The FASF Advisory Board consists of the following members who help advise and direct the FASF Board of Trustees in formulating long range planning and current operational needs:
- Anne Marie Beck – Founder of the Columbus Historical Society, Columbus, NM
- † ♥ Bud Canfield – Retired FASF Secretary & Past Airfield Director, Columbus, NM
- Col. John Orton, Esq. – Former FASF 1st VP & USAF Retired JAG – El Paso, TX
- Col. Stephen “Chi-Chi” Rodriguez – Former Commander of the FAS, BAFB, CA
- Doug Boothe – Director of MDA Ground-Based Missile Defense Sites, VAFB, CA
- Dr. Roger G. Miller – Retired USAF Deputy Historian, 1st FASF Presenter, VA
- General Bob Cardenas – USAF (Retired) San Diego, CA – AF Test Pilot/Hall of Fame
- General Patrick J. Halloran – USAF (Ret.), Colorado Springs, also Former FAS CO
- General Peter Dodd Robinson – USAF (Ret.), Albuquerque, NM
- † ♥ Jim Davis – Founding FASF Trustee, Ret. USAF & FAA Exec., Alexandria, VA
- John Deuble – FAS & Punitive Expedition Historian & Author, Albuquerque, NM
- Patty Wagstaff – International Champion Aerobatic Performer, St. Augustine, FL
- Peter Westacott – Renowned Aviation Artist, Retired Royal Navy Pilot, Norfolk, UK
- Suzanne Azar – Aviator & Only Female Mayor in El Paso, Texas history – El Paso, TX
Anne Marie Beck (at left) and her husband Ed Beck Jr. moved to Columbus, NM in the fall of 1969, from Tarrytown N.Y. where Ed had been involved in both Insurance and Real Estate with the firm of Beck and Wheatley. However, Ed had worked in California for a while and had become enchanted with the Southwest.
Anne Marie had moved to Tarrytown from Maine and Canada, where she had attended St. Francis Xavier University in Nova Scotia Canada. Ed graduated from St. Bonaventure University in Allegany, NY. While still in Tarrytown, Ed was offered a job with Columbus Development Board, based, not out of Columbus, NM, but out of Scottsdale, AZ. He immediately grabbed the opportunity to move West. It was a bold move for a young growing family with two young sons and more on the way. This upheaval was a big adventure for Anne Marie, who had never traveled in the western U.S. Her family had its roots entirely in the Northeast.
After several years working for the Arizona based Development Company, which was developing Real Estate around Columbus, Ed eventually opened up his own local business, Beck Real Estate, directly across from the old Railroad Depot ruins, in Columbus, the same railroad station that had been in use during the infamous raid by Pancho Villa back in 1916. The Beck’s settled into a 5 bedroom ranch house North of Columbus where they raised all of their five children.
Both Anne Marie and Ed became deeply involved in Columbus and its unique history, particularly when they founded the Columbus Historical Society, (“CHS“) along with about 50 other local residents.
At the time, they recognized the great historical significance of what had taken place in Columbus as the base for the very first United States military airplanes to ever engage in sustained combat. Those original 8 Curtiss Jennys flown out of Columbus in search of Pancho Villa, during General Pershing’s great “Punitive Expedition,” had essentially been the very humble beginning of what eventually became known as the world’s greatest Air Power as well as greatest civil aviation nation.
Ed was the Society’s first President, and Anne Marie its Secretary. The newly-organized Society quickly proceeded to acquire the old completely neglected Depot shambles from the Village, and, along with its members, mostly WW II veterans, they succeeded in restoring the old RR Depot ruins. Then they set about acquiring most of the thousands of period artifacts that are on display there to this day. Unfortunately, over the period of this impressive historical restoration and re-development by the CHS, the population of Columbus changed, as most of those WWII veterans who had done so much work establishing the Society and in restoring the Depot – and making it into a local Museum tourist attraction – either died or moved away.
Fortunately, during Bruce King‘s tenure as Governor of NM, and with the help of his nephew, David King, Ed and Anne were able to establish Columbus as a permanently registered Historical Landmark District.
