FREEDOM THROUGH VIGILANCE ASSOCIATION
P.O. Box 691616
San Antonio, Texas 78269-1616
1. September 24, 2016 FTVA ANNUAL GENERAL MEMBERSHIP MEETING. After Vice President Ted Colquhoun determined we had a quorum, President Ron Haygood called the meeting to order at 1157 hours in the Bernard A. Larger Auditorium (BALA), building 2007 (Larson Hall), HQ 25th Air Force, Lackland Air Force Base, San Antonio, Texas.
2. Attendee who traveled the farthest: Several locations were shouted out with no determination of actually travelled the farthest; Syracuse, NY and Las Angeles, CA were among the farthest destinations mentioned.
3. Attendee with the earliest employment connection was Mr Waldo Kline who started his service in 1948; of note, Mr Bob Finch was in attendance and he started in 1952. Bob was the member present in 2015 who took the earliest employment title.
4. Reading of the Minutes: Minutes of the SEP 2015 FTVA General Membership Meeting were read and approved.
5. Treasurer’s report: Was presented and filed for audit.
6. VIGILANT PARTNERS Update: Mark Hess provided an excellent update on the Vigilant Partners program and its continued success.
7. HISTORY Update: Barnie Gavin presented a great update, and clarified the timeframe of the report coincides with the annual General Membership meeting.
8. WEBSITE AND MEMBERSHIP Update: Ron Haygood provided an excellent recap for Bob Baert who could not be there. Ron started a new service this year by responding to everyone who visits our website and leaves their contact information and are not yet a member. He has garnered a few new members taking this approach. Ron also briefly mentioned the value of wearing the FTVA hat out in public because people have approached those of us who do wear the hat, and that contact has resulted in new memberships, and friendships, as well; further validating the need to Remain in Touch.
9. HALL OF HONOR Update: A.J. Harrison thanked everyone for their help and contributions during the Hall of Honor nomination and selection process for the year. The 184th member was inducted to the Hall of Honor today. We started this program in 1983 with perhaps upwards of 100,000 people assigned to our organizations over the years. Please continue to challenge the selection committee by submitting those great nomination packages.
10. SOCIAL ACTIVITIES Update: Ken Williams provided a recap of the Spring Social earlier this year which had a lower attendance than normal; looking at the event after the fact the low turnout was probably attributable to the fact that the next day was Easter Sunday. We will plan for a better date for the event next year. The banquet this evening will have approximately 245 attending; cocktail hour starts at 1730; hope to see you there.
11. SPORTS Update. Dennis Buxton provided a recap of the Golf Tournament, which was determined to be a great event at the new venue. The host company really bent over backwards to ensure we were all happy customers. We will be back there again next year.
12. PICNIC Update: Ron Haygood provided a brief recap for Jacque Lerma, who could not be there. The overall event went well, with the weather cooperating again. Not as big of a turnout as desired, attributable to a number of reasons. There were only three food booths, and that may get worse because of the way the 25th Air Force is combining booster clubs within the headquarters.
13. NEWSLETTER Update: Dennis Rassmussen provided an update on Newsletter, letting us know that it is more expensive to share the document as a printed product, encouraging everyone to receive it online. Wayne Tallant had done great work assisting over the years, his recent passing posed a challenge that was quickly filled by Ken Maynard and Dennis Buxton. Rass than introduced his support team of Joe “Pepito” Figueroa, Dennis Buxton, and Ken Maynard; all of whom spoke briefly concerning their specific activities in supporting the Newsletter.
14. CHAPTER REPORTS:
- ALOHA CHAPTER: Aloha Everyone…So sorry that none of the Aloha Chapter members are able to make this year’s FTVA Reunion, but guaranteed at least one of us will be there next year!. On behalf of my compadres out in here in always beautiful Hawaii – that being Ken Een, Dickie Hites, Steve Crain, Fred Collins, Leroy “Oly” Harrison, John Harman, Dave Jones, Al Teel, and myself John Toillion — I’d like to pass along that all are doing just fine. Even though we continue to remain a small group we do manage to stay active socially meeting once every 2-3 months, usually for lunch at Mililani’s Ruby Tuesdays. Topics of choice continue to focus on old age, retirement, Medicare – you name it – just “old peoples’” stuff and of course some war stories. It’s also nice to get some updates from those still working (Al Teel & Steve Crain). Of course Ken Een would add his name to the list of “still working” but only as a part-time consultant for DHS. This past year we have made a concerted effort to reach out to other former USAF’ers to come join us. As I write this our next Aloha Chapter social is scheduled for this coming Friday, September 16, and Oly Harrison and I are trying to contact a number of former Misawa alumni who we recently found out have addresses here in the islands. Thanks to Ken Een for submitting our long time and former compadre, Ken “Hopi” Hopkins, as a candidate for FTVA’s Hall of Honor. While Hopi wasn’t selected this go round we’re happy to know that candidates are considered for up to 3 years. Again, “Mahalo” (aka “thanks”) for the support from you folks there in San Antonio working hard to keeping us to “Remain in Touch.” Aloha until next year…..
