On October 6, Colonel Mario Campos, (L) USAF Retired, past Flight Captain of the General Nichols Flight of the Daedalians in nearby El Paso, briefed his fellow aviators about the last 75-year history of small arms weapons and their legacy in the Air Force. After his PowerPoint-supported talk, his audience agreed they learned things they never knew, even when on active duty. Remember to simply click on any photo below to see it in full resolution and full size. 2 short videos (A brief 1:00 minute long highlight, and a 10-min. cut of his one-hour presentation, follow below the still photographs.
Col. Bob Pitt, right above, helps the Service Staff plan the upcoming luncheon. His wife, Julie is 2nd from Left.
L to R: Pete Brandon, Virg Hemphill, Jerry Dixon, and Roger Springstead, look over the Ft. Bliss Club’s menus.
L to R: Pete Brandonshows Virg Hemphill some photos on his phone.
Retired Naval Aviator, Roger Springstead, Flight 24’s Chaplain, intently listens to Virg Hemphill and Jerry Dixon.
L to R: Col. Melissa Fisherand her husband, Col. Alan Fisher, look over some photos of Col. Campos’.
Flight 24’s Captain, Col. Alan Fisher, opens the luncheon meeting.
L to R – foreground: Judy Campos chats with her husband, Col. Mario Campos. At the rear, in green and black, is Daedalian Army Aviator widow, Connie Sullivan.
The scheduled speaker for this Luncheon was canceled, so Colonel Mario Camposstepped in with his PowerPoint Presentation about the history of Air Force small arms, entitled, “75 years of USAF Small Arms.”
The following description of the presentation was written by Colonel Bob Pitt.
Mario began by pointing out that while the Air Force has a rich and well-documented history of its major weapon systems since its birth in 1947, little has been written on the small arms the Air Force has used during that period. He also pointed out that the Air Force has been instrumental in the acquisition of small arms that have had an impact on all the other services. He limited the discussion to personal arms and excluded crew-employed machine guns, light machine guns, mortars, handheld rockets, and so on.
He described the period of 1947-1956 which included the transition of the Army to Air Force small arms. He went over the history of the M1 Carbine and the Colt M1911A1 as the primary weapons adopted by the Army during this period. He also covered the M1 Garand, but primarily of its use as an Air Force competition and ceremonial weapon.
Mario then transitioned to the 1956-1990 period by highlighting some unique firearms like the .22 Hornet M4 and .22/.410 M6 Survival rifles. He then went on to give the history of the Air Force’s transition to the Smith and Wesson “Combat Masterpiece” .38 Special and the Snub-Nosed .38 Special as the Air Force’s primary handguns for Security Forces (Police) – and Aircrews.
Colonel Campos then described the Air Force’s role in acquiring one of the legendary battle rifles still in use today . . . the M16. He described how Gen Curtis LeMay was the first of the service chiefs to recognize the value of the weapon and, after being initially rebuffed, it was the Secretary of Defense, Robert McNamara, who ordered all services to use the M-16.
Mario also went through the different Air Force versions including the Colt Model 604 (M-16) and the XM177E GAU-5 (M-16 Carbine). He also went over the Air Force’s continuing use of the Remington 870 Shotgun.
Finally, Mario transitioned to 1990 and beyond when the Air Force adopted the M-16A2, Beretta M9 pistol, M4 Carbine, M24 Sniper System, M11 pistol, and now the Sig Sauer M18 pistol and the HK 417 Designated Marksman Rifle. He ended the presentation with a description of the new Aircrew Survival Weapon, a foldable M4 Carbine that fits in aircrew survival seat kits.
Here, below, are a short video (1 minute) highlight of Colonel Campos’ hour-long presentation, and a 10-minute version. Please excuse the problem with the variation in the lighting in some sections.
“Full-screen” mode won’t work on the first video clip, but it will on the YouTube version.
Considering the size of the USAF, as an amazing coincidence, almost simultaneously, just as we posted her story, the Air Force Academy‘s prestigious Quarterly Magazine for its Alumni Organization, CHECKPOINTS, also printed a parallel feature story about “First” Valentin.
Here, below, is the cover of that issue: (We found out about this coincidence from Col. Alan Fisher, an AF Academy graduate and regular reader of CHECKPOINTS, who excitedly informed your webmaster, that “FIRST” had also just been featured in a distinguished graduate story the same month she was awarded the top LEADER award in her graduating Fighter Class at Holloman. When the Academy CHECKPOINTS staff wrote the article, they didn’t know anything about Captain Valentin’sLeadership award ceremony – nor did we know about their story.
Cover of September 2022 CHECKPOINTS – photo of Cadet 3rd Class Lydia Cella in Combat Survival Training Program
Through the good efforts of two Air Force Academy fellow graduates and long-time FASF members, Alan Fisher and Wes Baker, we were led to the magazine’s Managing Editor, Jeff Holmquist, who gave us the OK to reprint their “First” story. Without further ado, here it is:
[TO VIEW THIS PDF COPY SIMPLY EITHER USE THE “+” SIGN IN THE TOOLBOX AT THE BOTTOM OF THE VIEW YOU SEE OR CLICK ON THE SMALL POPOUT ICON () YOU SEE IN THE UPPER RIGHT-HAND CORNER OF THE VIEWER, WHICH WILL PUT THE PDF INTO YOUR BROWSER FOR VIEWING. OF COURSE, THE THE SCROLLBARS ARE USED IN THE NORMAL WAY]
This past Wednesday, at El Paso’s Fort Bliss golf club, Daedalian Flight 24 entertained some of the upper class AFROTC Cadets from New Mexico State University’s (NMSU) Detachment 505.
