Alaska and Hawaii, noted Joseph E. Sutter, then Air Force Association Chairman of the Board, "are a long way from the center of the action." He endeavored to remedy this through an outreach visit to Pacific Air Forces bases in the 49th and 50th states this summer.
Other reasons for his tour: an invitation from PACAF Commander Gen. Gary L. North at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, where the Hawaii Chapter has been undergoing a renewal. Sutter said he wanted to "meet with the chapter leaders and also thank the PACAF leadership for their support."
In addition, the Alaska AFA leaders invited him to visit their chapters to help motivate their members. Harry Cook, Alaska state president, and James W. Malingowski, president of the Fairbanks Midnight Sun Chapter, met Sutter when he arrived in Fairbanks on July 26. Cook was his escort for the next four days.
Eielson and Elmendorf
At Eielson Air Force Base in Fairbanks, Sutter had breakfast with enlisted airmen and lunch with company-grade officers. He said later that they were "upbeat and positive," but straining to cope with repeated deployments and aging equipment.
He received briefings on Red Flag Alaska and made office calls on Col. Phillip W. Hoover, 354th Operations Group commander, and Col. Donald S. Wenke, who heads the Air National Guard’s 168th Air Refueling Wing.
Sutter had lunch with Fairbanks chapter members, including then-AFA National Treasurer Steven R. Lundgren, before heading to Anchorage on July 28.
He arrived at Joint Base Elmendorf the day a 3rd Wing C-17 crashed after taking off from the base, so he was surprised the next day when 11th Air Force Commander Lt. Gen. Dana T. Atkins found time to meet with him. Even the hospital commander, Col. Paul A. Friedrichs, insisted on personally escorting Sutter around the medical facility, though the doctor had been up for nearly 30 hours in the aftermath of the crash.
Sutter took briefings on F-22 and rescue operations before heading to Hawaii.
At an AFA Hawaii reception on July 31, Sutter met key personnel in Honolulu’s military community. Among those on the guest list: PACAF commander North; Lt. Gen. Herbert J. Carlisle, head of 13th Air Force; Col. Sam C. Barrett, the 15th Wing’s new commander; Navy Capt. Richard Kitchens, commander, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam; and retired Adm. William J. Fallon, former head of US Pacific Command.
Hawaii Chapter President Nora Ruebrook had 44 people on her original guest list but said another 20 showed up on top of that. AFAers joining her at this reception included Lance Bleakley, treasurer; Jack Murphy, awards chairman; and Jack DeTour, past president.
Ruebrook arranged for Sutter to attend a reception, the next day, for Rim of the Pacific, the international maritime exercise. The reception marked the end of the 38-day exercise and took place on the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan, in Pearl Harbor. Here, Sutter had an opportunity to talk informally with North and USAF Col. Charles Baumgardner, deputy commander of Pearl Harbor-Hickam.
During his visit to the base, Sutter dined with groups of airmen and held a round-table discussion with PACAF senior leaders.
He was briefed on joint basing, 13th Air Force, and Pearl Harbor and visited the 613th Air and Space Operations Center and the Air National Guard section of Hickam. In July, the 199th Fighter Squadron, 154th Wing, had become the first F-22 unit with the ANG as the lead.
Reflecting on what he gained from the PACAF tour, Sutter said, "I learned of the enormous challenges and the ‘tyranny of geography’ in the Pacific," where the area of responsibility stretches from pole to pole and across numerous time zones. He said the visit underlined the urgent need to replace aging equipment and infrastructure. He noted that what he learned on his outreach visit was added to the AFA 2011 Statement of Policy.
"We owe this to our airmen and their families," he said.
Living Legends: Tuskegee Airmen
Four Tuskegee Airmen, all panelists for a Donald W. Steele Sr. Memorial Chapter symposium, were stopped repeatedly as they made their way through the halls of the Pentagon. People wanted to take photographs with them. Others—including Pentagon workers and tour-group visitors—clapped and cheered and shook hands with William Broadwater, James W. Pryde, Cicero Satterfield, and Ivan Ware. Everyone wanted to thank America’s first African-American military pilots and their support personnel.
But the four Tuskegee Airmen told the audience at the Steele Chapter’s "Living Legends" symposium that during World War II, they hadn’t thought of themselves as pioneers.
Instead, said Joseph Price—the Steele Chapter’s leader for this event—the four panelists emphasized that they were "standing on the shoulders of those who came before them": black soldiers who fought in the Revolutionary War, Civil War, and World War I.
Broadwater had joined the enlisted reserve corps at 17 and waited another six months until he was of legal age to join the flying program at Tuskegee AAF, Ala. After the war, he became an FAA air traffic controller. Pryde served as a radio operator and went on to a career in the National Security Agency. Satterfield was an assistant crew chief. Ware served in a ground-support role.
At a Donald W. Steele Memorial Chapter symposium, Tuskegee Airman William Broadwater (second from left) fields a question from the audience at the Pentagon. With him are fellow Tuskegee Airmen (l-r) James Pryde, Cicero Satterfield, and Ivan Ware.
Price said the four guest speakers encouraged those who follow in their footsteps to "hold the door open, raise the bar, and help those who come next."
The Steele Chapter’s Living Legends summertime series takes place at the Pentagon, where entrance requirements and seating limit the guest list. Thus, only a lucky 50 people were able to hear the Tuskegee Airmen. However, twice that number dropped by before the program began, just to pay homage, said Price.
