FAR WEST REGION PROFILE - CALIFORNIA AND HAWAII
Far West Region President Rich Taubinger
Far West Region VP for Aerospace Education: Mike Peters
Far West Region VP for Leadership Development: Nora Ruebrook
The Far West Region state/ chapters continue to fully support the AFA mission and goals at all levels with AFA chapters comprised of all sizes ranging from about 100 members to 1300 members. As in all AFA organizations, the leadership at each level working with their local community and members do outstanding work and truly do a remarkable job in today's AFA volunteer environment. The Far West Region has approximately 10,000 AFA members with nineteen chapters in California and presently one in Hawaii (also working on Guam). Rex Moen is the California Air Force Association (CAFA) State President, Nancy Driscoll, CAFA Treasurer, Randy Kelly. CAFA Secretary and Lance Bleakley is the Hawaii-Guam Chapter President.
The Hawaii-Guam Chapter (President Lance Bleakley) is one of the finest, very active chapters in the Far West. The chapter's leadership and its members are involved in the local community as well as with PACAF, Wing, Base and other military units. The chapter leadership is working hard to get Guam rejuvenated again which is really a challenge and slow progress is being made. The Hawaii chapter supports the Wing/Base awards programs as well the NCO academy. The chapter has an on-going veteran's program that insures that the chapter is represented at all veteran memorial services and activities such as the Korean War Memorial Ceremony, National Prisoner of War and Missing in Action Recognition day, Memorial Day activities and others. The chapter is engaged with the JROTC and ROTC units in the area. Hawaii this year has 49 Cyber Patriot school teams signed up to compete which is a tremendous achievement for the chapter. The chapter has strong, active leadership and is doing everything well to continue to support the AFA mission. Check out their chapter web site which is www.afahawaii.org for more on the Hawaii chapter.
California AFA (CAFA) is organized into three major areas each headed by a CAFA Area President.
California Area One: CAFA Area One is composed of six chapters in northern California: Monterey Bay Area Chapter, Travis Chapter, Claude Farinha Gold Rush Chapter, Golden Gate Chapter, David J. Price Beale Chapter and the Tennessee Ernie Ford Chapter.
The Claude Farinha Gold Rush Chapter 116 (Chapter President Paul Bonnier) was selected as the "AFA 2011 Extra Large National Chapter of the Year" as well as being recognized last year as the National AFA 2010 Unit of the Year. The chapter continues to be one of the best in AFA as well as in CAFA. This chapter has many ongoing programs including a $20,000 per year scholarship program as well as a teacher of the year program, a $10,000 a year support to military families, an annual chapter chalet at the Annual California Air Show (attendance 100,000) while hosting 150 wounded warriors and veteran families as well as an annual Chapter annual awards function recognizing National Guard, Reserves, Air Force Active duty, ROTC, JROTC, CAP, community partners, member volunteers and well as scholarship recipients and teacher of the year programs. Check out the chapter's web site which is www.sacafa.com for further information on the Claude Farinha Gold Rush Chapter 116.
The Beale Chapter (Chapter President Kerry Adams) continues to work hard, grow slowly and support the AFA mission. The operational tempo at Beale has continually spread some of the chapter leadership thin but the chapter has been able to provide some support to Beale in performing award recognition to its active duty military members as well as support for other base activities and veteran organizations such as the Beale air shows. It continues to work on revitalizing the chapter and membership and continues to be a work in progress.
The Monterey Chapter (President Christian J. Haun) continues to do well .It continues to support the local community and functions such as the local area air shows and occasional live Monterey military band concerts and other events. The chapter continues to do fine work supporting AFA and CAFA and also is engaged with the Navy Post graduate school and the local business community. The Chapter has received approval and is changing its name in 2011 to the Stan Hyrn Chapter recognizing one of the finest and oldest Monterey chapter members.
The Golden Gate Chapter (President Harold Epley) continues to hang on and is an active chapter with leadership and volunteer needs. The chapter is located in Pleasanton, CA. The chapter activities and functions are centered on working/teaming with the local veteran groups as well as supporting the local military ceremonies, activities and military veteran parades that are held annually. Chapter activities have been limited to supporting the local veterans and community organizations due to an aging membership in the area.