This gave the Cadets a good chance to get to know an active duty Air Force pilot, the luncheon’s presenter, along with a number of Daedalian former USAF, Navy and Marine aviators, as well.
Many of the Daedalians, all of whom are long time FASF members, also entered the USAF from ROTC units. The guest visit was arranged by FASF member, Air Force Academy graduate, and Daedalian Flight Commander, Colonel Alan Fisher.
Uniquely enough, well over twenty years earlier, Col. Fisherhad been the Air Force Commander of these Cadet’s own AFROTC Detachment 505 at NMSU.
The guest speaker, Major Max Weaver, USAF, is from Arizona. He was raised in a family that valued service; his father served in the US Army and both his parents were police officers. In high school Maj Weaver joined the Civil Air Patrol (CAP) which gave him his first actual flight experience flying in CAP unit Cessna 172s. After High School, he majored in Foreign Area Studies at the Air Force Academy and spent a semester abroad in Nanjing, China where he learned their Mandarin dialect. He graduated with honors and was commissioned in 2011.
Next he attended joint Undergraduate Pilot Training with the Navy at Naval Air Station (NAS) Whiting Field, flying the Texan T-6B II. See below photo.
U. S. Navy T-6 III Trainer
Maj. Weaver earned his wings in the T-1 “Jayhawk” at Vance AFB in 2013. Photo below:
USAF Multi-engine Trainer, Beechcraft T-1 Jayhawk
His first post flight training assignment was flying the C-17 Globemaster at McChord AFB, Washington. He accrued over 1,000 hours in the C-17 and saw duty in Afghanistan, Iraq, Germany, Japan, and many other countries delivering mission critical cargo and supporting Presidential operations. Globemaster III photo below.
McDonnell Douglas C-17 Globemaster III
In 2016 he began training on the MQ-9 “Reaper” at Holloman AFB, NM. His next assignment was to Ellsworth AFB, SD where he flew the Reaper Drone a total of 1,100 hours. These Close Air Support missions were flown in Iraq and Afghanistan to support ground forces fighting ISIS in the liberation of Raqqa and other territories. Reaper photos below.
he USAF MQ-9 Reaper Unmanned Air Vehicle (UAV – or Drone)
The Reaper has also been found useful in fighting forest fires.
As can only be experienced as a UAV or Drone pilot, Major Weaverflew all of these combat missions from a safe haven at an Air Force Base in the continental U.S. In 2020 he was transferred to Holloman AFB as an MQ-9 instructor pilot. He currently serves in that capacity and also as a Wing Flying Safety Officer while instructing students in the Air Force’s largest MQ-9 formal training program.
In his presentation to the Daedalians and guest AFROTC Cadets, he used the projector screen to show us some of the aircraft in which he accumulated his flight experience . . . including the Reaper.
Here, below, are some of the photos from Wednesday’s event. To see them in full high resolution simply click on the photos:
Colonel Fisher,Daedalian Flight Commander, greets arriving members and guests.
L to R: Cadets Preston Kaplan and Patrick Sambrano waiting be be introduced.
L to R: Colonel Mario Campos, Cadets Sukarno, Malone, Baca, Soliz, Kaplan and Sambrano.
L to R: Mayre Sue Overstreet, with Col. Bob Pitt, Larry Spradlin, and Colonel Mario Campos
L to R: Charlie Overstreet, his brother,Lane (a former AF fighter & bomber pilot, PAA pilot), and Roger Springstead
L to R: Pete Brandon pours water for Colonel Pitt, whose head of hair is at right.
L to R: Cadet Dzaki Sukarnoand USAF Pilot to be, Cadet Joshua Soliz
Roger Springstead, Lane Overstreet, Virg Hemphill, Jerry Dixon, Charlie Overstreet, Cadets Sukarno, Solizand Mayre Overstreet
Flight 24 Captain Colonel Alan Fisher opens the meeting
USAF Cadet Dzaki Sukarnoexplained his Cadet status and USAF intentions.
L to R: Mayre, Charlie and Lane Overstreet, Cadet Soliz, Roger Springstead Virg Hemphilland Cadet Sukarno
L to R: Cadet Kaplan and Larry Spradlin listen to Cadet Sambrano speaking – while Shelly Schlick servesLarry
Major Weaver puts his beloved C-17 Globemaster III on screen to describe his experiences piloting it
Next Major Weaver showed slides of what it looked like from a Tanker aircraft while refueling the C-17
Daedalians and guests listen intently as Major Weaver related his USAF career path to date
After his presentation, Colonel Fisher (R) presented Major Weaver (L) with a token of our appreciation for his talk
FASF Aviation News Scout and Daedalian, Virg Hemphill (R) engaged in USAF banter with Major Weaver (L)
Cadets posed with Major Weaver after the luncheon . . . L to R: Kameron Baca, Patrick Sambrano, Joshua Soliz, Maj. Max Weaver, Dzaki Sukarno, Preston Kaplanand Daniel Malone.
Long-time Life Member of the FASF and also VP of the Experimental Aircraft Association’s (EAA) Chapter 1570 in nearby Santa Teresa, NM, John Signorino,*was the special speaker at the local Daedalian Flight 24 meeting held at Fort Bliss’ Golf Club, yesterday. This was the first real meeting since early last year, all because of the restrictions placed upon social gatherings throughout Texas because of COVID.
