Mike Epp, at left, is the new Director of the War Eagles Air Museum (WEAM) at nearby Santa Teresa International Jet-Port. When long-time FASF member Robert “Bob” Dockendorfretired last year we all wondered who would fill his large shoes as Director of the museum. The mystery is now over: It is Mike Epp. Mikewas the guest presenter at last week’s monthly meeting of Daedalian Flight 24 in El Paso, Texas.
Still showing a less than average turnout as the result of the long shut-down from the pandemic, Mike still had a good sized Daedalian group assembled to witness his show, as the following photos reveal (click on any photo to see in full resolution):
L to R: Larry Spradlin and Mike Epppose for our photographer as the Daedalians and guests arrive.
L to R above: Charlieand Mayre Sue Overstreet, Col. Bob Pitt (back to camera), Larry Spradlin, Julie Pitt. guest Mary Barnes, and Colonel Melissa Fisher.
L to R: Mike Epp in discussion with an old friend, Flight Treasurer, Virg Hemphill
L to R: Colonels Mario Campos, previous Flight Captain, and Melissa Fisher.
L to R: Jerry Dixon, Col. Mario Campos, Larry Spradlin, Virg Hemphill (his back) Mike Epp, Ulla Rice and Pete Brandon. Flight Captain, Col. Alan Fisher is at podium getting ready to call the meeting to order.
L to R:Col. Fisher, Roger Springstead, Col. Fisher, Mary Barnes, Charlie Overstreet, Julie Pitt with Col. Pittgiving his Flight Adjutant’s report.
Colonel Alan Fisherasks Charlie Overstreet, a long-time Docent at the WEAM, to introduce Mike Epp.
Charlie Overstreetintroducing the meeting’s speaker, Mike Epp.
Charlie describing Mike’s background.
Presenter Mike Eppstarts his show.
Mikeproceeds to describe the WEAM and its plans for the future, with F-51 Fighter of WWII fame on screen.
L to R: Mike, Alan Fisher, Charlie Overstreet, Melissa Fisher, Mayre Sue Overstreet, Col. Bob and Julie Pitt, and Roger Springstead.
L to R: Mike explains the antique car collection, also a feature of his WEAM as Fishers listen.
L to R: Mike Epp, Julie Pitt (back to camera) Melissa and Alan Fisher, Col. Bob Pitt,Charlie and Mayre Sue Overstreet. On screen is one of the WEAM displays, a Cessna T-37 jet trainer.
Mike describes some of the museum’s most unique aircraft, such as the Russian MIG fighter depicted on the screen.
Mike tells the audience of his career in aviation, and how it began at an early age. After High School he joined the Army and served as an Avionics Technician in Germany. After four years service in the Army, he used the GI Bill to earn his degree to become licensed as an Aircraft and Powerplant (A&P) specialist, a skill he used in his much loved General Aviation and in its Corporate Aviation world. In 1989 he took a position with the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) as an A&P mechanic and as an Avionics Technician, where he was stationed in South America. After five years in that capacity, he left the Agency to join the Border Patrol as an Officer in San Diego, CA. After three years with the Border Patrol, he switched back to the DEA again, but his time as an Agent in his much beloved El Paso, Texas. In 2014 he retired from the Agency and became a volunteer Docent at the WEAM, and ultimately, after seven years, its Director.
L to R: Flight Captain, Col. Fisherlistens to questions asked of the Director by Charlie Overstreet as his wife, Mayre Sue listens.
The Daedalians and guests listen intently as Mike brings his presentation to a close.
A very pleased Mike Eppgratefully accepts Colonel Fisher’sDaedalian gift as token of appreciation for his time and effort.
After the successful and informative presentation,Mikeand Col. Fisher pose for our Photographer.
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.
ALL PHOTOS IN THIS POST MAY BE SEEN* IN HI RESOLUTION BY SIMPLY CLICKING ON THEM
This Saturday, five active FASF members were again invited to join the base’s 49th Wing as it graduated the latest group of 11 new USAF Lockheed F-16 “Viper” fighter pilots, all members of the 8th Fighter Squadron’s Class 19-CBF.
