Friday, July 29, 2011

Air Force Day!

July 28 was officially declared "Air Force Day" in New York by Mayor Michael Bloomberg! This proclamation was read at AFA's Iron Gate Chapter's 50th Anniversary Luncheon this week with Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz retired Air Force colonel and current New York Commissioner for Veterans Affairs Terrance Holliday in the audience.

The Air Force has a rich connection with New York; former New York Mayor Fiorello Henry LaGuardia was part of a bomb squadron in Europe during World War I, and rose to the rank of major in the Army Air Service. LaGuardia later tried to return to the service after the outbreak of WWII.

The next Air Force Week in New York is scheduled for August 2012.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

2011 Air & Space Highlights: National Aerospace Awards

AFA's Air & SpaceConference and Technology Expo is a setting for expert dialogue on aerospace issues, development and challenges, but also a great venue to award and acknowledge the distinguished accomplishments of individuals, organizations and corporations who have had direct impacts on the aerospace community.

During our 2011 Air and Space Conference, we will present more than 50 national aerospace awards for outstanding contributions, which will include: 

Chairman’s Award for Aerospace Education Achievement, presented to those who have exhibited distinguished accomplishment in Aerospace Education.

Best Space Operations Crew Award, presented to the best overall space operations crew in the United States Air Force.

Theodore von Karman Award, presented to the most outstanding contribution in the field of science and engineering. This award was named after the distinguished aerospace engineer who was active in the fields of aeronautics and astronautics. He is responsible for many key advances in aerodynamics, notably his work on supersonic and hypersonic airflow characterization.

John R. Alison Award, presented to the most outstanding contribution by industrial leadership to national defense. This award was named after the highly-decorated American combat ace of World War II and veteran of the Korean War, Maj Gen Alison. Alison, also known as the father of Air Force special operations, died earlier this year, at the age of 98. Though this award dates back to 1992, this year will be even more momentous as we pay tribute to his legacy.

• And of course, our prestigious Lifetime Achievement Awards, which recognize not a single achievement, but a lifetime of work in the advancement of aerospace.

Click here to see the 2011 National Aerospace Award winners! 

Don't forget to revisit the blog regularly as we continue to highlight the many different features of AFA's Air & Space Conference and Technology Expo!

F-35 program is building momentum, according to Deputy Direcctor of JSF Program Office

Photo courtesy of
At this month's AFA Air Force Breakfast Series, Maj. Gen. C.D. Moore II, Deputy Director, Joint Strike Fighter Program Office, regaled an audience of uniforms, industry professionals and the press with details of the progress of the next generation fighter. 

Moore has been on the F35 program for two years now, and reiterated the program’s development is at the "nexus of concurrency." 

“The planes are real and in the field and operating.”
He pinpointed the three key challenges that lie ahead: timely software development and integration; finishing durability and full system qualification testing as rapidly as possible; and delivering an affordability commitment for production and sustainment.  

The AFA Air Force Breakfast Program is a monthly series that provides a venue for senior Air Force and Department of Defense leaders to communicate directly with the public and the press. Past speakers include Secretary of the Air Force Michael B. Donley, Chief of Staff of the Air Force Gen. Norton A. Schwartz, Gen. Gary L. North, Commander of Pacific Air Forces, and Gen. Donald J. Hoffman, Commander of Air Force Materiel Command. 

Check back later this week for the audio recording of this month’s event!

Monday, July 25, 2011

2011 Air & Space Highlights: Panel on Planning Iraqi and Enduring Freedom

Included in this year’s 50-plus sessions are 10 panels with distinguished experts giving insight to past, present and future aerospace challenges. For our upcoming September air and space conference will are featuring our guest panel that will be discussing the topic of Planning Iraqi and Enduring Freedom. This panel will consist of 3 creditable and experienced panelists:

photo of MAJOR GENERAL JAMES O. POSSMajor General James O. Poss: Assistant Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C. He is responsible to the Secretary and Chief of Staff of the Air Force for policy formulation, planning, evaluation, oversight, and leadership of Air Force ISR capabilities.

Gen Poss served in Desert Storm with the U.S. VII Corps RC-12 Guardrail Battalion in Saudi Arabia, and was Director of Intelligence for Central Command Air Forces deployed to Southwest Asia at the beginning of Operation Enduring Freedom.

USAF Retired General Charles Wald: Deputy Commander, Headquarters U.S. European Command, Stuttgart, Germany. USEUCOM is responsible for all U.S. forces operating across 91 countries in Europe, Africa, Russia, parts of Asia and the Middle East, and most of the Atlantic Ocean. 