Although many members are still not ready to attend regular meetings, the Flight did get a reasonable post-COVID turnout of 19 attendees. Johnhad been scheduled to give his address to the Flight late last Summer, but that and several other attempts to have him speak were all canceled because of pandemic restraints and the closing of our various venues.
Normally the Flight meets each month at the Old downtown El Paso Club, but the Club has remained closed ever since the first lockdown order in March of 2020. The Flight expressed their thankfulness to John for his patience at having been canceled so many times.
The main thrust of John’stalk was focused on his post-military experience with the EAA along with the founding of Chapter 1570, back in 2015. Since its beginnings, the Chapter has accomplished many notable achievements, but the one Johnfeels most significant is its highly successful Young EagleEvents. Except for 2020, because of the pandemic lock-downs, each previous year the Chapter has hosted at least one, sometimes even two Young Eagle Events. Here is one of our posts of one of the last, pre-COVID, flights.
It is this Young Eagle enterprise that John feels will help overcome the country’s looming severe shortage of pilots. How? Because it introduces the nation’s youth to the thrill and challenges of becoming a pilot while still quite young. This popular EAA youth program gives free airplane rides and introductions to flight to youngsters from 8 to 17 years old. It also gives grants and/or scholarships to young teenagers so that they can undergo actual flight training, often paying for the achievement of their Private Pilot’s License from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
While Drones are a huge new development in aviation, there will nevertheless still be a serious requirement for hands-on-aviators in the foreseeable future. Both the Airlines and U.S. Military services have expressed serious concerns about the coming shortage of new pilots. One of the major issues facing those who do want to become aviators is the current-day high cost of pilot training. When yours truly learned to fly back during WWII (1944), the cost was not all that significant.
Here, below, is a short (2:52 minute) video clip about John’stopic, YOUNG EAGLES.
Here are some photos taken at yesterday’s meeting. Virtually all local Daedalians are long-time members of the FASF, and John is one of the FASF distinguished LIFE MEMBERS because he gave full days of his professional helicopter pilot-time during our 2019 joint exercise with the U.S. Army’s Corps of Engineers‘ Geographic 3D Project Team when they spent a week in Columbus during June and July of 2019 3D mapping the historic 1916 Army Airfield’s topography and that of the surrounding Camp Furlong terrain. During that operation, John was directly responsible for the taking of well over 30,000 high-resolution photographs of our area from another Life FASF member, Mike McNamee’s, former (and fully-restored) Army “SCOUT” helicopter. Mike’s light-weight rotary-wing machine had several other affectionate nicknames: the “LOACH” and/or the “LITTLE BIRD.”
Col. Alan Fisher opens his first meeting as the Flight’s new Captain.
L to R: Alan Fisher asks Roger Springstead, Flight Chaplain, to give the meeting blessing.
Chatting before meeting begins are two long-time FASF members and also Aviation News Scouts, Virg Hemphill (L) and Jerry Dixon (R)
(L) Speaker John Signorino and FASF Trustee, Dr. Kathleen Martin, an oft-times guest of the Daedalians
Virg Hemphill, Flight Treasurer, gives his report to the group.
L to R: Alan Fisher, Julie Pitt, Mario Campos, Kathleen Martin, and Mark Pfluger. John Signorinois at the podium.
John Signorino describes the EAA Young Eagles
Captured in foreground during John’s presentation are Gerry Wingett, Mary Barnes, & Roger Springstead (back).
Col. Bob Pitt, Julie Pitt, Mark Pfluger, Mario Campos, Ulla & Col. Rice, Gill Gonzales+ on Screen, Yours Truly in 1955!
More of John.
John makes a point.
L to R: Colonel Fisher gives John a token of Flight 24’s appreciation.
John Signorino retired in 2012 from the military with 28 years of service. John enlisted in the Army shortly after high school at the age of 18. He began his career as an electronic technician working on land-based telephone communication and microwave relay stations. Six years after joining the Army he was selected to attend Warrant Officer Flight Training.
During John’s flying career he flew both helicopter and fixed-wing airplanes. He was qualified in the UH-1H, TH-67, AH-64A, C-12, RC-12H, and Dash 7. John served as an instructor pilot and a safety officer and served multiple tours in Korea, Iraq, Bosnia, and South America.
During his military career, John proved himself to be a self-motivated, take-charge individual who has held several significant and vital positions. John is an exceptional leader and trainer. While in various positions, he provided excellent leadership skills and direction that promoted the sharing and encouragement of new ideas. As a teacher and mentor, he helped to counsel others on numerous occasions and has willingly shared his vast wealth of knowledge and experience with less experienced personnel.
While in the Army, John was called upon to work long and arduous hours often under stressful conditions while maintaining an exemplary and professional manner. He has shown himself to be an exceedingly dedicated and superbly organized individual. He is a proven team player and does not hesitate to provide constructive suggestions to improve operations.
John has had an entrepreneurial mindset since he was a teenager. While in the military, he started two successful businesses. After retiring, John was selected to Oklahoma State University Veterans Entrepreneurship Bootcamp. In 2013, John opened a Pop-A-Lock franchise in El Paso which specialized in auto, residential, and commercial locksmith work.
