Major Todd Parsont, USAF (Ret), is the Senior Aerospace Science Instructor, Air Force JROTC,Franklin High School, El Paso, Texas. The following descriptive bio was contributed by Colonel Mario Campos, Flight Captain of the El Paso Daedalian Society Flight 24.
Major Parsont (L) took the position at Franklin in 2011, his unit has distinguished itself at the district, state, and national levels. A four-time outstanding instructor, his dedication to the program and the cadets has culminated in district recognition for the most outstanding drill, color guard, and computer security and robotics programs in the El Paso Independent School District.
At the state level, Franklin’s drill and color guard teams are three-time state champions, winning consecutive titles in 2022 and 2023. Nationally, the unit has received the highest honor bestowed in AFJROTC 10 of 11 years, the Distinguished Unit Award, for its outstanding achievements and dedication to creating distinguished citizens.
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Cadet Major Skyler Landrum, M/Sgt Zoe Black, Col. Bob Pitt, and Cadet T/Sgt Kolton Ring
Major Parsonthas also influenced many of his students to pursue aviation careers and post-secondary education. Since 2020, his cadets have received Air Force Chief of Staff Private Pilot scholarships; HQ AFJROTC awarded AFROTC scholarships and Texas Armed Service scholarships, all in excess of two million dollars.
L to R above: Julie Pitt, Connie Sullivan, Col. Mario Camposk,and Major Todd Parsont
Several of his cadets have also gone on to the Air Force Academy, West Point, and the Naval Academy. Prior to becoming an AFJROTC instructor, Major Parsont was an Air Force intelligence officer and French linguist directly participating in multiple operations including Noble Eagle and Enduring Freedom.
L to R above: Dadaelian Pete Brandonchats with Daedalian Larry Spradlinbefore the meeting began
A prior-enlisted soldier in the US Army, he was stationed at Fort Bragg, NC. Major Parsontearned a Master of Public Administration from the University of Oklahoma and a Bachelor’s Degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Maryland at College Park.
L to R above: Skyler Landrum, Zoe Black, Col. Bob Pitt,and T/Sgt Kolton Ring
L to R above:Colonel Bob Pitt, Julie Pitt, and Connie Sullivan
Immediate past Flight Captain, Colonel Alan Fisherarrives for luncheon
L to R above: Cadet Zoe Black, Major Todd Parsont, waitress, Cadet Maj Skyler Landrum, and T/Sgt Kolton Ring
At the rear table: Virg Hemphill, Roger Springstead, Pete Brandon, Larry Spradlin, and in foreground Alan Fisher
Colonel Bob Pittdescribes being hit by flak during a mission in Vietnam while flying an F-4 jet fighter
L to R above: Flight Captain Colonel Mario Camposand Cadet M/Sgt Zoe Black, a licensed Private Pilot
In the read, L to R: Colonel Mario Campos introduces the special guest, Major Todd Parsont as his Cadets look on.
Major Todd Parsont open his Unit’s presentation.
L to R: Major Todd Parsont receives Flight 24’s token of appreciation from Colonel Mario Campos
L to R: Major Todd Parsont, Cadets Zoe Black, Skyler Landrum, and Kolton Ring listen to Col Campos
Remember the revolutionary “Rotary Engine” with which MAZDA Automotive toyed so unsuccessfully? They launched their first rotary-powered autos back in 1967 using the revolutionary new non-reciprocating (non-conventional) power plant invented in the early 1950s by German engineer Felix Wankel.
The engine was truly unique: It had very few moving parts when compared to the conventional piston-engined autos of the day: It was not just simpler in design, but much smaller, lighter per horsepower output, and smoother in operation, BUT more costly and inefficient in respect to fuel economy than the conventional engines with which it competed. There were so many issues with the Rotary Engine over its years of production, that Mazda, in 2012, dropped its use altogether in its production lineup.
But, today, the entire future of the basic rotary engine appears to be showing amazing new possibilities altogether, the direct result of a relatively new R & D firm located in Bloomfield, Connecticut called LIQUIDPISTON. Its new Rotary hybrid cycle engine is called the “X-Mini.” Its new rotary X-Mini engine employs a patented Thermodynamic Cycle. Instead of the hundreds of parts involved in producing power in a conventional piston engine, the X-Mini has only two (2) principal moving parts. LiquidPiston boasts 10 times more power-to-weight ratio with a 30% greater overall efficiencywhen compared to conventional piston engines.
