The FASF Board of Trustees reflects a remarkable diversity of backgrounds and talents.
A prime asset of any nonprofit Board is a diversity of educational and occupational backgrounds, talents, and skills in its Board members and Officers. The 8 to 9 member FASF Board of Trustees, all deeply committed to the preservation and restoration of our national historic treasure, the First Aero Squadron Airfield, reflect this desired diversity as exemplified below. The following condensed biographical summaries are simply highlights from each Trustee’s background.
President: Ric Lambart became a pilot in 1944, accumulated over 13,000 hours in the US Air Force, and was a commercial pilot and instructor (CFI). He holds single and multi-engine land and sea, jet, and glider ratings. A graduate of Columbia University, he retired after 38 years as a management consultant. Before entering the USAF full-time, he was the Freshman Crew Coach at Columbia and later in Cuba, where his crew were the undefeated National Champions. Ric also served as a Staff Officer in the U.S. Merchant Marine and spent three years in the U.S. Navy, before entering the USAF full-time.
After leaving the Air Force, Ric settled in Phoenix, AZ, where he spent several years retailing and wholesaling General Aviation Aircraft, and then as national marketing manager for an autopilot company. He later served as CEO of, and helped found, several nonprofit charitable and educational foundations; was Board Chairman and President of an electronics manufacturing and research corporation, and has volunteered in a number of other nonprofit and civic organizations over the years. Ric was among the small group in Columbus, NM, that founded the FASF in 2007. He is also currently this site’s webmaster.
1st VP: Jason Adams, left his hometown of Tulare, California to enlist in the United States Air Force in April of 1990. He was trained as Aircraft Structural Maintenance and Corrosion Control specialist. After technical school at Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas, and Chanute Air Force Base, Illinois he was assigned to Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico. Jason began his Air Force career as an E-1 working on C-130 Talon II, HH-53, HH-60, and UH-N1 aircraft. Being stationed at a special operations and helicopter pilot training base meant no idle time, there was never a moment structural repairs and paint were not required. He was then assigned to Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska where he transitioned to fighter aircraft; F-16, A-10, and the F-15. Then it was back to New Mexico, in late 1998, Jason moved his family of 4 to Alamogordo New Mexico, and Holloman Air Force Base. He was part of the 8th Fighter squadron, a Material Repair Specialist (MARS AKA, Martian) working with F-117s. During this assignment, he deployed in support of Operation NOBLE ANVIL/ALLIED FORCE.
He also completed his bachelor’s degree through Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and applied to Officer Training School. After receiving his commission as a 2nd Lieutenant, Jason spent 9 months at Vandenberg Air Force Base California for Officer Space Prerequisite Training and ICBM REACT A training.
He was then assigned to Malmstrom Air Force Base, Montana. He served with the 12th Missile Squadron as a combat crew commander and the 341st Operations Support Squadron as a crew instructor and as a Weapons & Tactics Instructor. While at Malmstrom he finished his graduate work, earning a Master of Science degree in Space Studies & Aerospace Safety Systems from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.
Jason was then selected to work, again, in New Mexico at White Sands Missile Range. Now with a family of 6, Jason found himself working in the space, satellite, and communications arena. After 4 years in the Space Operations Squadron, he then moved to New Mexico State University and completed his Air Force career as an Assistant Professor of Aeronautical Studies and Director of Operations for Detachment 505, Reserve Officer Training Corps.
Retiring from the Air Force as an O-4, in 2014, and now acting as a contractor, Jason began working as a systems engineer at White Sands Missile Range, first with the PATRIOT missile defense system and then returned to the space field. His two youngest attend high school and are active in equestrian sports. His son is currently serving a church mission in the Northeast United States and his oldest daughter is working and attending New Mexico State University.
In May of 2019, after two long years of behind-the-scenes work, Jason successfully completed spearheading our effort to have the State of New Mexico recognize our 1916 Historic Airfield with an official state sign as a marker in Columbus. Here is that story.
Jason serves actively in his church, and the community, and has participated in the Doña Ana Community College Industrial Advisory Committee. Jason has many interests, first is his family, the rest include space, aviation, the outdoors, and agriculture; the only challenge is focusing on one at a time. Since first learning of the FASF and its mission, Jason immediately became a member and attended several Board Meetings, bringing along some young NMSU AFROTC Cadets so they could see how non-profit corporate boards work. His student visitors also became FASF members. Jason was elected to the 1st Vice Presidency of the Board in the Spring of 2016.
2nd VP: Colonel Ira C. Cline retired in November 2015 after 21 years of active duty service in the United States Air Force. He’s served in numerous roles over the course of his career, including a command tour as the Commander of Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) Detachment 505 at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces, New Mexico.