John demonstrated that he learns quickly and is readily able to self-teach himself complex tasks. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Embry-Riddle University, where he majored in business management. He also obtained his MBA from Grantham University, where his academic focus was on project management.
John’s hobbies include motorcycles, hiking, and camping. He’s been married to his wife Mindy for 25 years. They have two children, a daughter, and a son, both of whom followed their father’s footsteps by joining the military right after high school. John and his wife currently live in El Paso, Texas.
John is an exceptionally active member of the local, Santa Teresa Chapter 1570 of the EAA and has been its Vice President since it first opened its doors in June 2015. He continues to fly both fixed and rotary-winged aircraft in the General Aviation field.
The speaker scheduled for this last Spring meeting fell ill and couldn’t make the luncheon, so the El Paso General “Nick” Nichols’ Flight 24simply turned its focus back on its own members, and towards making sure its most recent past Flight Captain, Roger Nichols (General Nichols’ son), had a proper send-off.
Roger will soon leave to be near his children and grandchildren in Oklahoma. Because the Flight had some extra time, because of the absence of the scheduled speaker, it turned its attention towards gaining a more detailed insight into each of the member’s individual careers, both in the service, and in their later civilian lives. Here, below, are the photos of today’s event – and of each member sharing some of their unique personal history.
Today’s luncheon was also one to which the member’s wives and/or guests were invited. Because Flight Captain, Colonel Mario Campos, was out of state, Vice Captain, Ric Lambartpresided. He shared a group of photos which were taken over the weekend during the regular annual “Dining Out” celebration held at New Mexico State University (NMSU) by the local Air Force ROTC Detachment 505. Many years ago, flight Provost Marshall, Alan Fisher, had actually commanded that same AFROTC unit.
Both Mario and Ric had been invited to attend AFROTC event. Colonel Campos, once an AFROTC cadet himself, was the featured speaker. He shared what the cadets might expect during their own upcoming USAF assignments based on his own experiences.
(All of the below photos may be seen full-size and in High Resolution, by clicking on them)
L to R: Mayre Sue Overstreetand Julie Pitt.
L to R: Col. Norm Riceand Roger Nichols.
L to R: Mary Barnes arrives with Flight Chaplain, Roger Springstead.
L to R: Bob Pitt, Virg Hemphill, Pete Brandon, Mary Barnesand Roger Springstead.Col. Norm Rice‘s is seated in the foreground.
L to R: Mayre Sue Overstreet, Mary Barnes,and Julie Pitt
L to R: Mayre Sue Overstreet, Melissa Fisher and Mary Barnes, speaking withJulie Pitt (back of head to camera)
L to R: Flight Adjutant, Colonel Bob Pitt, engrossed in conversation with past Flilght Captain, Roger Nichols
L to R: Alan Fisher speaking with Virg Hemphill.Ulla Rice is in the foreground
L to R: Roger Springsteadand Ric Lambartgive a thumbs up to photographer, Jerry Dixon
L to R: Virg Hemphill, Mary Barnes, Pete Brandon, Alan and Melissa Fisher, Norm and Ulla Rice, with Charlie and Mayre Sue Overstreet just off camera to the right.
L to R: Jerry Dixon describes his USMC pilot experience as Virg Hemphill and Roger Springstead look on.
L to R: Virg Hemphilllistens as Roger Springstead shares his Naval Aviator career, while his friend, Mary Barneslistens
L to R: Mary Barnes listens as Pete Brandondescribes his extensive USAF and Northrup-Grumman careers
L to R: Virg Hemphill talks about his USAF Fighter Pilot and Airline experiences as Roger Springstead and Mary Barneslisten
Alan Fisher shares his own USAF experiences along with his current active engagements as a pilot with the Civil Air Patrol
L to R: Melissa Fishertalks about her own USAF career as both a RN and her later teaching years
L to R: Colonel Norm Rice relates his own Fighter Pilot experiences in the Air Force – and how he and his wife, Ulla,met, when he was stationed in Great Britain
Larry Spradlintells of his own USAF aviator experiences
L to R: Charlie Overstreetdescribes some humorous experiences as both an Air Force Pilot and also during his later 2nd career, piloting for the DEA, as his wife Mayre Sue enjoys the memories. Julie Pitt is at the right.
L to R: Julie Pittlistens and her husband, Colonel Bob Pitt, tells of his experiences over Viet Nam, flying both the F-101 and F-4 fighters, whileRoger Nicholstake it all in
Ric Lambart describes some of the photos taken at this past weekend’s AFROTC “Dining-Out” event at NMSU
L to R: Ric Lambart, Roger Nichols, and Bob Pittpose, after Roger was presented with a special going-away gift from the Flight
Organizational Meeting Title on Display Screens at WEAM
The brainchild of two local aviation leaders, Bob Dockendorfand John Keithly,The Rio Grande Aviation Council (RGAC) was put into motion this past weekend at the executive office meeting room of the War Eagles Air Museum (WEAM) at the Doña Ana County International Jetport.
Incidentally, the above photo is of the actual large LED Display screens that were mounted in the War Eagles’ meeting room, but the Rio Grande part was inadvertantly misspelled, leaving the “e” off at the end of Grande.
The two organizers recognized that there was no central or nexus organization through which the area’s many public-interest aviation groups and organizations might express both their legitimate public interests in their common industry, or to work more efficently to help collectively protect those same interests. In short, the new council would provide a more unified voice for the West Texas and SW New Mexico areas in respect to aviation related issues and interests.
