This location will be used by the President to provide current up to date information concerning your association.
Greetings from the desk of the President: 18 Nov 2017
First of all I am honored and humbled that this great association has elected me as the President for a third term. It has been a very challenging past year. Our 1st Vice President CMSGT (ret) Welton resigned one month prior to our national meeting for personal reasons. So I asked the 2nd Vice President MSgt Cawlfield if he was able to move up and he stated he could not due to his work load at his unit, and he was having issues with his father’s health. So I asked CMSGT (ret) Damrow who is our TEC Liaison to fill the remainder of Chief Welton’s term until the end of our national meeting and he agreed. This allowed us to have a quorum of the board of directors present for the meeting. Additionally we had two region director positions that had been vacant the entire year which we had been unable to fill.
We had a very productive Membership Meeting in Sioux Falls this year. We had 8 past presidents in attendance. I decided one way that I could get everyone involved in all the decisions that we needed to make was to put the whole membership in a committee of the whole. We were able to conduct every committee responsibility that way which allowed everyone in attendance to have input into all the committee issues and decisions. Our secretary Msgt (ret) Phyllis Oster took notes for each committee which eliminated the other board members from having to type up the committee report, get copies printed for everyone to review and then to brief each committee decisions. By doing this we were able to save time which allowed us to spend time to develop a road map for the future of our association. We broke into small groups and came up with several ideas to try to implement at the chapter level. We also decided that since our membership was shrinking and we were not able to fill all the regional directors chairs we reduced the number of regions to three from six. They are currently East Region with SMSgt (ret) Melvin Barnes as director, Central Region with SMSgt Eric Vickrey as the director, and West Region with MSgt (ret) Lisa Eisenhauer as the region director. The current map of the states and territory’s in each region is on our web site.
The next big decision that we passed was to make all of our Director at Large officers voting members of the board again. This had been changed when we became a nonprofit organization. I am very glad we were able to change this back. We honored our Outstanding Graduate of the Year MSgt Jonathan K. Sullens from Chapter 7 in North Carolina. What an extremely dynamic individual. Please go to our web site and read his bio. I thought I was busy, but I don’t know how he finds time to sleep with all of the things he does. He and his wife run a nonprofit organization also to raise money for pediatric cancer research and also to provide wishes for children with the disease. We also honored Col Barbara Doncaster from Chapter 7 in North Carolina as the IG Brown Award winner. Her bio is also on our web site. We were able to award all the scholarships that we offer as we had applications for all of the different categories. All of their papers are on our web site. Lastly we had a quilt made and donated by CMSGT (ret) Susan Turner which we raffled and were able to generate over $1400 for our scholarship program. The picture of the quilt and Chief Turner is on our last issue of the Graduate. The winner of the quilt was Major (ret) Karen Koenig. Thank you to Chief Turner for making the quilt and she also asked if she could make a quilt for next year’s meeting.
Next year is the 50th anniversary of our association. We were chartered by then Director of the Air National Guard Brigadier General IG Brown. Col Edmund Morrissey was the Commander of the Academy in Knoxville at that time and CMSgt Paul Lankford was the Commandant. It didn’t take long for it to take off. The number of chapters grew very quickly because as we all know how energized we all became after attending those in residence schools. It was a way for different chapter members to share ideas or programs that they were using at their units with the friends that they had made at the academy. Many different programs or suggestions were created by members of this association. To name a few, the Honor and Color guard programs, the flag folding classes, the Senior Enlisted Advisor position, the promotion boards, and the Outstanding Airmen, NCO, and Senior NCO of the year programs. I am told that those were all ideas that were developed by members of our association. Additionally the Distance Learning program would not have been so successful if it weren’t for chapter members becoming unit class facilitator’s. I am sure that I am overlooking some other programs that were developed by our members but my point is this. Because of the sharing of those programs with other chapters through our association they have become part of every unit’s way of doing business. And most of those programs have since been taken over by other groups at the unit level which means our chapter members have been absorbed by them. Additionally, it has become more and more difficult to attend in residence Airmen Leadership School, NCO academy, and SNCO Academy classes. So with fewer of our unit members attending the schools there is less exposure to our association, and less opportunity for creating those relationships.
