Next Meeting: 8/14/2017
1600 - 1700 hrs
HQ AFTAC, Lobby Conference Room

Important Notice

It is once again time for the annual election of officers. The newly elected officers will assume their respective offices on 1 Oct 2017 and serve a term of 1 year.

The election will take place at the annual meeting of the association to be held in September, time and place is provided elsewhere in this issue of the PoMo.

The election process will begin with the formal nomination of the slate of recommended persons as determined by the nomination committee as provided for in the association by-laws. Nominations from the floor are then opened with the only stipulation that those so nominated from the floor must be present to acknowledge and accept/decline the nomination. After nominations are closed, if there are multiple nominations for any position, a secret ballot will be held with the ballots counted by members of the nomination committee. The winners are then announced to those assembled.

The nomination committee recommends the following slate as the officers for the 2017-2018 period.

• President: Ed Lindsay
• Vice-President: Jim Whidden
• Secretary: Arlin Massey
• Treasurer: Sean Ryan


  • Wall of Honor Selection Process begins in August

  • AFTAC Booster Club News

  • Piece of History by Jack O'Conner

  • Universal Orlando Discount

  • Improvements to the TRICARE Dental Program


  • Annual Off-Site Luncheon 9/8/2017

  • AFTAC Wing Dining Out 9/22/2017

  • 2017 AFTAC Winter Social 1/12/1918

  • 2018 AFTACAA Snowball XX 1/20/2018

NOTICE: This is a Private Organization. It is not part of the Department of Defense or any of its components and it has no governmental status.

The 'AFTAC Alumni Association' provides a forum for those wishing to maintain a relationship with the center and its people, active-duty and retired. Membership is open to past/present employees of all organizations associated with Long Range Detection, (AFMSW-1, 1009th SWS, AFOAT-1, 1035th FAG, 1035th TOG, LRDAA and AFTAC), and any subordinate field detachment.

Wall of Honor Selection Process begins in August

On 16 August, the AFTAC Heritage Committee will begin the five-month process of selecting the next inductees into the AFTAC Wall of Honor. Each year, the committee selects three exceptional AFTAC veterans for this honor. The committee members, delegates from each of the directorates, work within their respective organizations to nominate candidates. Each directorate may nominate three people.

The Heritage Committee, chaired by the vice commander, reviews the nomination packets throughout the fall time frame and votes in early December.

After the commander approves the results, AFTAC holds a formal ceremony in late January or early February. Bob Wiley represents the AFTAC Alumni Association on the committee.

Please contact Bob at with any questions you may have.

AFTAC Booster Club News

  1. AFTAC Booster Club is hosting a Golf Tournament on 30 Aug.
  2. AFTAC’s Dining out celebrating 70 years of Long Range Detection (LRD) will be a formal event on 22 September @ 1800 @ “Valiant Air Command Warbird Museum” (6600 Tico Rd, Titusville, FL 32780)… yes it’s in a hanger! And yes, former AFTAC Commander, Ret. General Clapper will be our guest of honor/keynote speaker
  3. Do you remember the old AFTAC building that was the icon of PAFB since mid-1950s? It stood for nearly 70 years before being demolished in 2015. Lucky for us we kept some momentos. The name of AFTAC can never be demolished, literally. AFTAC Booster Club currently has 28 of the original 35 letters spelling out “Air Force Technical Applications Center”. These metal letters braved many storms and tribulations and are now available to purchase. Proceeds from the fundraiser will be used to benefit the AFTAC airmen and their families serving today. Visit the AFTAC Alumni Website for more information!” (I didn’t get the photos of the letters yet but I confirmed that we have 28 out of 35 letters)
  4. AFTAC’s Toilet Bowl is planned for 9 November 2017. Last year’s losers, the Directorate of Operations (DO) will organize this year’s event.
  5. AFTAC’s Winter Social will be held at the Brevard Zoo on 12 January. For more information visit the AFTAC Alumni Homepage! (by moving winter social to January we are opening up space for squadrons/units to hold their own winter parties and events)

A Piece of History - by Jack O'Conner

C-47 It was September 1955 and I had just completed our roughly three months of training in Tail # 263---our beloved C-47 “Goony Bird”--- and WB-29’s, which had been modified to conduct training and operations for our specialty. I had just been certified to operate solo as a Special Equipment Operator. I was stationed at my first permanent duty assignment: Western Field Office of the 1009th Special Weapons Squadron, McClellan AFB, CA. WB-29’s were also stationed at McClellan AFB, but as the 57th Air Weather Squadron. The SEO would be the eleventh man on the crew. We had no crew position available, so we sat on the floor in the rear compartment with our back against the bomb bay bulkhead between the two scanners. After takeoff, the SEO would take over the right scanner position where our equipment had been pre-positioned and tied down. Looking back upon it, we were the only thing not tied down. We didn’t know any better and we had a job to do on that aircraft, so we didn’t worry about it.

B-29 In the WB-29’s, we only had a “honey bucket” which was situated directly behind the left scanner position. All human excretions went into that bucket. You can imagine, though you may not want to, just how bad that thing was smelling after we all had been drinking coffee for awhile in briefings and preflight duties without being able to avail ourselves of the scant facilities in the hangar. The beloved honey bucket was used soon and often. More later about that! It is not germane to this story. Directly behind that was the place where we put the box containing all of our lunches---two per crewmember. Twenty two box lunches. We had no heated lunches back in those days. We didn’t have a means to heat them.

Back SACTO: I was lying there next to my new bride dreaming of a wonderful something or other. We were startled out of our slumber with the shrill ring of our telephone.

“This is Capt. Copeland. Airman O’Connor, a staff car will be in front of your apartment in 30 minutes to pick you up for transport to San Francisco Int’l Airport. I can’t tell you where you are going from there, but be packed and ready for 30 days. We will keep your wife informed on your progress. Others are going with you.”

And, thanks to the originator of our concern and the time difference, our alert always seemed to come at about the same time: 3:00AM, PST. The big problem with this is that we never knew what day it might happen or who and how many SEO’s would be called to go. It varied with each occasion, so we always had a bag packed ready to go.

So started my first TDY. We always had a First Class Ticket in our pocket because there was almost always room back there, even if the rest of the plane was sold out. (The Pan American Clipper had a great lounge down a circular stairway where, if we were first to get there, we could stretch out on the sofas. There was no bar service at 5:00 AM). We always just had to get to our destination ASAP. Positioning was of prime importance. Our own Weather Man from 1009th SWS HQ at Langley AFB was on his way to provide expertise in where we should be flying. We had to hit the ground running and be airborne in a WB-29 within 12 hours. Most times one of us would be airborne within three hours of our arrival at Eielson AFB, AK, if we had a good idea of where we needed to be.

There was no such thing as “Crew Duty Time”. We flew as needed. We learned real fast, that this was the routine method of initiating a TDY for anyone in the Cloud Chasing Business ((or: our type of business)). Capt Buck Copeland and A/1c Guy Davis flew alternating days for over a month. On their “day off”, they manned the desk---monitoring and reporting up the line what was happening in the aircraft. Obviously, neither had any crew rest. They both were burned out by the time the operation concluded.

That was the beginning of six great years with the 1009th SWS and flying as an enlisted Aircrew Member. Initially, we were considered additional Non-Crew Member, which paid us $50.00 per month for “hazardous duty pay”. Most of us just wanted to be able to wear enlisted crewmember wings, but a raise in pay to $55.00 per month would be a welcome increase in our meager pay---as would the designation of flight pay. It was minimal compensation for being separated from wife and baby girl for sudden, and frequent separations from the family. It was especially hard on my wife who did not know what we were doing let alone where we were going or why.

The Aircraft Commanders (AC’s) always were a little curious if we hadn’t flown with him before, because the flying time we logged was “z” time, listed as ‘other”. That was an unusual crewmember designation. He stayed suspicious until we found what we were looking for. Then, I think, he understood.

One of the most amazing aspects to me, and probably most of us, was the ability of an A/2C to tell a Lt Col where to take his modified bomber and tell him when to turn and when to orbit. It was a little scary the first few times, but they had been briefed and I only had one flight when the Aircraft Commander did not follow my instructions and what flight profile I wanted.