A Honda single-cylinder 49cc piston engine alongside a 70cc X-mini Rotary Engine
A standard 35 HP diesel engine (left) next to LiquidPiston’s 40HP diesel engine (right)
The engine is capable of using a variety of different fuels, including modern Jet A (aviation) or JB-8 fuel, ordinary diesel, as well as other grades of popular gasoline. In short, this reinvented Wankel rotary has apparently overcome the many problems of its predecessors. It employs what LIQUIDPISTON calls “compression ignition,” which is how standard diesel engines obtain their power . . . without the need for spark plugs. The company has moved through three (3) prototypes of its unique engine, all proof-of-principle motors, models 1X, 2X, and 4X. These models have been made in two horse-power rated configurations: 40 and 70 HP.
Here are two versions of the Mini-X engine: The one on the left is air-cooled and at right is a liquid-cooled version.
The firm is proud of its ability to obtain a 1.5 HP per Pound ratio, which is remarkable by any measure. since typical general aviation aircraft powerplants are only seen as obtaining 0.68 HP per Pound ratios. – – – or, in another way of perceiving the difference: LIquidPiston’s X-Minis are more than twice as powerfulper pound of engine weight than are their conventionally powered piston competitors. The U. S. Army has already awarded a contract to the young company for power supply units for some of the artillery weapons (see the below photo).
The Compact Artillery Power System (CAPS) generator unit powers the digital fire control system on an M777 Howitzer artillery piece.
Clearly, the below video shows how the Army and Marine Corps might also see fit to use the LiquidPiston-powered new hybrid (Rotary AND Electric powered) drones.
The below short video (4:04 minutes) shows LIQUIDPISTON’s new Rotary powered Drone in Flight. Remember to open the video to full or hi-resolution size by clicking the small Full Size icon in the lower right of the image.
The Columbus Historical Society (CHS) just kicked off the new year with a detailed presentation by Professor Andy Hernandez of Western New Mexico University (WNMU). This event was the first held under the newly elected officers and drew an audience from not just Columbus, but also from Deming, NM. The event’s presenter was arranged by Dr. Kathleen Martin, the Society’s Historian.
The entire: 35-minute PowerPoint presentation by Dr. Hernandez is included below, as are some photos taken at the event. The lecture focused on some aspects of what took place during the raid on Columbus, which entailed the First Aero Squadron’s engagement in the Punitive Expedition, but focused primarily on the overall dynamics of the then-ongoing Mexican Revolution, particularly as to its impact on South Texas, but of course included the Mexican rebel leaders, one of which was Pancho Villa, whose raid on Columbus caused the deployment of the First Aero Squadron in what became known as the Punitive Expedition. That expedition was instigated as the direct result of President Woodrow Wilson’s orders to bring Pancho Villaback – – – either dead or alive.
THE PLAN DE SAN DIEGO: Insurgency and Violence in South Texas During the Mexican Revolution. * See the end of the post for a PDF copy of Dr. Hernandez’s paper on this topic.
Dr. Hernandez explained at the outset that the title had nothing to do with San Diego, CA, but rather a small Texas town of the same name. Many Mexican revolutionaries, including some Tejanos, were in hopes of regaining – or returning – depending upon which side of the Tex-Mex border they lived, much of the then-current U.S. Southwestern territories that were previously part of their homeland.
The Plan de San Diego was actually a bold manifesto that called for an uprising against the United States government on the 20th of February, 1915. The document was, in essence, a call for racial strife and chaos in order to help facilitate the return of the Southwestern U. S. to Mexico.
Some of the most violent characteristics of the plot were the intended killing of North Americans over the age of sixteen to free the Black and Hispanic population from “Yankee tyranny.” Needless to say, as Dr. Hernandezillustrated, while he turned the pages of the era’s history for his audience, this HIstpanic-American call for wanton violence and mayhem created massive distrust among many neighbors in Texas itself – – – and threw the state into all sorts of internal political turmoil.
Fortunately for Texas, a copy of the plot’s plan was uncovered before it could take effect, enabling the Governor of Texas, then Oscar Colquitt to take remedial action to thwart the planned insurrection. His successor in office, Governor James Ferguson, was left to deal with the continued political duress and strife that the Plan de San Diego triggered.
Even the Texas Rangers entered the dynamic, and demonstrated their own brand of corruption and racist behavior, seriously tarnishing their reputation. Some of these Rangers wantonly murdered hundreds of often innocent Mexican-Americans solely based upon their ethnicity.