When Ed died in 1999, Anne Marie, besides operating their Real Estate business, also continued her involvement with the Historical Society, and was chiefly responsible for the final renovation, painting, and repairing of the once derelict Depot. Today that structure stands as mostly restored and in relatively sound condition. Anne Marie also commissioned a sign designer from Deming to create a unique sign proclaiming Columbus as the “Cradle of American Airpower,” a sign which still greets those travelers entering Columbus from the North or East.
During the Beck’s involvement with the CHS, they regularly held well-attended social activities and events, such as regular monthly meetings with guest speakers. It wasn’t at all unusual, notwithstanding the small local population, to see over a hundred attendees at the various CHS promoted events. The public presentations proved extremely popular and drew large audiences. They held regular pot luck events, as well, and “Raid Day” (commemorating the March 9, 1916, Pancho Villa Raid on Columbus) activities, which were usually held at the adjacent Pancho Villa State Park.
One of the more memorable events the CHS staged was when the Barbershop Quartet Singers of El Paso came to entertain the large crowd organized by the Society. Most uniquely, the Barbershop Group actually flew directly to the event by landing their plane at the nearby Hacienda Sur Luna Air Park just north of Columbus. When it came to celebrating and memorializing the significant aviation history of Columbus, the CHS was proud to have led the way.
† ♥ William “Bud” Canfield, retired as the FASF Secretary and Chairman of its Elections Committee in 2015. He worked as a Dairy Farmer, Tractor, and Implement Technician in Wisconsin, until 1989, when he moved to Columbus, NM, where he began work as a State Park Ranger, later retiring as a State Park Manager. Fascinated by aviation, although not a pilot himself,
Bud, after retiring, took over as President of the “Friends of Pancho Villa State Park,” the Park’s Docent group. Also a volunteer with the Columbus Library, whose wife, Jeanne, was its Director until also retiring in 2015.
Bud was an avid collector and a historical expert on antique agricultural vehicles and implements, as well. His personal collection of such agricultural equipment was impressive.
This former Trustee was rarely found far from his trusty Guitar, either, regularly performing around the SW New Mexico area with various bands or just soloing various country-style ballads and country-western music, often accompanied by his wife Jeanne, with whose voice he loved to harmonize. Bud helped the FASF produce its first successful special event, when Dr. Roger Miller, USAF Historian, made his 2010 presentation. Bud remained active with the FASF, although he’d retired as its official FAS Airfield Director. † ♥ Bud’s hearty smile and positive energy will long live in the memories of those privileged to have known him. ♥
Lt. Col. John M. Orton, JD, USAF, Ret. : John retired from the FASF Board of Trustees as its 1st Vice President in 2015. He has long been interested in aviation and its history, particularly along the border between the U. S. and Mexico. Presently a legal advisor to the Federal Court in nearby El Paso, TX, he previously served Texas Governor George W. Bush as Assistant General Counsel.
He is an active aviator and owns his own airplane, which he often flew to make FASF Board meetings. John’s career uniquely parallels the FAS, since he first served in the U.S. Army, the service which initially flew our primitive aircraft in combat out of Columbus in 1916. After leaving the Army, John entered its successor military air branch, which presently fields the greatest Air Power in the world, the USAF, where he distinguished himself as a senior JAG Officer in numerous foreign nations, before retiring in 1995.
As legal counsel, he negotiated agreements with both foreign governments and state agencies, obtaining his graduate education in Oregon, Oklahoma, and the District of Columbia, where he graduated from the Squadron Officer School at the Air War College.
John is an active volunteer in diverse non-profit organizations: He is the current Chairman of the Doña Ana County Airport Advisory Board; active with the Sons of the American Revolution; is VP of the Texas SPCA, and works with the Center for Project Spotlight; Political Asylum Project (TX), and the Honduras Outreach organization. Along with two other FASF Trustees, Col. Orton is an active member of the USAF Auxiliary, the Civil Air Patrol (CAP) Composite Squadron 024 which is based at Las Cruces, NM International Airport. He is also a member of the Oregon, Texas, and DC BAR.
Since his elevation to the Advisory Board, John has become one of our most active Advisors, regularly consulting with the current Board of Trustees about various plans, issues, and other priority matters.
