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:
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Dr. McGee(Left) is a Senior Research Associate at the NASA Center for Aerospace Exploration and Technology Research at the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP).
Retired from the U.S. Air Force, Dr. McGee served as an F-16 pilot, including multiple tours and Mission Commander experience. He was a Command Pilot, a Standards and Evaluation Pilot, and spent four years as an instructor pilot in the F-16 division of the Air Force Fighter Weapons School. He is also a Daedalian.
At a recent Daedalian Society meeting at the El Paso Club in downtown El Paso, Dr. McGee, most recently with California’s famous RAND Corporation, helped bring the Daedalians up to speed on UTEP’s latest Aero-Space developments and future plans.
All the local Daedalians are former or current military aviators as well as FASF members. Dr. McGeeeducated the Daedalian Flight about the new UTEP Program.
He observed that the recently retired former U.S. Secretary of the Air Force,Heather Wilson, PhD, is the new UTEP President, and is, as well, an instrument rated general aviation pilot in her own right. Her father was a commercial pilot. Ms. Wilson graduated with honors from the USAF Academy and served as a U.S. Congresswoman from New Mexico. Her unique background with its focus on aviation might help explain why Dr. Wilson has such a deep personal interest in helping this innovative new space-oriented program become airborne.
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Before the meeting began, members and guests socialized. Here, L to R are: Mario Campos, Mike McGee, Jerry Dixon, Mark Pfluger, Charlie Overstreet, and, seated, Schelmo Rocha, assistant to Colonel Norman Rice
L to R Standing: Roger Springstead, Dr. McGee, Mario Campos, Jerry Dixon, Mark Pfluger, Charlie Overstreet, Josianna and Gerry Wingett – Seated: Mr. Rocha, Norman Rice and his daughter, Timbiya Rice
L to R: Charlie Overstreetand Col. Mario Campos
L to R: Dr. Mike McGee and Jerry Dixon.
L to R: Mark Pfluger, and Jerry Wingett
L to R: Col. Camposand Flight Chaplain, Roger Springsteadget ready to start the meeting.
Colonel Campos opens the meeting.
Dr. McGeebegins his presentation.
Dr. McGee, explains the new air space challenges presented by the explosion in the numbers of drones in the U.S.
Dr. McGeepoints out the serious air safety challenges posed by the fact that Airline Departures at Airports are well published in advance, presenting serious security threats from ill-intentioned drone operators.
Dr. McGeedescribes the additional aviation security threat posed by the ability of large numbers of airborne drones to be “swarmed” – creating virtual “clouds” of them in the air space.
Presentation ended, Flight Capt. Col. Campos presents Dr. McGee with a gift in thanks for his educational program
L to R: Dr. McGee posed by the Daedalian Seal with Vice Flight Capt. Ric Lambart and Flt. Captain Colonel Campos.
Below is Dr. McGee’s entire presentation, provided here because of its widespread implications for public safety in the new drone age. The video is 41:47 in length.
(This video of Mr. McGee’s presentation was removed on September 27, 2022, at his request.)
Most know Bob as the Executive Director of WEAM, but there is more you may not know:
Not just for his accomplishments as Director of WEAM, where, as its Executive Director, he has taken the historical facility to a new level of admirable excellence, but he was a key founder among the few local area aviators who started the highly successful new EAA chapter 1570 at the Dona Ana County International Jetport.
He also directed the start of the John and Betty MacGuire student Pilot scholarship as part of that same EAA 1570 project. This student contribution provides both an aircraft and flight instruction for young adults up to and including their first solo flight.
Those are but just a few of his aviation contributions to our local communities. Besides his personal membership in the FASF, Bob’s beloved WEAM is one of our proud Local Business Supporters, too.
Here is a quote from the official Aviation Hall of Fame Award plaque created in Bob’s Honor:
Even in his childhood days, Robert J. (Bob) Dockendorf had a passion for history, aviation and museums. Born and educated in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, several job promotions and opportunities eventually brought him, his wife Mary and their family to El Paso, Texas.
He served proudly as the Squadron Leader of the Sun Country Squadron of the Commemorative Air Force as well as an Officer of Chapter 1570 of the Experimental Aircraft Association.
While completing his career as a property and casualty insurance broker, he served in a professional advisory capacity to the newly formed War Eagles Air Museum. When he retired from his successful insurance career, he was offered the opportunity and challenge to serve as the War Eagles Air Museum’s Executive Director.
Being armed with aircraft, automobiles, memorabilia, and a deep desire to succeed, he led the staff and volunteers at War Eagles to the accomplishment of the mission of the museum, “To Educate and Encourage,” paying specific attention to youth. All those efforts helped bring new life and energy to the Dona Ana County International Jetport at Santa Teresa, New Mexico, adjacent to El Paso, Texas.
The following photographs were taken this past weekend at the ceremony and Banquet held in Bob’shonor, whereBob was inducted into the El Paso Texas Aviation Hall of Fame.
L to R: John Keithly, President of the EAA Chapter 1570 chats with Virg Hemphill, FASF Aviation News Scout and Volunteer Docent at WEAM. To Virg’s right in background, is FASF member and also Docent, Charlie Overstreet.
L to R: Docent Charlie Overstreettalking with Mario Campos, also a Docent at WEAM. Both are members of the FASF.
L to R: Ammber Valverde,Daedalian Aviation Scholarship winner, engaged in a lively discussion with her table mate, former El Paso, TX Mayor and renown local Aviator, Suzie Azar, who is also one of the FASF’s Advisors. Ammber is a Junior at the University of Texas El Paso (UTEP) and also a member of the New Mexico State University (NMSU) AFROTC. She plans to be an Air Force Pilot.
L to R: at the Daedalian Society Table is: Virg and Jenine Hemphill, Roger Nichols, Mayre Sue and Charlie Overstreet, and Mario and Judy Campos. All are active FASF members.
The El Paso CAP Table with two prior Hall of Fame awardees, Roland and Debbie Torres, along with their Cadet Honor Guard: From (R to L), Cadet Captain Hunter Spierin Dress Blue uniform, and C/CMSgt Jonathan Herl, C/Amn Eryal Martinez, C/MSgt Daniel Erives, , and C/A1C Vida Rote. This is the group of CAP Cadets who conducted the Flag Ceremonies at the opening and closing of the event.
L to R: Virg Hemphill, Honored Hall of Famer, Bob Dockendorf, Roger Nichols, and Jenine Hemphill.
Bob Dockendorf after accepting the Hall of Fame Award, speaking to the guests.
View of the tables and attendees at the Banquet.
Guest speaker and aviation enthusiast, “Doppler” Dave Spielman, long time Chief Meteorologist for the ABC Network TV Channel in El Paso, TX, KVIA.
Ammber Valverde with Daedalian Flight Captain, Roger Nichols. Roger’s flight is helping mentor Ms. Valverde
Amberposes with Mr. Dockendorfalong with Laura Ditlevson, former winner of the EAA MacGuire Student Pilot Scholarship.
Ammberintently listens to former FASF Trustee and present FASF Advisor and Chair of the Dona Ana County International Jetport’s Board of Directors,Col. John Orton. An ex USAF JAG officer, John continues to fly his own Experimental Aircraft.