Accordingly, Bob invited the area’s numerous public-interest and non-profit aviation groups to meet together at the WEAM. At least one or more representatives of each of the local (within a 100 mile radius of El Paso, Texas and Santa Teresa, NM) aviation groups appeared on Saturday, the 6th of April, to help organize this new organization.
Boband John recommended that the new organization be somewhat amporphous in nature and purposely not be formally structured, rather that it operate without any specific permanent officers or heirarchy. Its main functions would be to provide a sounding board, brain-storming platform, and a clearing house for the member organizations’ interests. It would, additionally, help provide a unified collective voice for the members’ common aviation interests.
The representatives of each group discussed their particular assets and current principal needs and goals.
Several other aviation groups were invited, but couldn’t make this intial organizational meeting, but will hopefully participate in future conferences. Such future gatherings will be held at the WEAM on a quarterly basis.
The following photos show some of those who attended as representatives of their respective aviation groups:
(Any of the below photos may be seen in full high-resolution by simply clicking on them)
Mrs. Mary Dockendorf registers John Adams of the EL Paso Composite Squadron 215 of the CAP.
President Wes Baker of the Las Cruces EAA Chapter 555 parks his Cessna 140 on the ramp in front of the WEAM.
L to R: Col. Mario Campos (Daedalian Society), Juan Brito (EPAA), Fritz Gatlin (EPRC Club), and Tom Holmsley(AMA)
L to R: Todd Parsont (Franklin HS JAFROTC), Ana Donahue (Drone Pilot for the Elephant ButteIrrigation District-EBID), Squadron Commander, Travis McKenzie and Col. Alan Fisher(CAP Squadron 24) line up to sign in for the meeting.
L to R: Ana Donahue (EBID), Todd Parsont (JAFROTC), Presidents Wes Baker (EAA 555) and John Keithly (EAA 1570), Col. Mario Campos (hidden behind) Juan Brito (EPAA).
L to R starting with those sitting with backs to the windows: Travis McKenzie and Mike LeGendre (CAP), Rick King(Santa Teresa Flying Club), Col. Alan Fisher(CAP), Malcolm White (USAFA), John Adams (CAP), Ana Donahue ((EBID), Todd Parsont (JAFROTC), Wes Baker and John Keithly (EAA Presidents), Col. Mario Campos(Daedalians), Juan Brito(EPAA), Fritz Gatlin (EPRC), Tom Holmsley(AMA), (three people with their backs to camera, and L to R) Elliott Werner (EAA), Bob Dockendorf(WEAM) and Didi Shaffer(Chair of the El Paso Chapter of the 99’s).
R to L clockwise: Rick King (Sta. Teresa Flying Club), Col. Alan Fisher (CAP), Malcolm White (USAFA), John Adams(CAP), Ana Donahue (EBID), Todd Parsont (JAFROTC), Wes Bakerand John Keithly(EAA), Mike McGee (UTEP), Col. Mario Campos(Daedalians), Mary Dockendorf (WEAM), Juan Brito (EPAA), and Fritz Gatlin (EPRC).
L to R: Ana Donahue (EBID), Todd Parsont (RAFROTC) and Wes Baker(EAA)
L to R:Todd Parsont(JAFROTC), Wes Bakerand John Keithly(EAA).
L to R clockwise: Ana Donahue (EBID), Todd Parsont (JAFROTC), Wes Baker (EAA), John Keithly(EAA), Mike McGee(UTEP), Col. Mario Campos (Daedalians), Juan Brito (EPAA), Fritz Gatlin (EPRC).
Clockwise R to L: (only part of his back to camera) Mike McGee (UTEP), Mario Campos(Daedalians), Juan Brito(EPAA), Fritz Gatlin(EPRC), Tom Holmsley (AMA), Tania Privette (LCA), Andy Hume(Las Cruces Int’l. Airport), Didi Shaffer (99’s), Bob Dockendorf (WEAM), Elliott Werner (EAA), Javier Caraveo (USAFA & AFROTC), Travis McKenzie and Mike LeGendre (CAP), and Rick King (Santa Teresa Flying Club).
L to R: John Keithly (EAA 1570), Dr. Mike McGee (UTEP), Col. Mario Campos (Daedalians), and Juan Brito(EPAA).
L to R: Andy Hume (Las Cruces Int’l. Airport), Tania Privette (LCA), and Didi Shaffer (99’s).
Didi Schaffer(Chair of El Paso Chapter of the Ninety-Nines).
Meeting Chairman, Bob Dockendorf, principal organizer of the Rio Grand Aviation Council
RGAC Organizational Meeting Representatives – L to R: John Keithly, Ric Lambart, Travis McKenzie, Mario Campos, AlanFisher, Mike LeGendre, Mike McGee, Rick King, Elliott Werner, Tania Privette, Andy Hume, Didi Shaffer, Ammber Valverde, Ana Donahue, Javier Cavaveo, Juan Brito, Wes Baker, Todd Parsont, Tom Holmsley, Fritz Gatlin, John Adams, Malcolm White, and Bob Dockendorf.
At yesterday’s regular monthly meeting at the El Paso Club in downtown El Paso, Texas, Daedalian Flight 24 (more affectionately known as the General “Nick” Nichol’s Flight – named after Roger’sWWII Ace Dad), listened intently as their immediate past Flight Captain, Roger Nichols, shared a power point – video briefing about the historic American Linebacker II heavy-bombing campaign against the North Vietnamese.