COLONEL (LTCOL) STEPHEN C. “Chi-Chi” RODRIGUEZ (at left) is the Chief, Requirements, Plans and Policy Division, Directorate of Strategic Deterrence and Nuclear Integration, Headquarters Air Combat Command, Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia. The division directs requirements, plans, policy and coordinates staff actions supporting Air Combat Command’s role in the Air Force Nuclear Enterprise. It also supervises nuclear weapon acquisition, test, integration, operations, and sustainment for Dual Capable Aircraft, and provides lead command guidance for Reconnaissance in Support of Nuclear Operations and the National Airborne Operations Center.
Col Rodriguez received his commission in 1993 after graduating from the U.S. Air Force Academy with a Bachelor of Science in History. He has held several flying assignments, first as a KC-135 Stratotanker pilot, then as a T-37 instructor pilot at the Euro-NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training Program. Lt. Col. Rodriguez was selected to fly the U-2 Dragon Lady in 2001 and held positions as the 9th Operations Group Chief of Standardization and Evaluations, the 1st Expeditionary Reconnaissance Squadron Director of Operations and Director, 9th Reconnaissance Wing Commander’s Action Group.
He commanded the First Aero Squadron (1st Reconnaissance Squadron) at Beale Air Force Base, California and his staff assignments include Headquarters, Third Air Force as Chief of the Reconnaissance Operations Branch. He also recently served as the Deputy Commander, 380th Operations Group, while deployed to Southwest Asia.
Lt Col Rodriguez is a command pilot with more than 3,970 hours in the U-2S, TU-2S, T-38A, RQ-4B, T-37B, and KC-135R. He has flown more than 500 hours in combat and 1,500 hours in the U-2, primarily during Operations Iraqi Freedom, Enduring Freedom, Inherent Resolve, and Freedom’s Sentinel. The Colonel has been held his current rank since August of 2008.
The Colonel holds a Bachelor of Science in History from the U.S. Air Force Academy, completed the Squadron Officer School, Maxwell AFB, AL; he obtained his Master of Science in International Relations, Troy State University in 2002; graduated from the Air Command and Staff College in 2004 and from the Air War College in 2008. His basic interest in history coupled with his leadership of the modern era First Aero Squadron gives him a deep interest in the FASF mission and for its future in Columbus, NM.
Colonel Rodriguez holds another special distinction:
He is the first Commanding Officer of the First Aero Squadron to have visited and inspected the famous FAS 1916 Airfield since its original commanding officer, then Captain Benny Foulois left for WWI in 1917.
The Colonel was the honored guest of the FASF at a special celebration held in his honor during June of 2013. The story along with photos can be seen under “History Made by Air Force Commander” simply by clicking on the story’s orange underlined link and title just above. The above-linked “HOT NEWS” story includes a number of shots showing the visit, his family, and of “Chi-Chi” at work and in-flight at Beale Air Force Base.
In his 30 years in the USAF to Colonel has had a long series of some 22 different and fascinating assignments, which include:
- Nov 93 – Nov 94, Student, Undergraduate Pilot Training, Columbus AFB, MS
- Feb 94 – Sep 95, KC-135R Third Pilot, 91st Refueling Squadron, Malmstrom AFB, MT
- Sep 95 – Oct 96, KC-135R Pilot, 91st Refueling Squadron, Malmstrom AFB, MT
- Oct 96 – Dec 97, KC-135R Pilot, 91st Refueling Squadron, Macdill AFB, MT
- Dec 97 – Apr 98, Student, T-37B Pilot Instructor Training, 88th Flying Training Squadron, Sheppard AFB,
- Apr 98 – Jul 99, T-37B Instructor Pilot, 89th Flying Training Squadron, Sheppard AFB, TX
- Jul 99 – Feb 00, T-37B Check Section Instructor Pilot, 89th Flying Training Squadron, Sheppard AFB, TX
- Feb 00 – Mar 01, Assistant Flight Commander, 89th Flying Training Squadron, Sheppard AFB, TX
- Mar 01 – Dec 01, U-2 Student Pilot, 1st Reconnaissance Squadron, Beale AFB, TX
- Dec 01 – Sep 03, U-2 Aircraft Commander, 99th Reconnaissance Squadron, Beale AFB, CA
- Sep 03 – Feb 04, U-2 Instructor Pilot, 99th Reconnaissance Squadron, Beale AFB, CA
- Feb 04 – Jun 04, U-2 Evaluator Pilot, 99th Reconnaissance Squadron, Beale AFB, TX
