Tag Archives: Mario Campos

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.

 

Roger Nichols Briefs Daedalians on “Linebacker II” in Vietnam

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’s WWII 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 Nixon Administration’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 link to a number of other films made of that same campaign.

The presentation by Roger was 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 Nichols holds 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.

Dockendorf Briefs Daedalians About War Eagles Air Museum

Honored guest speaker at this month’s Daedalian meeting in downtown El Paso, Texas, was Bob Dockendorf, long time member of the FASF and Executive Director of the War Eagles Air Museum (WEAM) at nearby Doña Ana County International Jetport.

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 Fisher listen to Mr. Dockendorf

While the museum was initially the singular philanthropic enterprise of its founders, the MacGuires, Bob has 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 MacGuire passed away in 2001, his wife Betty maintains 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 Ginn and 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 Nichols and Ammber 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