The time was December 1972, when the NixonAdministration’s Henry Kissinger, representing the U.S. interests at the Paris Peace Accords, had just failed to reach a peace agreement with the North Vietamese’s Le Duc Tho in Paris, France. Kissinger had just over-optimistically announced to the press that “Peace is at hand.”
With the Accords in shambles, the U.S. mounted a massive bombing campaign over the North Vietamese capital of Hanoi. It was code-named “Linebacker II.” Fellow Daedalian Fllight and long-standing FASF member, Charlie Overstreet, had been one of the pilots who took part in that huge aerial assault on North Vietnam, The majority of Flight 24’s aviators flew during that distant Southeast Asian war.
For those of you who might be interested, here is the short (12:13) segment I of the longer documentary of that “Linebacker II” campaign, which was produced by the son of General Glenn R. Sullivan, who commanded the 17th Air Division out of U-Tapao Air Base in Thailand at the time. Here is a linkto a number of other films made of that same campaign.
The presentation by Rogerwas both educational, and also nostalgic for those in the Flight who had fought in the skies above Southeast Asia, and who had lost some of their closest friends and fellow aviators in that now historic conflict. The meeting had an element of sadness, also, because Roger will soon be moving to Oklahoma to be closer to his children and grand-children. Fortunately, Roger’s many interests in El Paso (where he was born), including the Daedalians, will bring him back on regular visits.
(Click on any photo below to see it in full high-resolution()
Former USAF aviators (L to R): Pete Brandon, Alan Fisher, Mario Campos, Roger Nichols and Bob Pitt
Mrs. Ulla Rice, wife of Colonel Norm Rice, and Col. Bob Pitt
Roger Nichols(seated) prepares for his presentation with help of Flight Captain, Col. Mario Campos
Colonel Bob Pitt, Vietnam fighter Pilot, who was wounded over ‘Nam, briefs Daedalians on upcoming events.
Flight Captain Mario Campos presides over business part of meeting as Roger Nichols looks on.
Pete Brandon(L) and Alan Fisher listen to Colonel Campos.
L to R: Roger Nichols, Mario Campos and AFROTC Cadet Captain, Ammber Valverde (Daedalian Pilot-Training Scholarship Recipient), listen to Alan Fisher (whose finger is seen at lower left) . . .
L to R seated: Mario Campos, Ammber Valverde, and Roger Springstead, listen to Roger describe the Vietnam War’s operation Linebacker II.
Roger Nicholsholds latest edition of the War Eagles Air Museum Quarterly Magazine, which includes a story by FASF Aviation Scouts and Daedalians Charlie Overstreet, and Virg Hemphill. The article by Charlie is entitled “Memories of a B-47 Pilot,” while Virg’s story is simply titled “Virgil Hemphill – Fighter Pilot.” Roger, himself, also has an article in this same edition. It’s called “Christmas Greetings,” which is about the “Linebacker II” campaign.
The Las Cruces, NM, Civil Air Patrol (CAP) has just welcomed another long-time active FASF member to its ranks. Colonel (USAF Retired), John Orton, who is the only former Trustee who flew his own airplane to FASF Board Meetings over the years, has just become a Senior member of the same CAP Squadron which already boasts several other FASF enthusiasts. Two years ago, both the FASF Treasurer, Alma Villezcas, and President, Ric Lambart, were recruited into the same CAP unit by another early FASF member, Colonel Alan Fisher.
REMEMBER: To see any photos in high resolution, simply click on them.
John Orton looks up while working at his laptop’s FEMA training syllabus.
At this past weekend’s monthly CAP SAREX (Search And Rescue Exercise) operation, held at the Las Cruces Municipal Airport, John experienced his first opportunity to take part in one of these regular SAREX programs. During the afternoon, the Squadron also demostrated how it operates to several AFROTC Cadets from NMSU, one of whom is the youngest active member of the FASF, Cadet Captain, Ammber Valverde. Each cadet received an introductory flight in one of the CAP’s Cessna 182 Aircraft during their orientation. These cadets all hope to become pilots in the United States Air Force after they graduate from New Mexico State University. Ammber has already received a Pilot Training Scholarship from the Daedalian Society.
A Short 3 minute long video clip at the bottom of this page shows part of the briefing of several Cadets by one of the squadron’s pilots, Travis McKenzie.
Here are some more of the photos of John,and of the other FASF-CAP members at work:
L to R: Michelle Phillips, John Orton, Travis McKenzie.
Travis McKenzieand Alma Villezcas
Walter Dutton at work.
L to R: Jim McConnell, William Benziger, and John Orton
L to R: Michelle Phillips, John Orton, Travis McKenzie,and Larry Burns
L to R: Jim McConnell, William Benziger, and Mike Legendre
Laptop shows one of the large inter-squadron group instructional pages for the SAREX
L to R: Alan Fisher, Cadets Josh Soliz, Daniel Malone, Race Cannedy, and Ammber Valverde alongside Cessna
L to R: Cadet Race Cannedy, Col.Alan Fisher, cadets Daniel Malone and Ammber Valverde get pre-flight briefing
Colonel Fisherdescribes upcoming familiarization flight with Ammber Valverde
L to R: Travis McKenzie explains seat belt arrangement to Cadet Soliz
Cadet Captain Ammber Valverde checks out the Cessna Flight Data Pad
Ammber gets instructed on cockpit procedures and instrument pane by Travis McKenzie
Cadets Soliz and Valverde give a ready to go thumbs up, as Pilot TravisMcKenzie gets ready to start the Cessna
Any of the following photographs may be seen in full high resolution by simply clicking on them.