Another key figure in the tensions and actual violence in the pre-WWI period in the border region was Army General,Frederick Funston, who in 1914 took over the Army occupation forces in Vera Cruz, Mexico, and soon began the serious job of administering the city. This was no small chore because that Mexican port city was known for being an unsanitary and disease-ridden metropolis. As soon as the U. S. withdrew from Vera Cruz,General Funston repositioned his troops on the Texas, New Mexican, and Arizona borders to protect the states from any spillover from the ongoing turmoil of the by-then full-blown Mexican Revolution.
In time, so much Texas economic and social turmoil had resulted from the exposure of the violent Plan de San Diego, and its plot’s instigators and followers, that the Federal government took remedial action to quell the chaos by the assignment of the U.S. Army and some of its National Guard troops to the area to help restore law and order: ie General Funston’smajor role. When General “Black Jack” Pershing was later given command of the Punitive Expedition, his direct commander was Gen. Funston.
Although the Plan de San Diego plot did not fulfill its intended purposes, it did leave the area with significant scars in regard to much worsened interracial and Anglo-American vs Tejano relations for many years to come. There was still active segregation in Texas well into the mid-1960s. Your webmaster lived there for several years and remembers this blight all too well.
To see any of the below photos in high resolution or full size, just click on them.
Dr. Kathleen Martin introduces Professor Andy Hernandez to the audience. Watching at right are, Steven Zobeck,seated, and Shirley Garber, the CHS’s new President.
Seated above asDr. Hernandezreadied to give his presentation are, L to R:Jim Tyo, Steven Zobeck, Ron Wize,Gordon Taylor, Librarian Maria Constantine, Retired Luna County Chamber of Commerce Director, Mary Galbraith, Columbus Vice MayorBill Johnson, Carol Crumb, Shirley Garber, andDaniella Sandoval.
Dr. Andy Hernandez describes some further reading for those interested in following up on his lecture’s topic.
Professor Hernandezanswers some questions about his citation of recommended additional reading sources.
Center in the cap,Steven Zobeck asks Dr. Hernandez some questions . . . Marilyn Steffen at left in a gray jacket, and Shirley Garber, at far right, listens intently to Steven’squery about the German role in the Revolution.
Dr. Hernandez experienced an especially attentive audience of history enthusiasts, without one person not paying full attention to his flow of often newly encountered historical facts about the Mexican Revolution – – – and its effect on the U.S.
Dr. Hernandezproduced more references for his audience for those who would like to continue their research into this subject of the Mexican Revolution and its profound effect on our border states, in particular South Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona.
The New CHS Leadership officially thanks the season’s first speaker. L to R above: Leonard Steward, Treasurer; Jim Tyo, VP; Daniella Sandoval, Secretary; Dr. Andy Hernandez; Dr. Kathleen Martin, Historian; and new the CHS President, Shirley Garber.
Click on the lower right-hand corner ‘FullScreen’ icon to see the video in its full size
A few days ago, at their monthly meeting, the Daedalian Flight 24, all long-time members of the FASF, tried out a new meeting location in picturesque downtown historic El Paso, Texas. They had most recently been convening at the Ft. Bliss Golf Club but missed the elegance and efficiency of the old El Paso Club, which was also downtown.
The Daedalians had held their regular monthly meetings at the El Paso Club for some 37 years, but it was closed because of the COVID pandemic and has not yet re-opened. In the meantime, the group decided to try the historic ANSON ELEVEN restaurant as a substitute gathering facility. The ANSON is dedicated to the memory of General Anson Mills, who built the building in which the restaurant (named in his honor) is located, back in 1911, thus the number after his first name of Eleven. Interestingly, General Mills was the actual designer of El Paso as a city, drafting the plans back in the late 19th Century while stationed at Ft. Bliss. General Mills, after retiring from the U.S. Army, became an extremely successful entrepreneur and millionaire.
Below are a few photos taken of the Daedalian Meeting (Click any picture for hi-resolution):
L to R above: Early arrivals; Col. Bob Pitt, Julie Pitt, Connie Sullivan, Marian Diaz, Josiane Solana, Gerry Wingett, Roger Springstead, Jerry Dixon, Col. Mario Campos, and Judy Campos, Virg Hemphill, and Kathleen Martin.
L to R above: Marian Diaz, Josiane Solana, Gerry Wingett, Roger Springstead, Jerry Dixon, Col. Mario Campos (Flight Captain), Judy Campos, Virg Hemphill, and Dr.Kathleen Martin.
