The New Season Begins
In California, the Air Force Association’s newly elected Chairman of the Board, George K. Muellner, helped kick off the CyberPatriot season for Los Angeles area high school students who are gearing up for the upcoming national cyber defense competition.
AFA Board Chairman George Muellner congratulates William Wong from the Franklin High School (Calif.) CyberPatriot team. Others in this group of 2012 national finalists stand just behind them (l-r): Patricia Hernandez, Jasmine Cao, and Jenny Huang.Muellner, CyberPatriot Commissioner Bernard K. Skoch, and General Doolittle Los Angeles Area Chapter President Harry A. Talbot attended CyberDayLA in October, held at California Polytechnic State University, Pomona.
AFA Board Chairman George Muellner congratulates William Wong from the Franklin High School (Calif.) CyberPatriot team. Others in this group of 2012 national finalists stand just behind them (l-r): Patricia Hernandez, Jasmine Cao, and Jenny Huang.
In the CyberPatriot competition round that ended in March, some 50 teams within the Los Angeles Unified School District registered to participate. CyberDayLA served to motivate them again, and two of the returning teams received special recognition at the event: a Reseda High School group and the Benjamin Franklin High School team from Highland Park.
The teams received laptop computers through a community foundation grant for a local sponsor, the LAUSD’s enrichment program called Beyond the Bell.
In addition, the Franklin High School team—who competed under the nickname ThunderCats—received a large banner proclaiming them as national finalists who won a trip to Washington, D.C., to compete in the championship round.
Talbot gives credit to the Gen. B. A. Schriever Los Angeles Chapter for direct involvement with high schools, JROTC, and CAP units taking part in the CyberPatriot program. Glenn A. Dildy, in particular, has met with LAUSD officials to discuss ways to encourage cyber security education, Talbot said.
The Whiteman Chapter in Missouri recently presented "Dirty Thirty" memorabilia to a Vietnam War veteran.
Rob Moise lives in the Missouri Veterans Home in Warrensburg today, but in 1953 he entered the Air Force and flew a C-47 as a captain in Vietnam. He went on to serve in Thailand and Laos and at the Air Force Academy before retiring to become an aviation instructor at the University of Central Missouri in Warrensburg.
Twice a year, the chapter brings in a collection of vintage uniforms, gathered by Chapter President Mel Johnson, to the vets facility in Warrensburg.
"The residents of the home and their families gather around the display," wrote Johnson in an e-mail. "And they tell their stories."
Last Memorial Day, Moise stopped by Johnson’s display and mentioned that he’d been in Vietnam in 1962. That’s how Johnson learned about the "Dirty Thirty," USAF pilots who flew as advisors for the South Vietnamese Air Force (VNAF) that was short of airmen but with a great need for logistic support. The 30 USAF pilots worked around the clock, practically living in their flight suits—thus their nickname.
Moise told Johnson that the Vietnamese had impressive piloting skills—the Dirty Thirty usually served as copilots—and navigators with a "near intuitive sense."
The VNAF awarded Moise pilot wings, but he lost them somewhere during his career. "So there was my mission," Johnson explained.
He rounded up USAF and VNAF pilot wings, a VNAF patch, and a reproduction Dirty Thirty patch and had them framed, together with a small brass plaque.
Johnson then called on chapter member Lt. Col. David A. Williamson to join him for presentation of the memento. Williamson commands the 72nd Test and Evaluation Squadron at Whiteman and reminisced with Moise about his own academy assignment and traded stories about flying.
Johnson said he was inspired to collect the memorabilia for Moise out of respect for those "who go into the unglamorous unknown."
Two in Five
It’s a fledgling, but it’s not afraid of big jobs. In September, Florida’s 10-month-old Sarasota-Manatee Chapter carried out two major events within five days.
On Sept. 18, some 40 chapter members and guests celebrated the Air Force’s 65th anniversary. The audience spanned a range of ages: Civil Air Patrol cadets in middle school, on one hand, and a pair of World War II pilots on the other. Those fliers included chapter member George Hardy, a Tuskegee Airman who had flown the Red Tail P-51s in Europe.
A donation from Virginia’s Langley Chapter, matched by Virginia State AFA, helped keep the cost of an AFJROTC summer camp under $100 for each cadet. Here, the cadets tackle an obstacle course at JB Langley-Eustis, Va.A few days later, the chapter hosted its second annual Defense Issues Forum, designed to inform the general public on Air Force and Defense Department issues.
A donation from Virginia’s Langley Chapter, matched by Virginia State AFA, helped keep the cost of an AFJROTC summer camp under $100 for each cadet. Here, the cadets tackle an obstacle course at JB Langley-Eustis, Va.
CAP cadets presented the colors to start this event. Then a cadet team conducted the POW-MIA Ceremony—"A Table Set for One"—an appropriate beginning for this year’s program. It featured MIA Hunters.
A nonprofit group based in Sarasota, MIA Hunters focuses on recovering the remains of US service personnel unaccounted for from World War II.
Co-founders Bryan and Christopher Moon described for the audience some of their 33 expeditions over the past 23 years.
