Category Archives: INSIGHTS – Our Colorful Members

Stories about our members

FASF Member, Lt. Col. Wendy Woodard, Briefs EP Daedalians

Colonel Woodard commands the AFROTC Detachment at New Mexico State University (NMSU) in Las Cruces, NM. This clip is of some of her briefing to the El Paso, TX Daedalian Flight 24 about the role of the Air Force ROTC towards helping build leaders for the U.S. Air Force.  She, as are all of the El Paso Flight Daedalians, is an active member of the FASF.  Two other active members were also Commanders of the same AFROTC Detachment at NMSU: Colonel Alan Fisher, and current Trustee, Colonel Ira Cline.  Col. Fisher is also a member of the El Paso Daedalian Flight 24.  Here is a short (3 Minute) video clip of some of Colonel Woodard’s Presentation:

Here, below, are some photographs taken at last week’s Daedalian event:

[Click on any of below photos to see it in full high resolution]

L to R: Col. Woodard, Roger Springstead and Mary Barnes chat before the meeting convened.

L to R: Virgil Hemphill engaged in “hangar talk” with Col. Woodard.

L to R: Dave Ginn & Larry Spradlin.

L to R: Colonel Bob Pitt describes upcoming Daedalian events while Virgil Hemphill and Col. Woodard listen.

       Colonel Woodard begins her briefing.

The Colonel makes another “thumbs-up” positive point.

L to R:  Waiter, Enrique, Mayre Sue Overstreet, Col. Bob and Julie Pitt, Virg HemphillCol. Woodard –  Col. & Judy Campos, Mary Barnes, Roger Springstead and Col. Alan Fisher.

L to R: Ric Lambart looks on as Colonel Woodard happily accepts her award from Flight Capt. Col. Mario Campos.

Lieutenant Colonel Wendy A. Woodard (L) assumed the duties of Commander, Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps (AFROTC) Detachment 505, New Mexico State University (NMSU), in June 2018. Her duties include leading and overseeing all training activities and academic courses for all current cadets. Furthermore, she is the Department Head and Professor of Aerospace Studies for all AS400-level cadets.

Col. Woodard entered the Air Force in 1997 after earning her bachelor’s degrees in History and Humanities from the United States Air Force Academy.

After completing pilot training, Col. Woodard was a B-52H (see photo below) pilot at Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana.

USAF B-52H Heavy Bomber turns on final approach to land.

KC-10A Tanker (DC 10) refueling F-16

KC-10 “Extender” (DC-10) Air to Air refueling flight of F-16s.

In 2001, she qualified in the KC-10A (above) and performed multiple deployments to Al Dhafra Air Base, United Arab Emirates, and Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar. During these deployments, she amassed 580 combat flight hours over Afghanistan.

Lt. Colonel Woodard was then assigned to the United States Air Force Academy as a T-10

Gliders help future Air Force leaders soar

A TG-10B glider lifts into the air at the U.S. Air Force Academy, Colo. (USAF photo/David Armer)

sailplane instructor pilot (see above USAF photo). Between 2004 and 2012, she flew over 900 glider sorties, served as the Group Sailplane Site Chief, was a Standardization and Evaluation pilot at the Group level, and was selected to serve as a Deputy Group Air Officer Commanding for Cadet Group Two. In 2008, she transitioned into the Air Force Reserve and earned her master’s degree in Counseling and Leadership at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs.

Beechcraft T-1A Jet

In 2012, the Colonel was assigned to Air Force Reserve Command Headquarters at Robins Air Force Base, Georgia, as the Chief of Protocol for the 3-star Commander, Air Force Reserve Command. She supported high-visibility visits from the Secretary of the Air Force, the Chief of Staff of the Air Force and the Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force. In 2015, she was selected to serve as the Chief of Plans and Programs for a Flying Training Group at Joint Base San Antonio – Randolph, where she was also a T-1A (above) instructor pilot. In 2018, she returned to active duty to assume command of AFROTC Detachment 505.

FASF’s Initial Business Sponsor Has Flown into the Sunset

Long time local civic and business leader, Eddie Diaz, outside his Diaz Farms outlet in Deming, NM.