L to R above members and guests watching “An American Love Affair” about the Curtiss Jenny . . . Mariana Diaz, Josiane Solana, Gerry Wingett, Roger Springstead, Jerry Dixon, Melissa, and Alan Fisher . . .
Clockwise from lower R: Mariana Diaz, Josiane Solana, Gerry Wingett, Roger Springstead, Jerry Dixon, Julie Pitt, Melissa Fisher, Cols. Alan Fisher and Mario Campos, Judy Campos and Ulla Rice . . .
Once again, the El Paso Daedalian Flight attended the graduation of ten new VIPER fighter pilots at Holloman AFB (HAFB), Alamogordo, NM on Saturday, the 3rd of December. Colonel Mario Campos did the honors. Here are your members at the event. Remember:
[Just click on any photo to see it in full size and resolution]
Daedalian Flight Captain Lt. Colonel Alan Fisherchats with Mrs. Sarah Rich.
Colonels Miles “Cowboy” Crowellpours some iced tea, Col. Mario Campos is facing the camera, and Col. Bob Pittis standing and holding the blue folder.
L to R Clockwise: Mrs. Starlyn and husband, Lt. Col. Dale “RAM” Weller, Mrs. Lindsiand L/Col John “Atari” Harris,Captain Nicholas and Mrs. Sarah Rich, and our own Lt. Col. Alan Fisher. Your editor took the photo.,
Squadron Commander, Lt. Colonel George Normandin welcomes the graduates and guests
Lt. Colonel (Ret.) Scott A. Fredrick, the ceremony’s Guest Speaker, starts his talk.
OurColonel Mario Campos congratulates Squadron Commander, Lt. Colonel George Normandin who stood in for the Leadership Award’s winner, Captain Dennis “FARM” Cook, who was absent to attend his sister’s wedding.
Left, Colonel Miles “COWBOY’ Crowellcongratulates the Winner of the Red River Rat awardee, Lt. Nathan “BOOM” Nuveman.
“COWBOY” AND “BOOM” pose with the award
8th Fighter Squadron’s new Graduates, Class 22-BBH -L to R: Lt. John ‘STATUS’ Bove; Lt. Trey ‘TABLE’ Alexander; Capt. Kyle ‘TATER’ Cline; Lt. Thomas ‘MORTY’ Toscano; Lt. Spencer ‘NAATY’ Prather; Lt. Nathan ‘BOOM’ Nuveman; Lt. Samuel ‘LENNY’ Valleroy; Lt. Logan ‘FULL’ Frost; and Lt. Ryan ‘FANI’ Walsh
FASF/Daedalians pose with the Squadron CO LC. George Normandin ( at L) and Guest Speaker, at the rear, Ret. LC Scott Fredrick. Daedalian/FASF members L to R are Col. Mario Campos, Col. Miles Crowell, Col. Bob Pitt, and Daedalian Flight 24’s Captin, Col. Alan Fisher. Photos byRic Lambart
As a relatively new airplane at the time, it proved to be a comfortable and economical aircraft for our family. With a four-place cabin and a six-cylinder Continental O-300 engine, it easily cruised at steady speeds of over 125 MPH. We lived in Phoenix, Arizona, and often flew out to Los Angeles, CA for weekends or business.
The trip was usually about 3 easy flight hours from start to finish and the fuel costs were equivalent to those one had to pay to drive an ordinary four-door sedan on the identical trip. But it took a full day’s 8 or more hours to make the same journey by car.
Airline trips to Los Angeles took MORE time, because of the wait at the airports before departure, and the wait after arrival. Furthermore, in the Cessna 170B, we could fly directly to any town’s smaller airport near LA where we had our business or other activities. On the other hand, the airlines only flew into the larger commercial airports such as either LAX or the Burbank airport, and those airports were rarely close to where we needed to go.
In any event, this story and video surprised me insofar as they showed an entirely different sort of utility for which the same model aircraft might be used. And yet the airplane is now some 70 years old!
Here we go: Let’s watch “The Most Highly Modified Cessna in the World!” It’s just over 16 minutes long. I know this particular airplane from stem to stern, but had no idea, when modified this way, it was capable of almost flying at only 20 MPH airspeed – – – without stalling! Seeing is believing. Watch this remarkable 70-year-old Cessna 170B do the impossible.