According to the Chapter President Michael E. Richardson, the father-and-son team has lived with headhunters in Papua New Guinea, among many adventures, while locating more than 100 crash sites and documenting the remains of some 500 missing servicemen from the US, Australia, and Japan.
This event was the chapter’s most successful program to date, reported Richardson. The chapter sold all 104 seats. "The several walk-ins who showed up at the last minute had us scrambling," he said.
The University of South Florida Sarasota–Manatee provided the auditorium and audio-visual support. The Herald Tribune Media Group provided coverage and advertising. From this event, the chapter received more than $300 in donations to the AFA’s Wounded Airman Program.
Thank You for Your Help
In South Carolina, the Charleston Chapter recently thanked a couple of key supporters.
Chapter President Linda J. Sturgeon pinned a CyberPatriot lapel pin on the collar of retired Maj. Shawn Gordon, in appreciation for promoting the national high school cyber security competition in the area. Chapter member Gordon rounded up IT professionals and local businesses to serve as CyberPatriot mentors and sponsors, explained Arthur J. Rooney, South Carolina’s new state president.
At the same meeting, AFJROTC cadets Garrett Smith and John Cordes presented MSgt. Louis Gosseck, commandant of the Airman Leadership School at JB Charleston, with a plaque to thank him for his role in developing the JROTC Summer Mentor Program. The cadets belong to the AFJROTC unit at Ashley Ridge High School in Summerville. The Charleston Chapter arranged for them to shadow ALS instructors for three days this past summer.
The youngsters learned about skills such as time management, stress management, and effective communication, Rooney said. The program proved so successful that it will include more people next year.
Purple Heart Surprise
Brother Robert Francis Matthews, New York State and Albany-Hudson Chapter VP, received a Purple Heart this summer for action during the Korean War, reported Chapter President Michael A. Szymczak.
The presentation took place in Latham, N.Y., as part of a Disabled American Veterans event that the two chapter officers attended. They had been invited to the gathering to honor a veteran from Albany, Anthony Schmitz, who had this spring received a long-delayed award, as well: the French Legion of Honor Medal for action in World War II.
SrA. Robert Sotler, Tom Riker, and Ted Tanner (l-r) cut the cake at the Air Force anniversary celebration hosted by the Orange County/Gen. Curtis E. LeMay Chapter and the American Legion in Newport Beach, Calif. The event raised more than $9,000 for the Airmen and Family Readiness Centers at Edwards and Los Angeles Air Force Bases, reported Chapter President Bryan Roland.Event organizers asked Matthews to serve as chaplain for the DAV tribute to Schmitz, and Szymczak attended it to build contacts for AFA among the local politicians.
SrA. Robert Sotler, Tom Riker, and Ted Tanner (l-r) cut the cake at the Air Force anniversary celebration hosted by the Orange County/Gen. Curtis E. LeMay Chapter and the American Legion in Newport Beach, Calif. The event raised more than $9,000 for the Airmen and Family Readiness Centers at Edwards and Los Angeles Air Force Bases, reported Chapter President Bryan Roland.
Both Matthews and Szymczak were completely surprised when the DAV officials at the event produced a Purple Heart for Matthews.
The award came about because he had been seeking medical benefits due to him as a Navy veteran. He served in the Korean War as part of G Co., 5th Marines, 1st Marine Division. Szymczak explained that the Department of Veterans Affairs looked into the case and decided Matthews was entitled to a Purple Heart.
Neither he nor Szymczak had expected the DAV to round up the award, though.
Meet the New Bosses
With a luncheon in October in New York City, the Iron Gate Chapter introduced its members to the two new leaders of AFA’s headquarters staff, President Craig R. McKinley and Executive VP Richard Y. Newton III.
"They stood together at the podium to demonstrate their leadership style," wrote Chapter President Frank T. Hayes, "and their bond with the Iron Gate audience was instant."
The guest list included Air Force supporters from many sectors: Brig. Gen. Kevin W. Bradley, state assistant adjutant general; Col. Timothy J. LaBarge, 105th Airlift Wing, Stewart Air National Guard Base; Col. Thomas Owens, 106th Rescue Wing commander, from Gabreski Airport; Lt. Col. Timothy McCaffery, AFROTC detachment commander at Manhattan College; Lt. Col. Elizabeth Ortiz, from the USAF Media Outreach Office in New York City; and Terrance C. Holliday, the mayor’s Veterans Affairs commissioner.
The luncheon featured several singers and took place at the 21 Club, a restaurant that opened as a speakeasy in 1929. Hayes said the guests toured its famous secret cellar, now housing a $1.5 million collection of wine instead of illegal liquor, as in Prohibition days.
Field Leaders Hold Annual Meeting
AFA national officers go over some ideas before the Region and State Presidents meeting. L-r: Vice Chairman for Field Operations Scott Van Cleef, Secretary Edward Garland, and Board Chairman George Muellner.
Newly elected Vice Chairman of the Board for Field Operations Scott P. Van Cleef opened the two days of presentations and breakout sessions by telling the audience to reinvigorate chapters and "accept no excuses for inaction."