Attending the evening’s celebratory dinner were Daedalian Flight 24’s Flight Captain, Colonel Mario Campos, it’s Adjutant, Colonel Bob Pitt,Ric Lambart,Colonel Miles “Cowboy” Crowell, and AFROTC Cadet Major, Ammber Valverde, Daedalian Scholarship recipient and currently the youngest member of the FASF. Ammber is a Junior at both the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) and New Mexico State University’s (NMSU) AFROTC Detachment 505.
A ‘Blue Team‘ F-16 from the 388th Wing, 421st Fighter Squadron, the “Black Widows“, flies high above the Nevada desert during a training exercise. Taking a break from the action below the clouds, this F-16 from Hill Air Force Base prepares to take on fuel from an awaiting KC-135 Tanker from the Washington State Air National Guard.
11 F-16 Viper student pilots graduated from the 8th Fighter Squadron’s F-16 Basic Course, during a ceremony at Club Holloman, Saturday, December 14th, 2019.
Graduating students, parents, wives, faculty and guest line up to enter the dining room for the graduation dinner.
The F-16 B-Course is a 37-week long course required for all student pilots. On average, B-Course students log 70 hours of flying time over 59 sorties in addition to roughly 245-hours of academic training and 69-hours of flight simulator training.
The dessert table had the class cake appropriately designated.
The 49th Wing is the Air Force’s premiere F-16 and MQ-9 Reaper aircrew training wing. Graduates of the F-16 B-course will be reassigned to operational flying units throughout the world as members of the combat Air Force.
L to R; Public Affairs Office Photographer, Staff Sgt.Christine Groening, listens to Col. Cowboy Crowell describe his tour in Vietnam conflict as Colonel Mario Campos listens. Both men are active FASF members.
Well into its middle age (it was 1st flown 45 years ago in 1974) the “Fighting Falcon” (it’s official original name, which has been almost thoroughly replaced by the more popular and honored name – The “Viper” – one assigned to it by its many pilots over all those years). As seen immediately below, the Viper remains the chosen exhibition jet for the renown USAF Thunderbirds, which have used its extreme maneuverability in their airshows for 36 straight years.
The above video shows some typical operational F-16 Squadrons carrying out their missions including some hi-resolution cockpit footage.
Colonel Bob Pitt and AFROTC Major, Ammber Valverde talking about her upcoming career in the USAF and of her intent to also become a fighter pilot. Both are active members of the FASF.
Here are the 11 proud members of the graduating Class19-CBF:
Capt. Justin Goar; 1st Lt. Seth Bolon; 1st Lt. Alexander Drakoulakis; 1st Lt. Austin Gillis: 1st Lt. Michael Kelvin; 1st Lt. Tyler Olson; 1st Lt. Colin Ruane; 1st Lt. Landon Santori; 1st Lt. David Schmitz; 1st Lt. Domenick Stumpo; and 1st Lt. Zachary Tarbox.
PAO Staff Sergeant Christine Groening and Colonel Bob Pitt.
Originally designed and manufactured by General Dynamics Corporation and then licensed to for production by Lockheed Martin Corporation, the newest model of the fighter was first put into action just four years ago. It is the newest variant of F-16 fighter jet, known as the F-16V “Viper.” The F-16’s cost the USAF about $38 million each – – – and it cost the USAF about $3 million to train each of these F-16 fighter pilots to master this nimble 4th generation fighter.
Lt. Col. Miles “Cowboy” Crowell and Cadet Major Ammber Valverde.
8th Squadron Commander, Lt. Colonel “Harm” Finch, addresses the audience to help kick of the ceremonies.
PAO Staff Sergeant Christine Groeningin action.
L to R: Col. Bob Pitt, LC Miles “Cowboy” Crowell,and Cadet Major Ammber Valverde
8th Tactical Fighter Squadron F-16 Flight Instructor,Capt. Brittany “Blitz” Trimble, who organized the entire event, addresses the audience.
View of North part of Dining Hall at the Holloman Club, with (L to R) in foreground, Cols. Bob Pitt and Miles Crowell
View to the SW in Holloman Club’s Banquet Hall. In foreground (L to R) are Cols. Mario Campos, Bob Pitt and Miles Crowell.
Event’s Guest Speaker, Brig. General Joseph McFall,Asst. Deputy Commander, U.S. Air Forces Central Command, and Asst. Vice Commander, 9th Air Expeditionary Task Force.