If you would like to learn how to get this level of unusual performance out of your own Cessna 170, then you can take advanced BUSH training from the school: BUSH AIR is located at the Kidwell Airport (1L4) Cal Nev Ari, Nevada, USA. Their phone number is: (928) 460-3987. The video is thanks to the pilot, Larry, who posted it and who runs this interesting site: Back Country 182 in Washington state. Tel: 206-453-9116
By far the oldest Columbus historical organization, the Columbus Historical Society (CHS), was formed in 1972, which makes it 50 years old, whereas our First Aero Squadron Foundation (FASF) wasn’t organized until 2007.
While the two sister groups both focus on the historical impact of the March 9, 1916 raid by Pancho Via on the once thriving border city of Columbus, only the CHS actually has a popular operational Museum facility, affectionately called the “Depot Museum.”
Why the “Depot?” Simply because it is housed in the old Columbus Railroad Station building. Additionally, the principal focus of the FASF is primarily on the aviation aspect of the 1916 event, whereas the CHS addresses the entire raid episode and its following “Punitive Expedition” aftermath – – – and all other aspects of the history of Columbus.
On this special occasion of the Historical Society’s 50th Anniversary year, the Village of Columbus designed a hand-crafted Commemorative Plaque to honor one of its two still living founders, Anne Marie Beck, who along with her late husband, Ed Beck, Jr., actually organized the CHS and then acquired and subsequently fully restored the run-down old city train depot into the charming facility it is today. Outgoing President Stan Stevens did a recent makeover of the entire sales floor area, so the Museum is quite an attractive asset 106 years after the infamous Raid on Columbus.
Today the Depot Museum is one of the Village’s most popular tourist attractions. If you are ever fortunate enough to pass through or visit Columbus, don’t miss the opportunity to explore the Depot. The large quantity and quality of its exhibits will more than make your visit worth the time. It is regularly manned by well-trained Docent volunteers, and also has an interesting array of Raid-era memorabilia and other related artifacts for sale – – – tax-free.
Every year, the CHS officially conducts a solemn ceremony in memory of the 16 American deaths caused by Pancho Villa’s invading marauders. This coming year the event will take place on Thursday, March 9, 2023, at 10:00 AM at the CHS Rotunda just South of its Depot Museum.
While at the Depot Museum you might want to join the organization since membership is very reasonable: $5 for individuals, and just $8 for a family.
To see any of the below photos full-size and in high resolution, simply click on them.
L to R: Dr. Kathleen Martin, Trustee and newly elected Historian, and Liz Pendleton, member
L to R: Ann Marie Beck, CHS Founder, and member, with Rita Kittrell, a visitor from Arizona
L to R: Gordon Taylor, CHS member, Mart Schneider, VP, and Velvet Fackeldey, re-elected Trustee
L to R: Rita Kittrell, Shirley Garber, Treasurer, and newly elected President, Stan Stevens (turned away) Velvet Fackeldey, Kathleen Martin, Gordon Taylor, Mart Schneider, Corby Burns, member, and Liz Pendleton
On left, Steven Zobeck, and Maria Constantine, Head Columbus Librarian. Both are CHS members.
L to R: Corby Burns, Leonard Steward, newly elected Treasurer, and Sarah Powell, member
President Stan Stevens explains the election procedure to the attendees.
L to R: Dr. Martin with Chuck Forgrave, a member
Liz Pendleton, Dr. Martin, Chuck Forgrave, Stan Stevens, Mart Schneider, Velvet Fackeldey, and Shirley Garber
L to R: Stan Stevens, Annette Schuster, Velvet Fackeldey, Shirley Garber, July McClure(standing), member,Chuck Forgrave, Dr. Martin, andMaria Constantine
On Right, Jim Tyoawards the Columbus Historical Society Plaque to Stan Stevens in recognition of his leadership as CHS President
Close-up of the Special Columbus Historical Society’s Special Award to Mr. Stevensin appreciation for his service
L to R: Stan Stevens,President, Jim Tyo, newly elected VP and Ann Beckwith Shirley Garber, newly elected President
Close-up view of the Columbus Village custom Plaque awarded to Ann Marie Beckas a key founder of the CHS.
On October 6, Colonel Mario Campos, (L) USAF Retired, past Flight Captain of the General Nichols Flight of the Daedalians in nearby El Paso, briefed his fellow aviators about the last 75-year history of small arms weapons and their legacy in the Air Force. After his PowerPoint-supported talk, his audience agreed they learned things they never knew, even when on active duty. Remember to simply click on any photo below to see it in full resolution and full size. 2 short videos (A brief 1:00 minute long highlight, and a 10-min. cut of his one-hour presentation, follow below the still photographs.