- HERITAGE CHAPTER: JJ Graham: 2016 was another prosperous year for our small but robust group in San Angelo! Col Michael Downs has picked up where Col Kimberlee Joos left off and provided us outstanding support! As always, we sincerely thank the FTVA for their continued support! Here is a recap of the year’s events to date:
- Vietnam War Memorial Repair Project: Over the Fourth of July holiday weekend, the Vietnam War Memorial at the San Angelo airport was damaged by an apparent grease fire. The helicopter on display sustained a good amount of damage to the paint and the support pole, and many of the engraved pavers were damaged with grease stains. The Vietnam Veterans of America, who maintain the site, asked for help in raising the approximately $15,000 it will take to fix the display and clean the pavers. This is where the FTVA comes in. When we informed our BOD of the incident, Bob Cope contacted us and told us the main BOD had graciously offered up a $1,000 donation towards repairing the display. We were then able to present that check for $1,000 to representatives of the VVA earlier this month and they were extremely grateful for your support. This just goes to show the type of organization we have and the good people running it. Thank you all for your incredible support!
- EC-47 History Exhibit: The EC-47 exhibit continues to be a “must see” for visitors coming to Goodfellow! We continue to hear very positive feedback from the numerous DV’s that visit the base. Between Doc Garrett (base historian), Tom Nurre, Ed Bendinelli, and Larry Ross, visitors continue to learn all about the history of the EC-47 program in Southeast Asia. We’re in the process of procuring an electronic guest log for the display. (Lots of regulations out there we need to comply with!) Tom Nurre has contacted the builder of the display and they are currently designing an electronic log book that will fit in nicely with the current set up. We hope to have this up and running by the end of the year.
- EC-47 Remembrance Ceremony: As 2016 is the 75th Anniversary of Goodfellow AFB and the 50th Anniversary of the activation of the 6994th Security Squadron, we felt hosting an EC-47 Remembrance Ceremony on 22 SEP while the 94th group was meeting in San Angelo was the right thing to do. Members of the USAFSS roll call also traveled to Goodfellow that morning to partake in the ceremony. In a very moving event, Rick Yeh and JC Wheeler read aloud names of the 17 aircrew members from the 6994th and the 21 Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron crew members who made the ultimate sacrifice while performing the EC-47 ARDF mission during the Vietnam War.
- Cressman and Leftwich Projects: We dedicated a shadow box at the newly renovated Cressman Dining Facility just a few days ago (22 SEP). Approximately 140 people – including a large contingent of the 6994th group – attended the ceremony honoring Sgt Pete Cressman. Tom Crowley, who gave the initial dedication address in 1996, was the keynote speaker for this ceremony. Also, the new display will allow thousands of students to be aware of exactly who Sgt Cressman was and the sacrifice he made for his country. Next on our agenda: Leftwich Hall, as we continue our commitment to place shadow boxes in each of the six buildings named after KIAs memorialized here at Goodfellow.
- 6994th Reunion and USAFSS Roll Call visit: We played host to the 6994th reunion in San Angelo this past week (21-24 SEP). We had approximately 140 members of the 94th and 50 members of the USAFSS Roll Call in town for the EC-47 Remembrance Ceremony and the Cressman Dining Facility dedication. There were base and downtown tours, luncheons, meetings with students, and a 94th banquet just last night. We were honored to host all these warriors and hope each and every one of them enjoyed their visit!
- Vietnam War 50th Anniversary Committee: In May 2015, The Heritage Chapter became a partner with EC-47.com and Angelo State University in the Vietnam War Commemorative Partner Program (CPP), in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War. Since that time we’ve participated in dozens of ceremonies honoring those who served during the Vietnam War. This year alone we’ve presented over 250 commemorative pins to Vietnam Veterans in the San Angelo area, including over 70 at last night’s 6994th Banquet. Our next ceremony will be in November, with more to follow.
- Heath Hall: It’s official: Heath Hall is going to be used to train international students as early as November. We continue to work with Doc Garrett (Wing Historian) and John Pope (retired 202 Chief and Goodfellow POC for the project) to make sure any & all artifacts housed inside the building are accounted for. The main goal here is to preserve Heath Hall & the legacy of the late CMSgt Jim Heath. The status of all the artifacts right now is under review; the base has stated all artifacts will remain in place (at least for the foreseeable future). Doc is monitoring the situation. More to follow…
- International Students: Students attending the International Officers Course are invited to one of our chapter dinner /meetings; normally host 2-3 classes per year. There have been some interesting exchanges on domestic and military topics; some productive “international mentoring.” Class attendees represented Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Jordan, Estonia, Latvia, Romania, South Korea, Japan, Italy, Egypt, Nigeria, Poland, Pakistan, The Republic of China, Thailand, and Jamaica. The new course leadership continues to explore ways to get us and other sponsors more involved with the students. so far, so good…
- Chapter Admin Issues: Our chapter takes pride in our inputs to the Newsletter…our noble scribe, Larry Ross, takes great pains to ensure “all the news that’s fit to print” (in both words and pictures!) is forwarded to The Earl Of Ink for publication. We hosted another successful “Christmas Hangover” party in January and will keep this new tradition going this year. This time of year seems to work better for everyone. We have taken a more active role in the San Angelo All Veterans Council. Tom Nurre and I have been attending their monthly meetings. This has been a good forum to get the word out on the Vietnam War commemoration activities and has allowed us an opportunity to contribute to some new activities, such as the San Angelo Memorial Day ceremony at the county courthouse and the Veterans Day parade.
