Monday, February 28, 2011

The Last Doughboy

Frank W. Buckles, the man who lived to become America’s last known World War I veteran, died peacefully in his sleep early Sunday, at the age of 110.

Buckles joined the Army at the age of 16 on Aug. 14, 1917, having lied about his age to enlist. He joined nearly 5 million Americans for the first of World Wars, which dominated Europe from 1914 to 1918. Buckles served as an ambulance driver behind the trenches in Europe and rose to the rank of corporal before the war ended. Next, he took up a career as a ship's officer on merchant vessels.

Then in 1941, Buckles survived being a civilian POW in World War II, after he was caught in Manila when Japan invaded the Philippines. He endured 38 months of cruel treatment before being freed in a military raid.

According to the Washington Post, with Buckles' death, only a 109-year-old Australian man and a 110-year-old British woman were believed to survive from the estimated 65 million people who served in the 1914-1918 war.

Buckles lived out the rest of his life on a cattle farm with a Colonial-era stone house near Charles Town, W.Va. He died of natural causes early Sunday at his home. AFA proudly salutes the legacy of the last doughboy.

Check out this fantastic photoblog of his life at

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Mitchell Institute Celebrates 20th Anniversary of Desert Storm

The Mitchell Institute for Airpower Studies hosted a 20th Anniversary of Desert Storm event with General Charles A. Horner, the architect of the air campaign against Iraq in Operation Desert Storm as the Joint Force Air Component Commander! More than 100 people gathered at the Ritz Carlton yesterday to hear Gen Horner speak about his experiences and lessons learned as he commanded the American aerial forces in Iraq.

In picture: (left)Gen Charles Horner, (middle) Dr. Rebecca Grant, (right) Lt Gen David Deptula

With humor and a sense of informality, Gen Horner took attendees back 20 years, as he described some of their mistakes (the absence of an intelligence collection plan and State Department participation), their achievements and their most valuable tools (political leadership, service cooperation, experience, critical thinking).

Gen Horner had many messages to today's young airmen
"You cannot ignore training and organization. They are the key to success."

And he had a message to the commanders of today, calling for the need to "knock the rust off of warriors' spirits."
"We're warriors. We're not pretty people," he said. "Nothing wrong with putting syrup in the commander's boots."

On a more serious note, he outlined the importance of values.
"Once you lose your integrity, it's a slippery slope."

But the piece of advice that he reiterated was the importance of knowledge.
"Know your history of past wars." Horner said one of the most valuable tools he had was the lessons learned through Vietnam.

Read more about Gen Horner here >>>>

Check back with us next week as we post the full audiorecording of this spectacular event!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Quick Note from the Director of Policy & Communications

AFA members, Congressional staff members, civic leaders, and DOCA members, just a quick note.

Last week Secretary of the Air Force Mike Donley and Chief of Staff General Schwartz testified before the House Armed Services Committee (HASC) on 17 Feb. A portion of SECAF’s testimony is below.

"In all, during the past seven years the size of the active duty Air Force has been reduced from 359,000 in 2004 to approximately 333,000 today and the Air Force's baseline budget, when adjusted for inflation and setting aside the annual wartime supplemental appropriations, has remained flat. Looking ahead, we face a multiyear effort to recapitalize our aging tanker, fighter, bomber and missile forces, to continue modernizing critical satellite constellations, meet dynamic requirements in the cyber domain and replace aging airframes for pilot training and presidential support. We continue to recognize the requirement for fiscal restraint and are committed to remaining good stewards of every taxpayer dollar, improving management and oversight at every opportunity."

The 2011 Posture is posted here (large file) at

Finally, as you know we have begun posting individual profiles of Air Force heroes. This one is about First Lieutenant Roslyn Schulte, a Reconnaissance, Intelligence, Surveillance and Operations Officer. You can find the link at:

For your consideration.

Chet Curtis
Director of Policy and Communications

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Tanker Acquisition

The very public, high-stakes competition between the Boeing Co. and the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Co. (EADS) is expected to come to an end today. Later this afternoon a long-awaited decision is to be made by the US Air Force on the acquisition of the tanker contract.

Whatever the outcome may be, the Air Force Association strongly welcomes the beginning of a new tanker development process. For nearly a decade, the replacement of KC-135 Stratotankers has been a procurement priority for the Air Force. The need to replace the Eisenhower-era aircraft has only continued to gain urgency with each passing year.