- Jun 04 – Jul 05, Chief of Standardization and Evaluations, 9th Operations Group, Beale AFB, CA
- Jul 05 – Jul 06, Director of Operations, 1st Expeditionary Reconnaissance Squadron, RAF Akrotiri, Cyprus
- Aug 06 – Dec 06, Chief, High Altitude Reconnaissance, 16th Air Force, Ramstein AB, Germany
- Dec 06 – Apr 07, Chief, High Altitude Reconnaissance, 3rd Air Force, Ramstein AB, Germany
- Apr 07 – Aug 09, Chief, Reconnaissance Operations Branch, 3rd Air Force, Ramstein AB, Germany
- Jan 10 – Jun 10, Action Officer, 9th Reconnaissance Wing Commander’s Action Group, Beale AFB, CA
- Jun 10 – May 11, Director, 9th Reconnaissance Wing Commander’s Action Group, Beale AFB, CA
- May 11 – Jun 13, Commander, 1st Reconnaissance Squadron, Beale AFB, CA
- Dec 14 – Jun 15, Deputy Commander, 380th Operations Group, Al Dhafra AB, UAE
- Jun 13 – present, Chief, Requirements, Plans and Policy Division, Directorate of Strategic Deterrence and Nuclear Integration, Headquarters Air Combat Command, Joint Base Langley-Eustis, VA
Colonel Rodriguez has garnered the following major awards and decorations in his career:
- Meritorious Service Medal with four oak leaf clusters
- Air Medal with two oak leaf clusters
- Aerial Achievement Medal with one oak leaf cluster
- Air Force Commendation Medal
- Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal
- Global War on Terrorism Service Medal
- NATO Medal
Doug Boothe (left) is the Director of Ground-based Midcourse Defense Site Operations for the Missile Defense Agency, one element of the Ballistic Missile Defense System developed and fielded by the Missile Defense Agency. Additionally, he is responsible for site operations and weapon system support at Fort Greeley, AK; Vandenberg AFB, CA; and Schriever AFB, CO.
Doug is also a retired naval officer who lives with his family near Vandenberg AFB in California. In his current job, Doug is largely responsible for our West Coast Missile Defense system and has advised the FASF in the area of charitable fund-raising.
Dr. Roger G. Miller retired from the USAF almost immediately after delivering a speech at Beale AFB, present Headquarters for the First Aero Squadron, at its 2013 Centennial Celebration. His last post was at USAF Headquarters in Washington DC, where he was the Deputy Historian for the Air Force. He was featured as the FASF’s first official speaker in Columbus NM in 2010, when he presented a captivating narrative to an overflow crowd about the actual daily experiences of America’s earliest military aviators, as they struggled to keep their primitive airplanes in the air and in pursuit of General Pancho Villa. You can actually watch and hear his presentation by simply clicking right here. Dr. Miller has authored numerous professional articles, spoken all across the U.S. and Europe, and published a number of distinguished books about the history of U.S. military aviation including the highly acclaimed, “A preliminary to War.” Prior to joining the USAF as a civilian employee, Dr. Miller completed a tour of active duty as an Air Force Officer.
General (Brigadier General) Bob Cardenas (Left), has had a broad and varied Air Force career but may be best known as the B-29 test pilot who launched one of the United States’ first experimental rocket ships, “Glamorous Glennis” with Chuck Yeager at the controls. Considering the fact that the First Aero Squadron’s (FAS’s) first combat deployment was a retaliatory strike into the nation of Mexico, it is especially interesting to note that General Cardenas was actually born in that same nation, not the United States. In fact, he only came to the United States because his parents moved here when this future aviator was only five.
General Cardenas shares a fairly rare military experience with Captain Benny Foulois, who commanded the FAS at Columbus in 1916 when Mexico was almost our adversary.
Like Benny Foulois, General Cardenas was also a “Mustang” (began his career as an enlisted man, not an officer). Captain Foulois rose in rank to become a General in the Army Air Corp, and so, eventually, did Bob Cardenas. The young Cardenas became a pilot in the U. S. Army Air Corps early in World War II. His bomber was shot down while on a mission over Germany, yet, although suffering a head wound from flak, he and his crew nevertheless managed parachute to safety.