Col. Bob Pitt, right above, helps the Service Staff plan the upcoming luncheon. His wife, Julie is 2nd from Left.
L to R: Pete Brandon, Virg Hemphill, Jerry Dixon, and Roger Springstead, look over the Ft. Bliss Club’s menus.
L to R: Pete Brandonshows Virg Hemphill some photos on his phone.
Retired Naval Aviator, Roger Springstead, Flight 24’s Chaplain, intently listens to Virg Hemphill and Jerry Dixon.
L to R: Col. Melissa Fisherand her husband, Col. Alan Fisher, look over some photos of Col. Campos’.
Flight 24’s Captain, Col. Alan Fisher, opens the luncheon meeting.
L to R – foreground: Judy Campos chats with her husband, Col. Mario Campos. At the rear, in green and black, is Daedalian Army Aviator widow, Connie Sullivan.
The scheduled speaker for this Luncheon was canceled, so Colonel Mario Camposstepped in with his PowerPoint Presentation about the history of Air Force small arms, entitled, “75 years of USAF Small Arms.”
The following description of the presentation was written by Colonel Bob Pitt.
Mario began by pointing out that while the Air Force has a rich and well-documented history of its major weapon systems since its birth in 1947, little has been written on the small arms the Air Force has used during that period. He also pointed out that the Air Force has been instrumental in the acquisition of small arms that have had an impact on all the other services. He limited the discussion to personal arms and excluded crew-employed machine guns, light machine guns, mortars, handheld rockets, and so on.
He described the period of 1947-1956 which included the transition of the Army to Air Force small arms. He went over the history of the M1 Carbine and the Colt M1911A1 as the primary weapons adopted by the Army during this period. He also covered the M1 Garand, but primarily of its use as an Air Force competition and ceremonial weapon.
Mario then transitioned to the 1956-1990 period by highlighting some unique firearms like the .22 Hornet M4 and .22/.410 M6 Survival rifles. He then went on to give the history of the Air Force’s transition to the Smith and Wesson “Combat Masterpiece” .38 Special and the Snub-Nosed .38 Special as the Air Force’s primary handguns for Security Forces (Police) – and Aircrews.
Colonel Campos then described the Air Force’s role in acquiring one of the legendary battle rifles still in use today . . . the M16. He described how Gen Curtis LeMay was the first of the service chiefs to recognize the value of the weapon and, after being initially rebuffed, it was the Secretary of Defense, Robert McNamara, who ordered all services to use the M-16.
Mario also went through the different Air Force versions including the Colt Model 604 (M-16) and the XM177E GAU-5 (M-16 Carbine). He also went over the Air Force’s continuing use of the Remington 870 Shotgun.
Finally, Mario transitioned to 1990 and beyond when the Air Force adopted the M-16A2, Beretta M9 pistol, M4 Carbine, M24 Sniper System, M11 pistol, and now the Sig Sauer M18 pistol and the HK 417 Designated Marksman Rifle. He ended the presentation with a description of the new Aircrew Survival Weapon, a foldable M4 Carbine that fits in aircrew survival seat kits.
Here, below, are a short video (1 minute) highlight of Colonel Campos’ hour-long presentation, and a 10-minute version. Please excuse the problem with the variation in the lighting in some sections.
“Full-screen” mode won’t work on the first video clip, but it will on the YouTube version.
It was almost 40 years ago when the Williams AFB, Arizona Daedalian “Willie” Flight #82 began to give an award to each graduating class of new F-16 Fighter Pilots at Luke Air Force Base(LAFB) (near Phoenix) a highly and much cherished “Leadership” trophy.
NOTE: Click on any photographs to see them in full (high) resolution on a separate page.
Above: F-16 Viper takes off for a mission.
The Training staff would vote for the student who displayed the greatest leadership qualities. When that LAFB F-16 VIPER training program was transferred to Holloman AFB (HAFB) near Alamogordo, NM, the pleasant duty of presenting each class’s Daedalian Leadership Award fell upon the El Paso, Texas Daedalians’ Flight 24.
The below 3:12 minute long video gives a glimpse of the F-16 Viper training program, which began at Luke AFB, AZ, and is now carried on at Holloman.
All members of El Paso Flight 24 are long-time FASF members, which is why the FASF posts each of those HAFB Viper Graduation Ceremonies right here, whenever possible.