The Travis Chapter (President Andy Popenoe) is working hard to get this chapter reenergized and rejuvenated again. It is a hard task with the on-going Travis military operational tempo and a need to increase membership activities. The chapter continues to support Travis AFB activities and functions presenting awards to Travis annual/quarterly base personnel. The chapter also has an annual scholarship program which is very successful. The chapter also is engaged with the Travis AFB open houses, Travis Air Museum, and other wing/ base functions as they occur. The chapter will be undergoing a major rejuvenation this year by the CAFA state organization.
The Tennessee Ernie Ford Chapter (President Gaylord Green) continues to work hard on getting more members involved in a leadership role and help the chapter maintain its ongoing programs. The TEF chapter is one of the best supporters of the AFA's Aerospace Education Visions program and has been recognized for its efforts. The Chapter's Annual Award banquet is one of the best in CAFA which is fully supported by the local community, industry and continues to attract distinguished speakers from the Space Command leadership. The chapter also supports the San Jose ROTC and the Oak Grove JROTC activities. The chapter also holds an annual golf tournament to raise funds for its chapter's activities. A solid chapter which has ongoing strong activities. Check out their web site which is www.afasanjose.org
California Area Two: CAFA Area President Don Vanhook (he is also the Executive VP for CAFA) is responsible for six chapters in central California: Fresno Chapter, Charles Hudson Chapter, MG Charles Bennett, Jr Chapter, High Desert Chapter, Robert H. Goddard Chapter and the William J. Knight "Pete" Chapter. Area Two has been the best operational area in CAFA and continues to support AFA and CAFA with all its area chapter activities.
The Fresno Chapter (Chapter President Robert Lindsey) is doing well. It is active in the local community with its chapter activities and the chapter is a strong supporter of the CAFA scholarship program as well as the CAFA Teacher of the Year Program. The chapter works with the local Fresno National Guard unit and provides support to veteran activities and organizations in the Fresno area. The Fresno chapter continues to move forward with its AFA and CAFA support and activities.
The Charles Hudson Chapter (President Ken Nishiyama) continues to operate at an outstanding level and was recognized as a CAFA Area Two Chapter of the Year. The chapter continually supports the annual Kern County Fairs, Minter Field Air Shows, the Ridgecrest Air Show and other veteran memorial fund raisers. It also sets up the chapter AFA booth to educate and seek new chapter members at these air shows. The chapter is very active in the CAFA scholarship and Teacher of the Year programs.
The MG Charles Bennett, Jr Chapter (President Frank Walterscheid) continues to excel in its operations and performance. Frank was the 2010 CAFA Member of the Year for all his outstanding CAFA performance and his Area Two President and Chapter accomplishments. The Bennett chapter continues to have strong leadership and great chapter functions. The chapter functions include lecture series on powered flight held at the Castle Air Museum, providing CAP class support, and other chapter involvement with the Castle Air Museum activities and local business organizations.
The High Desert Chapter (President Don Vanhook) continues to grow after rejuvenation efforts. The chapter is now very active with the local Air Force JROTC units. The chapter is also recognizing deserving students and presenting chapter awards at three local high schools. The chapter also provides support to veterans at the Barstow Veterans Home by providing books, magazines and other articles as available. The chapter continues to improve and develop its community network to help with its future functions and activities.
The Robert H. Goddard Chapter (President Lee Barnby) continues to be one of Area Two's finest chapters. CAFA hosted the 2011 CAFA state convention at Vandenberg and as always it was a tremendous success. The chapter's annual AFA military/community golf fund raiser nets approximately $6500 for their annual chapter activities. The local community partners and businesses in Lompoc and Santa Maria provide their full support to all the chapter functions and activities. The chapter's annual Community Partners Appreciation luncheon recognizes their many community partners. Vandenberg AFB also provides strong support to the chapter and the chapter provides needed support to the wing. The great working relationships and support between the chapter, community and the Air Force wing provide a very effective AFA joint organization to accomplish planned activities. The Goddard chapter has received many awards for all their AFA, CAFA efforts and accomplishments.
The William J."Pete" Knight Chapter (President David Smith) is a great chapter and continues to excel in all its chapter activities including hosting past CAFA state conventions. This takes considerable effort by the chapter membership, the local community and Edwards AFB. Many tours were offered by the base to show off the latest Edwards Air Force capabilities. All the past conventions were extremely successful. The chapter also supports a local air history Joe Davies Air Park contributing efforts and man hours to help maintain the aircraft and park. The chapter works well with the Air Force Wing leadership and planned and executed a thank you affair to thank the chapter membership for helping the Edwards military families. The chapter also hosted a pancake breakfast for the first ever Rosamond Lakebed fly in. The chapter leadership continues to work on its very successful community partner program and was recognized this year as one of the best in AFA.
