Here we are, at the end of September -- and the end of my three-year tour as Arizona State AFA president.
On Oct. 1, Ross Lampert, State vice president and president of Cochise Chapter, takes the reins as State president for the coming year. Other State officers elected and taking office are: vice president Joe Marvin, Frank Luke Chapter president, and secretary Dwight Bechel, Cochise Chapter.
I know Ross will lead our organization competently and efficiently. Through our leadership development program, he participated with me in all state activities while developing his potential replacement as chapter president to assure a seamless transition. As evidence of his capabilities, he was one of eight people awarded our organization's top membership award, the Chairman's Citation, at the annual AFA national convention Sept. 11, 2010, at the Gaylord National Convention Center, Oxon Hill, Md.
Other national awards for Arizonans include the Community Partner Achievement Award to Cochise Chapter; Special Recognition for Sustained New Member Recruitment to Cochise, Frank Luke and Tucson Chapters; Chapter Growth to Cochise Chapter; and individual awards of the Medal of Merit to Joe Marvin and Mads Brandt of Frank Luke, Morgan Crowder of Tucson, and Gary Phillips of Cochise.
State Exceptional Service Awards will go to Sharon Marvin and Ramon Barajas, Frank Luke, and Susan Struck, Cochise. Receiving State Medals of Merit will be Hank Reed, Sarah Hood and Jodi Jordan, all from Frank Luke.
I must say, this year was one of exceptional recognition by AFA for many Arizonans. These include, in no particular order:
o The 2010 Twelve Outstanding Airmen included two from Luke AFB -- SSgt Zully Birkbeck, a financial management journeyman (female) representing Air Education and Training Command, and TSgt Stephen Hunter, an explosive ordnance disposal craftsman representing Air Force Reserve Command.
o The CMSAF Thomas N. Barnes Award recipient was SSgt Damon Thurman, a maintenance crew chief at Luke.
o The 55th Electronic Combat Gp at Davis-Monthan AFB, Tucson, won AFA's Citation of Honor for their efforts as Air Combat Command's most deployed fixed wing group.
o The 2010 Jodi Callahan Memorial Scholarship ($1,000) went to Luke's SSgt Ryan VanArtsdalen, working on his master's desgree in aeronautical science while assigned to the 56th Aircraft Maintenance Sq. He won't be able to complete his degree here, since he goes to OTS in November and then will be assigned to NATO in Belgium as a maintenance officer.
o The Civil Air Patrol aerospace education cadet of the year was Cadet 2nd Lt Alexa Solorio of the Santa Cruz Composite Sq in Nogales, Ariz.
o CAP Sq 310 in Paradise Valley/Scottsdale won a $250 grant for use in STEM activity promoting aerospace education.
o Meghan T. Updike, pursuing a bachelor's degree in nursing at the University of Arizona, was one of five students receiving Air Force Excellence scholarships of $3,000, sponsored jointly by AFA and First Command Educational Foundation.
I am delighted to end my term on such a happy note. I will continue to stay involved, of course, and look forward to continuing to work with such an outstanding group of people. Anyone looking for a rewarding opportunity is encouraged to join me. Let's work together to make our AFA even better!
- Harry Bailey