This post’s headline above refers to the two amazing coincidences that took place at each of the last two graduations at Holloman: The most recent one was on August 20th, and before that, on May 21st of this year.
A few weeks ago the honored awardee of the Leadership prize was a new female fighter pilot, Captain Nicole L. “Clump” Palyok (Below) – – – Go to the end of the post to read Captain Palyok’s short biography.*
Flight 24 had awarded that same achievement trophy to its very first female fighter pilot over five (5) years ago; Lt. Claire “Harry” Bieber. The now Captain Bieber is only the second part of the event’s coincidences. The most astounding component of the coincidences began with what actually took place last May when the top Leader graduate was Captain Mark “GEF3” Palyok. (Below)
Captain Mark Palyok’s8th Tactical Fighter Squadron Graduation Program Photo
Were they brother and sister? No, rather a husband and wife. And, after their graduation, both will be stationed in Japan – – – and at the same location: Misawa Air Base.
Of course, the odds of this happening are beyond minuscule, but it did take place. And your webmaster was privileged to witness this amazing coincidence unfold.
The other astounding small-world coincidence concerning these two female Fighter Pilots is that your Webmaster sat next to Lt. Colonel Jim Hayward and his wife during the 311th TFS graduation dinner just four weeks ago.
When I mentioned to Colonel Hayward that there was only one other female that had been selected as a graduating squadron’s top leader – – – and that that award had been presented by me five years ago. The Colonel inquired about that female awardee’s name.
He was quite surprised. Not only did he know her, but he said, “She was my ‘wingman’ in Afghanistan!“
The Colonel then went on to assert that she was the finest, a ‘wingman’ who was among the best pilots he’d experienced, one that he knew always “had his back” . . . in short, “She was great!”
So, without further ado, let’s see the characters involved in these two coincidences (follow the link above to see all about Capt. Bieber).
Last May 21st was when Captain Mark Palyok was awarded the Daedalian Leadership Trophy by long-time FASF member and current Daedalian Flight 24 Captain, Colonel Alan Fisher:
Col. Alan Fishercongratulates Capt. Mark Palyok on his achievements
L to R: Col. Bob Pitt, Col. Alan Fisher, Capt. Mark Palyok, Ric Lambart, and Col. Miles “Cowboy” Crowell
That evening, Col. Miles “Cowboy” Crowell,Daedalian, explained the Vietnam Era“River Rat” Award
Colonel Crowellcongratulates Lt. David “Souper” Cooper, recipient of the River Rat Award
And now, let’s pick up the next Palyok event, Here, below, are the photos from that Graduation:
Colonel Fisher presents the Leadership Trophy to Captain Nicole “Clump” Palyok.
Colonel Fisherexplains the significance of the award from the Daedalians to the audience as Capt. Palyok listens.
The evening’s graduates stand on stage at the end of the ceremonies. L to R above are Capt. Timothy Crain, Lt. William Tatum, Capt. Palyok, Capt. Phill Warden, Guest Speaker Major (Ret.) T. O. Hanford, Lt. Isaiah Butcher, Lt. Eliot Shapleigh, Capt. Nicholas Reisch, Lt. Austin Good, Lt. Connor Davis,and Lt. David Louthan.
The Graduates removed their Dress Uniform jackets to reveal their traditional “Party Shirts” in readiness for the celebratory session. L to R above are Lt. William Tatum, Lt. Isaiah Butcher, Capt. Nicholas Reisch, Capt Phill Warden, and our star for the evening, Capt. Nicole Palyok.
Ric Lambart, Col. Alan Fisher, Col. Mario Campos, Nicole Palyok,Colonels Bob Pitt, and “Cowboy”Crowell.
Chatting after the ceremonies are: L to R: Capt. Nicole Palyok, Colonels Bob Pitt and Mario Campos
During the award ceremonies, Col. “Cowboy” Crowellpresented the “River Rat” award to Captain Timothy Crain.
* Nicole grew up in an Air Force family moving around her entire life. Her grandpa flew cargo in Vietnam, her dad flew the F-15C fighter, and her brother is a B-1 pilot stationed at Ellsworth SD right now.
So Nicole has 3 generations of pilots in the family which is “pretty awesome.”
She went to college at the University of Virginia where she got a BS in Biology. Originally she was Pre-Med while doing AFROTC, but after giving flying a try for a few hours in a Cessna she decided to apply for a pilot slot.