Our original business supporter and long time personal FASF Member, Eddie Diaz, of Deming, New Mexico, left on his final flight, Friday the 26th of July, this past week.

Eddie was born in Deming, NM, on December 18, 1958.  He graduated from Deming High School before taking over Diaz Farms, which he owned and operated until his untimely death last week.  Eddie was also and active civic leader, and served many terms as the Assistant Secretary-Treasurer on the Board of Directors of the large SW New Mexico and SE Arizona Columbus Electric public Utility.

Mr. Diaz is survived by his wife of  36 years, Guillermina, his son, Eddie, Jr. three daughters; Maggie Diaz-Romero, Cecilia and Cristina, four brothers, Javier (also a FASF Business Member), Armando, Samuel and Carlos; two sisters: Elia Holguin and Rosie Chancellor; two grandsons; Noah and Nickolas Romero; and his parents, Ruben and Antonia Diaz, also of Deming.

Eddie’s memorial service at St. Ann’s Catholic Church in Deming was attended by several thousand friends and admirers, whose vehicles lined the streets in all directions, with standing room only in the church, which left many unable to even get inside to attend the service.

This extraordinarily large following bore testimony to his remarkable personality. Your webmaster had the honor and privilege of knowing Eddie for some 20 years and cannot remember a time when he didn’t see Eddie smiling and spreading his uplifting enthusiasm to one and all who knew or simply had the pleasure of meeting him.

It is genuinely difficult to even imagine that this vital and loving character has moved on, that he is no longer among us, except insofar as his energetic and upbeat spirit will never leave those who were blessed enough to have known him.

Eddie had a deep personal interest in his local environs and his roots in the rich history of the area, so he quickly took the first opportunity he found to help the FASF become better-established as an exponent of the exciting history it was organized to help perpetuate.  The minute he obtained his FASF Decal, he quickly and proudly had it mounted on his business’s front entry door where it remains to this day.

Col. Alan Fisher Recalls His USAF Career for Daedalian Flight

Colonel Alan Fisher speaking before the El Paso Daedalian Flight 24 about his life experiences.  Two other long time FASF members are to his right and left above – Charlie Overstreet, at far left, and Colonel Bob Pitt at the far right.

Long time FASF member, also a Daedalian, as well as a senior officer with the Civil Air Patrol’s (CAP’s) Las Cruces, NM Squadron, Alan Fisher addressed the local Daedalian Flight’s monthly meeting at the El Paso Club in downtown El Paso, Texas, (see photo above) this past week.

Colonel Fisher shared both his military experiences as well as retirement careers in civilian life with his fellow Daedalians. He also conveyed the manifold benefits of pursuing a career in one of the U.S. Military branches.

Alan, who spent 24 years on active duty with the USAF, is a honors graduate of the Air Force Academy, and served as a pilot throughout most of his career, taking part in several war theaters, primarily in the Mideast.  While still on active duty, this Air Force leader managed to gain a Master’s degree in Biology, which he was able to use while serving an assignment as an assistant professor at his old Alma Mater, the Air Force Academy.  Today, the Colonel is retired and lives in Las Cruces, NM with his wife, Melissa, who is also an Air Force Reserve Lt. Colonel, herself.  The Colonels has two children and two grandchildren.

When not flying CAP missions, Alan keeps busy running his family pecan growing business or teaching Science to local Las Cruces High School students.  Immediately before retiring from active duty with the USAF, the Colonel was the commander of the USAF ROTC unit at nearby New Mexico State University (NMSU) in Las Cruces.  In an astounding turn of events, before his retirement, he actually awarded second Lieutenant’s bars to our long sitting Trustee and Vice President, Colonel Ira Cline, who himself recently retired as commander of the same NMSU ROTC unit.

Below is the Colonel’s retirement photo from the United States Air Force.

Official USAF Portrait of Lieutenant Colonel Alan Fisher.


