Friday, February 28, 2014

D.W. Steele Chapter: Scholarship Announcement, Deadline Approaching

The D. W. Steele Chapter, AFA, is now accepting applications for its 2014 General (Retired) Tom Moorman and Open Scholarship programs. Applicants will be evaluated on academic achievement, demonstrated leadership, community involvement, and academic/career goals. Deadline for receipt of applications is April 8, 2014. 

General (Retired) Tom Moorman Scholarship:
  • Is open to Enlisted members of the Air Force (Active, Guard or Reserve) assigned to the National Capitol Region 
  • One applicant will be selected to receive a $2,000.00 grant 
  • Applicants not selected for the Moorman Scholarship will be considered by the board for an Open Scholarship 

Open Scholarships:
  • Are open to members of the Air Force (Active, Guard or Reserve) assigned to the National Capitol Region 
  • Are open to members of the Air Force Association in the Washington DC area 
  • Are open to the spouses and children of the above 
  • Amount and quantity of grants distributed will be based on the quality and quantity of applicants 

Learn more about how to apply here:

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Note from the AFA President: FY15 Budget Preview

AFA strongly believes the U.S. must maintain a force in the air, space, and cyber domains that will be ready to fly, fight, and win our future battles in an unpredictable world.

The troubled economy of our nation is a national security issue. And, although we acknowledge the tight budgetary times we live in and the ensuing threats to USAF readiness and modernization, AFA is greatly concerned about the proposed cuts to military benefits in the President's Fiscal 2015 budget request. As stated in our annual Statement of Policy, benefits are an important tool in recruitment and retention, but we must also continue to invest in current and future readiness and modernization.

The President's budget is only the first step in the budget process. Over the next several months, Congress will hold hearings and eventually debate these proposals before passing an FY15 budget. We're still early in the budget process and AFA will work to influence the process as we get to a final bill.

As part of AFA's ongoing engagement with the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, senior AFA leadership met this week with Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Chairman Martin Dempsey before their announcements regarding the FY15 budget. AFA will continue to participate with the Office of the Secretary of Defense as they go through a number of reviews on these critical issues, finding ways to maximize benefits for military members, ensuring they do not lose faith with their service, and to help the Air Force maintain its ability to recruit and retain the highest quality Active Duty, Guard, Reserve, and Civilian force.

AFA believes any changes to benefits must include grandfathering those who have served into the current compensation system—we must never break faith with our service members who have earned their benefits. AFA will fight on their behalf.

Finally, AFA believes we should absolutely ensure savings from any cuts should be reinvested back into readiness, modernization, training, and equipping the force while preserving the nuclear triad to maintain deterrence.

Tough choices lay ahead, and AFA will remain engaged with our members, senior Air Force and Department of Defense leaders, and the military and veteran support organizations that make up The Military Coalition on these issues as deliberations continue. AFA will work to find solutions that benefit the nation, our Air Force, and our Airmen and families.

For your consideration,

Craig R. McKinley
Air Force Association

Local AFA Chapters Award CAP Cadets

The Air Force Association believes that students are the key to securing our nation's future. AFA supports students through multiple scholarships, programs, and awards. AFA provides each Civil Air Patrol squadron or unit a unique medal, ribbon, and certificate to present to the most outstanding CAP cadet in each squadron each year. AFA is proud to reward and support these cadets and acknowledge their accomplishments.

Below are two cadets who were recently awarded by their local AFA chapters. Congratulations to them both!

C/CMSgt Justin Mason of our squadron receives an award for Cadet of the Year for SWR TX360. The award was presented by Lt. Col. Lee Lance, USAF retired:

Maj. Jim Smith (USAF), President of the Rushmore, S.D., Chapter of the Air Force Association, presented C/Col. William Small from the Lookout Mountain Composite Squadron with an AFA Civil Air Patrol cadet award:

AFA offers something for every type of student. Explore more about our programs, scholarships, and awards. Learn more here:

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

AFA Celebrates Black History Month

The Air Force Association (AFA) today highlights National Black History Month, an opportunity to reflect on the life struggles, sacrifices, and accomplishments of African Americans while recognizing the rich and diverse cultural heritage of our service.

