FREEDOM THROUGH VIGILANCE ASSOCIATION
P.O. Box 691616
San Antonio, Texas 78269-1616
1. FEBRUARY 20, 2015 BOARD OF DIRECTORS' MEETING: After ascertaining that we had a quorum, President Ron Haygood called the meeting to order at 1330 hours in the SSFCU Board Room.
|Ron Haygood - President
||Andy Smith - Vice President
|Bob Cope - Treasurer
||Phred Sevening - Secretary
3. MINUTES: The minutes of the JAN 2015 meeting were read and approved with minor edits.
4. TREASURER'S REPORT: Was read and filed for audit.
5. CHAPTER REPORTS:
- ROCKY MOUNTAIN Chapter: We had our monthly meeting last week and spent a large portion of the meeting talking about how to keep the FTVA relevant. We felt our biggest challenge, as we believe is evident in other organizations such as VFW and American Legion, is attracting this new generation of Airmen that may not feel the need or grew up with the sense of common purpose or togetherness that comes from veterans in previous generations. That is not to say that people no longer care, but the changes that have happened on military bases, not living in the same neighborhoods, geographic distances from work, the decline of the base clubs, and de-glamorization of alcohol have had a dramatic impact on how our young people socialize. They also are using technology differently and often use that as a means to stay connected rather than face to face.
We came up with two recommendations to boost meeting attendance. One, we are going to raffle off gifts to one winner every meeting. Probably a $20 bar tab to Rhinos. Second, we are going to have some fun with bringing in military mementos and talk about why they are special to us.
We also talked about how to connect with the active duty military units in our area. We have always had good, preliminary meetings with the Commander and Senior Chief of the organization, but I have noted that without follow up the connection falls off for some reason, and so it is up to the chapter to keep that connection alive. I think the active duty guys get busy and not realizing the tremendous resource they have at their disposal. So, we are re-stimulating the interest and also offering to sponsor awards programs and see if there are also opportunities to address them in Commanders Calls.
- ALOHA Chapter: Aloha Greg (et al), thanks (or as we say in Hawaii "Mahalo") for your insight. My two cents: From the time of the Aloha Chapter's birth ( I was fortunate to be at the formation meeting), the major challenge (aka "Opportunity to Excel" - got that from Rass at the NCO Academy in 1978), was to get the Active Duty Leadership's buy-in otherwise it's like pi....g up a rope! Here at Aloha Chapter we've tried a number of ways to connect with the AD. I've met with the majority of AD Commanders and even tried to give away "free" one year FTVA memberships by answering basic trivia questions (e.g., Who's the current Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force?). I wrote 3 articles for the local AD Unit sharing some war stories and included a trivia question but not one (nada) response. I even attended one of their farewells and gave an FTVA coin to a departing SMSgt who at least had tried to engage the AD in FTVA. When I shared who I was a tad bit about FTVA I saw nothing but blank stares. It is obvious to me, the AD overall has little/no clue who we are.
As I believe we all know, leadership comes from the top down and down up - even as we try as we might. I've noted over the years at the annual FTVA reunion we usually have participation by the AD (now 25th AF) leadership participation; however, I see little of it filtering down to our level. The one exception we had was then 324th IS Commander, Ken Williams who mandated his officer corps attend an FTVA event.
Sorry for venting, but as an NCO Academy graduate, I was taught to speak up and say what's on your sleeve or forever hold your peace. I am not one to "hold" as some of you know. I would ask our FTVA leadership to engage with 25th AF leadership and get their buy-in not only at their level but at the unit level at least where there is a nearby FTVA Chapter. Bottom line folks are that we need top AD leadership buy-in or FTVA will be long forgotten (well except in San Antonio) once we "elders" pass by.
- HERITAGE Chapter: We have received the tail flash model for our display cabinet in Brandenburg Hall. We'll take a photo or two when we put it in later this week. Our Wing Commander, Col Kimberlee Joos, is not only leaving us this July, she is retiring. I'm happy for her, but sorry to see this wonderful lady leave our service. She has done wonders for the base and for our chapter, leading the charge to help us with the EC-47 history exhibit and the dedication of Brandenburg Hall. I believe her replacement is Col Michael Downs, currently commander of the 707th ISR Group at Ft Meade. Col Joos told me he is a good man and shares many of her interests, including keeping the history of what we do in the forefront. The change of command/retirement will be held sometime in July.
And now to the main topic of discussion. I share Greg's and Tilly's concerns/observations regarding active duty participation in the FTVA. There just seems to be too much going on in people's lives for them to pause and think about the significance of organizations like ours. Heck, I really didn't have a clue (no jokes, please) until I was a little "older" in the service. Luckily I had some good people like Dean Welch, Rass, and others guide me through my journey. As I said earlier, we've been lucky here the past two years with excellent senior leadership. Our chapter has done some great things on base and our name & mission have been highlighted by PA on numerous occasions. But none of that has attracted much interest membership-wise. We've had a few folks indicate some interest, but they're retired folks living in the area.
Our base population here is unique in that those folks we should be targeting for membership - the intel guys and gals - are basically a transient population (students). To make it more of a challenge, these folks (except for the instructor staff) are new to the Air Force and have no real understanding of what we do/stand for. My only hope is to spark some interest that they will hopefully follow-up on later. And that means we must have some type of presence in the field (through local chapters, senior leadership, etc.) to keep that interest alive. It's a tough nut to crack. I look forward to seeing how this works out in the short term.
As for the Heritage Chapter, we'll continue to work our shadow box project to enhance those buildings already dedicated and look for other areas to get involved in on- and off-base. If we have any major breakthroughs I'll be sure to let everyone know!