FASF Members Try Out New FASF T-Shirt Designs

FASF Trustee, Bill Wallace III, of Columbus and Casas Grandes, Mexico, and FASF member, Maria Rangel, of Deming, NM, show off our new T-Shirt designs at the Pancho Villa State Park Exhibition Hall in front of the First Aero Squadron Jenny display. Just click on any photo on our website to see the full-sized version.

FASF Trustee, Bill Wallace III, of Columbus and Casas Grandes, Mexico, and FASF member, Maria Rangel, of Deming, NM, show off our new T-Shirt designs at the Pancho Villa State Park Exhibition Hall in front of the First Aero Squadron Jenny display.  

FASF Trustee, Bill Wallace III and FASF member, Maria Rangel of Deming, NM, try out our new T-Shirt designs at the Pancho Villa State Park Exhibit Hall.  While Bill’s shirt was the right size, we were out of the correct size for Maria, so we made do with one a bit too large, but at least the photos show the new T-Shirt design well enough.  We’re already running low so have just re-ordered more of the shirts and with small sizes for women.

You can purchase the shirts by sending a check to the FASF at PO Box 1916; Columbus, NM 88029

Please state your desired size (S, M, L, XL, etc.) and color (choices are presently Blue or White). 

We are selling the new shirts for only $20 each, plus Shipping and Handling of $5 for a total cost of $25


Please send us your telephone number along with your check in case we have any questions about your order.  Order now in time for the Christmas Holidays!

Bill and Maria discussing the Jenny display and showing off the back of their shirt’s Jenny depiction.

Bill and Maria discussing the Jenny display and showing off the back of their shirt’s artistic Jenny depiction.

* FASF Members pay only $18 per T-Shirt plus $5 for Shipping and Handling.  [There is no sales tax charged, because the FASF is a 501(c)(3) non-profit institution.]

Photo Credits

Top photo was taken by your Aerodrome Staff and bottom taken by FASF member, John Read.

FASF’s Colorful Members – Gracie Carreon, Entrepreneur


From time to time, your FASF website will be pausing to look into the fascinating lives of some of our members, new ones as well as old timers. It would be hard to believe that we couldn’t find interesting material from the lives of any of our many members, but when we run into a member whose story we think needs telling, then we’re going to take pen in hand – and get busy.

In fact, look for a new category to include these interesting member stories. The new blog column will be entitled, “INSIGHTS” – Our Colorful Members. It will appear under the right sidebar menu “MORE TO SEE” and will be right below the news category “NEW VIDEOS.”

One place you, as either a non-member site visitor – or FASF member – can help out in this endeavor, is to let us know who we should feature next – even if, providing you’re an active member, it’s yourself!

Our first “INSIGHT” will be a peek into one of our newest business supporters and her remarkable success story, a young entrepreneur from immediately under our local nose, right here in this small SW New Mexican village of Columbus, the “Cradle of American Air Power.


                           Gracie Carreon, sits at her front counter at “E & G Wireless” in Columbus, NM

This young lady has created a small town female version of the fabled American Horatio Alger success story. Her achievements caught our attention for a simple reason; we were told by some locally experienced and expert professionals in the field, when she first opened her new wireless business, that it wouldn’t be long before she failed – – – and would have to close her doors.

Well, not only were those expert predictions dead wrong, they missed the mark by a substantial margin.

Gracie Carreon was born in nearby Deming, NM, where she completed her formal schooling. After getting married, she and her new husband, Eloy, went to Arizona, where they felt career opportunities would be better than if they remained in Deming. Their move was productive. For fourteen years the young couple did well in their new state. Then the 2008 recession struck – hard. Because of low seniority, corporate downsizing cost Gracie’s husband his job in Phoenix. So, not quickly enough finding another one, they decided to tighten their belts and return to New Mexico’s lower cost-of-living climate – – – and to be nearer their families.

Soon, after the move to Columbus, Gracie started working from home as a telemarketer, helping sell vacation cruise packages, mostly by phone. When she was told that it would help her get ahead in the travel business if she learned Portuguese, she got busy and quickly learned the new language. Unfortunately, the expected promotion didn’t materialize rapidly enough, so Gracie started doing research on the Internet to explore other business opportunities for self-employment. Even though she had no experience in the new booming cell phone business, her research led her to believe that it might be a profitable enterprise to start up in Columbus.

