Monday, March 31, 2014

AFA Remembers Dr. James Schlesinger

AFA is saddened to hear of the passing of James Schlesinger, former Secretary of Defense, from 1973 to 1975 under Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford. Schlesinger died last week at the age of 85.

Schlesinger dedicated himself and his work to strengthening this nation's security. He didn't just do this in his role as the Secretary of Defense, but he also served as the director of Central Intelligence Agency and as the first Secretary of Energy, under President Jimmy Carter. He also contributed to providing assistance to the Air Force as it refocused attention on its nuclear mission, organization, and culture. For all of this, AFA was honored to be able to recognize him with the 2009 AFA Lifetime Achievement Award.

"Dr. Schlesinger was a dedicated public servant, leaving this nation incredibly grateful for his life's work," said AFA President Craig McKinley. "His contributions have strongly influenced and shaped the successful nuclear deterrence program we have today, providing a heightened level of security to both this country and its friends and allies. For this, he and his efforts will never be forgotten."

Photo courtesy of DOD

Thursday, March 27, 2014

AFA Grant Helps Texas High School Visit Missile Range

AFA is thrilled with the opportunity of contributing to the educational growth of today's youth--and that's exactly what our aerospace education grants do!

Students from Robert E. Lee High School's AFJROTC, Midland, Texas, used the $250 grant to visit the White Sands Missile Range. While there, they were able to visit the museum and learn more about the development of missiles and rockets--and see an acutal V2!

While at White Sands, 13 of the cadets participated in the honorary Bataan Death March for the 26.2 miles. Every student in the corp (115 students) was taught about the Bataan Death March prior to the field trip's departure.

The students also visited the New Mexico Space Museum in Alamogordo, NM. In addition to touring the museum, they took a class on zero gravity and tuned in to a planetarium presentation, called Nine Planets and Counting.

Robert E. Lee High School's AFJROTC cadets pose in front of the Organ Mountains at the White Sands Missile Park. Photo Courtesy of Sr Aerospace Science Instructor Barbara Bevins, Lt Col, USAF (Ret.)

AFA is proud to support aerospace educators taking the extra step to provide a more enriching curriculum to their students! Many thanks to Lt. Col. Bevins for providing the content!

Monday, March 24, 2014

AFA Celebrates Women’s History Month

The Air Force Association (AFA) is proud to celebrate Women’s History Month, using this time to reflect on significant moments in airpower history made by women and to celebrate their courage and commitment throughout history.

Established in 1929, the Ninety-Nines were an international organization for the advancement of women pilots. At that time in history, there were 117 women pilots in the US. An invitation to establish an organization for female pilots was sent out and 99 women responded to the invitation, thus forming the Ninety-Nines.

In 1942 a shortage of combat pilots opened the door for women pilots. By September, nearly 30 civilian women pilots were recruited to fly ferrying missions for the Air Transport Command. The ATC then created a special squadron: Women’s Auxiliary Ferrying Squadron.

At the same time, a flying training program for women pilots was created comparable to the one being taken by the AAF cadets. By the end of the seven months of military training, more than 1,000 women pilots graduated, and flew every type of military aircraft and every type of mission any AAF pilot flew, except combat.

In August 1943, the two groups were combined and named the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP). They flew more than 60 million miles for their country. But on December 20, 1944, with the war winding down, the organization was disbanded. AFA had the pleasure of honoring these extraordinary women during the 2010 Air & Space Conference with AFA’s Lifetime Achievement Awards.

Countless extraordinary individuals help represent a proud heritage for women in the armed forces. To name a few wouldn’t do justice to the many. We, at AFA, salute the many outstanding figures, as well as organizations, who have dedicated themselves to this country. We honor your service, we salute your dedication, and we appreciate your sacrifices and perseverance.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

News from AFA's San Jacinto Chapter, Houston, Texas

Below is a press release from AFA Houston San Jacinto Chapter:

We are pleased to announce that Headquarters Air Force ROTC, United States Air Force, has selected Gene Kranz as a 2013 AFROTC Distinguished Alumni. Mr. Kranz was the NASA Mission Control Center Flight Control Director made famous during the Apollo Moon Landings and famous world-wide for his “failure is not an option” approach to bring the Apollo 13 Astronauts safely back to earth.
The AFROTC Distinguished Alumni Program honors graduates from AFROTC and OTS who have achieved significant distinction during or after their career in the Air Force. The award is granted to an exceptional few, whose incredible legacy continues to shape the character of the Air Force and its future leaders. 
Mr. Kranz continues to share his legacy with military units, colleges and civilian organizations across the nation. In 2013 he made some 79 presentations to these organizations detailing America’s achievements in space. He is one of America’s great heroes. His famous white vest, sewn by his wife, Marta, is enshrined in the Smithsonian Institution. 
Mr. Kranz is a dedicated member of the Houston area Air Force Association, providing services to our local universities and colleges.
From more information, contact Bob Kjar, Vice President, Communications, AFA Houston, at