Pennsylvania State President Robert Rutledge called it "a slimmed down version" of the usual two-day AFA state convention. In the Keystone State, the gathering took place on July 31 in Carlisle, hosted by the Eagle Chapter.
During a morning business meeting, the conventioneers re-elected all state officers: as president, Rutledge, who is also secretary of the Lt. Col. B. D. "Buzz" Wagner Chapter in Johnstown; as VP, Susanna B. Gyger, who is also president of the Eagle Chapter; as secretary, Thomas G. Baker, head of the Altoona Chapter; and as treasurer, Karen G. Hartman, who is the Joe Walker-Mon Valley Chapter’s treasurer, too.
Guest speaker for the awards luncheon was the commander of the ANG 193rd Special Operations Wing at Harrisburg Arpt., Pa. Brig. Gen. Eric G. Weller spoke about the unit’s psychological warfare and information operations mission, carried out with unique EC-130J airborne battlefield command and control aircraft. There are three of the modified C-130 aircraft in the USAF inventory, all stationed at Harrisburg.
At this awards luncheon, Baker was named Member of the Year, the Lehigh Valley Chapter—led by Gerald Still—received the Chapter of the Year award, and Sister Alice Hess of Archbishop Ryan High School in Philadelphia received the State Teacher of the Year award. She has taught math for 47 years and is well-acquainted with AFA, having been a Liberty Bell Chapter Teacher of the Year and having received several AFA Educator Grants, including one during the past school year.
More Chapter News
When the Winchester Royals took on the Rockbridge Rapids in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley, the final score for this baseball game was five to two, Rockbridge. The real winners, though, were 42 vets and several staff members from the Department of Veterans Affairs medical center in Martinsburg, W.Va.The Northern Shenandoah Valley Chapter veterans affairs VP, Jim Phillips, had made arrangements for the vets to attend the game, part of the local summer collegiate baseball league series. Chapter members Norman Haller, Raleigh Watson, Thomas Shepherd, Bill Carnegie, and Phillips accompanied the guest veterans.
"Nice article on one of our chapter projects," wrote Carol Wolosz, president of the Richard I. Bong Chapter in Duluth, Minn. She was modestly noting a half-page article in the Duluth News Tribune. It featured Civil Air Patrol cadets who were among awardees honored at a chapter banquet in June. Pictured were Kristin Young, Jacob Jones, Andrew McDonell, and Nicholas Young. Along with Erik Carlson and Lucas Mlinar, they received checks from the chapter to cover half their fees for a summer CAP training camp. Their scholarships are named for chapter member Keith M. Bischoff.
William J. Farrell, US and European sales manager for Air Force Magazine, died Aug. 23 after an illness. He was 71 years old. Mr. Farrell worked for the magazine for nearly 30 years and helped guide it through the tumultuous advertising period that accompanied the industry consolidations of the 1990s. A resident of Lake Bluff, Ill., Mr. Farrell was born in St. Paul, Minn., and graduated from the University of St. Thomas in that city. He began working for the magazine in 1978 as the Midwest area sales manager, based in Chicago. He retired in 2007.
AFA Board Chairman Joe Sutter (second from right) has breakfast with airmen at Eielson AFB, Alaska. At right is Harry Cook, Alaska state president.
Sutter and Sutter: AFA Board Chairman Joe Sutter meets Maj. Paul Sutter on a stop at a chapel on Eielson.
Col. Phillip Hoover (l), 354th Operations Group commander, was a host for Sutter’s AFA outreach effort in Alaska.
Sutter takes in information from Eielson senior NCOs MSgt. Jason Major, TSgt. Kenny Rodgers, and TSgt. Scott Obertal (l-r).
Sutter holds a tabletop discussion with Col. Donald Wenke (far right), commander, 168th Air Refueling Wing, and other wing members at Eielson.
Fairbanks Midnight Sun Chapter members, including Steve Lundgren (bottom right), have lunch with Sutter.
AFA Board Chairman Joe Sutter and Gen. Gary North, PACAF commander, attended a reception on USS Ronald Reagan for the Rim of the Pacific exercise.
North (l) and Nora Ruebrook (r), Hawaii state president, listen to retired Adm. William Fallon, former commander of US Pacific Command, at an AFA Hawaii reception for Sutter.
PACAF senior enlisted leadership have lunch with Sutter at the Tradewinds Enlisted Club on JB Pearl Harbor-Hickam.
Sutter speaks with MSgt. Bradley Green, first sergeant for the 15th Maintenance Group, JB Pearl Harbor-Hickam.
Sutter (at the head of the table) discusses joint-basing concerns with (l-r) PACAF Chief of Staff Col. Jay Strickler, Navy Capt. Richard Kitchens, commander of JB Pearl Harbor-Hickam, and Col. Charles Baumgardner, deputy commander.
At a Donald W. Steele Sr. Memorial Chapter symposium, Lt. Gen. Larry Spencer, director of force structure, resources, and assessment on the joint staff, introduces Tuskegee Airmen (l-r) James Pryde, William Broadwater, Cicero Satterfield, and Ivan Ware.
Sponsored by the Northern Shenandoah Valley Chapter and the Winchester Royals summer collegiate league baseball team, military veterans Stephen Little and Dan Huppert throw out the first pitch of a game.
Sister Alice Hess of Archbishop Ryan High School in Philadelphia displays her Pennsylvania State Teacher of the Year certificate. Brig. Gen. Eric Weller, 193rd Special Operations Wing, and (at right) Bob Rutledge, state president, presented the award.
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