- NCR Chapter: The 16 Jan FTVA NCR Chapter meeting was a great time. Fifteen folks attended, including 5 active duty Airmen. Several folks attended from the DC Metro region and one member travelled from Front Royal, VA. We discussed the chapter relocation from DC to Fort Meade, chapter goals, including ideas to help get the word out about FTVA in order to increase membership, and also ideas about how the NCR chapter might support 25 AF Airmen at Fort Meade. We agreed on quarterly chapter meetings.
- Get the word out
- We will continue to work with the 70 ISRW CCM and the Chiefs Group, Top 3, First Six and CGO Council to help get the word out about FTVA and the NCR Chapter
- NSA Washington (NSAW) Armed Forces Week Celebration. We discussed the potential to support the NSA-Washington Armed Forces Week celebration. Benefits are increased FTVA & NCR Chapter awareness for NSA employees and active duty Airmen as well as the local community -- which we hope will increase membership. More detail on our support to AFW will follow after the elections.
- CMSgt Kevin Slater, USCYBERCOM & NSA/CSS CCM noted he had seen "speed mentoring" events and suggested that this might be something the Chapter could consider. This is similar to "speed dating," except attendees ask AF career/transition mentoring questions to those serving in mentoring roles. Those present thought this may be a useful tool to both support Fort Meade Airmen which may also increase Chapter membership. This will be an agenda item for the new officers, once they are elected.
- Officers. We agreed that we need to elect NCR Chapter officers NLT the end of Feb so we can start preparing for the NSAW Armed Forces Week. The National Capital (NCR) Chapter will hold elections on 28 Feb 2015.
We rounded out the meeting with brief synopses of our USAFSS-to-25 AF careers which was both interesting and in many cases provoked friendly, ribbing comments—but also clearly showcased members' experience and accomplishments. The NCR Chapter can help to capture and document this information so FTVA can help communicate the history and heritage of those who serve in silence. Equally important, the time we spent to share a bit about our careers and people we all know or knew underscores one of the FTVA Programs: Remain in Touch.
6. OLD BUSINESS:
- NAME TAGS: Ron Haygood brought some graphic design examples on paper to share, and generate discussions. After some debate, motion was made, seconded, and approved for Ron to proceed with finalizing the design and will email it out for the Board to view. We will then order name tags for the expanded Board members who want them so they can be picked up at the Spring Social. In order to keep the cost reasonable, the name tags will be two colors (silver/grey background silver with black lettering and knight's piece) to keep the price at $5.00. If the Chapters are interested, we can bulk order and mail the name tags to them. Vice President Andy Smith will take lead on collecting orders.
- Spring Social: Date is 4 April, at same location as last year (Marriott at 151 and Wiseman). There were approximately 40 deployers total, and it is too soon to have any idea on how many will actually attend (last year there were only about ten). After short discussion, motion was made, seconded, and approved to provide a $25 gift-card to each deployer. 25th Air Force Command Chief, CMSgt Towberman, will be the guest speaker.
- FTVA San Antonio Chapter Update: Inaugural meeting was held last night (19 FEB 2015) at VFW Post 7018, with 14 members attending. Discussions included where/when to meet, and name of the chapter; with no decisions made on either topic. Once date/time/location is locked in for the March meeting, notice will be sent out by email and other methods to maximize awareness among potential members. The April meeting will be at the Spring Social.
- Updating FTVA Constitution, By-Laws, and FTVA BOD Roster: After short discussion, motion was made, seconded, and approved to accept the minor administrative edits to the FTVA Constitution and By-Laws to reflect the transition from Air Force ISR Agency to 25th Air Force.
- 25th Air Force Deployers Picnic: Still do not have a formal request for funds from the 25th Air Force POC; after short discussion, decision was made to reaffirm our commitment to support this year's picnic.
7. NEW BUSINESS.
- LARSON AWARDS Update: After discussion, a motion was made, seconded, and approved to support this year's Larson Awards program on the condition that issues with previous year are resolved before disbursing funds.
- Vietnam War Commemoration Partner Program: Chief of Staff of the Air Force (CSAF) has initiated an effort to honor those who participated in the Vietnam War. CSAF is requesting active duty organizations step up to play a role. After short discussion, motion was made, seconded, and approved for FTVA to assist 25 AF, contingent upon seeing what they plan on doing.
- 2015 Banquet Guest Speaker: We are working with 25th AF on the guest speaker for this year's Anniversary banquet. More to follow.
- 25 AF Senior Liaison: Previous Senior Liaison, Col Mike Shields, retired without ensuring a replacement. Ron Haygood and Ken Williams will work with NAF leadership to select a new liaison.
- Active Duty Membership: As is the case with the Chapters (see para 5 above) we continue to experience challenges in recruiting active duty members into our organization. After much discussion, there were no motions made, but a general agreement to get active duty leadership involved to emphasize the importance of FTVA.
- Directors Emeriti: After short discussion, motion was made, seconded, and approved to make a donation to the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund in honor of Joe Hurst and Jim McLendon for their long and distinguished successes as FTVA Board Members, earning the distinction of "Director Emeritus" for each.
8. CORRESPONDENCE. None.
9. AROUND THE ROOM.
- Barnie Gavin: I sent letters out on the Vigilant Partner Program, and received one response requesting a listing of all the activities that FTVA supports.
- Dennis Buxton: The Golf Course is reserved and the catered luncheon is set for this year. The lunch price has gone up by $1 over last year; plan to cover the increase by other means rather than increase the cost to participants.
- Andy Smith: I will send out instructions on how to share the FTVA Facebook page from your personal FB page.
10. There being no further business, motion was made, seconded, and approved to adjourn at 1453. The next meeting will be at the SSFCU Board Room at 1330 on 20 MAR 2015.
Loren R. "Phred" Sevening