B-36 It was during a roughly twenty seven hour RB-36 mission and we were headed back to Travis AFB without any success. Exhausted, I thought I’d take a nap, and though we had 2 engines shut down, we still had 8 engines working so I told the AC to maintain 35,000 ft as long as possible and then make a steep approach to Travis AFB. I went to sleep which was understandable (In addition, RB-36 pre-flight took about 3 hours, so I had been at or in the plane for over 27 hours already). The Aircraft Commander decided to make a long shallow approach to Travis so we lost about 3 hours off of the high altitude profile I had requested. During my “nap time”, I had the radio operator monitor my equipment in the event anything happened.

Upon landing, I gave a long sigh of relief, knowing crew rest and a loving wife was awaiting me at McClellan. Instead, Immediately after engine shutdown, I had a big surprise awaiting my arrival. As I disembarked, I was surprised, shaken and not a little frightened to see our Field Office Commander, Col Griffin, waiting for me along with his secretary. Under the wing of the giant ten engine RB-36, at an improvised desk and chair, the secretary typed as I explained what happened. Two days later, the Aircraft Commander was a Co-Pilot. This was in General Curtis Lemay’s Strategic Air Command. It was amazing how much clout a little airman had in this organization. Of course, this was when the Squadron had a two star General for a commander and we had the number one priority in the Air Force. There were four Full Colonels just in the Western Field Office at McClellan AFB, CA.

Though we had nothing to show for our long flight but flight time logged, it was still a successful mission. Just like hunting or fishing, there would be better results on the next time out!


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WCC Spring Picnic - 5/20/2017

Event Arranged By
John "Butch" Kemna

Picnic Crew: Butch Kemna, Bob Fitzgerald, Ken Breitwieser & Dennis Nolan
Eva & Ken Breitwieser
Nancy & Dave Price
Myron Riddle & Clay Lemire
Cathy & Ken Denbleyker
Rod & Betty Jo Hinkle
Ann & Al Pavik
Donna Fritts & Laura Horne
Tommie & Bob Baker
Yuko & Glen Carson
John & Corinne Miner
Sue & Tom Wentz
Twenty-Seven wonderful AFTAC Alumni who enjoyed the 2017 WCC Spring Picnic

Welcome to the AFTAC Alumni Association (AFTACAA) Website
Our way of offering a people to people information platform.

This website is provided for all that have served AFTAC, their families and those who are now serving.

Inputs to the website are solicited and welcome. They can be submitted by clicking on the "Contact Webmaster" link located at the bottom of the Main Page menu column.

Also, there is a link at the bottom of each page for those wishing to join the organization

Web Site Staff and Supporters:


Saturday, 20 January
2018 AFTAC Alumni Association Snowball XX
(Save the Date/Further Details Forthcoming)
1730 - 2300
Holiday Inn Viera-Melbourne, Melbourne, FL

Friday, 8 December
2017 AFTAC Winter Social
1730 - 0000
(Save the date/Further Details Forthcoming).

Friday, 22 September
AFTAC Wing Dining Out
(70th Birthday of USAF, and 70th Anniversary of AFTAC)
(Save the Date/Further Details Forthcoming). 1800
45 SW Hangar, Patrick AFB, FL
POC: 1Lt Jonathan Powers

Friday, 8 September
AFTAC Alumni Association XX September Sociable, Annual Off-Site Luncheon/Board/FY18

Elections Meeting Location: Manatee Cove Golf Course (MCGC),
(Putter Room). Meeting: 1130 - 1230
Pay-as-You-Go Lunch available from Fairways Snack Bar, before meeting.
For your early dining pleasure, lunch, may be ordered, at 1030.

Saturday, 29 July
AFTAC Hockey Club Charity Game (Camp Hoptake)

AFTAC vs Tampa Bay Firefighters
1630 - 1830
Space Coast Iceplex (720 Roy Wall Blvd., Rockledge, FL)

Improvements to the TRICARE Dental Program

Beginning on May 1, 2017, United Concordia Companies, Inc. (United Concordia) will manage the TRICARE Dental Program (TDP). Beneficiaries don’t need to take any actions to continue their coverage. The TDP is a voluntary dental benefit for eligible active duty family members, National Guard and Reserve members and their families. Several improvements to the TDP include:

  1. The annual maximum TDP will pay will increase from $1,300 to $1,500
  2. The TDP will consider sealants a free and preventive treatment, and no longer include a 20 percent cost share
  3. The auto-enrollment age for family members will lower from age four to one
  4. For most beneficiaries, the monthly premium rate will decrease

The Active Duty Dental Program and TRICARE Retiree Dental Program will not change. The TDP will continue to provide access to a network of civilian dentists around the world. Your access to quality care will not change. However, some dentists currently in the TDP network may leave, while new ones will join. So, those currently enrolled may need to find a new dental provider.

To find participating dentists please click here.
You may nominate dentists to participate by clicking here and completing a simple form.

Click Here for more information.

Reunion Guest Speaker

Dr. Daniel DeForest, the Director of the Materials Technology Directorate, Air Force Technical Applications Center, Patrick Air Force Base, Florida will be the featured speaker at AFTAC's 2017 Worldwide Reunion banquet on Saturday evening, June 17, 2017.

He directs AFTAC's largest mission area with an annual program budget of more than $140 million and is responsible for the work of more than 200 scientific and engineering personnel. He is also responsible for the management of a network of 13 analytical laboratories engaged in nuclear and non-nuclear materials analysis in support of AFTAC's global treaty monitoring mission.

Dr DeForest will give a presentation during the dinner highlighting AFTAC today and it's people. He will cover lots that is new and is sure the alumna will get a kick out of seeing what the plan is for the future.

If you haven't already made your reservation for the reunion banquet, you have a few days left to do so. To register go to:

Hope to see you there!
The Reunion Committee

What U.S. Military Need to Know About Their New Retirement Plan

By Dan Kadlec May 10, 2017
The military’s introduction of its new Blended Retirement System leaves nearly all current service members in a quandary. Those with between one and 12 years of service must choose between the old and new retirement plans—and there is nothing easy about the calculation.

Why one to 12 years? Because on Jan. 1, 2018, all military personnel whose length of service is in that time bubble are eligible for either the old or the new programs. Both have pros and cons. Service members will have one year to make an irrevocable choice. About 88% of active-duty military—or 1.15 million service members—fall into this category.

By contrast, anyone who joined before 2006 is automatically grandfathered into the old system, a generous traditional pension with inflation adjustments. Anyone joining in 2018 or beyond will be enrolled in the new blended system, which features a scaled-back pension but adds up to a 5% match for personal contributions to the government’s massive 401(k)-like Thrift Savings Plan (TSP).

The military just rolled out a calculator that service members can use to compare their options, which is labeled as the beta version of the Blended Retirement System Comparison Calculator. Some unofficial calculators are also available, including one from USAA, a financial services company that serves military families.

To choose wisely, those in the bubble years will need to take a hard look at their expected tenure in the military and their career earnings, as well as their ability to save and their stomach for taking a more active role in managing their own money. “There are a lot of ifs,” says Kathleen Brinkler, relationship manager with AAFMAA Wealth Management, a financial advisor for military personnel. “The new plan works if you contribute enough to get the full match, if you invest prudently, if you don’t take money out early, if you have enough time for your money to grow.”

In general, if you plan to stay in the military for a total of at least 20 years—and thus become eligible for the legacy pension—the old plan will be your best choice. This becomes clearer the closer you currently are to 12 years of service. Why? With fewer than 10 years left before becoming eligible for the legacy pension you probably will not have enough time to make up the difference by saving in the TSP. Besides, under the old plan you can still save in the TSP. You just won’t get the match.

Someone with just a year or two of service has a much tougher calculus. Many additional years of matching contributions and compound growth in the TSP can close the gap—and then some. But going with the blended program requires savings discipline and more hands-on attention. Meanwhile, at any length of service, if you suspect you may not stay at least 20 years, the new system is the obvious choice. It guarantees you will leave with some savings.

These are not absolute answers. Power savers—those able to save 15% or more of pay—might do better in the new plan in many cases. And keep in mind that military personnel are subject to involuntary layoffs, like everyone else. The Army announced a forced troop reduction of 8% just two years ago. If you choose the old pension plan and get downsized, you lose.

To understand the options, start with the legacy pension. A typical officer retiring after 20 years leaves with annual guaranteed income of about $53,000, which is indexed for inflation. Based on a 40-year retirement, that pension has a present value of about $1.4 million, according to AAFMAA calculations. Under the new blended system, the scaled back pension would provide $42,000 of annual income, which has a present value of about $1.1 million. So in rough terms anyone in the bubble years would need to save about $300,000 by retirement after 20 years for switching to the new system to make sense.