- Again, The Heritage Chapter thanks each of you for your continued support!
- ROCKY MOUNTAIN CHAPTER: Ike Eichelberger: Currently the Rocky Mountain Chapter has approximately 40 members. We held a Vietnam Veteran’s Commemoration Ceremony on 29 April. CMSgt (ret) Tom Nurre, the EC-47 History Group and the Heritage Chapter provided sponsorship and mentorship as the we took on our first recognition effort. The ceremony began with welcoming everyone and introducing the Vietnam Commemoration initiative, followed by a video produced by the National Vietnam Commemoration Committee and narrated by the actor Sam Elliott. Following the video, seven local veterans were recognized with lapel pins and commemorative certificates. Sharon Frizzell was the first RMC Vietnam Era veteran to be recognized and then she assisted in the pinning of the remaining veterans. Greg Roman was also able to recognize his father Anthony (Tony) Roman with a pin as well. Following the formal ceremony guests and family members spent time sharing refreshments and reminiscing. The Rocky Mountain Chapter is planning another recognition ceremony for Thursday 3 November at the Peterson Air Force Base Museum. The Rocky Mountain Chapter of the FTVA meets on the 2nd Thursday of the month at Rhinos Sports Bar, in Colorado Springs.
- ALAMO CHAPTER: Barnie Gavin: Items we are working on include discussed included whether to meet at Logan’s or periodically meet at the Wall. We are looking into how we can get involved in the Larson Awards, which represents 12 AFSCs; 36 Larson Awards gold, silver and bronze medalists will be brought back to the headquarters along with their wing commanders and command chiefs for an awards ceremony. At the next FTVA board meeting, a discussion will be held regarding how to shorten up the Saturday Hall of Honor meeting and get more/younger HQs personnel to attend. Perhaps moving the HOH to Thursday morning or Friday morning along with other changes may be in order. We are also discussing declining membership not only within FTVA, but VFW and AFA as we all get older…and how to reverse it. Another area we are looking at is how the picnic booths are manned (with ops types, or a combination of types?) and how to increase interest in FTVA. The 25 AF Spouses Group will be putting together boxes for deployed members at Shiela Williams’ house. If any spouses are interested the meeting will be 9 November, 6 pm, at 10118 Remuda View, San Antonio, TX. We are still awaiting word from the NSA/TX commander about how best the Alamo Chapter can support enlisted award programs. Dennis Killian asked whether the same AFSCs stay in 25 AF or move around the AF (most now move around) making it harder to keep the HQs a focal point as in days past. Pepe Figueroa brought up the need for a Facebook page to post things like the Larson Awards winners and as another venue to communicate with the younger 25 AF airmen. Ron Haygood mentioned how the FTVA hats really are a hit in calling attention to the FTVA. He said we should wear them as they are a reminder to our entire heritage.
- NATIONAL CAPITAL REGION CHAPTER: Jerry Gething: Our goal is to revitalize the National Capital Region Chapter. Our name “National Capital Region Chapter” may not capture our vision; we will try to expand on that, perhaps a Mid-Atlantic Chapter. We have Bob Bastion, Dave Doiron, Tom Giroir and an active duty MSgt on our team. We have a business plan in place to take us forward and achieve our goals. Our plan is to increase membership by 10% each year. We need to firm up our executive committee and identify our membership roles. We plan to sponsor an award at the local Airmen Leadership School, and we are considering an award for a local Honor Guard. We will hold a social event later this year. We have a Facebook account and a website we are ready to link with the main FTVA site. We have some good ideas, and we will continue to move forward.
- SUNSHINE CHAPTER: Nothing submitted.
15. ELECTION OF OFFICERS: Bob Cope was re-elected as Treasurer, and Loren “Phred” Sevening was re-elected as Secretary, both for two-year terms.
16. OPEN FORUM:
- BARNIE GAVIN: The nametags were a big hit when we first brought them on, but demand has declined a bit. Jen Anthony’s company is our source for nametags; for anyone who wants one get your order in through Ted Colquhoun and he will take care of it.
- BILL SHECK: Kudos to the 25th Air Force History Office for reaching out to FTVA members to support their Oral History project. The History Office team provided opportunity to share recollections of how things were done in the past and archive those recollections for posterity. My session lasted about an hour, it was very well done, and hopefully will be meaningful to somebody in the future.
17. There being no further business, a motion was made, seconded, and approved to adjourn at 1325.
LOREN R. “PHRED” SEVENING