Gen Wald commanded the 9th Air Force and U.S. Central Command Air Forces, Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., where he led the development of the Afghanistan air campaign for Operation Enduring Freedom, including the idea of embedding tactical air control parties in ground special operations forces. 

He also has combat time as an O-2A forward air controller in Vietnam and as an F-16 pilot flying over Bosnia. He commanded the 31st Fighter Wing at Aviano Air Base, Italy, where on Aug. 30, 1995, he led one of the wing’s initial strike packages against the ammunition depot at Pale, Bosnia-Herzegovina, in one of the first NATO combat operations. 

photo of GENERAL VICTOR E. RENUART JR.USAF Retired General Victor E. Renuart: Commander, North American Aerospace Defense Command and U.S. Northern Command, Peterson Air Force Base, Colo. 

Gen Renuart has served as the U.S. Central Command Director of Operations, wherein he oversaw the planning and execution of all joint and allied combat, humanitarian assistance and reconstruction operations for operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom.

He has also commanded a NATO support group and two fighter wings. He served as Commander of the 76th Fighter Squadron during operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, and supported Operation Deny Flight as Director of Plans for the NATO Combined Air Operations Center at Headquarters 5th Allied Tactical Air Force. 

The full conference agenda can be found here.

Friday, July 22, 2011

AFA Announces Teacher of the Year

Congratulations to Dr. Nancy Hoover, AFA's 2011 National Aerospace Teacher of the Year! 

AFA recently announced Nancy Hoover, a dedicated educator at L.C. Bird High School, Midlothian, Virginia, is the 26th recipient of the prestigious National Aerospace Teacher of the Year Award!

Hoover will receive a $3,000 cash award and plaque at the AFA Field Awards Celebration Dinner on Saturday, September 17 at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center near Washington, DC. Also, earning cash awards of $2,000 and $1,000 respectively for second and third place are Lori Bradner of Florida and Thomas E. Jenkins, Jr., of Ohio.

Hoover is a high school teacher with 15 years of experience, exclusively in the physical sciences with a solid focus on Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. Having worked in the classroom since 1996, Dr. Hoover uses her skills and abilities, along with innovative teaching tactics, to meet the challenges that many educators who strive to make a difference in their student’s lives encounter. Sponsoring student teams for robotic programs, the Physics Olympics and NASA’s Student Launch Initiative, Dr. Hoover looks for the maximum opportunity to grant successful experiences for her students. 

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Guest Blogger! Cheryl Moore, a 2010 Outstanding Airmen of the Year

Senior Airman Cheryl Moore, a Multi-Source Analyst, was acknowledged last year as one of the 12 Outstanding Airmen of the Year. While deployed, she analyzed Predator video enabling compound Hellfire strikes. She warned combat units of imminent threats and protected forces against snipers, improvised explosive devices and ambushes. She has led intelligence fusion for 120 remotely piloted aircraft missions with 1,300 hours on targets, giving critical situational awareness for 240 combat operations.

Below is a piece she wrote about competing in a snowshoe race earlier this year and wanted to share her experience competing in this challenge!

"A few years back, there was an article about the Navy's Wilderness Challenge in the Air Force Magazine and after reading it, I had to go participate.  It was such a great time and I never would have known about it without the article.  I am hoping to do that for someone else." - Cheryl Moore

A Runner in Snowshoes
By Cheryl Moore

With an air of exasperation, I leapt off the snow packed trail, tugged off my gloves, bent down and yanked at my gators and snowshoe straps. As quickly as possible, I reached the source of my frustration - loose shoelaces. With a sense of urgency, I pulled them tight, cinched my snowshoe straps back down and re-secured my gators. Springing from my crouched position, I took off in a sprint with hopes of making up those precious minutes. The stakes in this race were high - the outcome would determine if the Air Force or the Marine Corp would claim victory in the 2011 National Snowshoe Championship race.

It all started back in November 2010. While spending Thanksgiving in Sun Valley, Idaho, I saw a small ad in the local paper advertising an upcoming 10k snowshoe race in January. I imagined a group of people lumbering through the forest, awkwardly elbowing each other while vying for first place in giant wooden snowshoes. A little research turned up some surprising results. Not only did I discover a dedicated group of snowshoe runners sprinkled throughout the country, I also found a well-established organization called the United States Snowshoe Association (USSSA). In addition, I learned that companies such as Atlas and Dion make high-tech, compact snowshoes made specifically for running. My imagination shifted from my earlier caveman era race to a highly competitive, nimble sprint through pristine wilderness. That was it - I was in. I eagerly signed up for the race in Sun Valley, purchased a pair of snowshoes and impatiently waited for race day to roll around.