That’s a tall order if you have only eight to 10 years to save. Ross Cutler, an AAFMAA advisor, figures an officer would have to save a Herculean 26% of pay for eight years for the new system to make sense. That assumes a fairly conservative 6% average annual return. If he or she achieved average annual returns of 8%, which is reasonable, that officer still would have to save 24% of pay. The percentages are similar for enlisted members who earn much less.

Service members in the bubble years but with a longer time horizon--say, those who only recently joined--have a much clearer path to the new blended system. They would need to save only 6% of pay and achieve 6% average annual returns for the choice to make sense, AAFMAA figures. If they earned 8% on their money, they would need to save just 5% of pay.

Cutler says most service members are low-risk investors. And matching funds under the new system go into a fund that yields about 1%. So soldiers would need to understand the value of more aggressive investing, and be willing to switch the money to more appropriate long-term accounts. “Most retire from the service and have second careers,” Cutler says. “If they don’t touch the TSP they can extend the time horizon out to age 62, and it’s easier to make the case for more aggressive investing with equities.”

In general, anyone opting into the new blended retirement system should save at least 5% of pay—and not touch it. That way they get the full 5% match. The new system is designed around new service members saving 5% and retiring after 20 years with roughly the same total retirement benefit as under the old system.But new soldiers and even those in the bubble years could do much better if they power save. That isn’t easy on military pay. But saving 15% of officer’s pay instead of just 5% could add another $131,400 in 10 years. Over 20 years, it could add another $415,000 at historical rates of return. That’s enough to make the new plan a better choice.

History and Heritage: Similar, yet different Commentary
by Chief Master Sgt. Michael Joseph, AFTAC Command Chief

I would venture to guess that many people use the word “history” and “heritage” interchangeably. I have to admit, I used to think they were synonymous and never gave much thought to the idea that not only are they two separate and distinct words, they are also two separate and distinct concepts.

Let me explain. The textbook definition of the word history is: the study of past events, particularly in human affairs. The definition of the word heritage is: a legacy, tradition or inheritance; something possessed as a result of one’s situation. Different words with different meanings, but inextricably intertwined.

AFTAC’s history is a robust one, filled with ‘firsts’ for our nation from our inception in 1947 until present day. The center’s history is a chronological account of what AFTAC has accomplished for the past 70 years and the compilation of events that define us as an Air Force organization.

Heritage, on the other hand, has a bit of emotion tied to it. It’s about identity and a sense of belonging. Heritage is the “war story” about the people – the faces of AFTAC. It’s the more intangible of the two words, since heritage deals more with the human landscape versus historic relics and artifacts.

Our proud history is reflected in our heritage, and much of that can be attributed to the AFTAC Alumni. Through your tireless efforts, the Alumni Association has gone to great lengths to preserve our past and keep our customs and traditions alive. I want to continue to foster this relationship between the AFTAC Alumni and our current active military and civilian workforce.

History is our past; heritage is a reminder of our past. Or as I like to say, history makes us smarter; heritage makes us prouder.

SnowBall 2017

Show Slide Show

Carol Snyder & Kathy & Karley Herschelman
Carol Snyder AOY
A plate of delicious food
Marybeth & Rich Goodman

The final statement from our AFTAC Alumni Association President SB1.jpg the 2017 AFTAC Alumni Snowball that night was, "The Snowball has melted.", and boy, did it ever. We had a total of 75 attendees, including a table full of VIP's who were enjoying the evening, every bit as much as all others, maybe even a bit more, isn't that right Colonel Rich Goodman? The evening started out with a very enjoyable social hour, where everyone mingled, networked and had the opportunity to speak to fellow Alumni and guests in attendance.

Sean Ryan Carol Warfield
Moira and Tom Eddleman
John Horsch Jim Payne
Dee and Gene Melchoir
Colonel and Mrs. Gorski

Renewing old, friendships and making new ones was the highlight of the night. Possibly even some new AFTAC operational systems were designed that night by our high-tech attendees....who knows? We had the best bartender, "Ryan", who kept everyone happy and didn't seem to mind adding a little "punch" to the drink ordered. Slides of former Snowballs, and golf events, during the year, were continuously shown, on a slide show organized and provided by Bob Wiley, and many people re-lived those good times in seeing it. Salads were served with yummy dressings and crisp lettuce and other little veggies. Then, a delicious and scrumptious dinner was served. All reports were that the Champagne Chicken was tender and juicy. The Pork Loin was just as tender and very flavorful. Veggies were cooked just right, and the dessert of creamy-smooth cheese cake drizzled with strawberry sauce, made for an extremely enjoyable meal. The bell was rung and the evening proceedings were started.

Our National AnthemSB7.jpg was beautifully sung by our perennial singer, Rebecca ("Becky") Lehnerz. Ed Lindsay,SB8.jpg the AFTAC Alumni President, did most of the speaking, adding humor to the evening. Sean Ryan provided some insight to the "POW/MIA" table and some words of what was to come that evening. A video ("SAGE Salute") review of AFTAC'ers who had passed during the year was shown. The inspirational invocation was given by Sean Ryan. After dinner and a brief break, the AFTAC Commander, Colonel Steve Gorski, provided us with a quite detailed briefing of our "AFTAC Today". It was very interesting with a few oohs and aahs from the audience along the way. The following, and most important highlight, which is the main reason for our annual Snowball, was the naming of our Alumni of the Year.

Carol Snyder

This year, Carol Snyder was selected. An honor, that was well earned, deserved, and awarded. Carol has served the Alumni for so many years, never expecting thanks or recognition, for her tireless efforts. She was our "AFTAC Intrepid Insider" for a time longer than many people can remember. Her efforts have always been appreciated. It had been an exciting evening so far, but was not yet to be finished. Suddenly, out popped a troupe of young ladies in Hawaiian costume.


They proceeded to do the cutest Island dances that brought the house down. The applause lasted longer than the dance. This was followed by equally enjoyable dances from places around the Southern Pacific including Tahiti and New Zealand. Provided by the Brevard Hawaiian Dancers, it was all good, it was truly, fabulous. What a night!! Although a number of people were instrumental in organizing this terrific event, Sean Ryan and his wife Michelle, deserve a big "THANK YOU" for their tireless efforts, which provided one of the best Snowballs yet. If you didn't make it, mark your January 2018 calendars, to attend the next one. You, won't be disappointed.

Please be patient.
Sometimes it take a while to download a video

Video by Frank Calenda

Please be patient.
Sometimes it take a while to download a video

Video by Judy Henderson

Please be patient.
Sometimes it take a while to download a video

Video by Clark Creery

Please be patient.
Sometimes it take a while to download a video

Video by Clark Creery

Please be patient.
Sometimes it take a while to download a video

Video by Clark Creery

History of AFTAC Alumni Association
On March 12, 1985, the AFTAC Commander, Colonel James R. Clapper invited a group of retired and active duty AFTAC’ers to meet with him. He requested that they form an AFTAC Alumni Association (AFTACAA). It was established at that time, a Board of Directors was elected and it was chartered in 1986

This association was established to provide a forum for members wishing to maintain a relationship with AFTAC and its people, both active duty and retired. The membership is open to all those who serve and who have served with the mission of this organization and its field detachments since its inception. This is to include all ancillary support venues such as Security Police, Administrative, Personnel and Civilians.