The aircraft of the KC-135 fleet average 46 years old already and the Air Force will depend on KC-135s for decades to come, even as we begin to build new tankers. Current KC-135s hold a vital role in aiding our military by refueling fighter planes and other aircraft in mid-flight, extending the abilities of military operations.

AFA is excited to see the process moving along so production can officially begin.

Top Pentagon officials are expected to announce a winner for the potential $35 billion deal around 1700 EST. Follow the announcement live here:, where you can also check back later for the transcript.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Day 2 of AFA's 27th Annual Air Warfare Symposium

AFA's 27th Annual Air Warfare Symposium had another great list of speakers today, followed by the announcement of the five CyberPatriot teams advancing to the finals and the chapter gala! Today's presentations provided insight on a plethora of topics -- from global challenges to addressing specific US Air Force needs.

Secretary of the Air Force Michael B. Donley opened Day 2 of our premier winter conference as he addressed the outlook for the Air Force -- discussing ongoing budget issues and the priorities of this branch of the military.

Gen Duncan J. McNabb, Commander of the US Transportation Command, spoke on meeting the global challenge -- harping on the Northern Distribution Network, the development of northern supply routes that have helped alleviate some of the risk that accompanies the use of more volatile routes through hostile areas.

A panel with several military leaders addressed cyber concerns for the different branches. "We need to make huge strides to keep up with our adversaries and to get to the point where we can neutralize them with our strategies," said Brig. Gen. Charles Shugg, Vice Commander of 24th Air Force.

Gen James M. Kowalski gave attendees an update on the Global Strike Command's agenda while Gen Craig McKinley represented the National Guard in his presentation. Gen Edward Rice of the AETC Command wrapped the symposium up with his presentation on present challenges and future opportunities.

(You can read more accounts of the Air Warfare Symposium at Air Force Magazine's Daily Report. Also, AFA will post transcripts of the Symposium early next week, so check back on our home site:

But just across the hallway, shortly after the symposium concluded, CyberPatriot held its awards ceremony, with 12 teams on the edge of their seats as they waited for the advancing 5 teams (out of more than 450 who initially registered) to be announced!

Congratulations to the following teams:
Buena High School - Sierra Vista, AZ
Clearfield High School - Clearfield, UT
Orlando Cadet Squadron - Orlando, FL
Ramona High School - Ramona, CA
Montachusett Regional Vocational Technical School - Fitchburg, MA

Make sure you catch us at our next conference – the CyberFutures Conference and Technology Exposition to be held March 31 to April 1 at the Gaylord National Hotel near downtown D.C. In this inaugural conference, we will focus on the challenges the new domain of cyber space brings to every organization.

And the top winners of CyberPatriot III will be awarded after they engage in a two-day championship round!‎

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Day 1 of AFA's 27th Annual Air Warfare Symposium

AFA’s 27th Annual Air Warfare Symposium and Technology Exposition has official begun! This premier winter event provides an opportune environment to learn about challenges in airpower today from the top echelon in Air Force leadership.

This two-day symposium, held at the Rosen Shingle Creek Hotel in Orlando, Florida, will have speakers addressing everything from tensions created from budget cuts to priorities from different commands of the Air Force. But altogether, we had today and will have tomorrow great dialogue and in-depth views of issues facing air warfare.

The event kicked off with a great opening statement from Gen William M. Fraser of Air Combat Command. "These conferences provide us an opportunity for this critical time, operationally and fiscally," he said. Gen Fraser went on to speak about the importance of Agile Combat Air Power and the need for key modernization programs, commenting on China’s Chengdu J-2 – a fifth-generation stealth fighter aircraft prototype.

"Put warfighters, not the bottom line first," he added.

Later in the day we had a great panel on Contested Air Battlespace with Gen Gary L. North, Gen Mark A. Welsh and Lt Gen Donald C. Wurster.

"Air dominance doesn't just mean freedom from attack, but freedom to attack," said Gen Welsh, Commander of US Air Forces in Europe.

“Don't allow the enemy to take off,” added Gen Gary North, Commander of Pacific Air Forces, when addressing preventive conflict.