Graduating Student, Capt. Justin “Hamboar” Goar, presents the class’ thank-you to Guest Speaker, General McFall.
L to R: Captain Justin “Hamboar” Goar, one of the graduating students, presents Capt. Brittany Trimble,with a thank-you gift from the Squadron and its students for having masterminded and planned the entire graduation event – a complex program which unfolded without a hitch!
L to R: Captain Goar, of the 19-CBF graduating Class, presents THE BEST INSTRUCTOR AWARD to Major Locke.
FASF member and Daedalian Flight 24 Captain, Col. Mario Camposdescribes Daedalian History and the Flight’s Leadership Award.
L to R: Cols. Bob Pitt and Miles Crowell along with Cadet Major Ammber Valverde, watch the Daedalian Award presentation by Col. Campos.
Col. Camposcongratulates Leadership Award Trophy winner, Lt. Colin “Huds” Ruane, who will be in his new active duty assignment at Kunsan Air Base in South Korea in a few weeks.
Veteran Viet Nam Fighter Pilot, FASF and Daedalian Flight 24 member, Col. “Cowboy” Crowell presents the coveted “River Rat” trophy to Lt. Austin “Weed” Gillis, who will report to his duty station at Ft. Worth Air Reserve Base in Texas after this graduation ceremony. The “River Rat” award is bestowed upon the student with whom his fellow student fighter pilots would most want to have flying on their wing in combat. The river in the title is the “Red River” and the North Vietnamese Valley through which it flows. The pilots who flew in that theater during Vietnam were affectionately called the “River Rats.”
The 49th Wing Commander, Colonel Joseph Campo (L) presents the Distinguished Student Graduate Trophy to Lt. Domenick “ROK” Stumpo, who will report to Osan Air Base, South Korea, in January 2020.
Again, Col. Campo (L) presents the same “Distinguished Graduate” award to its dual winner, Lt. Seth “Faded” Bolon, who will be reporting to Kunsan Air Base in South Korea for his 1st post graduation duty assignment.
FASF members, (L TO R): Cols. Mario Campos, Bob Pitt, and “Cowboy” Crowell and Ammber Valverde, applaud the graduates as they received their diplomas.
L to R: Cols. Mario Campos, and Bob Pitt,Daedalian Awardee, Lt. “Huds” Ruane, Col. Miles Crowelland River Rat Awardee, Lt. “Weed” Gillis, and Ric Lambart.Photo courtesy of PAO Staff Sergeant, Christine Groening
L to R: Ammber Valverde, Capt. Brittany Trimbleand 49th Wing Commander, Col. Joseph Campo
L to R: Ammber Valverde, Capt. Brittany Trimble, Cols. Bob Pittand Joseph Campo.
Ammber Valverde (L) discussing USAF flight training program with Capt. Brittany “Blitz” Trimble.
Ammber is a Junior at UTEP and with the NMSU AFROTC Detachment 505. She wants also become a fighter pilot.
This was a good opportunity for Ammber to learn what’s ahead for her as she gets prepared for USAF active duty.
Ammberand Capt. Trimble continue to cover Ammber’s future prospects.
Colonel Campoand LC Crowell reliving some of their combat experiences. Col. Crowell, an FASF member and a Flight 24 Daedalian, is now retired from active duty with the USAF, and works at Holloman as a private contractor.
Col. Campos (L) talking with a Master Sergeant assigned to the 8th Fighter Squadron.
Captain Brittany “Blitz” Trimble and Cadet Major Ammber Valverdepose by the 8th Tactical Fighter Squadron’s official Emblem.
The Viper is broadly used throughout the world by powers friendly to the United States, and still remains the preferred aircraft for the world famous USAF Demonstration Team, the “Thunderbirds.“
The Oct. 16 flight in Fort Worth, Texas, marked the first time the venerable fourth-generation fighter flew with an advanced radar like those found on the fifth-generation fighters F-22 and F-35, according to a press release this week from Lockheed.
The F-16V includes an APG-83 active electronically scanned array scalable agile beam radar made by Northrop Grumman Corp. The company also makes so-called active electronically scanned array radars for the F-22 Raptor and the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.