We function as three independent groups. Besides our association, they include the California and the Colorado chapters.
Florida Alumni Association
Dues are $10 yearly (1 October through 30 September)
Lifetime membership $75
Monthly meetings are designated to be held the second Monday of each month at 1600hrs. They are generally held at the AFTAC Headquarters but can be scheduled for other locations. Dates, times and venues are subject to change and can be found on this website’s menu item “Calendar of Events” Mailing address is:
    Po Box 254892
    Patrick AFB, Fl 32925-0892

We have several communications resources:
    Post Monitor Newsletter (PoMo):
        Namesake of the prior active duty “Monitor” Publication
    An active website containing:
        Breaking News, job offers, event photos and much more.
    An instant email notification:
        Service to all members with important news. Acronym
is “eAll”

Our Board of Directors quinquennials (5 or more years in one or several
offices )
    Clark Creery
        Newsletter, 1985/1989 through 1995 (7 years)
        President, 1994 through 1995 (1 year)
        Webpage/Membership, 2001 through 2016 (15 years)
    Frank Hall
        President/Vice President, 1989 through 1998 (9 years)
    Judy Milam
        President, 2004 (1 year)
        Secretary, 1989 through 2006 (17 years)
        Hospitality, From 2001 to Present (15 years)
    Eunice Harris
        Hospitality, 1989 through 2000 (11 years)
    Mary Welch
        Membership, 1991 through 1999 (8 years) (Deceased)
    Carl Gailey
        Treasurer, 1991 through 1999 (8 years) (Deceased)
    Swede Swansen
        Publications, 1993 through 2006 (13 years)
    John and Chris Horsch
        Post Monitor Newsletter, 1996 to Present (20 years) (Chris Deceased)
    Pat Snyder
        Insider/Sage Shop, 1996 through 2010 (14 years)
        Vice President, 2004 (1 year)
    Mike Black
        Webmaster, 1996 through 2010 (14 years)
    Jim Payne
        Membership, 1999 through 2004 (5 years)
    Joe Goldian
        Treasurer, 2003 to Present (13 years)
    Randy Vlassick
        Membership 2004 through 2009 (5 years)
    Sean Ryan
        Secretary, 2009 through 2015 (6 years)
        Social Events, 2010 through Present (6 years)
    Steve Revels
        Sage Shop, 2010 through 2016 (6 years)
California Chapter
Formed in 1999
Dues are $10– Lifetime membership $75
Publish a newsletter – Depot Fallout
For more information click here or email:
Postal Mailing address:
    Alumni Association
    PO Box 3974
    Citrus Heights, CA 95611-3974

Colorado Chapter
Formed in 1986
Dues are $5 per year
Publish a newsletter – Echoes
General membership meetings are normally scheduled twice per year usually in the first and third calendar quarters
Several social events are held each year
For more information click here or email:

World wide reunions are held every two years in a rotation between chapters. Information on these reunions will be initially sent in an eAll and followed by articles in the PoMo’s, the chapter newsletters and articles in this website.

The Air Force Technical Applications Center (AFTAC) provides national authorities quality technical measurements to monitor nuclear treaty compliance and develops advanced proliferation monitoring technologies to preserve our nation’s security. It is the sole organization in the federal government whose mission is to detect and report technical data from foreign nuclear explosions.

Consisting of more than 3,600 sensors worldwide, AFTAC operates and maintains a global network of nuclear event detection equipment called the U.S. Atomic Energy Detection Systems (USAEDS), the largest sensor network in the U.S. Air Force. Once a disturbance is detected underground, underwater, in the atmosphere or in space, the event is analyzed for nuclear identification, and the findings are reported to national command authorities.

AFTAC’s nuclear event detection mission is directly linked to its nuclear treaty monitoring mission. AFTAC monitors signatory countries’ compliance with the 1963 Limited Test Ban Treaty. This treaty prohibits nuclear testing anywhere but underground and prohibits the venting of nuclear debris or radiation from those tests into the atmosphere outside the country’s national borders. AFTAC also monitors the Threshold Test Ban Treaty of 1974 and the Peaceful Nuclear Explosion Treaty of 1976. The 1974 treaty limits the size of underground nuclear tests to 150 kilotons, while the 1976 treaty prohibits the testing of nuclear devices outside of agreed treaty sites.

AFTAC is on the leading edge of technological research and the evaluation of verification technologies for current and future treaties involving weapons of mass destruction which threaten our national security. In 2014, AFTAC supplemented its extensive network of contracted laboratories by opening its state-of-the-art Ciambrone Radiochemistry Lab to analyze and assess compliance with nuclear weapons testing in support of USAEDS and AFTAC’s Nuclear Debris Collection and Analysis Program. The 38,000 square foot lab filled a void created when the center’s central laboratory at McClellan AFB, Calif. closed after the 1995 Base Realignment and Closure actions.

AFTAC employs more than 1,000 personnel and boasts a highly educated force possessing 171 associate degrees, 121 bachelor’s degrees, 214 master’s degrees and 63 doctorate degrees.

AFTAC is a surveillance organization subordinate to 25th Air Force, an Air Combat Command Numbered Air Force, located at Lackland AFB, Texas. AFTAC is located at Patrick AFB on Florida’s east coast, less than 30 miles south of the Kennedy Space Center. AFTAC includes nine detachments, six operating locations and more than 60 unmanned equipment locations around the world supporting AFTAC’s long range nuclear detection mission. In addition, AFTAC manages 11 world-class laboratories to assist the International Atomic Energy Agency with the promotion of safe, secure and peaceful use of nuclear technologies. In 2015, AFTAC became a wing-level organization within the Air Force, paving the way for partial unitization with the establishment of squadrons. This organizational restructure better reflects the center’s global mission importance. Since becoming a wing equivalent, AFTAC activated five newly-designated squadrons in October 2015 to better align with the wing structure. The new squadrons are the Technical Surveillance Squadron, the Technical Operations Squadron, the Technical Support Squadron, the Technical Sustainment Squadron, and the Cyber Capabilities Squadron.

Soon after the end of World War II, Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower recognized the need to monitor nuclear programs. In 1947 he directed the Army Air Forces to develop technologies capable of detecting “atomic explosions anywhere in the world.” In 1949, a particulate sampler aboard an Air Weather Service modified B-29 flying between Alaska and Japan detected debris from the first Russian atomic test – an event experts predicted could not happen until the mid-1950s.

As the Air Force activated AFTAC in 1959 to prepare to monitor compliance with the Limited Test Ban Treaty (LTBT), AFTAC assumed some responsibilities for the USAEDS and the advancement of Long Range Detection capabilities. Over time, AFTAC’s various programs evolved into a unique resource system monitoring compliance with nuclear treaties; supporting our nation’s space program; and helping to protect citizens during emergencies involving nuclear materials.

Over the years, the Air Force tasked the nuclear treaty monitoring center to conduct short-notice collection operations. In April 1986, AFTAC responded to the Ukrainian nuclear accident at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in the former Soviet Union. In total, AFTAC flew 55 sorties compiling 502 flying hours, and AFTAC’s McClellan Central Laboratory processed 354 samples and logged more than 2,500 man-hours.

In October 2006, AFTAC detected an event associated with North Korea’s claim of a nuclear test and later provided verification of the nuclear event to national authorities.

More recently, the center supported Operation Tomodachi, the U.S. government’s response to the 9.0 earthquake and subsequent tsunami that hit Japan. The Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant experienced a nuclear meltdown in three of the plant’s six nuclear reactors. AFTAC personnel flew nine nuclear debris collection sorties, processing 342 seismic events, and analyzed 660 samples from the affected Pacific peninsula.

In the summer of 2015, AFTAC led the removal of 10 Radioactive Thermoelectric Generators, or RTGs, from Alaska, which were no longer required to power AFTAC’s seismic array. The power source was the Air Force’s largest source of sensitive radioactive material. This endeavor safely and successfully removed nuclear radiation from the environment and eliminated a potential source of material for use by terrorists in improvised radiological explosive devices or dirty bombs.

In December 2015, the IAEA released its final assessment on “Past and Present Outstanding Issues” regarding Iran’s nuclear program. AFTAC provided trace forensic analysis of samples supporting the IAEA’s mission to monitor Iranian compliance with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. As a major component of the IAEA’s network of analytical labs, AFTAC’s analysis was foundational to the report.

AFTAC is also on the forefront of protecting the homeland as it establishes an array of sensors across the United States as part of the National Technical Nuclear Forensics program. This program is designed to collect forensic analysis after detonations to aid the Federal Bureau of Investigation in attributing attacks on U.S. soil to foreign governments or terrorist entities to swiftly bring those responsible to justice. AFTAC’s efforts are making the Department of Defense’s vision to protect U.S. personnel and interests from the threat of a domestic nuclear detonation a reality.

Today, AFTAC continues to improve the USAEDS. As the nation’s caretaker of USAEDS, AFTAC works closely with the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization in Vienna, Austria. Together, both parties are significantly improving the International Monitoring System (IMS). In fact, AFTAC now contributes six of its U.S.-based USAEDS seismic monitoring stations to the IMS.