However, the General landed in Germany, so was confronted with the need to swim across Lake Constance to Switzerland in order to evade capture by the Germans. Only about 1/4 of the way towards Switzerland, the young wounded aviator began to drown in the cold water, notwithstanding his experience as a skilled swimmer. Fortunately for him, a Swiss Fisherman spotted the wounded pilot, pulled him to safety, and brought him to Switzerland. After the war, this young Air Corps officer was selected to be a test pilot for the USAF, where he continued to work in Test Flight Operations through the Korean War. Later, he transferred into jet fighters during the Vietnam conflict. After retiring in 1973, the General continued to remain active in public service, Chairing the California Veteran’s Board and helping lead in other veteran’s venues.
He is also a Trustee of the Flight Test Historical Foundation at Edwards AFB Flight Test Center and was just inducted into the esteemed National Aviation Hall of Fame (“NAHF”) for the year 2015, an honor only bestowed upon 228 other famous male and female aviators since the organization’s founding in 1862, long before the Wright Brothers’ renowned flight at Kittyhawk. The NAHF observed that General Cardenas ” . . . was instrumental as the B-29 mothership pilot and operations officer on the supersonic record-breaking X-1 program and as chief pilot on the XB-49 flying wing program. He commanded a combat wing of F-105’s in Southeast Asia and later the Air Force Special Operations Force.”
An interesting anecdote to the General’s story is that he actually has roots in New Mexico. He was promoted to full Colonel rank while attending the University of New Mexico’s Engineering School in Albuquerque.
General (Major General) Patrick J. Halloran is our second former Commanding Officer of the First Aero Squadron to join the FASF Board of Advisors. He is also one of the rare and small cadres of top USAF pilots who were privileged to have regularly flown the world’s fastest airplane: the famous SR-71 Blackbird.
General Halloran’s last Air Force assignment before retiring was as Deputy Director for Strategic Command, Control and Communications Systems, Directorate, Joint Staff, Organization of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Washington, D.C.
General Halloran was born in 1928, in Chatfield, Minn. He graduated from Chatfield High School in 1946 and attended MacPhail College of Music in Minneapolis until 1949. While in the Air Force, General Halloran received his bachelor of arts degree in social science from Troy (Ala.) State University in 1971. He is also a graduate of the Air War College, Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala.
He entered the Air Force in August 1949 and earned his pilot wings and commission through the aviation cadet program, graduating at Williams Air Force Base, Ariz., in September 1950. His first assignment was with the 31st Fighter-Escort Wing of Turner Air Force Base, Ga. In January 1952 General Halloran transferred to the 136th Fighter-Bomber Wing, K-2 Field, South Korea. He flew 100 combat missions in F-84s. He was assigned to the 506th Strategic Fighter Wing, Dow Air Force Base, Maine, in January 1953 and remained with that unit when it moved to Tinker Air Force Base, Okla., in March 1955.
In June 1957 General Halloran was assigned to the U-2 program with the 4028th Strategic Reconnaissance Squadron at Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas. He moved with the 4028th from Laughlin to Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., in April 1963, where he first was squadron operations officer and then squadron deputy commander.
During his years with the U-2 program, General Halloran flew missions from nearly a dozen forward operating locations overseas and accumulated more than 1,600 flying hours in the high-flying reconnaissance aircraft.
In December 1965 General Halloran was assigned to Beale Air Force Base, Calif., and become one of the first pilots in the SR-71 reconnaissance aircraft. In 1969 General Halloran was appointed commander of the 1st Strategic Reconnaissance Squadron which is the official current alternate name of none other than the First Aero Squadron!
He later served as deputy director of operations for the 9th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing, of which the First Aero Squadron is an integral part.
General Halloran completed the Air War College in June 1971 as a distinguished graduate. He next was assigned as chief of the Reconnaissance Operations Division at Headquarters Strategic Air Command (SAC), Offutt Air Force Base, Neb.
In July 1972 the General returned to Beale Air Force Base as vice commander of the 9th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing and in May 1973 became its Commander. He moved to Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, in July 1975 and served as vice commander of 3rd Air Division until July 1976, when he became chief of staff, Fifteenth Air Force, at March Air Force Base, Calif. In June 1977 he was assigned as SAC inspector general and in May 1979 became the command’s assistant deputy chief of staff for operations. He assumed his Joint Chief’s of Staff (JCS) duties in June 1980.
