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Presidents Corner - March 1999

WHAT'S IN A NAME? -- A heck of a lot.

Our Association, we all know now as FTVA, has undergone several name changes. When we are asked "why?", the response is to keep pace with the new "organization on the hill". Our thrust since the beginning has been to keep those of us in the "business" together. To share our unique job skills, experiences overseas and stateside, good and bad times, dangerous times, hilarious and sad times. In other words, we were a close knit and somewhat esoteric activity and we wanted to "remain in touch."

In the beginning of what we now call the FTVA, it was rather easy to look into the organization and see that all of us in USAFSS and ESC shared a common heritage. While there were a number of different jobs, we all did them together despite the differences in functions .... I am thinking of the classical SIGINT, COMSEC, EW and all the support functions required to do these jobs. We all worked together to perform the missions of the command. As the cold war ended, technology and resources changed requiring the entire Air Force to reorganize. This rolled down to commands and functions, as the AFIC came into being, then AIA. As these changes took place, first some, then all of the different intelligence disciplines were consolidated into the AIA. Then all hell broke loose as the command added new disciplines and organizations.., each with their own heritage and backgrounds. Our organization under a variety of names, right or wrong worked our butts off trying to attract interest from those other organizations and disciplines under the umbrella of "Air Force Intelligence". They, the other organizations and disciplines, did not want to become associated with us in a heritage sort of way. They did their own thing, and, like us, they did it well.

We need to step back and preserve our organization as it was originally intended-- to provide us with an activity and organization that permits us to remain in touch with those with whom we uniquely did our jobs. We were all in it together, and together we did what we had to do... and damn well we might add.

Arguments for and against a name change are many. Most of the concern is that a name change could distance us from AIA and possibly lose their support. It might, but don't think so. We would still accept active duty members and we would support the command's people programs and heritage-strengthening projects. Some say that the FTVA name conjures radical type thoughts by the uninitiated, such as the militia. But whatever the arguments, the fact remains we exist for "us." We are the conduit to the past. We should not try to keep up with changes over which we have no control ... and made for those who do not desire to join us for whatever reason.

We should change our name back to its original--- The USAFSS/ESC Alumni Association. Doing so will better represent and reflect who and what we are and foster the organization's goals.

Bill Ballard - Ernie Short - Bob Cope - Mike Feldblum

Footnote: During the annual meeting in October the subject of changing our name was recommended and discussed. A committee was formed by the board to see how best to present the subject to the membership. The committee considers the history of the organization to be crucial, and that our actions in the past should be reviewed, studied and evaluated. In the last newsletter we asked for member comments on a name change. Unfortunately only a hand-full responded. The majority of those responding were in favor of the name change. Therefore, the Board decided that a vote will be held at the General Membership meeting to be held during the 18 Annual Reunion on 25 September 1999

Bob Sherwood

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File last updated: March 21, 2013 8:18:07 PM CDT