(Current as of March 2016)

Point of Contact
AFTAC Public Affairs
(321) 494-7688

Minutes of Last Meeting

AFTAC Alumni Association: The monthly meeting of the AFTAC Alumni Association was held on July 10th, 2017 in the AFTAC Lobby Conference Room. Members present were Frank Hall, Bob Wiley, Mike Steskal, Lou Seiler, Dr. Mike Young, Gene Melchior, Dee Melchior, Terry Hammond, Sean Ryan, Judy Henderson, CMSgt John Howorth, Greg England, and Arlin Massey.

New Members/Guest: Greg England, a new Life Time member, introduced himself.

Approval of Minutes: With no changes to the minutes, Sean Ryan made the motion that the minutes be approved as presented. Mike Steskal seconded. Motion carried. Based on request from several members the minutes and agenda will be attached to the notification of availability.

Comments by AFTAC CC/CV: Not Present. CMSgt John Howorth discussed the AFTAC Wing Dining Out on 22 September and said more details are to follow.

AFTAC Command Chief: Not Present

Treasurers Report: Sean Ryan reported the current check book balance is $4863.07 and reported that the audit would be conducted shortly. Mike Steskal made the motion that the report be accepted as reported. Lou Seiler seconded. Motion carried. (OPEN)

Membership Report: Michael Steskal said he acquired a copy of the SEO information from their 2008 reunion and it has been added to the data base for a total of 4962 records. He also said he is working with Pete Gilbert and the SQL DB and the WEB Server is now the master DB. Mike Steskal made the motion that the report be accepted as reported. Arlin Massey seconded. Motion carried. (OPEN)

Post Monitor: A request will go out in next few days for inputs to the next PoMo. Dr. Young said he would include an article on the Heritage Committee startup for the next round of selections for the Wall of Honor and an article on the Security Classification Guide update. (OPEN)

Website Committee Report: Mike Steskal spoke for Frank Calenda and further discussed working with Pete on the SQL DB on the WEB server. He said that once the bugs are worked out of the SQL DBs, there will be only one DB. Once this is complete, membership folks from CA and CO Chapters will have access to the SQL DB so they can update their chapter’s records. (OPEN)

SAGE Shop: Not Present.

Historian: Discussed Wall of Honor committee proposed start up and the Security Classification Guide update and the effort that went into its completion. (OPEN)

Heritage Committee: Bob Wiley will write an article for the upcoming PoMo. (OPEN)

Memorial for Line of Duty deceased AFTAC’ers: Lou Seiler discussed the work to be accomplished to establish a 501(c)(3) corporation to include a name, articles of incorporation, applying for both federal and state exemptions, drafting bylaws, etc. This must be a standalone corporation not connected to the alumni association or AFTAC. Much detail to follow in the coming months. (OPEN)

Budget Proposal/Approval: Deferred until the next meeting. (OPEN)

Constitutional/By Laws: Changes: Must be approved 30 days prior-with a quorum to approve. Changes in email and PoMo.

AFTAC Cares Program: Sean Ryan said the next meeting is 7 Sept. (OPEN)

Spring Picnic: AFTAC booster club reimbursed us $498 for the money we fronted them. (CLOSED)

West Coast Chapter Worldwide reunion: Great turnout with 101 attendees. John “Butch” Kenna was announced as the Alumni of the Year for 2017 and Dr. Deforest, was the speaker. (CLOSED)

Items from the floor:
Sean Ryan said he and Tess Alshire will write an article on Joe’s internment at Arlington National Cemetery for the upcoming PoMo.

The AFTAC Wing Dining Out: The Friday 22 Sept dining out was discussed including a possible golf game to raise funds and the alumni sponsoring two airmen tables for $1000. More details and discussion to follow. (OPEN) Adjournment: With no further business, Mike Steskal made the motion that the meeting be adjourned. John Horsch seconded. Motion carried.

AFTAC Alumni Association Quarterly Annual Offsite/FY 2018 elections. Lou Seiler agreed to conduct the election. Election slate to follow.

2018 AFTAC Alumni Association Snowball XX. Question to the next Snowball theme. With the updated Security Classification Guide, more Detachments could now be considered as themes. A short discussion followed with more in the future to follow.

Adjournment: With no further business, Sean Ryan made the motion that the meeting be adjourned. Mike Steskal seconded. Motion carried

Next Meeting: The next AFTAC Alumni Association meeting will be held on Monday, August 14th 2017 at AFTAC, Lobby Conference Room.

Arlin Massey
Secretary, AFTAC Alumni Association
Click here to get a printable copy.

AFTAC Alumni Association Membership Meeting
Monday 14 August, 2017, 1600hrs
AFTAC Lobby Conference room, Patrick AFB

New Members/Guests Present
Minutes of Meeting on 10 July 2017
Comments by AFTAC CC/CV
Comments by AFTAC Command Chief
Treasurer’s Report
Membership Report
Post Monitor Report
Website Committee Report
Sage Shop
AFTAC Historian
Heritage Committee
Memorial for Line of Duty Deceased AFTACers-Lou Seiler
Budget Proposal/Approval
Constitution/ By-Laws approval

Old Business
    AFTAC Cares Program

New Business
    Next Meeting
        Friday 8 September, 2017, 1130hrs
        Manatee Golf Course, Putters Room, Patrick AFB

20 Year Wall Honorees
  • Ace, Jerry A.
  • Alexander, William N.
  • Amerena, Joe D.
  • Aning, Harm F.
  • Baker, Harold M.
  • Balentine, Robert A.
  • Blau, Robert O.
  • Breitweieser, Kenneth
  • Butler, Charles A.
  • Calenda, Anthony R.
  • Ciambrone, Thomas W.
  • Cronin, George E.
  • Dahlgren, Arthur L.
  • Davis, James C.
  • DeMarco, Anthony S.
  • DeSrosier, Charles P.
  • Draper, Reginald A.
  • Fish, Norman A.
  • Fuhr, William R.
  • Gailey, Carl W.
  • Gardiner, Edward T.
  • Gonzales, George A.
  • Harris, Eunice
  • Horsch, John T.
  • Huhs, Harold L.
  • Iske, Margaret A.
  • Johnson, Joseph M.
  • Jones, Robert H.
  • Klug, Dale E.
  • LaBarre, Gerald R.
  • Lucas, James S.
  • Manley, Rickey J.
  • Marshall, Joe D..
  • Magness, John H.
  • McBrearty, Charles
  • McGettigan, John W.
  • Milam, Judithe E.
  • Mirda, George M.
  • Murray, Gregory A.
  • Myers, Kenneth L.
  • Noe, Steve
  • Nolan, Dennis P.
  • O'Brien, David F.
  • Olmsted, George B.
  • Osborne, William
  • Ovitsky, Felix W.
  • Paquette, David W.
  • Pavik, A. L.
  • Phillips, Richard S.
  • Post, Robert A.
  • Secoy, Jon B.
  • Silhanek, Larry D.
  • Snelgrove, Robert B.
  • Stack, Paul V.
  • Sullivan, Thomas D.
  • Sykes, Teddie E.
  • Vlassick, Benjamin P.
  • Vlassick, Randall
  • Warfield, Carol
Wall of Honor WallofHonor.png
  • Walter Singlevich
  • Doyle Northrup
  • Frank Pilotte
  • Charles McBrearty
  • Marvin Owen
  • Marcel Kniedler
  • Tom Ciambrone
  • Delbi Solari
  • Carl Romney
  • Kathy Leggett
  • Thomas Niquette
  • Howard Hayden
  • Michael Harkins
  • Charles Butler
  • Gerald Leies
Alumni of the Year
  • John "Butch" Kemna-2017 *
  • Carol Snyder-2016 *
  • Frank Calenda-2015 *
  • Sean Ryan-2014 *
  • Lonnie Gibbons-2013 *
  • Gene & Dee Melchior-2012 *
  • Dale Klug-2011 *
  • Jack Smith-2010 *
  • Jack Jackson-2009 *
  • Bob Wiley-2008 *
  • Bill Schmied-2007 *
  • Deborah Carson-2006 *
  • Mike Black-2005 *
  • Joe Goldian-2004 *
  • Pat Snyder-2003
  • Joe Johnson-2002
  • Jim Payne-2001 *
  • Ben Vlassick-2000
  • John & Christel Horsch-1999
  • Frank Hall-1998
  • Judy Milam-1997
  • Carl Gailey-1996
  • Clark Creery-1995
Some AOY

The Alumni of the Year that attended the last Snowball standing with Col. Sovada

Not Included

This page is still under construction.
We are still looking for some documentation.