Bob Dockendorf describes the history of the WEAM
Bob described the museum’s history and how it was started by fellow El Pasoans, John and Betty MacGuire, both of whom were avid aviators, 32 years ago.
L to R: Roger Springstead, Charlie Overstreet, and Col. Bob Pitt.
Earlier this year Bob was elected to the El Paso Aviation Hall of fame in recognition of his many years of outstanding service to the local aviation community since taking command of the WEAM.
L to R at right: Bob Dockendorf, Col. Mario Campos, Larry Spradlin, Virg Hemphill, Roger Nichols, and USAF ROTC Cadet and Daedalian Flight Training Scholarship Awardee, Ammber Valverde.
His historical operation had 17,000 visitors this past year, guests who came to enjoy and learn from the museum’s exhibit of some 36 WWII, Korean and Vietnam era “war birds,” many of which are still in flying condition.
L to R: Alan Fisher, Roger Springstead, Charlie Overstreet, Bob Pitt, Scott Drake, Bob Dockendorf, Mario Campos (Flight Captain), Larry Spradlin, Virg Hemphill, and Roger Nichols, past Flight Captain.
In addition to the display of these vintage aircraft, this native of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, oversees a colorful collection of over 50 antique automobiles and motorcycles. Bob has been an enthusiastic car collector for many years, and has also been both a student of aviation and history since he was a young man growing up in the Midwest.
Dave Ginn, who just returned from a quick tour to Iraq, describes his experience.
The WEAM also boasts an intriguing climate-controlled library consisting of thousands of books, periodicals, photographs and other documents, mostly related to aviation, automobiles and history.
Flight Captain, Colonel Mario Campos conducting flight business. To his right, above (left to you) is his guest, former Army aviator and test pilot, Scott Drake.
The War Eagles keeps its admission prices low in order to expose the greatest number of people its educational exhibits and materials. Students are admitted free of charge and veterans, seniors and military personnel are welcomed with a discounted admission price.
Dave Ginn and Alan Fisherlisten to Mr. Dockendorf
While the museum was initially the singular philanthropic enterprise of its founders, the MacGuires,Bobhas recently begun to transition the institution from a privately funded non-profit educational enterprise, to one of a more self-supporting and public nature. Although John MacGuirepassed away in 2001, his wife Bettymaintains almost daily contact with the Executive Director of her beloved museum.
Colonel Norm Rice enjoys his desert while his wife, Ulla, looks on.
The assembled Daedalians, all members of the FASF, and who all also know Bob well, expressed their enthusiastic appreciaton for his presentation. his fourth to this Daedalian Flight since becoming the museum’s CEO.
L to R: Dave Ginnand Alan Fisher
Mr. Dockendorf additionally explained his initiative for a new organization, The Rio Grande Aviation Council. The new group will be devoted to area aviation interests and development, and which will be composed of leaders from area aviation interests such as the CAP, EAA, Daedalians, The Quiet Birdmen, Amigo Airsho – – – and, yes, even the FASF.
L to R: Mario Campos and Jerry Dixon, and (sitting) Virg Hemphill and Roger Nichols
L to R: Virg Hemphill, Roger Nichols, and Ammber Valverde
Roger NicholsandAmmber Valverde
L to R: Scott Drake,Larry Spradlin, and Bob Dockendorf
Ammber Valverde and Virg Hemphill
L to R: Ammber Valverde, Jerry Dixon, Virg Hemphill and Roger Nichols
Ammber Valverde and Alan Fisher
L to R: Scott Drake, Roger Nichols, Virg Hemphill, Larry Spradlin, and Colonel Mario Campos
A F-35 Lightning II test aircraft undergoes a flight check. (Photo courtesy of Lockheed Martin)
All below photos may be seen in higher resolution by simply clicking on them, and the videos all have sound and may be viewed at full screen, also.
The FASF’s Ric Lambart(at left) just briefed the El Paso, TX Daedalian Flight 24 on his 2018 visit to Edwards Air Force Base, CA Flight Test Center and about his introduction to the new Joint Strike Fighter, the Generation 5 new weapons system, the most costly ever purchased by the Pentagon. Here is a depiction of its relative costs:
The F-35 is not just the most expensive warplane ever, it’s the most expensive weapons program ever. But here is exactly how much a single F-35 costs.
A single Air Force F-35A costs a $148 million. One Marine Corps F-35B costs $251 million. A lone Navy F-35C costs a mind-boggling $337 million. Average the three models together, and a “generic” F-35 costs $178 million.
And, you might wonder how much it costs per hour of flight time:
$41,000 per hour.
The U.S. is the first nation to design, manufacture and fly a 5th Generation Jet Fighter. The new F-35, the second “Gen Five” machine, will be operated by thirteen of our closest Allies. It was designed and manufactured by Lockheed Martin, who coincidentally also made its WWII namesake, the P-38 Lightning. It is produced in three (3) models, or “Variants,” as shown above. Notwithstanding its official name, the Lightning II, many of its operational pilots have given it another nickname: The “PANTHER.”
L to R: Colonel Alan Fisher and USAF ROTC Cadet, Ammber Valverde of UTEP and NMSU, chat after the F-35 Power Point presentation. Both are FASF members.