Chief Master Sgt Roy gave an enlisted perspective, expressing the challenges that many airmen face. Chief Roy detailed his initiative to build initial resiliency skills among our airmen. "People matter, lives matter...communicate and care for people,” said Chief Roy, on fostering a resilient culture.

Directly following his presentation, AFA Chairmen of the Board Sandy Schlitt invited Chief Roy back to the stage, surprising him with AFA’s first-ever Chief Airey Fellowship award – recognizing the great leadership Chief Roy has displayed in this highest-ranking position held by an enlisted officer.

Next up was Vice Chief of Staff Gen Philip Breedlove, who highlighted the priorities of the Air Force operations. "Our nation demands and relies on us to fight across the full spectrum of conflict, not just the wars we find ourselves in today," he said.

We also had presentations from Gen William Shelton, Gen C. Robert Kehler, Gen Donald Hoffman, Gen Douglas Fraser, Lt Gen Charles Stenner and Lt Gen Harry Wyatt.

AND just a few doors down, CyberPatriot had 12 teams from the competition's All Service division preoccupied defending several computer systems from hackers. The All Service semifinal round of competition is being held in conjunction with the Air Warfare Symposium, where each of these teams are vying for the five available spots in the finals!

--- And that was all just in the first day!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Hearings, Courage

AFA members, Congressional staff members, civic leaders, and DOCA members, this week the President unveils the Administration’s budget. We don’t yet know everything in it, however, from the early reports, it continues a sizable deficit. DOD has a press conference at 2PM today, and the Air Force will brief at 1645. Look for some of the details in tomorrow’s Daily Report.

Also this week, Sec Gates and ADM Mullen testify before the House Armed Services Committee (HASC) on 16 Feb; followed by Sec Donley and Gen Schwartz on 17 Feb. Usually the hearings can be seen on your computer via streaming video. Go to the HASC homepage [] and click on the Hearing Calendar to get you to the hearing you want to hear. After the hearing – we will distribute the Air Force’s Posture Statement – probably early next week.

Likewise, the hearings from some of the other key committees can sometimes be viewed in real time:

- Senate Armed Services Committee:
- House Appropriations Committee:
- Senate Appropriations Committee:

Finally, as I have mentioned in earlier notes, I will include one profile in courage in each missive. This one is about Master Sergeant Neil Jones, an Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technician. You can find the link at:

For your consideration.


Michael M. Dunn
Air Force Association

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Airpower in the News...

- For daily updates on airpower news, check out Air Force Magazine's Daily Updates.

- In the LA Times: The Air Force is training its first drone test pilot, illustrating the growing importance of unmanned aircraft!

He's Got The Right-Click Stuff
By W.J. Hennigan

U.S. Air Force Capt. Nicholas "Hammer" Helms is in line to be the next aviator to make history at Edwards, as he is being trained to be the nation's first drone test pilot.

"Flying at 9 Gs is a lot more fun than sitting in a locked room, I'll tell you that," said Helms, 29, in a Los Angeles Times article. "I never expected to be flying anything other than an F-16. But now I'm here."

Helms' admission into the elite U.S. Air Force Test Pilot School at Edwards is another sign of the Pentagon's historic shift to drones, which are cheaper to build and operate than conventional aircraft. Thousands of propeller-powered Predator and Reaper drones are already deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan, and military contractors are now testing more advanced versions with jet engines and increased lethal firepower.


Also ...

- From Admiral Michael Mullen: 'Hard' Budget Times Ahead For Military

All parts of the U.S. military will face budget cuts as Washington shaves the federal deficit -- even special operations troops, says Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Michael Mullen.

Read the full article here >>

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Congress, Teamwork, Courage

AFA members, Congressional staff members, Civic leaders, DOCA members, this week AFA leaders will visit the offices of every new member of Congress. Our messages will be similar to those we have shared with you in the past: The future is uncertain; we've been consistently wrong in our forecasts. America needs a strong defense. Airpower is our asymmetric advantage. If we are strong, we prevent conflicts. The Air Force is a truly unique Service, maximizing speed, power, and vision to net global effects in the air, space, and cyber space. The Air Force has an aging fleet. The weapons systems we buy today will be in service for decades into the future. Numerous lessons-learned throughout history have demonstrated that inadequately equipping our forces can have devastating consequences for our nation. The industrial base is increasingly at risk. The only thing more expensive than a first rate Air Force is a second rate Air Force. Chairman of the Board, Sandy Schlitt, will provide feedback on these visits to AFA field leaders.