The Idaho January day turned out beautiful with a bright blue sky and crisp temperatures in the 20's. A crowd of athletic looking people milled around the start line, adjusting snowshoe bindings and stretching chilled muscles. The starting shot shattered the quiet mountain air and my anxiety of tripping over my snowshoes disappeared. The short, compact devices felt good on my feet and the snow made a pleasant crunch sound with each step. The course was two circuits of a challenging 5k loop that included groomed trails, un-groomed single tracks and plenty of hills and valleys. It turns out I was not as nimble as I imagined and I ended up tripping in the deep snow of the single track twice, each time with a spectacular face plant. When I finished the race in 1 hour and 30 minutes, I was aghast at my time, I had anticipated no more than an hour. Then I remembered that this was my first time snowshoe running and was pleased with my 3rd place finish. 

I was determined to improve my time and I saw my chance when I opened the Air Force Newspaper about a month later and saw a small ad for the National Snowshoe Championship race held in Wisconsin. This was the first year for a military only division and I immediately began plans to go and represent the Air Force.

When I showed up for the race in mid-March, it felt like a giant family reunion. The members of the USSSA are a friendly tight knit group that welcomes every new racer like a long lost cousin. This family knows how to celebrate in style and the resort they chose near Cable, WI had fantastic food and amenities.

Race day: I surveyed the starting line and tried to identify which one of the 43 other women was the Marine. All of the racers looked like star athletes so I knew I had to run all out in order to take 1st place. I started off in the back of the pack and began slowly when the gun went off. It was lightly snowing and the course quickly took us away from the crowd and into the forest. We wound around through the trees and my heightened senses breathed in all of the natural beauty around me. I settled into my pace and rhythm with confidence but before the half way point something was wrong. My shoes were loose and getting more so by every step. It took me about four minutes to fix my shoes on the side of the trail and I didn't know if one of the ladies who passed me was my competition.

With my shoelaces secured, I continued on the course that took us back through the lodge area and then split off for a different loop. The course was a great mix of rolling hills and a few steep climbs that had me gripping the side of the mountain to keep from toppling back down. As I neared the finish line and heard the cheers of the crowd, my pace quickened in response. I sprinted to the finish line as quickly as I could and crossed over at 1:08:09. I was thrilled to have knocked off 22 minutes from my previous race, but I still didn't know if I had beaten the Marine. I would find out later that day when the USSSA hosted a great dinner and awards ceremony for all of the racers. 
Senior Airman Moore, from the first race in Sun Valley, Idaho
That night everyone was in high spirits celebrating their achievements and enjoying the camaraderie. When my division was called, I was stunned and thrilled that I had finished in first place. I had beaten the Marine by a mere 3 minutes. The smiling judge handed a giant trophy and instructed me to take it to my base for the year. Every year the cup returns to the Championship race and the winner takes it to their base for the year.

Moore in Wisconsin
I hope that more people will get involved in this awesome sport. Running in snowshoes is easy and no training or experience is required. There are several companies who sell them such as Atlas and Dion. Running in the snow is an amazing experience, the physical elements are unique and the people involved are some of the best and most generous I have ever met. Each year, the National Championship is held in a beautiful resort location. 2012's race will be in Frisco, Colorado. I encourage all Airmen to take the challenge and run in this race to represent our branch and keep the cup with the Air Force for another year.

End of the Great Space Era

Today, an important era has ended. On April 12, 1981, STS-1 launched in space, beginning an era that would eventually include more than 542 million miles of space travel and more than 2,000 experiments. After three decades and 135 flights, the NASA space shuttle program completed its final journey with Atlantis’ pre-dawn landing at Cape Canaveral.

Space Shuttle Atlantis lifting off on its STS-135 mission July 8, 2011.
(Photo courtesy of
As we move forward, we must continue to remember our heritage of leadership in human spaceflight. The shuttle program brought out nation many proud moments, but also a few tragic ones. We must continue to honor the dedicated individuals who blazed a significant path into the final frontier and carry on our leadership in space. 

On behalf of AFA, we thank the many skilled professionals who propelled America to reach beyond the ends of the Earth and contributed to the shuttle’s many achievements and discoveries.

The flag shown here was flown on the June 8-22, 2007, mission of the space shuttle Atlantis. Pictured left to right: Doug Birkey, Commander Lee Archambault, AFA President Mike Dunn, Ken Goss.