The new radar steers beams electronically — without moving parts — and redirects them from one location to another, according to the Government Accountability Office. Unlike a passive version, the radar spreads signals over multiple radio frequencies, making them difficult to detect and jam, and allowing the aircraft employing the technology to remain stealthy.
The APG-83 “fire control radar provides 5th Generation air-to-air and air-to-ground radar capability,” Lockheed said in the release. It “will deliver a quantum leap in capability for the venerable F-16.”
The F-16V advanced avionics configuration also includes a new cockpit center pedestal display, a modernized mission computer and a high-capacity Ethernet data bus, according to Lockheed.
Yet the upgrades aren’t slated to hit the U.S. fleet of more than 1,000 F-16s. The Air Force last year canceled a plan to upgrade some 340 of the single-engine fighters with such enhancements due to budget limitations and instead decided to fund other programs, including the F-35.
So Taiwan is set to become the first country to begin flying the F-16V Viper.
Lockheed, the world’s largest defense contractor, faces competition from the British defense giant, BAE Systems Plc, in the international market to upgrade many of the 3,000 F-16s now flying in foreign armed forces.
Of those, roughly 1,000 are more than 15 years old — making them prime candidates for enhancements to avoid obsolescence. While the F-16 won’t ever compete in the skies with newer jets like the F-22 or F-35, upgrading fourth-generation aircraft is far cheaper than buying fifth-generation fighters.
* If you would like to have any of these photos, feel free to download them from the hi-res (larger size view), after you click on it as it appears in the actual post/story.
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.
The following photos were taken at the annual Christmas Luncheon for Daedalian Flight 24 at the El Paso Club, All members of the Flight are active members of the FASF. The guest of honor and presenter at the event was Army Aviator, General Laura Yeager(no relation to the famous American Test Pilot, Chuck Yeager!), who briefed the members on her mission at Fort Bliss as Commander of the JOINT TASK FORCE NORTH. All of the below photos are in high-resolution and can be more fully appreciated by simply clicking on them.
FASF members, Col. Bob Pitt(L) chats with (at center) Aviation Hall of Famer, Bob Dockendorf, at Daedallian holiday event. AT the podium, at right, in the background is Flight Captain Roger Nichols.
Daedalians and guests prepare for General Yeager’s presentation . . . Her staff is at left: Aide de Camp, Capt. Sperry,and USAF Sergeant Oliver. The General’s Command is a Joint Command, composed of all the military services.
L to R: Julie and Col. Bob Pitt,Roger Nicholsand Bob Dockendorf
L to R at wall: Alma Villezcas, Virg and Jenine Hemphill, Lt. Pfluger, David Ginn, Alan and Melissa Fisher, and forefront, Julie Pitt, District Court Judge Angie Juarez Barilland her husband, Patrick Barill
L to R: Loading up their buffet lunch, Bob Dockendorf,Judy Campos,Alan and Melissa Fisher
Brig. General Laura L Yeager opens her presentation
General Yeagerexplains how her Command coordinates with many other Federal Agencies in its mission.
Col. Bob Pitt and General Yeager
L to R: Outgoing Flight Captain, Roger Nichols, Gen. Yeager, Sgt. Oliver, Capt. Sperry and Col. Pitt
L to R: Gen. Yeager chatting with Cadet Ammber Valverde, the youngest FASF member and UTEP student.
Col. Alan Fisherspeaking with Cadet Ammber Valverde
L to R: Ammber Valverde, Gen. Yeager, and Alma Villezcas, FASF Treasurer
The following photos and the video are of the Civil Air Patrol Squadron 24 Christmas party in Las Cruces, NM.
L to R: Michelle Phillips, William Benziger Juanita and Robert Macklin, Alan Fisher, and Walter Dutton, at whose home the event was held.
In front row kneeling or sitting are, L to R: Alan and Melissa Fisher, Ric Lambart,Walter and Barbara Dutton, and in the rear: Alma Villezcas, Travis McKenzie, Jim and Luann McConnell, Damien and Carol Blaschka, Robert and Juanita Macklin, William Benziger, Michelle Phillips, and Michael LeGendre.