He is a command pilot with more than 8,000 military flying hours, including 600 hours in the SR-71. He has over 11,000 hours of total flying time. Among General Halloran’s military decorations and awards are the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit with oak leaf cluster, Distinguished Flying Cross with oak leaf cluster, Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal with 11 oak leaf clusters, Air Force Commendation Medal and Army Commendation Medal.
General Halloran lives in Colorado Springs, Colorado, owns a Lancair experimental aircraft, and is actively involved in the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA). He is also the lead pilot on the only replica of the famous 1934 British de Havilland “DH.88” Comet racing airplane, which is permanently displayed at the Wathen Center Museum at Flabob Airport in Riverside California.
The EAA Chapter at Flabob was the first formed, so is EAA Chapter 1. The General had the honor of serving as Chapter 1’s President for three years when living in California. Active FASF Leader and FAS Airfield Survey & Site Chairman, Bill Madden, from Las Cruces, NM’s EAA Chapter 555, is an old friend of General Halloran’s from the Flabob days. The General is also an active member of the Falcon Flight 11 of the Daedalians in Colorado Springs. The Daedalians are a fraternal order of active duty and former military officer aviators, which began in 1934 and whose charter members were pilots during World War I. To read the FASF “HOT NEWS!” story about General Halloran’s appointment to the Board of Advisors and see more photos as well as a video of him flying the famous British race plane, the de Havilland DH.88, click right here.
General (Major General) Peter Dodd Robinson is the great-grandson of General George A. Dodd, who commanded the second unit to enter Mexico as a part of Gen. “Blackjack” Pershing’s Punitive Expedition, which followed the infamous Pancho Villa raid on Columbus, NM in March 1916. At the time of General Robinson’s retirement, he was Commandant of the Air War College, and Vice Commander of the Air University at Maxwell AFB, Alabama. A distinctive scholar, the resume of General Robinson includes attendance at the Defense Language Institute, Monterrey, Calif., in 1968, and the University of Freiburg, West Germany, where he was an Olmsted Scholar in mathematics. The general earned a master’s degree in planning and public administration from Pepperdine University in 1977. The General has served around the world (including Vietnam), acquiring some 3,400 flying hours and has flown 435 combat missions in F-100s, F-4s, and F-15 Eagles. The General and his family retired to New Mexico and live in Albuquerque.
Jim Davis was one of the founders of the FASF in 2007 and remained an active Trustee and Officer until retiring in 2014.
In a masterpiece of understatement, Jim’s business card read: “Retired Government Clerk.” Actually, after his Korean War tour in the USAF, he worked as an air traffic controller in the Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA) – later to become named the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). In 1961 he established the FAA Administrator’s Command Post. He briefed several Presidents and developed Command and Control techniques still in use throughout the international aviation community.
Except for a special assignment to help develop a modernized air traffic control system, he remained in Washington until his retirement in 1990. His team, as an around-the-clock FAA presence, responded to some 20,000 annual contingencies; including major air disasters, aerial hijackings, and other emergencies that required immediate Federal response.
Jim personally videotaped many of aviation’s unsung pioneers since retiring. It is hard to imagine this extremely active chronicler of aviation history as being retired. Jim continued to own and fly his own Cessna aircraft and maintained residences at a Columbus, NM Airpark and also in Washington, DC.
† ♥ Our beloved FOUNDING member, Jim, departed on his final flight into the setting sun on Sunday morning, the 22nd of November 2020. May his soul rest in peace. ♥ †
John Deuble is a western military historian. He has authored the book “Camp Furlong – Columbus, New Mexico 1912-1926” (in press), and is presently researching/writing two other military books: “The 1st Aero Squadron 1913-2013 – A Century of Military Aviation Leadership and Service,” and “Airfields and Aircraft of New Mexico During World War II.” John has authored twelve publications the latest of which is “Comments on the Pancho Villa Raid and the Benet-Mercie Automatic Rifle,” Military Collector & Historian, 65:3, Fall 2013. As a member of the Speakers’ Bureau Program of the Historical Society of New Mexico his presentations include “Camp Furlong – Columbus, New Mexico 1912-1926,” and “The 1st Aero Squadron at Camp Furlong – Columbus, New Mexico 1916-1917.”