John "Butch" Kemna


John "Butch" Kemna was named "AFTAC's 2017 Alumni of the Year" at the AFTAC worldwide reunion banquet held 17 June 2017 Kemna_2.jpg at McClellan Park, Ca. Joe Johnson, West Coast Alumni Chapter Vice President is shown presenting Butch with the traditional AOY polo shirt.

I​ ​spent​ ​20​ ​years​ ​in​ ​the​ ​Air​ ​Force,​ ​May​ ​60​ ​–​ ​May​ ​80,​ ​was​ ​assigned​ ​to​ ​AFTAC​ ​​ ​the​ ​whole​ ​time.​ ​​ ​I​ ​was asked​ ​at​ ​Lackland​ ​to​ ​ volunteer​ ​for​ ​a​ ​Special​ ​Weapons​ ​Career​ ​Field,​ ​which​ ​turned​ ​out​ ​to​ ​be​ ​Q-System [99125]​ ​in​ ​AFTAC.​ ​​ ​ One​ ​year​ ​later​ ​I​ ​found​ ​out​ ​what​ ​the​ ​job​ ​was.​ ​​ ​I​ ​spent​ ​time​ ​at​ ​McClellan​ ​and an assignment overseas​ ​in​ ​Q-System.​ ​​ ​When​ ​I​ ​came​ ​back​ ​to​ ​McClellan​ ​I​ ​cross​ ​trained​ ​into​ ​A-System.​ ​​ ​I​ ​spent​ ​17 unbelievable​ ​years,​ ​amassing​ ​over​ ​7,500​ ​hours​ ​of​ ​flight​ ​time​ ​supporting​ ​airborne​ ​sampling​ ​program​ ​all over​ ​the​ ​world.​ ​​ ​The​ ​friends​ ​I​ ​made,​ ​the​ ​places​ ​I​ ​went​ ​and​ ​ the​ ​things​ ​we​ ​did​ ​I​ ​would​ ​not​ ​give​ ​up​ ​for anything.

Carol Snyder


I started at AFTAC in 1996, working for Joe Marshall in TM (Joe is a 2016 Wall of Honor Recipient). I officially joined the Alumni Association in 2001.  For the past 15 years, I've supported the association in various ways -- attending meetings, holding Vice President position for a year, helping to set up Snowball dinners, coordinating efforts between the Alumni, the Booster Club and the Spouses Group, etc.

After Pat Snyder retired in 2010 the baton was passed to me to be the "intrepid insider."  I've tried my best to get the Alumni the answers they've needed (although not necessarily the ones they wanted!). I never would have thought I'd be at AFTAC 20 years after starting the job, but I'm glad to be here and I'm proud to be a part of such an awesome group of Alumni!

I was so surprised when the Commander, Col Gorski, announced my name at the Snowball As the "Intrepid Insider," you guys usually tell me everything...I should have known something was up when you said you had to keep the name "close hold.”  Sneaky people!  It’s an honor I hold very dear.  Thank you for bestowing it on me!

Love you all, Carol.

Frank S. Calenda

Frank started his Air Force career in August 1955 and was in one of the last flights to complete the 3 month basic training at Sampson AFB in upstate New York. He attended a year long school at Lowry Frank Calenda Air Force Base to become a Nuclear Weapons Technician, working on some of the earliest Strategic weapons in America's arsenal. In 1960, he progressed to working with the nuclear warheads on the Atlas missiles at Offutt Air Force Base and Titan missiles at Larson Air Force Base. In 1964, he was selected to attend AFTAC's year long "Q" systems class at Lowry. That was followed with an assignment to the installations shop at McClellan. There, he installed "Q" equipment at several classified locations around the world. In 1967, he left to become the Maintenance Technician at the remote Navy site H2 in northern Iceland. The following year, he and his family were assigned to John Hay Air Base at Baguio City in the Philippines. He was the Assistant Chief Operator at that location. In 1970, they left for an assignment to Headquarters AFTAC in Alexandria where he worked in the Operations Directorate as the Supervisor of the Q data terminal. The year 1972 brought the move of AFTAC to Patrick Air Force Base. Frank joined the advance party in Florida and his task was to set-up the QSystem. Shortly thereafter, Frank and his family were assigned to Det 422 at Misawa, Japan. Frank became the “I” System Chief Operator at this location. The following year, they were sent to a classified OL where he performed advisory duties for two years. In 1976, he was reassigned to AFTAC headquarters at Patrick as the Superintendent of the Satellite Terminal until his retirement in April of 1978.

Following USAF retirement, Frank attended Brevard Community College where he attained an Associate of Science degree in Bio Engineering and was immediately hired by the then Holmes Regional Medical center in Melbourne as a medical equipment technician. He worked there for 10 years progressing to the Director of the BioMedical department with prime duties in the Radiology Department. Because of his experience with maintaining the cancer radiation treatment machine (a linear accelerator) he was offered a position with Varian Associates Medical Division in Palo Alto, California. He completed his BioMedical training with Varian through courses from Stanford University. He worked for Varian installing the Accelerators at various medical facilities around the United States and Japan. Frank retired from the work force in 1998.

Frank was married to his wife Edna in June 1959 in Hampton, New Hampshire. They have two boys. Tony, their oldest son, graduated from Satellite High and joined AFTAC for his entire 22 year Air Force career. Michael is an Associate Professor of Culinary Arts at Johnson and Wales University in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Frank, with the close support of Edna, has been a member of the AFTAC Alumni Association since 1978 when it was first formed by a small group of AFTAC retirees. Membership was around 40 members and was then a venue for comradery and friendship. During General Clappers command of the organization a number of years later, the formal Alumni Association was formed and members of the initial group were awarded lifetime memberships for their initial efforts. Because of his extensive traveling with his company early on, Frank’s involvement with the Association was minimal. Since his full retirement, he has become quite active with our present organization involving himself in many active duty functions in support of the Booster Club and other Alumni functions. Frank was the chair for the financial database and overall registration for the 2015 Worldwide Reunion, not to mention his forming a mini-reunion for Detachment 418 during the Denver, Colorado Worldwide Reunion in 2014. Frank is a go-to guy and we salute his selection as the AOY.

Very Well Deserved!!

Sean Ryan

Sean stepped up in September, 2009, to offer his services as the Chapter Secretary for the FY2010 Board and has continued in that ryan.png position since. We spotlighted him in PM2010.04 so you’d know him a little better and since that time we have learned just how invaluable he can be. In that issue we wrote, “By the way, nice picture,” we made sure we could do the same here.

Since becoming our Secretary, Sean has helped in innumerable ways, time and again, not only keeping the minutes of our minutes and distributing them, but keeping the association on track and making arrangements for our meeting locations and times.

This has included meetings we have in the 'Headquarters Building' and our off-site meetings at the ‘Tides,’ ‘Golf-Course Clubhouse,’ ‘Marina & Yacht Club,’ and the ‘Riverside Dining Facility.’ This includes last minute changes of dates and times and special meetings for the several events the association sponsors and the upcoming ‘WorldWide 2015’ Reunion.’

Sean has stepped up more than once to help with our major annual event, ‘SnowBall,’ and was the ‘Major Arranger’ for the most recent in 2014.’ He also assisted with this years ‘Center Annual Spring Picnic.’

Finally, Sean recently added another board position, ‘Publicity,’ to his resume and has redefined that position in a most positive manner. --Thank you, Sean, we salute you for the outstanding service you provide Alumni, and before that the Air Force, 1982-2008, and AFTAC, 1998-2008.

Alumni of the year, 2013
MSgt (Ret) Lonnie Gibbons


Col Parker, AFTAC/CV, presents the ‘Space Coin’ Certificate of Recognition and John Horsch the ‘Traditional T.’ Below, Ginny joins Lonnie in this honor. Write-up below from nomination submission.

gibbons1.png Lonnie and wife, Ginny, have been active members of this chapter since its establishment in 1991. Lonnie has participated in practically every membership meeting and served on numerous chapter event working committees during the last twentytwo years. His work especially assisting with arranging and coordinating social events including annual picnics and dinners, golf outings, and worldwide reunions held here in Colorado, has greatly contributed to sustaining this chapter’s longevity. For many years he has been the key person obtaining refreshments, ice, coolers and other supplies, and then hauling them and setting up at picnics and ) reunions. He has been the focal point for organizing and successfully managing the hospitality rooms at several of our hosted alumni reunions and especially the 2013 worldwide reunion here in Aurora, Colorado. When the calls go out for assistance, whether they be for help putting up decorations for the chapter’s annual Veteran’s Day dinner, providing food and refreshments after a golf outing, or any activity, Lonnie & Ginny consistently answer these calls - true AFTAC alumni team members.