Colonel Cline earned his commission from the ROTC in 1994 following graduation from New Mexico State University with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree.
He began his career as a Logistics Plans Officer at Tinker Air Force Base (AFB), Oklahoma. Following three years at Tinker and one year at the U.S. Air Forces Europe (USAFE) Warrior Preparation Center in Germany, he attended Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training at Laughlin AFB, Texas where he earned the Air Education and Training Command Commander’s Trophy as the top overall distinguished graduate of his pilot training class. His first operational flying assignment was as a C-141B pilot at McChord AFB, Washington. He later transitioned to the C-17A where he became an instructor aircraft commander and initial cadre member of the C-17A Prime Nuclear Airlift Force (PNAF).
In 2003 he earned a Master of Business Administration degree from Touro University in Vallejo, California. His next assignment was at Charleston AFB where he served as Squadron Operations Officer, Operations Group Executive Officer, and Deputy Chief of Wing Plans. In 2005 he completed Air Command and Staff College by correspondence and in 2008, he was selected to attend the Air Force Institute of Technology Intermediate Developmental Education program at the United States Air Force Academy (USAFA). While there, he earned a Master of Counseling and Leadership degree from the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs, and then became the Commander of Cadet Squadron 23 at the U. S. Air Force Academy (USAFA).
Returning to McChord in 2010 as Squadron Director of Operations, he was responsible for the mission readiness and training of over 140 aircrew members capable of conducting global airlift operations. Additionally, he led his squadron in the deployed environment twice; once as Commander of the 816th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron (EAS) and again as 817th EAS Detachment Commander. In 2012, he served as Joint Base Lewis-McChord Air Show Director, hosting over 200,000 spectators, and in 2013 he prepared the installation to host the next Air Mobility Command International RODEO training event and competition.
Colonel Cline has over 4,500 flying hours, 1,700 instructor hours, and over 600 hours of combat time in the Iraq and Afghanistan theaters of operation. He’s flown the T-37B, T-1A, C-141B, and C-17A for the Air Force as well as numerous civilian aircraft. He’s an FAA-certified Airline Transport Pilot and currently flies for a major U.S. airline.
Colonel Cline resides in Monument, Colorado with his wife, Shelia, whom he met while in college at NMSU. The couple has two children, Kaylee and Nathan. Ira’s favorite thing to do is simply spend time with his family. After that, it’s being anywhere outdoors, but especially mountain biking in Colorado, Arizona, Washington, and British Colombia… actually, pretty much anywhere!
Corporate Secretary: Joshua “Josh” G. Plasencio. Josh was born and raised in El Paso, Texas where he obtained his Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration with a major in Finance from the University of Texas El Paso. His first post-graduate work was in Albuquerque, NM, where he obtained licenses in both the Insurance business and the Securities professions. Before entering the banking industry, Josh worked his way up to be the Assistant Vice President of Planning Services for Charles Stephen and Company, Inc., of Albuquerque. Then he went to work for the Wells Fargo Bank to garner banking skills and his banker’s license.
At Wells Fargo Josh gained broad experience in many banking skills, including cash management, credit analysis, and risk management. He also became more proficient in securities trading, debt and equity financing, and economic, financial, and technical indicator analyses. Additionally, he helped develop and implement financial plans for businesses using his knowledge of taxes, accounting, budgeting, economics, investment strategies, insurance, retirement plans, and real estate. The Wells Fargo responsibilities helped him gain leadership and management skills as he trained and helped support less experienced staff members.
When Josh moved over to the First Savings Bank he soon gained new experiences in the diverse skills required of banking executives. At First Savings he worked in almost all the service areas involved and helped develop and maintain prospective commercial lending packages for private clientele, including financial restructuring, refinancing, equipment financing, business acquisition, Small Business Administration assistance, and real estate.
He was able to further hone his skills and expertise by helping develop marketing plans through the use of various modern technical media. At First Savings Josh successfully created and implemented marketing strategies and gained more background as a branch manager, and as a business development and commercial lending officer, where he supervised and managed branch staff in a team-oriented environment. His achievements with First Savings in El Paso led to his latest promotion to President of the First Savings Bank of Deming, New Mexico.
This newest Board member of the FASF clearly brings some much-needed new financial and planning and team leadership skills to our growing organization’s expanding responsibilities and new challenges.
Treasurer: Alma Villezcas, brings an unusual set of much-needed talents to the FASF. She was born in Casas Grandes, Mexico, which was the very first American foreign Army Airfield base ever set up – and then used during the Punitive Expedition of 1916-17.