Secondly, I received a note from the Commander, 321 Air Expeditionary Wing in Iraq. He wrote:
"Amazing that I find myself tasked now to help rebuild the very Air Force I was tasked to destroy 20 years ago. I wrote the attached article a couple of weeks ago on the anniversary of combat ops commencing. It focuses on the fact my first visit in command to my detached Airmen was to the very base I attacked on Day one of DS [Desert Storm]. … Aimpoints actually picked it up so I am "published".... Thanks for carrying the torch for us."

In the article, he makes an excellent point on the importance of people in his command – that projecting Airpower is not just the job of one person … but a coherent team. Here is the link to the piece he wrote:

Thirdly, Secretary of the Air Force, Michael B. Donley spoke last month at our AFA-Air Force Breakfast series. We captured the Secretary's words in an audio file that you can find at this link:

Finally, the Air Force has released it next “Portraits in Courage.” In my notes, I will include one link which takes you to our website where we have them all listed. The third link is to the heroism of Staff Sergeant Deante Brooks. SSgt. Brooks is a Security Forces Specialist. You can find the link here:

For your consideration.


Michael M. Dunn
Air Force Association

Monday, February 7, 2011

AFA Presents 27th Annual Air Warfare Symposium in Orlando

AFA's Annual Air Warfare Symposium is just around the corner!

On February 17 - 18, 2011, at Orlando, Florida's Rosen Shingle Creek Resort, we will be hosting our 27th Annual Air Warfare Symposium and Technology Exposition.

This year's theme, “Resetting the Force for the Future,” will explore Air Warfare with the top echelon in Air Force leadership, including Secretary of the Air Force Michael Donley, Vice Chief of Staff of the Air Force General Philip M. Breedlove and Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force James A. Roy.

Featured speakers include:
• Secretary of the Air Force Michael Donley
• Gen. Philip Breedlove, Vice Chief of Staff of the Air Force
• Gen. Duncan J. McNabb, Commander, U.S. Transportation Command
• Gen. Robert C. Kehler, Commander, U.S. Strategic Command
• Gen. William M. Fraser, Commander, Air Combat Command
• Gen. Craig McKinley, Chief, National Guard Bureau
• Gen. Donald J. Hoffman, Commander, Air Force Materiel Command
• Gen. Doug Fraser, Commander, U.S. Southern Command
• Gen. Gary L. North, Commander, Pacific Air Forces
• Gen. Edward A. Rice, Commander, Air Education and Training Command
• Gen. William Shelton, Commander, Air Force Space Command
• Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force James Roy

AFA symposiums and conferences serve as great opportunities to hear comprehensive briefings by top Air Force and Department of Defense (DoD) leaders as well as great opportunities for professional development.

For a full list of the scheduled speakers and their biographies, check here.

Exhibits highlighting aerospace technology and education, sponsored by leading aerospace companies, will be on display as part of the Technology Exposition.

AND for 12 CyberPatriot teams, only one more round of competition stands in the way of their shot at the Commander-in-Chief Trophy. In conjunction with the Symposium, CyberPatriot, AFA's high school cyber defense competition, will be hosting the semifinal round for the All Service Division.

CyberPatriot is the national competition that serves as an interactive learning tool for cyber security. Results from this round determine which five teams compete at the finals on March 31 – April 1, 2011, in Washington, D.C.

Media registration: Advance media registration is available at®type=Media. To register on-site, you must bring photo ID and business card.

Look for Symposium updates at

Thursday, February 3, 2011

AFA Highlights Black History Month

In honor of National Black History Month, AFA is proud to use this opportunity to celebrate the triumphs and great contributions of African Americans to aerospace and the Air Force.

Throughout the 20th century, despite harsh times of segregation and discrimination, many African Americans answered their country’s call – making valuable contributions to the war efforts and breaking color boundaries.

In August of 1917 Eugene Jacques Bullard, an American volunteer in the French army, became the first black military pilot in history and the only black pilot in World War I.