The San Jacinto Chapter will be presenting Kranz with an award on March 19, 2014, where he will also retire his AFA white vest to the historical library at Detachment 003, University of Houston.

Chapter member Bob Kjar holding a replica white vest presented to  Kranz at Vintage Uniform Night

Congratulations to Gene Kranz and we give our sincerest gratitude for his service! Learn more about Mr. Kranz here:

Kranz, flight director, is shown at his console on May 30, 1965, in the Mission Operations Control Room in the Mission Control Center at Houston during a Gemini-Titan IV simulation to prepare for the four-day, 62-orbit flight. Photo courtesy of NASA.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

AFA News from Across the Country: Cadet of the Year, Teacher Appreciation, Chapter Donation

Cadet of the Year:

Congratulations to C/CMSgt Alexander Salazar for being named Albuquerque Heights Composite Squadron's "Cadet of the Year"! Salazar has distinguished himself as an outstanding cadet, contributing to the effectiveness and success of his squadron by leading in multiple squadron and wing events and activities.

Cadet Salazar was also recognized by the Air Force Inspection Team as one of the Outstanding Performers during the Wing Operational Evaluation. 

Photo courtesy of ABQ Heights Composite Squadron 

Photo courtesy of ABQ Heights Composite Squadron

Teacher Appreciation:

A recent AFA grant recipient was recognized in her local paper last month for her hard work and dedication to advancing the educational experiences of her students. Teacher Carla Woodward chose to spend the money on a high-tech device that would help give her students hands-on learning. The Gen. Brian K. Holloway Chapter 367 of AFA was able to present Woodard with a check for $1,300 in person.

Read the article here:

Chapter Donates to Local AFJROTC:

The Tennessee Valley AFA Chapter recently purchased and donated a USAF Flag (and flag spreaders) for the Butler Honor Guard. At the same presentation, the Jay Carlson, VP for Aerospace Education, presented framed, signed prints that National so graciously provided Butler.

Tennessee Valley AFA Chapter presents a USAF Flag for Butler AFJROTC Detachment's Honor Guard.  
Receiving the flag Detachment Commander, C/Col Caroline Hernandez from Jay Carlson, VP for Aerospace Ed, 
with the Detachment Senior Enlisted Advisor, C/CMSgt Destiny Dempsey.

Tennessee Valley AFA Chapter VP for Aerospace Education, Jay Carlson, present framed heritage prints to Butler AFJROTC Cadet Corps. 
(L-R) MSgt Bradley Gudgel, Jay Carlson, Maj Melissa Lacey

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Event: Mitchell Institute Breakfast Seminar, "The Friday Space Group"

The Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies is sponsoring a new series of educational breakfast seminars, titled "The Friday Space Group: The Value of Space to the Warfighter," on Capitol Hill this year from February to November.

Commander of Air Force Space Command General William Shelton opened the series Friday, Feb. 7, with an overview of how space has contributed to the fight. His talk framed the overall theme of the Friday Space Group series.

The second talk of the breakfast seminars is around the corner, scheduled for March 7, at the Reserve Officers Association headquarters, directly across from the Dirksen Senate Office Building.

Maj Gen Robert D. McMurry Jr., Director, Space Programs, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Acquisition, will introduce the three featured speakers.
  • Colonel Harold W. "Stormy" Martin, Deputy Director, National Coordination Office for Space-Based Positioning, Navigation, and Timing, Washington, D.C.
  • Colonel William Cooley, Director of the Space and Missile Systems Center's Global Positioning Systems Program Office
  • Major Joseph Thomas, US Army, PNT Requirements for USAF A3/5
Please RSVP as soon as possible. Events are on the record unless otherwise indicated.

The Friday Space Group is hosted by David A. Deptula, Lt Gen USAF (Ret.), Dean of the Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies, and Peter Huessy, President of GeoStrategic Analysis and Senior Defense Consultant at AFA, as well as co-sponsors AFA, ROA, and NDIA.