Nicole was commissioned and moved to Laughlin AFB in Del Rio, TX for Undergraduate Pilot Training (UPT). She stayed there after UPT as a First Assignment Instructor Pilot (FAIP) and taught students how to fly the T-38 for 3 years in the 87th Flying Training Squadron.
That is where she met her husband, Mark Palyok, who was also a T-38 FAIP at the time. Her husband and Nicole moved to Holloman AFB last summer and both went through F-16 training at the same time, though he was two months ahead of his wife’s class.Mark is already out at Misawa AB, Japan, and she will be joining him there in October. They are “very excited to be flying the Viper and to have the opportunity to travel overseas too.”
Nicoleremarked that it was “funny that we both ended up being selected for the (Leadership) award, It was quite an honor.”
An early member of the FASF, Charlie Overstreet, took his final flight two weeks ago from his home in El Paso, Texas. He was also an active member of the El Paso Daedalian Flight 24 and one of its former Captains. Charlie, over the past ten years, has also been one of our FASF Aviation News Reporters. He was a long-time docent at Santa Teresa’s, New Mexico’s War Eagles Air Museum (WEAM), and was an active member of its Board of Directors. Both the Daedalians, the WEAM, and the FASF will sorely miss Charlie’s positive personality and his incessant “can do” spirit. Here, below, is his Daedalian Flight’s Memorial headline honoring his long service (his wife of 61 years, Mayre Sue, is at the far right with Charlie at a Daedalian gathering):
Charles “Charlie” Overstreet passed away on February 3, 2022. He was born in 1937 to Charlesand Zelma Overstreet.Charlie’sdad was a Coast Guard officer and his earliest memories were of being at Coast Guard Air Stations all around the country, watching airplanes with his dad and younger brother Lane Overstreet. This inspired a lifelong passion for aviation and patriotism.
Upon graduation from the University of Miami, Where he was a member of the AFROTC unit, Charlie was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant in the USAF.
He entered pilot training at Big Spring, Texas where he met his future wife Mayre Sue. They married in the summer of 1961 when he finished B-47 Stratojet bomber training and was assigned to Forbes AFB, Kansas. While in Kansas, Charlie and Mayre Sue had two sons. The oldest Charles Overstreet was born in the middle of the Cuban Missile Crises, Charlie had to take a couple of hours off a nuclear alert to be at the hospital. James Overstreet was born just before his dad left for B-52 Stratofortess bomber combat crew transition training at Castle AFB, California. In 1969 Charlieand his B-52 combat crew joined the conflict in Vietnam, where he flew 55 combat missions during Operation ArcLight. Upon returning from South East Asia, Charlie left active duty with the USAF.
In 1971 the US Customs Service Sky Marshal program hired Charlie and in 1972 he was promoted to a Special Agent/Pilot position in San Antonio, TX. He transferred to DEA in 1973 as one of the initial stand-up cadre. Within a couple of years, he helped stand up the air branch supporting sensitive counter narcotics’ operation, sometimes doing things with airplanes that are generally frowned upon today.
In 1985 he transferred to El Paso, retiring from DEA in 1994. Refusing to slow down, for 17 years Charlietaught as a substitute teacher at Coronado High School. After retiring from teaching Charlie became a volunteer at the War Eagles Air Museum, he just loved being around airplanes. Charlie enjoyed working with his colleagues on the War Eagle museum staff and as a docent for visiting students.
One of his most recent and passionate endeavors was honoring our Texas and New Mexico veterans through the organization and development of the Santa Teresa Veterans Memorial Park in Santa Teresa, New Mexico. He enjoyed hunting, skeet/trap shooting, cigars, and traveling around the world with his family and friends. Charlie was a member of Safari Club International, The Order of the Daedalians, and the FASF.
Charlie2nd from Right with his fellow Daedalians (L to R) Roger Nichols, Bob Pitt, Ric Lambart, and at far right, Mario Campos, all at Holloman AFB (HAFB), NM.
Charlieintroduces WEAM CEO, Mike Epp at Daedalian Meeting just this past November 3, 2021
Charlie at Daedalian Meeting Podium this past November 2021
Charlie at Daedalian luncheon table with his wife, Marye Sue, and Colonel Alan Fisher at left.
Services were held at Martin Funeral Home, in El Paso, yesterday (Monday), February 14,2022.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations for Charlie may be made to the Veterans Project-Santa Teresa Charitable Foundation, 2660 Airport Road #780, Santa Teresa NM 88008. We already miss you, Charlie.