The remarkable story of the Tuskegee Airmen continues to be a significant part of African American history as well as the history of the Air Force. The Tuskegee Airmen were the first African American pilots in the U.S. armed forces. During World War II, an estimated 16,000 to 19,000 persons served in numerous capacities during the “Tuskegee Experience,” including pilots, navigators, bombardiers, maintenance and support staff, instructors, and all personnel who kept the planes in the air.

Their demonstration of excellence and courage throughout hundreds of missions is one of the reasons the Air Force was the first service to fully integrate in 1949, just two years after becoming an independent service. According to the records of the nonprofit organization Tuskegee Airmen, Inc., while serving with the 15th Air Force during the period of June 1944 to May 1945, the then-known "Red Tails" [they were later called the "Tuskegee Airmen" in 1955] were credited with shooting down 112 enemy aircraft and escorting 179 bomber missions.

Benjamin O. Davis, Jr., an aviation pioneer, was the most famous Tuskegee Airmen of World War II. With his promotion to brigadier general, General Davis became the first black to earn a star in the U.S. Air Force.

And Daniel "Chappie" James Jr. graduated from the Tuskegee Institute in 1942. James was a fighter pilot in the U.S. Air Force and became the first African American to reach the rank of four-star general as he was assigned as commander in chief of NORAD/ADCOM on September 1, 1975.

AFA is proud to recognize the great service and sacrifice of African American veterans throughout our country’s history, and we continue to appreciate the dedication of those serving our country.


Throughout February, the Navy Memorial and Naval Heritage Center will be honoring African-American sailors throughout history with special film screenings, artwork, and lectures. Check out for more information.

Also, the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center of the National Air and Space Museum will have a special event entitled "African American Pioneers in Aviation." Visitors will meet Tuskegee Airmen, who fought discrimination both at home and abroad; talk to Museum experts; and participate in hands-on activities, and story time.

African American Pioneers in Aviation
Saturday, February 5
10:00 am to 3:00 pm
Admission: Free

More information can be found here >>

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Middle East, Jordan and Courage

The demonstrations for reform in Egypt have reached into Jordan, resulting in the dismissal of the cabinet by King Abdullah. He has quickly appointed a new prime minister who will form a new government and launch immediate reforms. Many of the countries in the Middle East have young populations that are growing amid high unemployment, poverty, political repression and rising food prices. What this means for the U.S. is anybody's guess but it may mean the loss of key allies in the Middle East who will have to answer to more domestic than International needs.

The graph below appeared recently on the BBC. Note the median age column. The median age is the age where half the population is younger and half is older. So, most of these populations are very young and their economy needs to create a lot of jobs to keep them "off the streets."

NOTE: If the table below is difficult to read, please click here to read it online.

Middle East social indicators
Country pop. (m) median age jobless (%) below poverty line (%) internet users (m)
Algeria 34.5 27.1 9.9 23 4.7
Egypt 80.5 24 9.6 20 20
Jordan 6.4 21.8 13.4 14.2 1.6
Lebanon 4.09 29.4 na 28 1
Libya 6.4 24.2 30 33 0.35
Morocco 31.6 26.5 9.8 15 13.2
Saudi Arabia 25.7 24.9 10.8 na 9.6
Syria 22.1 21.5 8.3 11.9 4.4
Tunisia 10.5 29.7 14 3.8 3.5
W Bank & Gaza 2.5 20.9 16.5 46 1.3
Yemen 23.4 17.89 35 45.2 2.2

Secondly, as most of you know, Egypt is a central concern in the Middle East. In looking for someone who can provide insight into what is happening on the ground in the country, I found a piece by Dr. Paul Sullivan, professor of Economics at the National Defense University. Dr. Sullivan's piece, while two days old, gives the reader the background of his years of experience in Egypt and with the Egyptian army. You can find the piece at:

Third, I ran across a very good article on China by Dr. Michael Auslin. Dr. Auslin states that what we have been doing for the past 20 years has not worked. He suggests we need a reframing strategy toward China – one with several components: economic, security and political. You can find the piece here at

Finally, the Air Force released it next "Portraits in Courage." In my notes, I will include one link which takes you to our website where we have them all listed. This note recognizes the heroism of Major Thomas Bozung. Major Bozung flies Casualty Evacuation and Personnel Recovery missions as a pilot of the HH-60G Pave Hawk. You can find the link here:

For your consideration.
Mike Dunn