The F-35A model, for the Air Force, the B model, for the Marines and the C Variant, for the USN.
The Marine Corps B Variant can actually take off vertically, just like a helicopter, and can also land vertically. The below short (1:40) video show how this is done:
Here is another short (1:35) video of this USMC F-35B operating off a small WWII type special aircraft carrier, which has neither a catapult nor a slant deck as do all new generations of USN Aircraft carriers. Those features simply are no longer needed for this new USMC F-35 Variant:
Unlike all previous fighters, the F-35 “Lightning II” (named after the high-speed prop-driven Lockheed P-38 Lightning of WWII fame) is unique, not only because of its advanced stealth features, but because it is a flying combat information center, with advanced electronics capabilities never before seen in a new fighter.
It can also fly at supersonic speed for over 170 miles without even engaging its afterburner, which is called flying at “Super Cruise.” The F-35 was designed to work together with the only other 5th Generation fighter, the F-22 “Raptor.” The two ships will work as a team in various combat scenarios, should their help ever be needed.
While the F-22 Raptor is more maneuverable, the F-35 is designed to engage and take out enemy aircraft long before the enemy has even detected the presence of the new flying weapons system. It can carry a wide array of different missiles internally, rather than attached to its fuselage and/or wings. This of course does a great deal to enhance its stealth capabilities.
The Lightning II is actually capable of shooting down enemy aircraft beyond the horizon. The pilots of this futuristic weapons system can actually see in all directions; wherever they look: including directly behind and directly below the fighter. It the pilot looks down between his or her knees, they can see right through the fuselage as though it were invisible.
A number of electronic “eyes” are built right into the ship’s fuselage, and what they “see” is projected right onto the inside of the pilot’s helmet visor – – – a first. These futuristic helmets alone are some $400,000 each! Here is a short (1:28) video about this unique helmet:
Additionally, Inputs from both ground intel and airborne recon craft are all displayed on the F-35’s integrated glass panel touch screen display, again, unlike any of its 4th or 3rd Generation predecessors.
Much like the mysterious Area 51, the existence of which was never even recognized by the Air Force until relatively recently, Edwards Flight Test Center also presents a similar air of mystery, since access to it is so highly restricted.
While on active duty with the Air Force, this reporter often flew in the vicinity of Edwards, but was always kept at a substantial distance, because the air space around the Base was so highly restricted. As a result, this recent visit to the facility was anticipated with no small amount of excitement.
The local Daedalian Flight 56, at Edwards, invited a number of fellow Daedalians from around the country to make this special visit, so that they might learn about the United State’s newest and most advanced airborne weapons system. The 461st Flight Test Squadron, under the command of Lt. Colonel Tucker “Cinco” Hamilton (at right), played official host to the visiting Daedalians. An AFROTC graduate, Col. Hamilton has flown 30 aircraft from a zeppelin to a MiG-15 to an A-10, and, and managed the entire $3 Billion Joint Strike Fighter Developmental Test program out of the Pentagon for all three services. Cinco started his Air Force career as an operational F-15C pilot.
LATE BREAKING USAF NEWS: An officer at Edwards Air Force Base in California last month became the first female test pilot tofly an F-35. See below:
(L-R) Maj. Rachael Winiecki, the first female F-35 test pilot, and Airman 1st Class Heather Rice, her crew chief.
L to R: Colonel Mario Campos, Flight 24’s Commander, who operated the Power Point Show, and our top Aviation News Scout, Virgil Hemphill. Both are FASF members.
And below, is a final video (2:00 long) showing the F-35 in a number of different combat scenarios and roles as it completed its final test program:
Lambart also gave the history of how Edwards Air Force Base was named, as seen immediately below:
USAAF Captain Glen Edwards.
L to R: Ric Lambart and Laura Kelly, both Daedalians, pose in front of one of Edward’s test F-35’s . Kelly was an Army Helicopter Pilot.
An old archived photo showing some of the Base’s famous Pilots, including Chuck Yeager at the center, with his wife, Glennis, after whom he named his rocket ship.. Yeager was the fist man to break the sound barrier – all at Edwards.
“Pancho” Barnes, (center below) who owned the famous bar and resort, “The Happy Bottom Riding Club,” was one of America’s most famous female aviators in her own right. Aside from being one of Hollywood’s best stunt pilots, she was actually the organizer of the Hollywood film industry’s first Stunt Pilot’s Union. It was at the “Riding Club” that her good friend, Chuck Yeager managed to break some of his ribs just before becoming the first human being to break the mythically impossible Sound Barrier in the Rocket Research Ship, the X-1, which bore his beloved wife’s name, “Glamorous Glennis.” Of course Yeager didn’t tell anyone about his broken ribs for fear of missing this extraordinary opportunity to make history. This particular incident is an episode in 1983 smash hit movie about the early astronauts: “The Right Stuff.” Yeager is played by actor Sam Shepard. Pancho’s Bar and Grill was the favorite hangout of all those heroic early aviators who daily risked life and limb test flying our country’s most advanced new aircraft. The below photograph was for sale at Iconic Auctions, in 2017, at the first offer of $1,000.
L to R: Pioneer Female Pilots: Debie Stanford, Pancho Barnes and Amelia Earhart.
Immediately below, is the 2009 award-winning documentary film’s trailer about the Barnes’Riding Club and the famed aviatrix herself. It is 2:03 long: