Tag Archives: Ric Lambart

Holloman Air Force Base Wing Meets the FASF and its History

    Col. Patton introduces Ric Lambart

Long discussed and requested, it finally came to pass:  The FASF presented its history, and how that history resulted in the actual creation of Holloman Air Force Base (HAFB), all our other Air Bases, Army Airfields and U.S. Naval Air Stations across the world, and, in fact, left virtually no place on earth unaffected by both the military and civilian aviation era that was born in Columbus, NM in 1916 and 17.

Yours truly had the privilege of presenting the unique First Aero Columbus history of how American Air Power was born during the Punitive Expedition of 1916, and of how American Civil Aviation was contemporaneously also re-born – – – and in the same place.

Thanks to a special invitation of the base’s Operation Group’s Commander, Colonel Jeff “Tank” Patton (left above), an FASF member, his troops had the opportunity to learn many new things about their own, the nation’s, and the Air Force’s actual history.

49th peronnel file into the HAFB Theater to hear more about   their history.  Photo by Col. Patton.  The woman in the center left front row corner is the HAFB Historian, Martha Whipple.

Among the estimated 400 some odd airmen at the Base Theater on Tuesday of this week, only a small handful actually knew of this part of their history, the very history it is the mission of the FASF to help protect and preserve for future generations.

Colonel Patton is the Commander of the 49th Operations Group at Holloman. His Group maintains and manages Air Combat Command’s most complex and diverse airfield and airspace operations, with three live-fire air-to-ground ranges and more than 58 thousand square miles of military operating airspace.  

The Group also supports remotely piloted aircraft (“RPA“), the deadly MQ-9 Reaper,” Air Education and Training Command’s F-16, German Air Force Tornado flight training, Joint test operations, and NASA, while providing combat ready Airmen for worldwide combat commitments.  There are several RPA MQ-9 Reaper photos at the end of this post.

 Here are some photos of this week’s event:

Colonel Patton (R) Discusses the program as Lambart (L) listens.  This photo is courtesy of Lt. Colonel Trevor “Phantom” Merrell, the 49th operation Group’s 9th Attack Squadron Commander.

        Lambart pointing to one of the FASF Power Point Slides during his presentation.  Photo by Col. Tank Patton.

      Lambart during the lecture.  This and the below photo were also taken by Lt. Col. Trevor “Phantom” Merrell.

Col. Patton presents Lambart with the special commemorative “Challenge Coin” of the 49th Operations Group in appreciation to the FASF for its presentation.

       Here are some photos of the MQ-9 Reaper RPA’s and F-16 Vipers used by the 49th:

MQ-9 “Reaper” remotely piloted aircraft are lined up in the 49th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron hanger at HAFB. Taken by J. M. Eddins, Jr.

MQ-9   Reaper Firing an air to ground missile.  USAF photo

 

The sun rises over an MQ-9 Reaper remotely piloted aircraft at Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico. Courtesy of  J.M. Eddins, Jr.

A Reaper crew at their work-station ‘cockpit.  From thousands of feet above the terrain, the Reaper crews can focus in on targets with incredible sharpness, often with enough magnification to read license plates on vehicles.  USAF photo.

F-16 Viper Fighters break formation.

 

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Black Sheep Squadron Graduates 8 New Viper Pilots at HAFB

8th Fighter Squadron Logo

The 8th Fighter Squadron (Fighting Patch at left) has been with us since November of 1940, when it was first organized at Selfridge Army Air Field, in Michigan. Decommissioned for a while, it is now back in the front lines of our Air Defense against any would be adversaries.  This weekend saw its first graduating class of new F-16 Viper pilots since its arrival last year at Holloman Air Force Base, near Alamagordo, NM.  According to the Squadon’s commander, Lt. Colonel Mark Sletten, each of the evening’s graduates’ training has cost the Air Force about eight (8) million dollars.

The squadron is best known as the Black Sheep Squadron of World War II fame and  for one of its commanding officers, Colonel Gregory “Pappy” Boyington, one of WWII’s top USMC fighter Aces, whose memoirs inspired the 1970s television show “Baa Baa Black Sheep,” later syndicated as Black Sheep Squadron, which dramatized the squadron’s exploits during the war.

Although the original “Black Sheep” group was composed of USMC pilots, their Squadron no longer exists, so it’s been reborne, but this time as a USAF Fighter Squadron, not a USMC outfit. (This clarification the suggestion of Capt. Robbie Ritchie).

“These guys get to be a part of a very special fraternity and we have absolutely trained them up well to go out and be a part of that fraternity, the combat arms we know and love,” said Lt. Col. Mark Sletten, 8th FS commander.    “For them to be a part of the  greatest nation, the  greatest
military, greatest service and of course the greatest platform – the F-16, leaving here tonight as qualified F-16 pilots makes us all proud.”

Getting all of the people shown below properly identified could not have been done without the indispensible assistance of the Daedalian Leadership Awardee, Captain Robbie “Ramm” Ritchie,* who made sure we properly identified all those shown. Prior to this specialized fighter training with the 8th, Captain Ritchie had been an instructor pilot.  The name used for such already experienced new Basic students is FAIP, which stands for: First Assignment Instructor Pilot.   This prior duty assignment helps account for Robbie’s rank of Captain.

Remember: Click on any photo below to show it in hight resolution and full-size.

L to R: Lt. Col. Mark Sletten, Commander of the 8th Fighter Squadron, Colonel Bob Pitt and his wife, Julie.

L to R: Col. Pitt in conversation with Captain Ely Smith, the evening’s Master of Ceremonies

L to R: Roger Nichols, son of the WWII Ace after whom the El Paso Flight is named, Julie and Col. Pitt, and Dr. Bryan Harris, USAF Colonel, Retired.  Col. Harris, now a contractor,  is in charge of all the F-16 Viper Maintenance for the 8th Fighter Squadron

All long-time FASF members, Roger Nichols, immediate past Daedalian Flight 24 Captain, looks over the evening’s coming program with the Pitts

L to R: Julie and Col. Pitt with Roger Nichols

Many families attended the graduation and wives and girlfriends of both the 8th’s staff as well as graduating students, busily used their phones to record the celebration.  Above, to the the right of the Pitts is the wife of flight instructor, Major Jared Aschenbrenner, collecting memories of the event on her phone camera

Colonel Jeff (“Tank”) Patton, FASF Member, and Commander of the 49th Operations Group, poses with Nichols and Pitt.

View of part of the Dining Hall in the Holloman Club, at which the event was held

Colonel Jeff Patton and his wife, Tracy.

Photo on one of the several large projection screens, showing this Viper Fighter Class’ Students on an F-16’s wing

New Fighter Pilot Graduate, Captain Nicholas Atkins, gets the festivities underway

One of the classes’ distinguished graduates, Robert “Ramm” Ritchie, presented the award for the “Most valuable non-commissioned officer” to Master Sergeant Cope on behalf of its recipient, Sergeant Merril

L to R: Captain Ritchie presented the most valuable Flight Instructor award to Major Nathan “Stuka” Lightfoot

L to R: Colonel Bob Pitt describes the history of El Paso’s Flight 24, Order of the Daedalians and its Namesake, General Nick Nichols to the audience as 2nd Lt. Seth Bolon and Colonel Mark “Tyson” Sletten, Squadron Commander, look on.  Lt. Bolon is a member of the new incoming 8th Fighter Squadron class.

L to R: Capt. Ely Smith, MC, 2nd Lt Seth Bolon, look on as Col. Bob Pitt presents the General Nichols Daedalian Leadership Award to Capt. Robbie Ritchie, while Squadron CO., Col. Mark Sletten congratulates him on the achievement. Captain Ritchie will head to Shaw AFB, South Carolina for his next duty assignment.  His classmates are going to all corners of the globe for their new pilot assignments.

Colonel Pitt hands the Daedalian Award to Captain Robert Ritchie, as the 8th’s Commander, Col. Sletten, proudly poses beside the new awardee. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kindra Stewart).  Lt. Bolon in background

L to R: Colonel Miles “Cowboy” Crowell, with River Rat Awardee, Lt. Scott Lafferty, and fellow River Rat member, Colonel Jeff Patton. This award is given to the student of each class with whom his or her fellow pilots would most prefer to fly in combat.

L to R: Lt. Seth Bolon, looks on as Col. Sletten poses with Daedalian Trophy Winner, Capt Ritchie, as they hold his Graduation Certificate, while Captain Ian “Bear” Lee and Captain Allison “Bandit” Romanko, 8th Fighter Squadron Instructors, look on.  Eight Viper pilot students graduated from the 8th FS’ first F-16  B-Course, nearly eighty years since the squadron’s induction on Nov. 20, 1940.

All eight graduates line up on stage for their class graduation portrait. R to L:  Captain Daniel Rule, Captain Robert Ritchie, Captain Reese Black, Captain Bradley Beninati,  1st Lt. Evan Wade, 1st Lt. Scott Lafferty, 1st Lt. Kent Greer, and Captain Nicholas Atkins.

L to R: FASF and Daedalian Members, Ric Lambart, Roger Nichols and Col. Bob Pitt, flank Leadership Trophy winner, Capt. Robbie (“Ramm”) Ritchie

Roger Nichols discusses his father’s and his own USAF career with Leadership Awardee, Capt. “Ramm” Ritchie

Below, is the the class video, 11 minutes long, which shows many clips taken from the months of fllight and fighter training the eight members of this first graduating class of the 8th Fighter Squadron experienced in their work with the Viper Fighter.  Aside from a few inserts of actual wartime footage target anihilation (taken in the mideast), the video content was primarily taken by the students or HAFB Public Affairs videographers during their training activities.  The video gives the viewer and unique insight into the experience these young men went through this past year at Holloman. 

The film uses a number of special effects for the dramatization of some of the student experiences, such as refueling practice and of the TDY (Temporary Duty assignment) to Louisiana’s Bayou country.  The video was produced by class member, Lt. Evan Wade, and also shows, quite graphically, to where each of the graduates will be going for their front line fighter assignment.  This video can be seen best when your monitor is set to full-screen mode. Lt. Wade garners some top-gun kudos for his excellent production.

* Here is part of the official HAFB Public Affairs Office news release concerning Daedalian Award Recipient, Capt Robbie Ritchie:

This class’ recipient of the coveted Daedalian Flight 24 Leadership Award this
year, was Capt. Robert Ritchie. The Captain, one of the 8th Fighter Squadron F-16
Basic-Course graduates, always knew he wanted to be a fighter pilot.

Ritchie’s father is a retired Air Force pilot who flew C-130s and T-38s, before
flying for a commercial airline out of Minnesota.

I was one of those kids that built model aircraft and hung them from the ceiling,”
said Ritchie. “My childhood bedroom was one big aerial battle.”

Ritchie graduated with an undergraduate degree followed by a Masters of Science in
aerospace engineering from the University of Minnesota, before leaving for Officer
Training School at Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama.

Of the eight Viper pilots to graduate from Class 18-CBF, Ritchie was one of five who
were First Assignment Instructor Pilots “FAIP” trained on another aircraft before coming
to Holloman.

On behalf of Class 18-CBF, I can honestly say our experience training here on Holloman
Air Force Base has been one of the most professional experiences that we have ever been
involved with,” said Ritchie. “From the jets, to the instructors, to the maintainers,
to the air traffic controllers, how the base is run and everything in-between.”

FASF-Daedalians Bid Farewell to Flight Captain, Roger Nichols

The speaker scheduled for this last Spring meeting fell ill and couldn’t make the luncheon, so the El Paso General “Nick” Nichols’ Flight 24 simply turned its focus back on its own members, and towards making sure its most recent past Flight Captain, Roger Nichols (General Nichols’ son), had a proper send-off.

Roger will soon leave to be near his children and grandchildren in Oklahoma.  Because the Flight had some extra time, because of the absence of the scheduled speaker, it turned its attention towards gaining a more detailed insight into each of the member’s individual careers, both in the service, and in their later civilian lives. Here, below, are the photos of today’s event – and of each member sharing some of their unique personal history.

Today’s luncheon was also one to which the member’s wives and/or guests were invited.  Because Flight Captain, Colonel Mario Campos, was out of state, Vice Captain, Ric Lambart presided.  He shared a group of photos which were taken over the weekend during the regular annual “Dining Out” celebration held at New Mexico State University (NMSU) by the local Air Force ROTC Detachment 505.  Many years ago, flight Provost Marshall, Alan Fisher, had actually commanded that same AFROTC unit.

Both Mario and Ric had been invited to attend AFROTC event.  Colonel Campos, once an AFROTC cadet himself, was the featured speaker.  He shared what the cadets might expect during their own upcoming USAF assignments based on his own experiences.

(All of the below photos may be seen full-size and in High Resolution, by clicking on them)

L to R: Mayre Sue Overstreet and Julie Pitt.

L to R: Col. Norm Rice and Roger Nichols.

L to R: Mary Barnes arrives with Flight Chaplain, Roger Springstead.

L to R: Bob Pitt, Virg Hemphill, Pete Brandon, Mary Barnes and Roger Springstead. Col. Norm Rice‘s  is seated in the foreground.

L to R: Mayre Sue Overstreet, Mary Barnes, and Julie Pitt

L to R: Mayre Sue Overstreet, Melissa Fisher and Mary Barnes, speaking with Julie Pitt (back of head to camera)

L to R: Flight Adjutant, Colonel Bob Pitt, engrossed in conversation with past Flilght Captain, Roger Nichols

L to R: Alan Fisher speaking with Virg Hemphill. Ulla Rice is in the foreground

L to R: Roger Springstead and Ric Lambart give a thumbs up to photographer, Jerry Dixon

L to R: Virg Hemphill, Mary Barnes, Pete Brandon, Alan and Melissa Fisher, Norm and Ulla Rice, with Charlie and Mayre Sue Overstreet just off camera to the right.

L to R: Jerry Dixon describes his USMC pilot experience as Virg Hemphill and Roger Springstead look on.

L to R: Virg Hemphill listens as Roger Springstead shares his Naval Aviator career, while his friend, Mary Barnes listens

L to R: Mary Barnes listens as Pete Brandon describes his extensive USAF and Northrup-Grumman careers

L to R: Virg Hemphill talks about his USAF Fighter Pilot and Airline experiences as Roger Springstead and Mary Barnes listen

Alan Fisher shares his own USAF experiences along with his current active engagements as a pilot with the Civil Air Patrol

L to R: Melissa Fisher talks about her own USAF career as both a RN and her later teaching years

L to R: Colonel Norm Rice relates his own Fighter Pilot experiences in the Air Force – and how he and his wife, Ulla, met, when he was stationed in Great Britain

                                        Larry Spradlin tells of his own USAF aviator experiences

L to R: Charlie Overstreet describes some humorous experiences as both an Air Force Pilot and also during his later 2nd career, piloting for the DEA, as his wife Mayre Sue enjoys the memories.  Julie Pitt is at the right.

L to R: Julie Pitt listens and her husband, Colonel Bob Pitt, tells of his experiences over Viet Nam, flying both the F-101 and F-4 fighters, while Roger Nichols take it all in

           Ric Lambart describes some of the photos taken at this past weekend’s AFROTC “Dining-Out” event at NMSU

L to R: Ric Lambart, Roger Nichols, and Bob Pitt pose, after Roger was presented with a special going-away gift from the Flight

 

EAA Young Eagles Go Airborne From War Eagles Air Museum

The first EAA Chapter 1570 YOUNG EAGLES FLIGHT for 2019 was sucessfully completed this past weekend.  As usual, it was conducted at the Doña Ana County International Jetport in Santa Teresa, NM.  The participants enjoyed the fine facilities of the War Eagles Air Museum (WEAM) for the entire operation.  After the event wound down, the volunteers had a lunch and defriefing in the Executive Meeting Room of the Museum.

Most of the young first-time flyers were able to enjoy the many WEAM exhibits after their flights.  Chief Registrar, Melissa Keithly, reported that the morning session saw 55 new Young Eagles take to the skies for their first introductory airplane flight.

[To view any photo in high-resolution, simply click on it – Videos can also be seen full-screen]

Melissa Keithly busily registering Young Eagles for the day’s first-flights.  By the noon deadline she had booked 55 young people for their first personal airplane flight adventure.

Bob Dockendorf and Tomás Peralta surveying the activities as they get undersay.  Tomás was the event’s Organizer.

L to R: Tom Holmsley, EAA Chapter 1570 President, John Keithly, chatting with Fritz Gatlin.

L to R: Juan Brito and Chapter VP, John Singnorino, in discussion before the flying started.

L to R: John Signorino, Juan Brito, Marcia McNamee and Melissa Keithly at registration table as a parent signs up.

Melissa Keithly describing procedure for signing up the children . . .

L to R: Charles Crawford, Tomás Peralta, and Laura Dittlevson, going over the flight line procedures . . .

L to R: John Signorino and John Orton returning from the Fllight-Line . . .

L to R: Kathyn and WEAM Operations Manager, George Guerra, at work behind the WEAM Gift Shop counter.

Pres. John Keithly kicks off the program with his Young Eagle Co-Pilot, Yessenia Cano, in his WT-9 Dynamic Aircraft

John briefs Yessenia on the aircraft controls and instruments, explainnng how they work and why they are important to fully understand.

Yessenia and John taxii out for her first flilght

John and his next Young Eagle, Alondra Tinajero, are ready to taxi out to the runway.

A happy new Young Eagle, Alondra Tinejero, and her EAA Pilot, John Keithly, are all smiles after her first demo flight

John Keithly explains sleft wing aeleron flight control to his nextg Young Eagle, Marco Talamontes

John helps Marco arrange and fasten his safety harness.

Marco gives the thumbs up signal that shows he is ready to fly!

Pilot and his Co-Pilot are ready to start . . .

Marco proudly poses with Mr. Keithly after his inaugural Young Eagle Flight.

Ready to become another Young Eagle, Alfredo Vargas, is all smiles wth Pilot John Keithly.

While Allan Yapor’s father stands by, John Signorino (sitting at right) completes the new Young Eagle’s Fllight Logbook entry and fills out his Official EAA Young Eagles Certificate of Accomplishment, attesting to Allan’s 1st Flight Adventure.

Allan Yapor stands proudly next to his pilot, John Signorino, who is a former Army Combat Aviator and Vice President of the 1570 Chapter.  John owns and manages the security locksmithing firm, Pop-A-Lock, in El Paso, Texas.

John Signorino taxis back from his flight with his new Young Eagle, Vincent Hardy, whose lucky father, Philip, went along in one of the Cessna 182 Skylane’s back seats.

New Young Eagle, Vincent Hardy, is alll smiles after his first Flight Adventure as John Signorino’s Co-Pilot.

L to R: Ground Crew volunteer, Laura Dittevson, Vicent Hardy, John Signorino, and Philip Hardy pose beside the Cessna Skylane.

Back down to Mother Earth for the Pritchetts.

L to R: John Signorino, the proud new Young Eagle, Nicholas Pritchett, and his father, Virgil, pose with the newly made out EAA Achievement Certificate and Young Eagle Log Book.

L to R: John Completes new Young Eagle, Riley Franco’s Logbook, as his father, Ruben smiles with satifaction.

Certificate in hand, Riley and his Dad, Ruben Franco, are all smiles, as is their Pilot, John Signorino.

L to R in cockpit of former Army Helicopter: Mike McNamee and his Young Eagle adventurer, Oliver Oropeza.  Mike is explaining the controls and instruments to his awestruck Young Eagle.  Mike also has a fixed wing Cessna 182 Skylane, which he generously contrtibuted to the event’s group of  working aircraft.

Mike sets the rotors in motion as he warms up his chopper for takeoff.

And, straight up, off they go!

Pilot, John Orton (long-time Advisor and former Trustee of the FASF) helps his Young Eagle, Justin Walters, safely and comfortably secure his seat belt and shoulder harness.  John is both a former army and Air Foce veteran.  His airplane is a U.S. manufactured Diamond DV20, used by the USAF to provide pilot-training for Air Force Academy Cadets.

Final adjustments to the now fastened safety harness, and they were soon aloft.

The new Young Eagle, Justin Walters, poses with his happy Mother, Danielle, and Father, Mike Fisher.

John Orton explains, to his next Young Eagle, Kristopher Zapata, how to use the Headset and mic.

John explaining the instrments and controls to Kristopher.

L To R:  Chapter Ground Crew Volunteer, Charles Crawford and Mrs. Zapata, watch as her son, Kristopher gets briefed by John Orton . . .

Kristopher watches as John Orton goes through the startup checklist . . .

John watches as his next Young Eagle, Daniel Rayos, gets into the cockpit.

John explains to  Daniel the use of the headset and microphone.

Daniel waves adios as John begins to taxi outfor takeoff. The following short (3 min) video shows the start and departure for their takeoff.

El Paso Judge, Alex Gonzalez, just took Larissa Rodriguez (left, standing) up on her Young Eagle Flight in his Cessna 172.  Her parents sat in the rear seat. Ground Crew Volunteer, Laura Dittevson, helps by holding open the passenger door.

L to R: Clearly, Larissa’s father, Andres, enjoyed the experience as much as did Judge Gonzalez. The following short (51 seconds) video is of their return to pick up Larissa’s Young Eagle Certificate and Logbook.  The second, one (1) minute video, is  their discusion of the flight experience.  Jim Foster and his Young Eagle are at the end of this video, too.

Professional Instructor Pilot, Jim Foster, poses by the Cessna 172 in which he just initiated Young EAgle, Amna Noor, to the thrill of flying.

Amna and her father look on as Jim finishes up the paper work.

Jim Foster poses with his Young Eagle Co-Pilot, “RJ” (Ruben) Franco, whose brother, Riley, also obtained his Young Eagle award, earlier, from John Signorino.

EAA Young Eagle Certificate and Logbook in hand, “RJ” poses with his mentor, Jim Foster, and his Mom, Lisa.

German Air Force (Lufwaffe) specialist, Dominic Austen, from chapter 1570, chipped in and did his part, too.  His first Young Eagle of the day is seen above: Zion Hernandez.

Jada Gaton is now a Young Eagle, and her mother, Arecely poses by her, as Pilot, Dominic Austen, approvingly looks on.

Andrea Rayos eagerly moves the control yoke in the Cessna 182 Skylane in which she achieved her Young Eagle status, as did her brother, Daniel, who flew with John Orton earlier. Dominic watches from the door.  The short (11 second) video below shows Dominic and Andrea as they start the engine to taxi to the runway.

His Young Eagle securely belted in, Andy Werner, gets ready to start up his A240 Aerotek Light Sport Aircraft for their flight.  His Co-Pilot is already properly uniformed in his flight suit and aviator’s sunglasses.

L to R: Yound Eagle to be, Michelle Hernandez’ mother, Adriana, takes photos of her daughter, while Volunteer, Charles Crawford looks on, while Michelle poses and Andy Werner describes his Chech built Light Sport airplane to Michelle’s Dad.

FASF Daedalians at HAFB Fighter Squadron 314 Graduation

This weekend’s FASF-Daedalian Graduation Event at Holloman Air Force Base, Alamogordo, NM

< Just cllick on any photo below to view it in higher resolution and larger size>

L to R: Colonel “Spud” Caldwell, Graduation Speaker, MJ Tucker (who managed the Graduation Arrangements), FASF-Daedalian members, Roger Nichols and Col. Mario Campos.

Lt. Col. “Burn” Clapper, Commander of 314th Fighter Squadron, Captain “Titto” Hannah, who shepherded the Daedalians, and Col. “Spud” Caldwell.

L to R: FASF-Daedalians, Colonel Mario Campos and Col. Miles “Cowboy” Crowell, currently a civilan contractor at Holloman, discussing their combat experiences.

L to R: Colonel Jeff “Tank” Patton, Lt. Col. “Burn” Clapper, and Roger Nichols . . .

L to R: “Roger That” Nichols, LC Michael D. “Burn” Clapper (CO of the 314th Fighter Squadron), and Col. Mario Campos, Daedalian Flight 24 Captain, pose before “Burn’s” F-16 Fighting Falcon Jet.

L to R: Col. Miles “Cowboy” Crowell, USAF Ret., Roger Nichols and Col. Mario Campos, share a laugh.

L – R: Colonels “Cowboy” Crowell, Col. Jeff Patton, his wife, Tracy, Mario Campos and Roger Nichols enjoy Dinner.

314th Fighter Squadron personnel, parents and guests, applaud graduating students of class 18-HBB at HAFB

Colonel Mario Campos (R), Daedalian Flight 24 Captain, congratulates Lt. “Pickles” Mossing on his achievement in winning the coveted Daedalian Class Leadership Award.

L to R: Roger Nichols, Col. Mario Campos, Daedalian Leadership Award Recipient, Lt. Jason “Pickles” Mossing, Ric Lambart, ColonelsCowboy” Crowell and “Tank” Patton, Commander, 49th Operations Group at Holloman AFB

Colonel Dean “Spud” Caldwell Commencement Speaker, shares what’s ahead for the new Fighter Pilots

L to R: Colonel “Cowboy” Crowell, and the “River Rat” awardee, Lt. Doug “Magnus” Clark, and Colonel Jeff “Tank” Patton are all smiles. Lt. Clark also won the Distinguished Student Award in his class, which was the 314th Fighter Squadron’s Class 18-BBH.  The River Rat award is given to the student that the other pilots would most want on flying on their wing in combat.  The River Rat designation came from the Vietnam conflict and is named after the Red River Valley (Association) of the Vietnam war, an organization to which many pilots who flew in combat over North Vietnam belong.  Both of the above Colonels are active members in the FASF.

L to R: Col. Mario Campos, Captain “Tucky” Durbin, event Master of Ceremonies, his wife, Stephanie, and Roger Nichols.

L to R: (Taken by Stephanie Durbin) – Col. Mario Campos, Capt. “Tucky” Durbin, Ric Lambart, and Roger Nichols. The two-finger salute being given by Mario and Tucky is that of the 314th Fighter Squadron.

All thirteen (13) new F-16 Viper Fighter Pilot Graduates pose before their Commander’s Fighter.

 

 

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.

 

FASF Advisor John Orton Joins CAP Composite Squadron 024

The Las Cruces, NM, Civil Air Patrol (CAP) has just welcomed another long-time active FASF member to its ranks.  Colonel (USAF Retired), John Orton, who is the only former Trustee who flew his own airplane to FASF Board Meetings over the years, has just become a Senior member of the same CAP Squadron which already boasts several other FASF enthusiasts.  Two years ago, both the FASF Treasurer, Alma Villezcas, and President, Ric Lambart, were recruited into the same CAP unit by another early FASF member, Colonel Alan Fisher.

REMEMBER: To see any photos in high resolution, simply click on them.

                                 John Orton looks up while working at his laptop’s FEMA training syllabus.

At this past weekend’s monthly CAP SAREX (Search And Rescue Exercise) operation, held at the Las Cruces Municipal Airport, John experienced his first opportunity to take part in one of these regular SAREX programs.  During the afternoon, the Squadron also demostrated how it operates to several AFROTC Cadets from NMSU, one of whom is the youngest active member of the FASF, Cadet Captain, Ammber Valverde.  Each cadet received an introductory flight in one of the CAP’s Cessna 182 Aircraft during their orientation.  These cadets all hope to become pilots in the United States Air Force after they graduate from New Mexico State University.  Ammber has already received a Pilot Training Scholarship from the Daedalian Society.

A Short 3 minute long video clip at the bottom of this page shows part of the briefing of several Cadets by one of the squadron’s pilots, Travis McKenzie.

Here are some more of the photos of John, and of the other FASF-CAP members at work:

L to R: Michelle Phillips, John Orton, Travis McKenzie.

                                                                   Travis McKenzie and Alma Villezcas

                                                                                Walter Dutton at work.

L to R: Jim McConnell, William Benziger, and John Orton

L to R: Michelle Phillips, John Orton, Travis McKenzie, and Larry Burns

L to R: Jim McConnell, William Benziger, and Mike Legendre

Laptop shows one of the large inter-squadron group instructional pages for the SAREX

L to R: Alan Fisher, Cadets Josh Soliz, Daniel Malone, Race Cannedy, and Ammber Valverde alongside Cessna

L to R: Cadet Race Cannedy, Col.Alan Fisher, cadets Daniel Malone and Ammber Valverde get pre-flight briefing

                    Colonel Fisher describes upcoming familiarization flight with Ammber Valverde

L to R: Travis McKenzie explains seat belt arrangement to Cadet Soliz

Cadet Captain Ammber Valverde checks out the Cessna Flight Data Pad

                      Ammber gets instructed on cockpit procedures and instrument pane by Travis McKenzie

Cadets Soliz and Valverde give a ready to go thumbs up, as Pilot Travis McKenzie gets ready to start the Cessna