To Patty Wagstaff, the sky represents adventure, freedom, and challenge. A six-time member of the US Aerobatic Team, Patty has won the gold, silver, and bronze medals in the International Olympic Aerobatic competitions and is the first woman to win the title of US National Aerobatic champion – and one of the few people to win it three times.
Click on the image of Patty to the Left to watch a 7-minute video of her in action.
Patty is one of the world’s top air show pilots. She flies thrilling, low-level aerobatic demonstrations before millions of people each year. Her breathtaking performances give air show spectators a front-row seat view of the precision and complexity of modern, unlimited hard-core aerobatics. Her smooth aggressive style sets the standard for performers the world over.
Patty’s skill is based on years of training and experience. She is a six-time recipient of the “First Lady of Aerobatics” Betty Skelton Award. In July 2004, Patty was inducted into the National Aviation Hall of Fame and was the recipient of the National Air and Space Museum’s Award for Current Achievement in 1994.
Having received many awards for her flying, she is particularly proud of receiving the Airshow industry’s most prestigious award, the “Sword of Excellence”, and the “Bill Barber Award for Showmanship”. Recently she was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Air Force Association.
In March 1994, her airplane, the Goodyear Extra 260, went on display in the national Smithsonian in Washington DC. You can see Patty’s airplane and exhibit in the Pioneers of Flight Gallery.
Patty has trained with the Russian Aerobatic Team and has flown Airshows and competitions in such exotic places as South America, Russia, Europe, Mexico, and Iceland. She is a member of the Screen Actors Guild, Motion Picture Pilots Association, United Stuntwoman’s Association, working as a stunt pilot and aerial coordinator for the film and television industry.
From 1999-2006 Patty was Raytheon’s (now Hawker Beechcraft’s) Chief Demo Pilot for their T6A/B Texan II military trainer and light attack aircraft, performing in international Airshows such as Paris, Singapore, and Farnborough, in Great Britain. Today she continues to coach their Demo Team. To read the FASF “HOT NEWS!” story about Patty click here.
Peter R. Westacott is one of the few aviation artists who are also highly experienced pilots. He is uniquely connected to the First Aero Squadron Aerodrome by virtue of his acclaimed painting of the JN-3 Jennys in flight over that very field, seen on the FASF website’s Home Page. This painting was accomplished only after deep research into the historical moment depicted. The original hangs in the Pentagon, where it was presented by Peter to General Mike Ryan, United States Air Force Chief of Staff at that time.
His aviation career has spanned well over fifty years, during which he has owned and operated aircraft, flown and crewed many types both civil and military, antique, turbine and rotary-powered, so is uniquely placed with his intimate and extensive knowledge of aviation and aircraft, to transfer that knowledge, coupled with his meticulous attention to detail, into the splendid works that grace so many canvases. Your Editor is privileged to own several of Peter’s beautiful renderings, which proudly adorn his home’s walls.
Suzanne S. Azar (at left) is not only a professional Aviator but also the only female to have ever served as the Mayor of El Paso, Texas. She is also deeply involved in the new local Chapter 1570 of the Experimental Aircraft Association and once sat as its Director of Scholarships. The Chapter is also headquartered at the Dona Ana County International Jet Port, where the Mayor has also served on that Airport’s Board of Governors, along with its Chair, Col. John Orton, who is also on this Advisory Board (see his bio up above). John previously served as a FASF Trustee and Officer, as the FASF’s 1st Vice President.
Here is Mayor Azar’s background:
2000 to the present:
Ms. Azar recently sold her “Blue Feather Aero,” an aircraft fixed base operation (FBO), with its major emphasis on Aviation Refueling. The FBO is located at the Dona Ana Country International Jet Port adjoining El Paso, Texas, and is now known as FRANCIS AVIATION. FRANCIS AVIATION was an early Local Business Supporter/Member of the FASF. The Jet Port itself is situated in Santa Teresa, NM. Suzanne is presently self-employed as a Certified Flight Instructor (CFI) for Private Pilot, Commercial Pilot, and also Instrument and Multi-Engine FAA Ratings.