Well enough about the history of our association. Since next year is the 50th anniversary, the Board of Directors felt it appropriate that the national meeting be held at Knoxville where it all started. There is a group at Knoxville called the Heritage committee which has been working on plans for that event. Coincidently the Academy is also having their 50th anniversary next year. So our association is going to hold our national meeting around their celebration which is going to be on July 20th. Our group will having the first of our meetings on the 19th with our Banquet being held on that night. So it will be a nontraditional meeting, but hopefully our attendance will be bolstered by those members attending the anniversary celebration. But we will still have the committee business to attend to on Saturday the 21st, after which we will adjourn. So make plans to attend our national meeting in Knoxville. There will be plenty of time for renewing old friendships, developing new ones, and conducting the business of our association. All of the information is included in this mailing. Don’t wait to make your hotel reservations at the airport Hilton because it will fill up quickly. Once it is full you will have to look at another hotel in the area for accommodations.
Next I want to tell you that we had a very great opportunity afforded us. The current Director of the Air National Guard General Rice was at Knoxville to dedicate a new building on the Academy campus and CMSGT (ret) Damrow was there for the dedication. Chief Damrow was wearing our NCOAGA shirt and he introduced himself to the general who immediately asked about our organization. After a twenty second explanation the general turned to his aide and said he would like to get us on his schedule at Washington DC. That was in August and we finally got on his schedule on Oct 23rd. Chief Damrow, 1st Vice President Alex Cawlfield and myself attended the meeting. We met with current Command CMSgt Andersen first and gave him the opportunity to ask about our organization and how we could provide support at the local unit level, as well as how he could encourage more support from unit command chiefs for our organization. Then when we met with General Rice. He wanted to know if we just were supportive of in residence PME or if we had any other direction. We explained to him that we realize that the current PME programs allow for fewer Air National Guard in residence attendees and that our focus has changed to other types of education. He was encouraged by that conversation and stated that if we can get more involved with education at the unit level or even in the elementary and high schools then he would be very supportive of those activities. We also told him about the Ft Wayne Chapter that is having classes on non UTA weekends to train new airmen leaders on how to write EPR’s and award packages. We came away from that meeting feeling that he and Command Chief Andersen were more informed about our association and that if we can get our chapters involved in more educational programs then they would definitely be supportive of us.
Now for your part in this process. We as your board of directors can only come up with ideas and suggestions for your chapter members to try to implement. But outside of the chapters that we are currently members of, we are just 15 people from an organization that still numbers about 16000. And so it will require chapter members becoming involved at the unit level and communicating effectively with their regional director and with other chapters on how to go about these different programs. We have people that are currently doing many of these programs at their unit level, but they are not sharing their information with the rest of our organization. So that will require you at the unit level to become better communicators with your board of directors. We can put you in touch with other chapter members who are actively accomplishing these programs. That cross communication is very effective as you already know.
This president’s message is being mailed to every member of our association as way of trying to inform you of what has been happening with our association. And I don’t mind telling you that I am concerned. If we mail this letter out to you and you don’t read it and don’t become more involved with your local chapter or even revitalize your chapter as many or your chapters are currently inactive, then we have spent money to print and mail this for nothing. And the association that you joined either long ago or very recently in some cases will not be able to survive much longer. So please become a part of the solution so that we can revitalize this organization. What triggered you to join this association in the first place? Was it the comraderiere you enjoyed at Airmen Leadership School or the Academy? No matter what it was that caused you to join this association, it will not matter unless you the members become active at your units and start doing things that benefit the members of your unit, their families , and the children in your communities. The future of this association lies with you the members. We, your board of directors can only assist in providing information and working with our local chapters to get them active again. Whether you are retired or not is not the issue. As retiree’s we can definitely contribute to what are chapters are doing in the communities. We just need people still in uniform at the units running the chapters and asking the retirees to help with the programs. So you decide.
CMSGT (ret) Doug Schulz