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President´s Corner - December 2007

Our association enjoyed another wonderful annual reunion weekend of events in September.  The weather was great and, as usual, all events were well executed and attended.  As a result we remembered, recognized, and relaxed while cherishing the camaraderie of our friends.

We once again took advantage of the Alsatian Golf Club, in Castroville for our reunion golf tournament.  They provide a great a venue and made it easy for our members to enjoy the fellowship this event is designed to provide.  And the barbecue was good too!  Colonel (Retired) Joe Hurst did a great job in planning and executing the tournament and the meal that followed.  Thanks Joe.

The Remembrance Ceremony held at the EC-47 memorial in front of the AF ISR Agency headquarters provided everyone who attended a chance to reflect on past events and associations with colleagues present and absent.  AF ISR Agency Commander Major General Craig Koziol delivered another very memorable 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.  The ceremony included a moving performance by the Alzafar Shrine Highlander Pipe 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 AF ISR Agency Honor Guard.  Our late founder, MGen (Retired) Doyle Larson received special recognition. The association appreciates the efforts of the command staff and the reunion/anniversary team led by Major Van Parys in making this and other events a success.

The picnic that followed the Remembrance Ceremony was fun for the several hundred who attended.  Now in his third year, Chief Master Sergeant (Retired) A.J. Harrison was the driving force behind making the afternoon so enjoyable.  A dedicated group of AF ISR Agency folks manned the booths providing food, drink, and even entertainment for the picnickers.  The membership table had an augmented staff (led by Mr. Bob Baert) and did a brisk business in signing up members for another year and selling command-related mementos, including (thanks to Mr. Doug Holden) our newly published 2008 FTVA Calendar.  And our DJ once again, provided an afternoon of outstanding "picnic music."

Saturday's events began with the Hall of Honor induction ceremony that added four distinguished members to its roll – Colonel (Retired) Ron Haygood, Captain (Retired) Dave Cambridge, CMSgt (Retired) William Buchsbaum, and CMSgt (Retired) Barry Matthews.  Chief Master Sergeant (Retired) Bob Sherwood has done an outstanding job in guiding the efforts of our Hall of Honor committee.  He deserves a big "Thank You” for his dedication and diligence in guiding Hall of Honor activities.  Well done Bob!  Next, Major General Koziol provided an update on the command's organization and operation, with emphasis on the recent realignment and the significant role AF ISR Agency is playing in the global war on terrorism.  These annual updates provide an outstanding link 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 they have 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 AF ISR Agency anniversary banquet held on Saturday evening at the Lackland Gateway Club was enjoyed by the nearly 300 people who attended.  In his after-dinner speech, Major General Paul Dettmer, Assistant Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, gave a very interesting account of the outstanding performance of the AF ISR Agency (and it’s predecessor organizations) and the U.S. Intelligence System in general, over the sixty year history of our United States Air Force.  Once again, the association owes a large debt of gratitude to Mr. Ken Williams, our Social Chairman for orchestrating a mountain of details associated with a large dinner.  Thanks, 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.  This year's turnover was marked by the election of Chief Master Sergeant (Retired) Sue Douglas as our new Vice President.  Sue retired from AIA in 1999 returned to Texas two years ago and is anxious to serve on the FTVA leadership team.  She’ll be a great addition.  In addition, I am grateful for the significant contribution and hard work of all our board members who continue to serve the FTVA membership and our organization.  I’d like to thank Chief Master Sergeant (Retired) Bob Crabtree in particular, for having served as our President and prior to that for serving as our Secretary.  We’ll keep Bob close and find ways for him to continue to serve.

Since the reunion took place in September, the FTVA leadership has participated in the SENSOR OLYMPICS celebration, allowing "alumni" of the command to meet and get to know their successors now serving on active duty and sharing with them the importance of their work and our collective heritage.

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 the AF ISR Agency as a means of attracting a steady infusion of "new blood" in the form of active duty and recently retired/separated people who share our association's values.    We need to get the word out to the current members of AF ISR Agency that they are welcome to become members of FTVA.  Current and past members of USAFSS, ESC, AFIC, AIA, and AF ISR Agency 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,

Chris Cook

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