Major Natalie Franc, a native of Glenhrothes, Scotland, is the current commanding officer of the El Paso, TX Civil Air Patrol (CAP) “Composite” Squadron. As distinguished from a regular squadron, a Composite Squadron includes a CAP Cadet Corps, along with its Senior Members.
Natalie began her career with the CAP when living in Hawaii after having been in the Royal Air Force (RAF), in which she enlisted when 18 years old, after having first served, since she was 13, in the Air Training Corps of Great Britain. In the RAF she was assigned to Intelligence, where she used her skills as a linguist with a fluency in the Russian Language.
When on active duty with the RAF she met and married her husband, Michael, who was also in the Intelligence branch of the U. S. Army. When he was transferred back to the U.S. in 2002, she moved there with him. Before finally settling in El Paso, Texas, Natalie had lived in Maryland, Hawaii, Arizona, and Germany. As a civilian, in addition to her work with the CAP, she has worked in various capacities in Emergency Services and has been a volunteer with Army Family Programs and has also been an Armed Forces Caseworker. Natalie now runs her own business in El Paso.
The Major showed a custom prepared Power Point slide show to the Daedalian Flight members, who are also members of the FASF. The following photographs of this event are all in high-resolution, and can be seen full-size by simply clicking on them as they appear below.
L to R: Major Natalie Franc, Colonels Mario Campos and Bob Pitt.
L to R: FASF Aviation News Scout, Virgil Hemphill, Colonels Norman Rice (back to camera) and Alan Fisher. Colonel Fisher is also an active volunteer pilot for the Las Cruces, NM Squadron of the CAP.
L to R: Mark Pfluger, Active Duty Army Rotary Wing Pilot from Ft. Bliss’ Biggs Army Airfield, and his mentor, Flight Captain, Roger Nichols.
L to R: Maj. Franc, Col. Camposand his wife, Judy, Julie and Col. Bob Pitt, Retired USAF Colonels, Melissa and Alan Fisher, Virg Hemphill and Roger Springstead (USNR Ret.) Anselmo Rocha, Assistant to Col. Norman and Mrs. Ulla Rice, Jerry Dixon (USMC), Dave Ginn, Charlie Overstreet, Jim Brandon, Col. Pete Brandon’s visiting brother, and just out of camera range to Pete’s left is his guest, Skip Orrell.
Major Franc adjusts computer projector . . . as she explains that the CAP has the largest single-engined fleet of Cessna Aircraft in the world. The powered aircraft total is about 560, and she reported that the CAP also owns 47 glider-sailplanes, which are used to train Cadet members, along with several Hot Air Balloons, which select Cadets are also taught to operate and fly.
The Major explains the National CAP organization’s composition . . . which inlcudes the Continental U.S., Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico.
In this set of slides, Major Franc gives some examples of the CAP role in Search and Rescue Operatrions (“SAR” Ops).
L to R: Melissa and Alan Fisherand Virg Hemphill listen to Maj. Francexplaining her El Paso TX CAP operation . . .
Here the CAP Commander explains the role of the CAP in disaster Relief Operations, noting her own squadron’s heavy involvement in Hurricane Harvey, which struck East Texas, in particular, the Houston area.
In this slide the Major explains that the CAP mission also includes other roles in addition to Search and Rescue and Disater Relief . . . pointing out that her squadron plays an important role in Border and National Air Space Security.
Here Nataliedescribes the numerouis mission qualifications in which CAP members work throughout the Squadrons.
And here she shows the Daedalians and their guests how the CAP stays in constant radio contact with its mission personnel and aircraft during operations . . .
Major Franc sums up her presentation and takes questions from the audience . . .
L to R: Major Francand Flight Captain Roger Nicholsstudy one of the slides shown during the presentation.
L to R: Col. Bob Pitt, Major Natalie Franc, Flight Captain Roger Nichols, and Colonel Campos, who invited the Major to make the presentation . . .
L to R: Flght Captain Nicholsand newly inducted Daedalian, Dave Ginn, and Colonel Bob Pitt.
Johntakes in more of the spectacular view to the South over El Paso, from the El Paso Club’s picture windows. The Daedalian Flight meets once a month to listen to educational presentations from local leaders. John did a great deal of flying as a young man with his Dentist father, who owned a Cessna 182 Skylane. Today, he regularly flies drones over SW New Mexico and shoots airborne videos, which can be seen on YouTube.
