President Wes Bakerof the 555 Chapter of the EAA, at Las Cruces International Airport, arrives in his Vintage Cessna 140 for the meeting.
This past weekend, the RGAC (Rio Grande Aviation Council) held its Fall quarterly meeting at the WEAM (War Eagles Air Museum) at the Doña Ana County International Jetport in Santa Teresa, New Mexico.
In the words of one of the RGAC’s original two founders, Bob Dockendorf, “This newly formed organization is designed and purposed to improve and enhance communication between the many diverse groups that are involved in the regional aviation community.”
Thirteen (13) representatives of the some twenty odd member aviation industry concerned organizations attended. The two group photos below show those representatives who were able to attend this past Saturday.
All this post’s photos can be seen in hi-resolution and full size by simply clicking on them!
The RGAC’s governing member organizations include the following:
Amigo Air Sho
Cielo Dorado HO Association
Civil Air Patrol – Squadron 215 – El Paso
Civil Air Patrol – Squadron 24 – Las Cruces
Dust Devil Flying Club
EAA Chapter 1570 – Santa Teresa, NM
EAA Chapter 555 – Las Cruces, NM
El Paso Aviation Association
El Paso Remote Control Association
First Aero Squadron Foundation
Horizon City Remote Control Flyers
Las Cruces Aviators Flying Club
Mesilla Valley Model Airplane Club
Ninety-Nines – El Paso Chapter
Order of Daedalians – Flight 24 – El Paso
USAF Academy Association
USAF JROTC, Las Cruces HS, NM
USAF ROTC Det. 505, UTEP
USAF ROTC Detachment 505 NMSU
War Eagles Air Museum (WEAM)
L to R seated: Tania Privette, and WEAM Director and one of the RCAC founders, Bob Dockendorf, and EAA’s John Signorino work on meeting’s details.
Other profit-oriented or governmental organizations involved in local area aviation such as the Airfield Managers of KDNA (Dona Ana Jetport); LRU (Las Cruces International Airport); El Paso International Airport; Fabens Airport (Texas); The Commanders of Army Aviation’s Biggs Field and Holloman Air Force Base; Director of the UTEP Aero Apace Department; Managers of the Tenants at the New Mexico International Space Port and the Director of NMSU’s Physical Sciences Lab, along with the Elephant Butte Irrigation District . . . are engaged as members of the non-voting class of associate membership in the Council.
The actual governing of the Council is primarily determined by the non-profit educational aviation consumer oriented groups active in the region.
L to R front row: John Signoriino, Tania Privette,Ric Lambart– Back Row: Tracy Short, Aurora Navarro, Daniel Barcena, Mike LeGendre, Col. Mario Campos, Wes Baker, Eric Gensheimer, Todd Pasont, Bob Dockendorf, and Juan Brito.
Below, the group of representatives also gathered by the “Women in Aviation“ Display inside the WEAM main hangar (see below photo).
L to R: Ric Lambart, Aurora Navarro, Daniel Barcena, Tracy Short, Tania Privette, Mike LeGendre, John Signorino, Col. Mario Campos, Eric Gensheimer, Todd Pasont, Juan Brito, Wes Baker, and Bob Dockendorf – we don’t know the helmeted manikin’s name.
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.
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.