However, Columbus is not an affluent village. But it was this same low average income element that attracted her attention. The unfortunate impoverishment in the local area was precisely why Gracie felt there should be a pressing need for a more economical wireless service. Most importantly, her many months of study and research gave her enough confidence to put the ball in motion. She was now sure she could put the new enterprise together; convinced she could provide superior personal service – at a highly competitive price. She was confident that her Columbus neighbors and even citizens from nearby Palomas, Mexico, would grab the opportunity to significantly cut their cell phone bills.

In her words, “We planned to be – Big Enough To Serve, Small Enough To Care.” And that’s the very slogan that quickly became her fledgling company’s guiding motivation.

Gracie’s friends and family thought she was about to make an unwise decision, citing, among other things, that few new businesses ever managed to succeed in the small impoverished community. And, even worse, some of the nearby local experts in the closest large town, Deming, 30 miles to the North, joined with her friends and family, pointing out that there simply wouldn’t be enough customers to enable Gracie’s idea to even break even, let alone thrive. Yet, in spite of all the negative feedback and dire predictions of almost guaranteed failure, Gracie went on ahead and laid out the business plan she expected would prove them all wrong. After all, her Internet studies and research, and the calculations she made with the data she garnered, indicated the investment would soon prove a profitable one. Amazingly, Gracie was in such dire financial shape at this juncture, that she couldn’t even afford her own cell phone!

Did that deter this young mother?

Not for a second.

So, three years ago, in 2012, Gracie began her start-up enterprise. She arose each day and, on foot, plodded through the dusty neighborhoods of Columbus, knocking on doors to offer the local citizens more economical wireless phone packages – plans they didn’t even know existed.

Having had no experience in this new business, Gracie had to learn the hardware and software technology she needed to understand – and all via the same Internet on which she’d taught herself Portuguese. Soon her sales were growing and it became obvious that this walking the streets routine would no longer suffice. Accordingly, our budding young entrepreneur again used the Internet, Craig’s List in particular, and searched for an affordable new portable building. She found a good deal on a used construction trailer, borrowed enough funds for the unit, then she and her teen son, Eloy, Jr., had it transported to Columbus, where they had contracted to buy a lot alongside the main highway. This was the parcel on which she had the mobile unit unloaded and set up.

Now working furiously at two separate tasks; selling cell phone deals and remodeling the old trailer, she managed to spend almost what the new building had cost, just to get it remodeled to her requirements. Many who knew her wondered how she even found enough time each day to do all this complex multi-tasking, but this tough challenge clearly didn’t phase Gracie, nor dimish her hardy ambition. It took a nine month gestation period to get the trailer converted into a good looking sales room and office. When the intensive remodeling project was finished, many (who didn’t know Gracie) were surprised at how effectively and professionally Gracie had accomplished the aesthetically attractive transformation.

Today, three years later, Gracie’s “E & G Wireless” (named by using her husband and son’s initial, “E” and her own “G”) is thriving – well beyond even Gracie’s own ambitious expectations.

Gracie also saw the potential benefit to Columbus from the First Aero Squadron Foundation’s activities, too, so she stepped right up to become an enthusiastic new business supporter of the FASF.

It’s hard to miss “E & G Wireless” when driving either into or out of Columbus. Your attention is quickly drawn to the many cars and trucks parked outside the facility whenever it’s open. In fact, it has been observed that “E & G Wireless” has become a popular new Columbus social gathering center!

When you have the time, stop by and meet this young entrepreneur or her personable assistant, Mely Gonzales. Let them show you how they can provide you with a high quality, yet very competitively priced new cell phone plan. She’s become an expert at significantly cutting her customer’s cell phone costs, no doubt a prime reason for her astounding success.

See more photos of Gracie’s company by clicking right here and then scroll down the page. You’ll find her operation listed on the “LOCAL BUSINESS SUPPORTERS” Page – under “E,” in alphabetical order.