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Happy 2002. I hope the New Year is bringing good things to you. It appears that we may be starting to recover from our economic doldrums, but a full-fledged return to the bullish times of the last several years may be a while in coming. We are pleased to tell you that we have some more new faces around the Board table now. We were all glad to welcome Cliff Koonce to the Board, especially Grover McMakin. Cliff has agreed to serve as Secretary, relieving Mac from that additional duty and allowing him to focus his primary effort serving as your Social Director and the mainstay for getting the Reunion arrangements set. I must tell you that Mac is a real jewel who does so much for your Association that we could never afford him if we had to pay him. He's organized, enthusiastic and gets things done, all with a view towards what is in the best interest of the members of FTVA. Thanks again, Mac. We're damn lucky to have you with us.

We are also pleased to welcome a dynamic duo who will serve as co-Sports Directors -- that means that they will organize the golf tournament for the Annual Reunion. Dennis Buxton and Joe Hurst have stepped up to the plate and are already getting arrangements locked down for this year's tournament. We're glad to have them both working with us. We know they have been spending lots of time with Jesse Coultrap tapping into his seventeen years of experience with the tournament. We're confident that this year's event will be as another success.

I was pleased to represent the FTVA on February 20 at Security Hill where Brig Gen Paul Lebras assumed command of AIA and the Joint Information Operations Center (JIOC). Gen Ed Eberhart, CincSpace, was on hand to participate in the JIOC portion of the ceremony and Lt Gen Tom Keck, 8th Air Force Commander, was on hand representing Gen Hal Hornburg, Com commander, Air Combat Command, to officiate for the AIA turnover. Those of you who were on hand for the reunion a couple of years ago may remember Brig Gen Lebras who, as the then AIA Vice Commander, presented the AIA command update after the induction ceremony for the Hall of Honor inductees. He had rather short notice that he was to address the group as then AIA Commander Maj Gen John Baker had a short notice TDY requirement and was not in town for the weekend. I believe Gen Lebras impressed everyone in attendance that morning with his presentation. He is a career intelligence officer who brings much to the command at a most critical time in the command's history. As General Eberhart said, "General Lebras is the right man for the right job at the right time." He also announced that Brig Gen Lebras has been nominated for promotion to Major General. All in all it was a great day for the command and the Lebras family, and we have a positive supporter for FTVA in Gen Lebras.

Plans for this year's reunion are moving right along, and we hope you have blocked your calendars for the last weekend in September. Additionally, several units have scheduled unit reunions in San Antonio to coincide with the FTVA reunion. While AIA folks remain fully engaged in "Operation Enduring Freedom," unless there is another major catastrophe like 9 - 11, command officials see no obstacles to holding the reunion with the command actively participating. One area that will be different is security. It is tight. We're working with the command to try arrange special access procedures for FTVA Reunion participants, especially for those who do not have base decals on their vehicles. We'll keep you posted as those arrangements come together. Also, Bill Ballard and the Hall of Honor committee are looking for nominees for consideration for the Hall of Honor (see more details later on in this newsletter). Give it some serious thought and consider nominating someone who you believe meets the high standards set for the Hall of Honor.

That's about all for now. I hope you have a marvelous Spring. It appears it wants to arrive, but periodic arctic cold fronts keep showing up, delaying our change to warmer days and nights. Think sun.

Finally, remember to keep our fighting men and women in your thoughts and prayers. Remain In Touch.

// Signed //

John Worthington

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File last updated: March 21, 2013 8:18:04 PM CDT