Throughout our country’s history, 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 1866, through an act of Congress, legislation was adopted to create six all African-American Army units – soon after consolidated to four regiments: the 9th and 10th cavalry and the 24th and 25th infantry. These individuals came to be known as the Buffalo Soldiers, coming from varied backgrounds including former slaves and veterans from service in the Civil War.

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 US 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.

From Benjamin O. Davis, Jr., an aviation pioneer who later became the first African American to earn a star in the US Air Force, to Lt. Col. Stayce D. Harris, who became the first black female to command a USAF flying squadron, the 729 AS at March ABF, in 2001, it is an honor to acknowledge the patriotism, loyalty, and leadership that has helped socially enrich our national community. Their fights against the many obstacles that laid before them serve as a testament to their perseverance to overcome adversity.

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

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

News from the Sarasota-Manatee Chapter of AFA

Air Force Association recognizes Manatee Science Fair winners
Two ninth grade students in the Manatee School District were recently singled out for recognition by the Sarasota-Manatee Chapter of the Air Force Association (AFA). The awards were presented at the January 28 awards ceremony for the Lockheed Martin Manatee Regional Science and Engineering Fair.

Anna Zimmerman – a student at Brandon River Middle School -- was honored for her Aerospace themed project – “An Eco-Friendly Rocket Fuel”. Her research evaluated the comparative performance of a hybrid rocket motor when using bees wax as a fuel as compared to paraffin based fuel.

 Merritt Kendzior poses next to her Science Fair
project, "Wing It."
The second honoree was Merritt Kendzior – a student at Southeast High School – for her project “Wing It”. Her research explored if varying the angle of incidence of a wing could change the speed needed to create specific amount of lift.

Anna Zimmerman displays her "First in Class" Science Fair plaque and the Air Force Association
Certificate of Achievement and Recognition Medal.
Chapter President Mike Richardson presented Zimmerman and Kendzior with AFA Certificates of Achievement and AFA Achievement Medals, a Sterling Publications book titled Solar System and a backpack full of promotional items provided by the United States Air Force and the Manatee County Air Force recruiters.

The Air Force Association has over 100,000 members in over 200 chapters worldwide. Its mission is to promote a dominant United States Air Force and a strong national defense, and to honor Airmen and our Air Force Heritage. To accomplish this, the Association pursues three major goals: EDUCATE the public on the critical need for unmatched aerospace power and a technically superior workforce to ensure U.S. national security; ADVOCATE for aerospace power and STEM education; and SUPPORT the total Air Force family and promote aerospace education.

 The Sarasota-Manatee Chapter of the Air Force Association (AFA) is the newest Chapter in the Association – having been awarded its charter in October 2012. It is comprised of approximately 300 members living in Sarasota & Manatee counties.

Friday, February 14, 2014

AFA Applauds CoLA Fix

The Senate voted 95-3 Wednesday to undo the recently planned reductions to annual cost-of-living adjustments, or CoLAs, in military retirement pay. This is the provision of the Bipartisan Budget Act AFA and other associations have been working to repeal.

The bill, which first passed the House Tuesday with a vote of 326-90, offsets the $6 billion the COLA caps by extending automatic cuts to Medicare funding by one year. 

So now, except for those who have signed up or will sign up to join the military after Jan 1, 2014, military retirees and currently serving troops will receive the full cost-of-living adjustments to retirement pay as approved by Congress each year. Anyone who enlists or receives a commission after this past January first, will be subject to the CoLA cut should they receive a retirement. 

AFA thanks all the support and feedback from members on this issue and will continue to closely follow all initiatives aimed at changing military compensation.