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President's Corner - December 2005

Dear FTVA Members,

Our association enjoyed another annual reunion weekend of events in October. The weather was beautiful, allowing us to complete a set of activities that combined remembrance, recognition, recreation and camaraderie. This year's reunion took place during the SENSOR OLYMPICS competition, which allowed "alumni" of the command to meet and get to know current and future leaders of the Air Intelligence Agency.

For the first time, the reunion golf tournament took place on the Alsatian Golf course in Castroville. The tournament was a great success with outstanding support from the course management and a lot of hard work by Joe Hurst. Everyone enjoyed the golf and the barbeque at the club house after the tournament. Joe will be working with the Alsatian Course management to plan next year’s tournament over the next several months.

The remembrance ceremony held at the EC-47 memorial in front of AIA headquarters provided everyone who attended a chance to reflect on past events and associations with colleagues present and absent. The Director of Operations Colonel Ronald Haygood, filling in for the AIA Commander Major General Craig Koziol, delivered a moving address on the importance of the command's mission, the dedication of its people, and the need to preserve a sense of heritage that connects our past with current operations. Colonel Haygood presented a plaque to the parents of TSgt Rocco Lastes who was killed over Albania defending our nation. The ceremony included a great performance by the Alzafar Shrine Highlander Bagpipe Band and an F-16 flyover. As has become the custom, FTVA members called out the names of fallen eagles, who died during the past year, followed by a 21-gun salute fired by the AIA Honor Guard. The association very much appreciates the cooperation and efforts by the command staff to make this and all anniversary events a success.

The picnic that followed the remembrance ceremony was a fun event for the several hundred who attended. As has been the case for so many years Grover McMakin, with the able assistance of A.J Harrison, was the driving force behind making the afternoon so enjoyable. A combined FTVA-AIA team had re-furbished the dozen or so booths used to provide food and drink to picnickers, and the booths look good for a few more years of service. The membership table had a beefed-up staff and did its usual brisk business in signing up members for another year and selling command-related mementos.

Saturday's events began with the Hall of Honor induction ceremony that added four distinguished members (CMSgt Susan D. Douglas, CMSgt Danny l. Prichard, CMSgt Samuel W. Watson, and MSgt Segundo Espinoza, Jr.) to its roll. Next, Major General Koziol provided an update on the command's organization and operation. These annual updates provide an outstanding linkage between how things worked in the past and the evolving command mission and tools in use today. We are deeply indebted to Major General Koziol and his staff for the time and care that are expended in preparing these presentations. Following the command presentation, a brief FTVA business meeting announced the election of new officers and concluded with reports from several association officers.

The AIA anniversary banquet held on Saturday evening at the Lackland Gateway Club was enjoyed by the nearly 260 people who attended. In his after-dinner speech, Major General Glenn D. Shaffer, former Director of Intelligence, Joint Staff addressed recent changes in the national intelligence community. He did an outstanding job of presenting the nuances of recent organizational changes and provided the audience excellent insight into their impact on the global war on terrorism. In doing so, he tied the past contributions of those present to the on-going accomplishments of today’s active force. The association owes a large debt of gratitude to Grover McMakin and Ken Williams for orchestrating a mountain of details associated with a large dinner. Well done, Colonel Mac and Ken!!

Each year, the annual reunion marks a time of transition in our association as new officers take their places on the association's board of directors. As the incoming president, I want to recognize my predecessor, Brigadier General (Retired) Grover Jackson, for his first-rate leadership performance during the 2003-2005 period. He will be a hard act to follow. Colonel (Retired) Chris Cook, was re-elected to a second two year term as vice-president. SMSgt (Ret) Loran (Phred) Sevening was elected to a one year term as Secretary.

A significant FTVA transition took place at the annual meeting. After many years of service Colonel Mac informed the membership that A.J. Harrison and Ken Williams did such an outstanding job on the picnic and the banquet that it was time for him to turn over the reins to these two "young men.” Colonel Mac did tell us that he would be around to mentor the young pups. Colonel Mac thanks for everything!

Over the next two years, I will work to make FTVA an even stronger organization than it is today. My hope is to bring the organization into even closer relationship with AIA. I want to get the word to the current members of AIA that they are welcome to become members of FTVA. Current and past members of USAFSS, ESC, AFIC, and AIA can join the FTVA. I urge every FTVA member to join in this endeavor. As we approach the holiday season, best wishes to you and your families. As the war on terrorism rolls on, let us join in thoughts and prayers for the safety of all Americans, particularly those wearing our country's uniform.

Remain in touch,

Robert Crabtree

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File last updated: March 21, 2013 8:18:17 PM CDT