeast Asia and Europe and F-16 Falcons in Europe. Hannam served as an assistant professor in Engineering Mechanics and as a Flying/Soaring Instructor at the U.S. Air Force Academy, in Europe as Wing Director of Operations, IG Director of Inspection, and Aviano Group Commander, and on the TAC and Air Staffs in Fighter Requirements, retiring as a colonel. Hannam serves on the Executive Committee of the D.W. Steele Chapter, and previously as Steele Chapter President, Virginia State Secretary, Central East Region President, Director AFA Board of Directors, Long-Range Planning Committee, Chairman Strategic Planning Committee, and for the many years, Vice Chairman, Aerospace Education Council. AFA Awards include Medal of Merit, Exceptional Service Award, President’s and Chairman’s Awards, and AFA Member of the Year. After Air Force retirement he worked in business development. He is a member of the Red River Valley Fighter Pilots Association, MOAA, and Daedalians.

National Secretary


Richard W. “Rick” Hartle, Layton, Utah, nominated for a third, one-year term as National Secretary. An AFA Life Member since 1998, Hartle has served AFA on the national level as a National Director at Large from 2011 to 2014 and 2017 to 2018. He currently chairs the Audit Committee, has chaired the Development Committee, and served on the Strategic Planning and Transition Constitution Committees. Hartle has been the Utah State President, Utah Aerospace Education Foundation President and Board Chair, AFA Utah Industrial Associates VP, and Ute-Rocky Mountain Chapter President. He has received a national-level Medal of Merit, the AFA Utah State Presidential Citation, and the Utah AEF Exceptional Service Award. He and his wife, Amy, are AFA Thunderbird Society members. His community involvement includes board positions with the Utah Defense Alliance, Strategic Deterrent Coalition, and the Top of Utah Military Affairs Committee. Hartle earned a bachelor’s in electrical engineering from New Mexico State University and completed National Defense University and Boeing Leadership Center courses in management, business development, finance, and leadership. Hartle is retired from a 35-year career with an aerospace contractor.

National Treasurer


Charles L. Martin Jr., Fort Mill, S.C., nominated for a one-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 of service in 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.


Dwyer L. Dennis, Indialantic, Fla., has been an AFA Life Member since 2004. He currently serves as President of the AFA Space Coast Chapter in Florida (previously named Cape Canaveral Chapter). In 2019, he received the AFA Heritage Award from the Wright Chapter in Dayton, Ohio. Dwyer earned a bachelor’s degree from the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado and a master’s degree in systems management from the Air Force Institute of Technology at Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio. An AF acquisition program manager, he retired from Active duty as a major general in 2018 serving as the AF Program Executive Officer for C3I & Networks and previously serving as AFPEO for Fighters and Bombers. With over 35 years in USAF, he commanded at group and wing levels and served on majcom, Hq. AF, and OSD staffs. His decorations include the Distinguished Service Medal; Defense Superior Service Medal; Legion of Merit Medal; and the Defense Meritorious Service Medal. Dwyer currently works as Executive Vice President for a veteran-owned, small business aerospace consulting firm.


Stephen K. Gourley, Aurora, Colo., 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 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 Cxommittee, 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 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 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.


William J. Harding, Manhattan Beach, Calif., has been a member of AFA since 1982. He’s served for a decade on the Los Angeles AFA Schriever Chapter Board and as their Scholarship Chairman. He also received the Chapter’s Young Engineer of the Year Award in 1989. He currently serves as the Schriever Chapter Executive Vice President. Harding earned a bachelor’s degree in engineering sciences from the USAFA and an MBA from the University of Central Florida. He was a distinguished graduate of SOS and ACSC. Harding retired as a colonel from the USAF after serving 28 years working in engineering and acquisition (space programs). After transitioning from the Air Force, he was Director, Los Angeles Ops for United Launch Alliance. He volunteers with the Mira Costa High School STEM program and with their football and track teams. Harding currently works as president of a space consulting company.


Leonard R. Vernamonti, Clinton, Miss., is an AFA Life Member, joining in 1967. He has served as an AFA Chapter, State, and Region President; National Director at Large; Director Emeritus; and National Treasurer. He has also served on the AFA Executive Committee; as Chairman of the Finance, President’s Evaluation and Compensation, and Audit Committees. Vernamonti served on the afa21 Field Structure Team, the Field Council, Constitution, R&D, and Development Committees. He received two AFA Medals of Merit; the Chairman’s Award for Meritorious Service; the AFA Exceptional Service Award; and the Jack Gross Award. Vernamonti earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from the USAFA and a master’s degree in systems engineering from the University of Florida. Retiring as a colonel after serving over 26 years in RD&A Program Management, as a comptroller and planning & program officer. Awards earned include the Defense Superior Service Medal; two Legions of Merit Medals; and the Defense Meritorious Service Medal. He was also awarded the Master Missileman Badge and the Senior Space Badge. Vernamonti currently works as a consultant.

National Director, East Area

The Nominating Committee submits two names for National Director, East Area. One will be elected for a three-year term.


F. Gavin MacAloon, Nashua, N.H., nominated for National Director, East Area, is a Life Member who joined AFA in 1984. “Mac” was the longest serving Vice Chairman of the Board for Field Operation in AFA’s history, from 2016 thru 2020. Prior positions include three years as the Central East Region President and three years on the Field Council as Chairman of the e-Business and the Emerging Leader Program Subcommittees. He is a Founding Member of AFA’s Wounded Airman Program and served in other National-level positions on the Nominating Committee, and as Supervisor of Elections, and in several other chapter and state positions, including President of the D.W. Steele Sr. Memorial Chapter in Northern Virginia and Vice President for Fund-raising, Virginia State AFA. He has received an AFA Chairman’s Citation, an Exceptional Service Award, a Medal of Merit, an AFA Fellowship and numerous awards from the region, state, and Chapter, most notably the 2012 Virginia Member of the Year. Mac earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Southeast Missouri State University and a master’s degree in administration from Central Michigan University. He served in the Air Force for 22 years as a Master Air Battle Manager on AWACS and the Airborne Battlefield Command and Control Center (ABCCC) aircraft, accumulating 3,000 hours, including 500 combat support hours. Mac also served in the Pentagon on the Air Staff and on the initial cadre of Joint Task Force Four in Key West. Following USAF retirement, he completed a second career with a large aerospace company as a business development manager, working with AWACS, C-17, and UAS programs, Mac is currently a Senior Acquisition Program Manager for the PEO, C3I & Networks/HNX, at Hanscom AFB, Mass. He is a member of the Military Officers Association of America (MOAA), MOAA of New Hampshire, and The River Rats.


Jimmy W. Ruth, Yorktown, Va., nominated as National Director, East Area, is a Life Member of AFA, joining in 1975. He is on the Field Council as the Technology Subcommittee, Chair. Ruth currently serves as the Virginia State AFA Vice President, Communications and has also served on the state level as President; Secretary; Vice President, Awards; and Vice President, Leadership Development. Ruth previously served as AFA Langley Chapter President, Executive Vice President, Secretary, and Vice President of Awards. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Oklahoma State University, a master’s degree from Webster University and from Naval War College. Retiring from USAF after serving over 29 years as an Air Battle Manager. Ruth’s community involvement includes NDIA, Tidewater Association of Service Contractors, MOAA, and Friends of CAP.