Lonnie began his Air Force career in the administrative field enlisting in 1956. His first assignment out of basic training was a 12-month tour of duty in South Korea. This was followed by another hardship assignment lasting five years at the USAF Security Service Language School at Indiana State University. During this assignment he married Ginny and started a family. He got his introduction to AFTAC when he was assigned to SPINSTRA at Lowry AFB in 1964. This was followed by an overseas assignment to Detachment 418, then back to Lowry AFB in 1968 being assigned to Detachment 57. He served one more AFTAC overseas assignment at Detachment 333 during the 1974- 75 timeframe prior to being assigned to Air Force Logistics Command at Wright-Patterson AFB in Ohio. After only a short time he was reassigned to Peterson AFB in Colorado Springs and then back to Lowry AFB where he retired from active duty in 1977. Lonnie signed on with the Defense Investigative Service in 1982 and is now living the life of a retired civil servant.

Alumni of the year, 2012
MSgt (Ret) Gene and Dee Mechior


Gene and Dee accept the ‘Space Coin’ Certificate from our President, Terry Hammond, following his announcement of their selection. Picture by Judy Milam-Henderson

A highlight of our annual SnowBall gathering was our President, Terry Hammond, announcing Gene and Dee Melchoior were selected for this honor by their peers of the years before. Gene and Dee's unflagging devotion to alumni, and the alumni assn, has been cumulative over the years and they have never failed to be major supporters of this annual event and many others. They were presented our 'Space Coin' plaque and Gene the 'Traditional T.'

Other notable events of the evening were the invocation by Sean Ryan, our Secretary, who preceded his prayer by naming Sages, and Spouses, who have deceased since last year’s Snowball, we had comments from AFTAC CC, Col Worley, and an exceptional Detachment 402 briefing by the Detachment Chief, SMSgt John Shank, (who was here for the Center's Commander's Conference). Det 402 was honored at this event as our 'newest Det,' and 'Japan' was our theme (Gene and Dee had the club-house decorated accordingly with many items from their travels and fellow colleague sages who donated items).

Dee made a short 'thank you' speech and Gene gave us a shout!! Later they wrote, "We totally enjoyed last night’s Snowball and to say the least, it was a wonderful surprise to be given the award! Our association has so much shared history. It is our pleasure to be a part of the group! We thank everyone for this honor."


Gene, joined by Dee, accepts the ‘Alumni of the Year, 2012’ trophy from Col Worley/CC and Chief Neri/CCS. Photo by Bob Wiley

Gene and Dee were also honored at the 'Center Annual Award Banquet' the following Tuesday evening (02.12) with a trophy bearing the 'Alumni of the Year, 2012' Selection. (pictured above) NOTE 2: Gene and Dee had made ‘origami doves’ for the tables. Later they sent note writing, “Please put the website listed below in the PoMo. Some folks at the SnowBall want to try the paper folding art. Thanks.”

Alumni of the year, 2011
Dale Klug

klug.png This year's SnowBall was one of the best ever; food was great, Chief Nederhoed's Detachment 460 briefing was right on target, entertainment "rocked," and having our 2011 ‘Alumni of the Year (AOY),’ Dale Klug, and spouse Rose, (pictured) travel from CA, rounded out the program.

We had sufficient time to socialize with all our alumni, active-duty and with a wonderful assortment of Hors d'oeuvres before our program started. Bob Wiley treated us to a slide show featuring past SnowBall performances and a montage of activities in which alumni members participated during the past year.

Chapter President, Terry Hammond, opened by introducing our dignitaries attending; Vice Commander Col Roberts, Chief Scientist Dr. O'Brien, Director of Staff Mr. Whidden, Superintendent CMSgt Nederhoed, Historian Mr. Young, Inspector General CMSgt Revels, Materials Director Dr. DeForest, Atmos/Space Directorate Lt Col Wingate, and Dale and Rose Klug. The Center's 'Commander's Conference' had been delayed so we were not graced by Detachment 460 Commander’s, Major Johnson, attendance this year ... maybe we'll be back on track next year.

Then Rebecca Lehnerz performed the National Anthem acapella (great job). Following that Sean Ryan, our Chapter Secretary, led us in an invocation.

Dinner followed with a buffet that was excellent; the Grilled Salmon, Chicken Marsala, and Prime Rib were abundant with all the trimmings. The staff really did a great job preparing and serving dinner. Their choice of dessert was perfect with a Vanilla Ice Cream Raspberry Parfait to top off a scrumptious meal. I saw a lot of guests trying to get that last bit of ice cream from the bottom of the parfait glass. No one went home hungry!

Chief Nederhoed gave us an excellent briefing on "A day at Det 460." He showed the diversity of the challenges the detachment members face each day as they maintain the array of seismic equipment; from terrain, weather, wildlife, and giant mosquitoes. Having been stationed at the detachment, Chief Nederhoed was an exceptional stand-in for the detachment commander.

At the shank of the evening Terry re-presented the 'Space Coin' ‘Alumni of the Year 2011’ plaque to Dale Klug; it had been presented initially when Dale's AOY selection was announced at the California Chapter 'WorldWide Reunion' in May of last year. Dale had a few words of thanks and presented the Center with several artifacts for the 'Hall of Heritage,' a plaque from now closed 'Technical Operations Division,' and a real surprise when he donated an original coffee cup used by recently deceased (Aug), and beloved Center Icon, Mary Welch. She had asked him to hold the cup while he was visiting with her at the HQ many years back and Dale had held on to it for all the ensuing years.

Keeping with the theme of this event, we then played several 'Alaska' knowledge quizzes-prizes were awarded by Gene and Dee Melchoir to the person who answered the most questions correctly. Seems we had a tie between Sean Ryan (our own Chapter Secretary) and Dr. DeForest (TM Director). They both received dinner gift cards. Many of us remained for much longer to enjoy the great music provided by Entertainer, Billy Lee, and dancing that followed. At the end of the evening, most attendee's thought the music set just the right tone giving us mellow background music during the meal and then stepping it up several notches afterward. Some admitted staying so late the South Gate was closed when they left and they had to make a Uturn for the trek to the main gate!!

Jack Smith


Jack accepts trophy from Col Prupas, with Lloyd French, Alumni President and John Nederhoed in attendance.

Wow, what a six-day period we had, Feb 05-10! It started ‘rollin’ with the ‘SnowBall’ and marched forward to the ‘Center Annual Awards Banquet.’ These are annual events made very special this year when our ‘Alumni of the Year, 2010,’ Jack Smith, CO Chapter President, showed his considerable respect for this once in a lifetime honor. He, and his wife, Helen, traveled from their home in the Denver area to be here in person to express their unbrideled appreciation and humility for this selection.

Jack and Helen started the recognition period by moving into base dig’s right on the ocean arranged by CMSgt John Nederhoed/CCS, with assistance from CMSgt Dave Melton/TM, our assn vice. They were also treated to a HQ Building and ‘Hall of Heritage’ tour by CMSgt Steve Revels/IG. These experiences were just the beginning as they were recognized at both the ‘SnowBall’ and the ‘Awards Banquet in a grand style. A portion of the well attended ‘SnowBall’ (02.05) was dedicated to Jack’s accomplishments and he had time to speak to the group about what the honor meant to him. It was very moving to hear him speak, meaning all the more because of their efforts to be here. (much more on the ‘SnowBall,’ with pictures, later in the issue, ‘Alumni Events’)

Jack, and others to be honored, made a grand entrance into the ‘Center Awards Banquet’ on the following Thursday by entering the room though ‘Arched Sabers,’ pictured here. Other military ceremonies performed prior to dining was the ‘Presentation of Colors’ by the ‘Honor Guard’ and the ‘POW/MIA Table’ ceremony … these presentation’s are made all the more special as they are being done by our successor’s, those currently serving AFTAC’s mission. There was also an invocation by Chaplain Capt Williams and the ‘National Anthem’ by Ms Rebecca Lehnerz, a member of the ’Greenlight Band’ who has performed at numerous AFTAC and Alumni events.