Alma left her hometown in Mexico to emigrate to the United States when in her early twenties. In her hometown, she worked at numerous jobs, one of which particularly appealed to her: banking. She loved this work in finance and quickly became motivated to study accounting. Once in the States she immediately set about becoming proficient in English. A young single mother, she nevertheless worked full-time while going to the University of Arizona in Tucson, where she majored in Accounting and obtained her Bachelor’s degree. Before this, she obtained Associate degrees and various related certificates in Accounting Sciences and Business Administration from Pima Community College, also in Tucson.
Alma has worked as an accountant, bookkeeper, and business manager here in New Mexico and also in Arizona. As a manager she has honed her skills in areas such as: Business Planning; development of Employee Guidelines and job descriptions; Market Research and Data and Cost Analysis; implementation of internal controls for Accounts Receivable and Payable, and the production of regular Financial Statements and Operational Forecasts.
Her involvement with the FASF lead to a growing fascination with aviation, enough that she set out on a path to becoming an aviator. She is currently active as a commissioned officer with the United States Air Force’s Auxiliary, the Civil Air Patrol (CAP). Alma is the Chief Financial Officer of the New Mexico CAP Wing’s Composite Squadron 024, based at the Las Cruces International Airport. She takes an active role in flight missions and remains deeply involved in the Squadron’s training programs.
Ms. Villezcas has worked in the manufacturing industry as well as in retail, automotive service, legal services, and restaurant management. In addition, Alma has continued to operate her own Public Accounting and Tax Preparation business from her own offices in Deming, NM.
Her most recent major professional experience entailed the market research for and the implementation of a new business plan for what has already become the busiest and most successful Deming convenience market, gas station, car wash, and restaurant operation. After supervising the construction operations that succeeded in producing this new business, she now manages it. Although she has lived in the States for many years, Alma has maintained her proficiency in the Spanish language as well as her old family home in Mexico.
Alma joined the FASF to further her interest in American-Mexican history and because she feels it important to contribute one’s talents to volunteer organizations whenever possible. Furthermore, because her hometown was the first foreign-based operating airfield for what was then a very fledgling military aviation campaign, she feels a special connection to that small Army airplane detachment known as the First Aero Squadron.
Trustee: Bill Wallace III. In Bill, the FASF has its second international member, since this Trustee was actually raised in Mexico in the very town selected by General “Black Jack” Pershing, to Headquarter our country’s first foreign military airfield: Casas Grandes, Mexico. Bill keeps homes in both Santa Teresa, NM, and Casas Grandes, Mexico.
Born in El Paso, Texas, Bill is fluent in both English and Spanish. Since one of the primary missions of the FASF is to further constructive relations between our two nations, Bill’s fluency in both languages and cultures are an obvious advantage for the FASF.
Bill brings to the Foundation other practical talents and experience. First of all, he is a successful entrepreneurial business manager and a genuine New Mexico and Mexican history aficionado, especially intrigued by the mission of the FASF, insofar as it is all about the birth of American Air Power in Columbus, NM, where Bill worked every day, until two years ago, as the manager of, CATTLEMEX, one of the largest stockyard operations anywhere along the lengthy Mexican border.
For the past two years, Bill has directed all cattle operations at his own new International Cattle Auction Center on the NM/Mexican border at Santa Teresa, NM.
Bill’s family goes back four generations in both New Mexico and North Central Mexico, where he still owns and runs one of Mexico’s largest ranches, the famous Hacienda Corralitos Ranch near Casas Grandes, where General Pershing’s principal Mexican Headquarters was located.
Books have been written about his family ranch and its colorful history. It was on this Wallace family ranch that the famous U.S. Army Buffalo Soldier’s 13th Cavalry was garrisoned, and from which it successfully fought a famous battle against the Villistas, while dangerously outnumbered, with only 100 Americans to 500 Mexican insurgents. On his way to attack Columbus, Pancho Villa wantonly raided the Wallace Family ranch, confiscating fresh mounts for his cavalrymen and murdering several of his grandfather’s employees.
Prior to coming to manage the Columbus Stockyards CATTLEMEX operation, Bill was general manager of the large Import-Export facility for Livestock Border Crossing and Quarantine at Santa Teresa, NM. That operation was also multinational. In Santa Teresa, he supervised 40 employees with a wide range of responsibilities, backgrounds, and educational levels. These employees were mostly administrative, field, and maintenance workers, but he also oversaw the security contractors. The complexity of the agencies involved and the different goals and regulations that each one of them enforces made this a particularly challenging task.
