Tag Archives: El Paso Aviation Association

Rio Grande Aviation Council – Kickoff Organization Meeting

Organizational Meeting Title on Display Screens at WEAM

The brainchild of two local aviation leaders, Bob Dockendorf and 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.

Bob and 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.

Attending were: Both the El Paso (215) and Las Cruces (24) Civil Air Patrol (CAP) Squadrons; both the New Mexico State University (NMSU) Air Force ROTC and AROTC units from the University of Texas, El Paso (UTEP); The El Paso Daedalians Flight; The El Paso Aviation Association; the El Paso Chapter of the Ninety-Nines (International Organization of Women Pilots); both chapters of the EAA, from Las Cruces (555), and Santa Teresa (1570), NMThe First Aero Squadron Foundation (FASF); the Las Cruces Aviators Club; The several local area High School Junior ROTC units; Air Force Association; the United States Air Force Academy and USAFA Alumni Chapter (USAFA)City of Las Cruces International Airport and the Doña Ana County International Jetport Airport; The Academy of Model Aeronatics; the El Paso Radio Controllers (EPRC – RC Model Airplane Club); The Dust Devil Flying Club, the new UTEP Four Year Aviation and Space Program; and the local Quiet Birdmen (QB).

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 Butte Irrigation 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 Baker and 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 Baker and 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

USAF ROTC Cadet Captain Ammber Valverde explains the UTEP/NMSU ROTC programs.

RGAC Organizational Meeting Representatives – L to R: John Keithly, Ric Lambart, Travis McKenzie, Mario Campos, Alan Fisher, 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.

 

EAA and FASF’s Bob Dockendorf Inducted into Hall of Fame

   Long time FASF and EAA Member, Bob Dockendorf poses proudly with his new Hall of Fame medal about his neck.

The FASF’s long-standing member from El Paso, Bob Dockendorf,  has just been elected by the Board of Directors of the El Paso Aviation Association and the local Aviation Community to be inducted into the El Paso Aviation Hall of Fame.  This past weekend celebrated this significant event with a special banquet, packed with area aviation celebrities and held at the Dona Ana Country International Jetport‘s famed War Eagles Air Museum (“WEAM”).

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’s honor, where Bob 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 Overstreet talking 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 Spier in 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

 Amber poses with Mr. Dockendorf along with Laura Ditlevson, former winner of the EAA MacGuire Student Pilot Scholarship.

 

Ammber intently 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.