Mr. Readexplains some of the little known background history behind the involvement of Germany in the Mexican Revolution during the early part of the last Century.
Daedalian members, all also FASF members, listen to Read’s description of the Expedition and why Pancho Villa may have rationalized or justified his attack on his former ally, the United States.
Johnexplains some strange and largely unknow history about the infamous Pancho VillaRaid on Columbus, which gave rise to the birth of American Air Power, when the First Aero Squadron launched its operations into Mexico in pursuit of Pancho Villa from Columbus.
Another view of John, as he explains how the Germans tried to convince Pancho Villa and the Mexicans to make war on the United States, in order to keep it too occupied to bother getting involved in WWI in Europe. Notice, to John’s left stganding by the window, one of the regular Mexican-American Club waiters, who was especially interested in learning things he’d never before heard about the Mexican Revolution – – – and Villa’s Raid on Columbus. He expressed his appreciation to John after the meeting.
John shows the Daedalians a copy of a “smoking gun” Telegram, sent by the Germans, to Mexico’s Revolutionary leadership.
At far left, FASF member and Daedalian, Charlie Overstreet (USAF), asks questions about the German involvement with the Mexicans during 1916 -1917 period. L to R after Charlie: Dave Ginn (US Army), Colonel Mario Campos (USAF) andColonel Bob Pitt (USAF).
At the end of his presentation, Colonel Bob Pitt (right) gives a token of appreciation to Mr. Read for taking the time to make the special presentation. To the left above is Flilght Captain, Roger Nichols, a former Air Force pilot. Colonel Pitt , also a USAF veteran, was wounded while flying a jet fighter in combat over Vietnam during that conflict.
Yesterday, at the El Paso Club in downtown El Paso, Texas, FASF Airfield Site Chairman, Bill Madden,of Las Cruces, NM, gave a special Power Point Presentation to the General Frank Nichols Daedalian Fight 24 monthly meeting. Almost 100% of the Flight are long time active FASF members. Bill and his Airfield Site team have worked for years with their metal detectors and GPS gear scanning the Airfield in order to determine the correct place on the Field to erect our replicated 1916 Jenny Flight Line and its hangar facilities. Without his team’s tireless efforts we’d have no idea of precisely where to locate the old Flight Line. Click on any photo below to see it in full resolution/size.
Former US Military Pilots, L to R: Col. Norman Rice, Roger Springstead, Jerry Dixon, Col. Bob Pitt, and meeting’s Speaker, Bill Madden, FASF Airfield Site Chairman, choosing their meals for the luncheon event.
Bill Madden opens his presentation with a slide showing his motorized glider in front of his Las Cruces NM Hangar.
Screen has photo of (L to R) Mark Drexler, Bill Madden, and Fritz Wagoner, the 1916 Army Airfield Archeological Team, with their metal detecting gear in hand, posing right on the FAS 1916 historic Airfield.
Bill explains how the team has marked all of their findings on the Airfield Site’s Satellite Map. Artifacts are identified and color-coded based upon the type of remnant discovered. The patterns will help determine the correct location for the replication of the old 1916 Airfield’s Flight Line (hangars and repair facilities).
Bill talks about the type of maintenance equipment the Army’s First Aero Squadron had to accomplish their work. The 4 wheel-drive truck shown has an engine hoist on its rear bed. The FAS mechanics above are seen hoisting one of the Jenny’s Curtiss built OX-5 V-8 cylinder engines.
Billwound up his presentation showing him airborne in his powered single seat glider. He has owned and flown a number of general aviation class airplanes over the years and has actually personally built some of them. Beside being a professional engineer, Billis a licensed FAA Air-frame and Power Plant Mechanic. Billbelongs to and has been an officer of the Las Cruces, NM EAA Chapter 555, and has also belonged to the famous EAA chapter 1, at the Flabob Airport in California.
After the meeting, Billtalked about his work with FASF Aviation News Scout and former USAF and Airline Pilot, Virg Hemphill at left.
Above, L to R, are Bill, Daedaliansand FASF members, Ric Lambart,and Colonel Bob Pitt, who have just awarded Madden with his gift from the Flight, in appreciation for his having shared his time and expertise with them.