To illustrate the unusual complexities of this sort of work: The agencies and organizations involved in these operations were, for the United States, the USDA, Department of Homeland Security, Customs and Border Protection, Department of Transportation, New Mexico Department of Agriculture, New Mexico Border Authority, New Mexico Livestock Board, New Mexico Cattle Growers Association, Texas Cattle Feeders Association; and from the Mexican side, their comparable governmental and private agencies.
Bill’s family ranch near Casas Grandes covers some 67,000 acres where he still supervises an average of 14 ranch hands. He graduated from New Mexico State University (NMSU) with a major in Agricultural Economics. Prior to entering NMSU, he attended the New Mexico Military Institute, where he had early exposure and training in the principles of effective leadership.
Trustee:* Kathleen R. Martín, Ph.D. Kathleen is a cultural anthropologist who earned her Ph.D. from Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania. As a specialist in community development, Maya studies, and Latin American Studies, she was a Fulbright Fellow and received grants from the Inter-American Foundation and the Organization of American States. She was most recently a faculty member at Florida International University in Miami (FIU), Florida. While at FIU she was also Graduate Program Director. In addition, she has served on the faculty at the University of Alabama in Birmingham and directed the International Studies Program. While attending graduate school she served as an instructor at the Community College of Philadelphia. Kathleen has authored several books, the most recent of which is Discarded Pages: The Life of the Maya Poet and Politician, Araceli Cab Cumí, published by the University of New Mexico Press.
Kathleen was raised in a military family and thus had the opportunity to live in distinct locales around the world, ranging from Europe to the Far East. Her experience as a bona fide “Army brat” directed her career choice and has been an ongoing influence in her life.
Upon retiring and moving to New Mexico in 2013, Kathleen joined the FASF. Because her grandfather served as a soldier in the Pershing Punitive Expedition, she wished to become involved in various organizations interested in that historical period. In addition to becoming a member of the FASF, she also serves as a docent at the Depot Museum in Columbus and is a member of the Board of the Columbus Historical Society (CHS). Kathleen recently graduated from the Master Gardener program in Las Cruces, NM, and hopes to use her new certification to help the Luna County Department of Agriculture in its gardening advisory activities. * Kathleen served two consecutive terms on the FASF Executive Committee as its 1st VP.
Trustee, Lt. Colonel (LTC) James K. “Jimmy” Lee, Jr. is a military “Mustang”* since he first enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1993 as an 11M, Mechanized Infantryman. After two years as an enlisted soldier, he was commissioned as an Armor Officer** in May 1995 from Officer Candidate School. Now, the Colonel has just retired from Active Duty with the Army and has joined the executive ranks of the International marketing firm, AMAZON. COM.
During his career, Colonel Lee was privileged to have served in various leadership and staff positions from platoon to Combined Joint Task Force Level. His deployments include Operation Vigilant Warrior, Operation Joint Guardian, Operation Iraqi Freedom, and Operation Enduring Freedom.
Jimmy is a graduate of the Armor Officer Basic Course, Airborne School, Scout Platoon Leaders Course, Infantry Captains Career Course, Combined Arms Services Staff School, Joint Firepower Controller Course, College of Naval Command and Staff, Naval Operational Planners Course, and Joint Domestic Operations Course.
He holds a Master’s Degree (MA) in Management and Leadership from Webster University and also a MA in National Security and Strategic Studies from the Naval War College.
His military awards include the Silver Star, Bronze Star (2), Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal (5), Joint Commendation Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Joint Service Achievement Medal, Army Achievement Medal (6).
Colonel Lee retired as the Commanding Officer of the University of Texas El Paso Army ROTC Unit, “The Fighting Miners Battalion,” in 2018 and now Manages one of Amazon Corporation’s large “Fulfillment Centers” in Dallas, Texas. But he still regularly returns to El Paso, Texas.
Jimmy has two sons, Kiser (23), and Gray (20). The Colonel joined the First Aero Squadron Foundation in 2015 after becoming familiar with its colorful history and its current mission. Prior to his membership with the FASF, Jimmy had been good friends with another Trustee, Colonel Ira Cline (see above on this page), who had also commanded an ROTC unit, the Air Force unit, Detachment 505, at New Mexico State University.
* Officers who have begun as enlisted personnel and have successfully worked their way up through the enlisted ranks to become Officers are known by the much-revered term “Mustang.”
** Armor officers are responsible for tank and cavalry/forward reconnaissance operations on the battlefield. The role of an armor officer is to be a leader in operations specific to the armor branch and to lead others in many areas of combat operations.
I really like this new site. Too bad Jim G.(Greenwood) isn’t with us to enjoy it. Keep up the great work. Bill Lafferty
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Thanks for the heads up on this oversight! Credit and linkage is now set up on the Photo Albums ‘flickr’ page.
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