"Our job is not just to herd cats and turn reports in," he said.
The AFA orientation weekend would be "the most important meeting that field leaders have, across the year," he continued. "It sets the tone for how we attack our challenges."
New Board Chairman George K. Muellner described some of them.
He said AFA aims to be "the premier professional military and aerospace education association in the nation."
Partnering with other organizations can help to reach this goal, he said. "We need to worry less about who’s the lead" and co-sponsor events with the "unlimited number of organizations" available to work with AFA.
"Leverage our 501(c)(3) status," he said, explaining that many people don’t know that AFA is a charitable organization.
He asked attendees to groom new leaders, rather than rotate the same members through the same positions.
AFA joined the USA Vietnam War Commemoration Program—marking the 50th anniversary of the war—as a Commemorative Partner. AFA Executive VP Dick Newton accepted a commemoration flag from the program’s Yvonne Schilz during the Friday session of the Region and State Presidents meeting.
He reminded field leaders that chapters can similarly capture attention by inviting today’s USAF legends to their meetings. "The AFA chapters I grew up with were a lot of fun," he said. "We need to get back to that."
Suggestions From the Field
Muellner said AFA across the field must work on communication and share best practices.
Several field leaders did just that.
Central East Region President Joseph L. Hardy said the Thomas W. Anthony Chapter sends a representative to every Airman Leadership School graduation, appointed an active duty person as chapter military VP, attends change of command ceremonies at JB Andrews, visits new wing commanders, and reaches out to CAP and AFJROTC units.
Lt. Gen. Christopher Miller, USAF deputy chief of staff for strategic plans and programs, briefs the Saturday session. Listening in the front row are (l-r): Mike Hartsfield, Arthur Rooney, John Allen, Mary Moss, Mary Mayer, and Bill Day.
South Carolina State President Arthur J. Rooney, from the Charleston Chapter, puzzled over why some wing commanders weren’t AFA members. The answer? Mentor them—and start early.
New York State President Maxine Rauch, an Iron Gate Chapter member, counseled starting early, too: Think ahead on how to involve people in AFA when there are no USAF bases nearby. She also challenged the audience to increase the number of women in leadership positions.
Van Cleef provided the most pragmatic advice: Always be ready to deliver an "elevator speech," a 30-second explanation of what AFA offers.
At CyberDayLA, the NJROTC team from Reseda High School (Calif.) shows off laptops they won in CyberPatriot IV.
Future CyberPatriot competitors fill a Cal Poly auditorium during CyberDayLA presentations.
CyberDayLA helped motivate students for the next round of CyberPatriot.
AFA Board Chairman George Muellner addresses the Region and State Presidents meeting. (Staff photo by Eric Lee)
Listening to Muellner are (l-r) Washington State President Mary Moss and Oregon State President Mary Mayer. In back are (l-r) New Jersey State President Howard Leach and Northeast Region President Eric Taylor. (Staff photo by Eric Lee)
Central East Region President Joe Hardy has breakfast before the full day of Region and State Presidents information sessions begins. (Staff photo by Eric Lee)
Preparing for the day’s presentations, Illinois State President Russell Klatt looks over a handout. (Staff photo by Eric Lee)
Rob Moise (center) displays "Dirty Thirty" memorabilia given to him by Whiteman Chapter’s Lt. Col. David Williamson and Chapter President Mel Johnson (right)
"Dirty Thirty" memorabilia included patches and pilot wings.
CAP squadron members from Venice, Fla., attended Sarasota-Manatee Chapter’s USAF anniversary party.
At the USAF 65th anniversary party are (l-r): Bryan Roberts, Tuskegee Airman George Hardy, and CAP member Bradley Thomas.
CAP cadets perform the POW-MIA ceremony at the Sarasota-Manatee’s Defense Issues Forum.
The Defense Issues Forum attracted a full house.
MIA Hunters Christopher Moon and Bryan Moon (l-r) make their presentation to the forum audience.
At a Charleston Chapter gathering, MSgt. Louis Gosseck receives a thank-you gift from Garrett Smith (center) and John Cordes, cadets at Ashley Ridge High School.
Charleston Chapter President Linda Sturgeon tacks a CyberPatriot pin onto Shawn Gordon’s collar, thanking him for promoting CyberPatriot.
Cadets sponsored in part by the Langley Chapter, take on an obstacle course at summer leadership camp.
USAF personnel from the Los Angeles and Edwards Air Force Bases were among those at the American Legion-Orange County/Curtis LeMay USAF anniversary party.
TSgt. Diana Mosier, 912th Test Wing, Edwards AFB, Calif., receives a memento from Bill Dunn of the American Legion post, Newport Beach, Calif.
TSgt. Daniel Merrill (left), from San Diego, was honored as Recruiter of the Year. More than 100 AFA guests and about the same number of American Legion guests attended the celebration.
Iron Gate Chapter President Frank Hayes (back row, far left) in a group photo with chapter guest speakers AFA President Craig McKinley (back row, next to Hayes) and Executive VP Dick Newton (front row, third from right).
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