1996 to 1999: Owned the Rennelli Italian Restaurant, in El Paso. She sold that enterprise.
1993 to 1996: Owned the Tigua Smoke Shop (three-year contract to establish the business for the Tigua Native American Tribe of El Paso).
1991 to 1997: Director of the MONTWOOD BANK, El Paso, Texas.
1998 to 2002: Director of the STATE NATIONAL BANK, El Paso, TX.
2002 to 2005: Director of the COMPASS BANK, El Paso, TX.
1985 to 1991: City of El Paso, TX (see “Political” below)
Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP)
Ms. Azar has been a pilot for 37 years and a Flight Instructor for 32. Among her many students, she taught both of her daughters to fly. The Mayor has flown in numerous air races throughout the U.S., Bahamas, Hawaii, and Canada, holding a Commercial Pilot’s License and is rated in Single and Multi-engine, glider and seaplane, with an Instrument rating. She is also a long-time active member of the International Association of Women Aviators, the “99’s.”
Her personal airplane is a Pressurized LANCAIR IVP, which is a retractable geared, high-performance composite constructed experimental aircraft. This long-time aviator now instructs in Cessna 152’s, 172’s, 182’s twin Cessna 310s, and Beechcraft Bonanzas. As a Multi-Engine instructor, she has flown many aircraft from the early Piper Apache to the more modern 690B
Rockwell Commander Turboprop (VIDEO).
Suzanne also holds FAA licenses at both Basic and Advanced Ground Instructor and has even earned the FAA’s coveted “Gold Seal” Flight Instructor’s License.
After serving two (2) terms as a City Representative on the El Paso City Council (1985 to 1989), Ms. Azar became the first woman to have ever been elected as Mayor of El Paso (1989 to 1991) and has the unique distinction of being the only woman to have ever been elected to that post.
PUBLIC AND COMMUNITY SERVICE:
2003 to 2004: Suzanne was President of the long-running “Amigo Air Sho” (VIDEO) in El Paso. Was a past Chair of the 99’s, El Paso Chapter, and is currently the Vice-Chair of the group. She has also been active on the Convention and Visitor’s Bureau’s Advisory Council and has been a member of the El Paso International Airport Board as well as a member of the Santa Teresa Jet Port’s Advisory Board.
- Men and Women of Mines – UTEP
- Golden Key National Honor Society – UTEP
- Recognition of Honor – El Paso Commission for Women
- League of Women Voters – Bravo Award
- Distinguished Leadership Award – National Association for Community Leadership
- Reach Distinguished Citizen Award – YMCA
- Woman of the Year “Polly Harris” Award – El Paso Women’s Political Caucus.
- Outstanding productivity in Housing Rehabilitation – HUD
- Civil Rights Advocate Award – NAACP
- Communications and Leadership Award – Toastmasters International
- Reconocimiento Por Soluciones a Problemas Ambientales – Juarez City Council, Mexico
- “You are the wind beneath our wings” Award – Race for the Cure 1993
- Community Service Medal – Major General Lionetti, Commander of Fort Bliss, Texas
- Hall of Fame – El Paso Commission for Women
- Hall of Fame – El Paso Aviation Association
- International Forest of Friendship honoree.
- The Mayor has six grandchildren and is teaching each of them to fly!
Jim Greenwood (former FASF Advisory Board Chairman passed away in 2011) was the legendary Bill Lear’s right-hand man for three years in his long and varied career which included a stint as Assistant Administrator of the FAA under President Ronald Reagan. Jim said that when Lear sold the company, he asked Jim to accompany him on the new enterprise, but Jim turned him down. “Three years with Bill Lear was a lifetime”, he said. Jim is greatly missed.
Sandor “Alex” Kvassay (retired from the FASF Board of Advisors in 2010), besides being a successful author, has had a career that has spanned the better part of seven decades under the German and Russian occupation of his homeland, Hungary. Freed from his captors, he was whisked to the Pentagon in an intelligence role and served in the US military. He eventually hooked up with the peripatetic Bill Lear and became Lear’s Director of International Sales. Alex now enjoyably splits his newfound retirement time between a home in Wichita, KS, and traveling worldwide with his grandchildren and their parents.