California Area Three: CAFA Area President Martin Ledwitz is responsible for seven chapters in southern California: Curtis LeMay Chapter, General Doolittle Chapter, Bob Hope Chapter, San Gabriel Valley Chapter, Palm Springs Chapter, San Diego Chapter, and Gen Bernard A. Schriever Chapter.
The Curtis LeMay Chapter (President Bryan Rowland) works extremely hard on all its chapter's programs. It is engaged with the local community and schools as it develops its educational programs. As with most chapters' leadership, active members and volunteers continue to be challenge for its leadership but the chapter continues to do a fine job. The chapter fully supports the CAFA scholarship and teacher of the year programs.
General Doolittle Chapter (President Harry Talbot) after considerable effort and work for a few years by many was rejuvenated this year and is becoming one of the finest chapters in Area Three. The chapter has been the leader in the AFA's Cyber Patriot program and has recruited more teams than any chapter in CAFA and AFA. The chapter leadership active participation with the local schools and community is an example for all chapters involved in the AFA's cyber patriot program. The chapter continues to support the AFA and its educational goals and objectives.
The Bob Hope Chapter (President Nancy Driscoll) continues to operate at a high level of activity. The Bob Hope chapter has continued to host past CAFA state conventions with outstanding success besides doing all the great things a chapter is suppose to do. The chapter gets outstanding support from March ARB for all their activities. The chapter has quarterly functions and activities, work with the local March Air Museum on joint activities, hold an annual large chapter golf tournament fund raiser, are involved with JROTC and ROTC, CAP as well as support the CAFA scholarship and teacher of the year programs. They have an excellent community partner program that continues to be worked. Leadership and membership involvement continues to be addressed for the future as this chapter continues to excel.
The San Gabriel Valley Chapter requires new leaders to rejuvenate the chapter. In the past, the chapter has hosted and worked with other veteran groups to help and aid military veterans and their families. They provide food, entertainment, help and transportation at no cost for different activities including travel to the local VA Hospital. The chapter also supported the Annual Veterans Holiday celebration in conjunction with other veteran groups. CAFA will work to rejuvenate the chapter this coming year.
The Palm Springs Chapter (President John Hill) continues to excel as one of the finest chapters in Area Three. The Palm Springs Chapter was a past CAFA Area Three Chapter of the Year for all its accomplishments. It has continually supported the local community as well as the Air Museum located at Palm Springs airport. In 2012 the chapter will host the annual CAFA state convention 10-13 May 2012 which will be a lot of hard work for the New Year and chapter leadership.
The San Diego Chapter (President Richard Jeffreys) continues to do extremely well in all of it's activities. The chapter has an ongoing AFROTC scholarship program supported by its upcoming April 20, 2012 annual golf tournament as well as a San Diego State University Det 075 ROTC awards program. The chapter is always active in the CAFA scholarship and teacher of the year programs. The chapter also worked with the Air Force Sergeants Association chapter, 147th Combat Communications Squadron and ROTC hosting a major BBQ at the California Veteran's Home in Chula Vista, CA. The chapter is very involved with the AFA Aerospace Education's CyberPatriot program and has continually worked to get schools to compete. Working with SAIC and the local California National Guard they have been very instrumental supporting the chapter's Cyber Patriot teams.
The Bernard Schriever Chapter (President Steve Quilici) continues to excel in all that it accomplishes. It was selected as the 2011 CAFA Chapter of the Year. The chapter hosts the "Salute to SMC" Awards banquets; plans, hosts and executes the Space Executives Reception and assisted AFA National with the Global Warfare Symposium in November 2011; as well as providing formal Air Force Ball support; providing $10,000 or more to each of the three AFROTC detachments; and more than $20,000 to Enlisted and Company Grade Officer scholarships and other SMC functions. The chapter has for many years had an active leadership succession program, strong community and industry partner involvement and support as well as an extensive working Board of Directors that make it happen. The Schriever chapter has everything and everyone that makes a chapter a success in all that it does.
Submitted by Rich Taubinger, Far West Region President