Walter ‘Jack’ Jackson

Jack’s selection as our 15th AOY was announced on Jan 30th at SnowBall XII. Here we see him accepting Jacson.png the ’Traditional T’ and our ’Space Coin’ plaque from Assn President, Lloyd French. In making the announcement, Lloyd spoke of Jack’s accomplishments for the assn (see editorial), and his involvement with veterans everywhere. For this ‘Salute,’ we asked Jack to provide information about himself. As you read what follows, you will come to fully understand Jack’s selection for this honor.

Jack was born and raised in Philadelphia. After graduating from high school, he entered the Air Force, completed basic training and received his first assignment as an Air Policeman at Craig AFB, Selma, Alabama. After this assignment, he served at Bitburg Air Base Germany, George AFB, Victorville, California, Danang Air Base Republic of South Vietnam, Langley AFB, Kusan Air Base, Korea and Patrick AFB, Florida.

While serving his country, Jack had the opportunity to do a lot of traveling and was in 13 countries around the world. He was active in sports playing football in Germany and softball as a pitcher. He was also on the Air Training Command swimming team in 1959 finishing third place in the 100 yard back stroke.

After retiring from the Air Force, Jack worked as a Veterans Employment Representative with the state of Florida. After 22 years he called it quits and is now enjoying his retirement.

He is a member of the Vietnam Veterans of Brevard color guard, Paralyzed Veterans of America, Disabled Americans, American Legion, VFW, Veterans Memorial Center, Brevard Veterans Council and the AFTAC Alumni Association (being one of the first to join).

Jack is on the VVB Reunion Committee for the Vietnam Memorial Traveling Wall. He brought Stand Down for homeless veterans to Brevard County. He also worked as a County Service Officer and was a National Service Officer for the American Legion.

Jack is the proud father of two girls and two granddaughters. Unfortunately his wife of three years passed away in November of 2009. He is proud to have served his country and enjoys volunteering wherever needed and enjoys retirement to the fullest.

Robert ‘Bob’ Wiley
Alumni Of The Year, 2008!!


Bob is presented the traditional AOY ‘T’ by the
Florida Alumni Assn President, Lloyd French..

Bob was also recognized at the ‘Center Annual Awards Banquet’ in February, and will be again at the May ‘WorldWide Reunion.’ He has been a member of the association since his retirement in 1985. Over the years he has been a mainstay contributing articles and photographs of the alumni activities for the Post-Monitor and was association President, FY2007/08. During this time, he completed action for an LRD 50th Anniversary Commemorative coin to ‘fly in space.’ This coin will be presented to the Center for display in the ‘Hall of Heritage,’ and the few remaining coins in this series will be presented to deserving alumni. Bob also took the lead in encouraging additional participation in association management and increasing membership. He is Chair of the 2009 WorldWide Reunion Committee.



In a first for the association, the AOY selection schmied2.png was made in May (usually, Dec-Jan), and announced prior to the annual SnowBall (Jan-Feb). We broke precedent to recognize a most deserving individual in front of peers he serves so well and at an event with a large, varied audience, the 2007 Colorado sponsored, WorldWide reunion. The Colorado Chapter President, Jack Smith, in a ceremony during the reunion banquet (6/10), noted the many accomplishments Bill rendered as a member and in serving on the board. “He is a member of both the Colorado and Florida chapters, where he is a Lifetime member. He joined the CO chapter even before he retired in 1991 and since that time has served our chapter very actively and has been a board member for almost 15-years. He has been critical in the success of our chapter since he first signed on and has been deeply involved in every reunion, to include this one, and every other facet of our chapters operation.”

The ceremony concluded with the AFTAC Commander, Col Westergren, making the actual announcement of Bill’s selection and presenting the ’Traditional T.’

Other AOY’s in attendance included Frank Hall (98), John Horsch (99), Joe Johnson (02), and Ginger Vlassick representing Ben (00, deceased).



Congratulations Deborah for this important recognition during SnowBall IX. The highlight of the annual event, the announcement recognizes the many contributions Deborah has made to supporting alumni and the association-especially in the areas of reviewing portions of this publication and her management of the annual SnowBalls.

Spotlighted in the September Post-Monitor last year, her alumni association peers selected her for this honor. Her many accomplishments are detailed in that issue. Thank you Deborah and we look forward to your continuing assistance. Additionally, Deborah was recognized at the Center Annual Awards event. More on that, and a picture, in the ‘Center Annual Awards’ article that follows and in the ‘Prez Sez’ column.



Mike accepting ‘AOY’ shirt from assn president, Carol Snyder

Mike is the associations’ original and continuing webmaster ( His selection was announced at the SnowBall on January 28th, and he was also recognized at the Center Annual Awards Banquet on March 2.

Mike’s service to the Air Force started in October, 1972. and to AFTAC in June, 1981, where he served until his retirement in August, 1992. His AF assignments took him to Lowry, Eglin, Aviano and Tyndall AFB’s, and his AFTAC duties were in Advanced Technology (with a side-trip to TN) at the headquarters.

Mike joined the alumni at retirement and in 1996 he and two other members, Clark Creery, Mike Black, the association’s ‘Alumni Of The Year,’ was among those honored; his wife, Toni, was also there to enjoy the occasion.

Among the association members in attendance were the President, Carol Snyder, past-Vice, Pat Snyder, Dave O’Brien and wife, PJ, Chuck McBrearty and wife Linda, John Loftis, John Carson, Gary Killian, Dennis Gilroy and our Post-Monitor rovin’ reporter and digipic photographer, Bob Wiley and his wife Judith.

The Center Commander, Col. Turner, and Superintendent, Chief French (both association members), presided and presented the trophies. Mike was recognized for his continuing contributions to the Center and to the alumni (see the page 1 ‘Salute’ for details).

The alumni attending were honored and rewarded by being seated with the AFTAC Squadron Commander, Maj Trevillin, and his First Sergeant, SMSgt Parkhill, and at a table near the dais with a clear view of the ceremonies and the band stand . "Full Spectrum", the Band of the USAF Reserve, from Warner-Robins provided music for dining and a short program before the awards presentation. Following the presentations, the ‘Green Light Band’ raised everyone's spirits with a couple of rousing patriotic songs.

Col Tuner closed the presentations with a recap of 2005 highlights on newcomers, transfers, retirements, mission accomplishments, etc. He finished with a recitation of what he called a "ditty", "I Love AFTAC" (see active-duty pages). Other alumni still serving AFTAC as Civil Service who were honored included Gary Killian and John Carson.



Congratulations Joe. Your selection recognizes your extensive time and service. And this service has been long in tenure and broad and deep in application.

Joe began attending association meeting even before he retired, starting in 1991. He currently serves as our treasurer and, in 1999, served as our Vice President. During this period Joe has never failed to step forward to help in whatever endeavor the association was involved in. He has personally managed several golf tournaments, and was ‘Joe on the spot’ for reunions and other association matters. He has been a member since 1991.

Joe was born in North Carolina in 1949 and joined the Air Force in Jan, 1968. He served in AFTAC from 4/68 to 7/74 and 7/75 to 9/91. His final assignment in AFTAC was as Manager, Treaty Monitoring Operations Program. Joe retired as a MSgt in September 1991. Joe's assignments include American Samoa, Mindinao Philippines, Wonju Korea, and several tours at Denver and the various Headquarters locations. Joe was one of the first AFTACers to perform Treaty directed inspections on Soviet missiles.

Thanks Joe, for your service to this country, AFTAC, and now the association. Your contributions are truly appreciated. Congratulations again on your selection as our 'Alumni of The Year, 2004.' Joe’s selection was announced at the association’s annual SnowBall on Feb 5th and he was again recognized at the Center’s Annual Award Banquet on March 3rd.



The highlight of our annual association Snow- Ball on February 18th was the announcement of the selection of Jim Payne as the '2001 Alumni of the Year.' He received a special coin that flew on the Shuttle Orbiter 'Atlantis' on the occasion of the Air Force, and AFTAC's, 50th anniversary (Sep-Oct '97). Jim will also be honored at the AFTAC Command Award ceremony on April 24th at the PAFB NCO Club, come on out and show your support (info. page 19). At the presentation, Joe Marshall, Association President, noted that Jim began his Air Force career in October, '52. He first served in Ground Radio at Japan, NJ, and MS. In May '62, he was assigned to AFTAC initially serving in the 'R' technique. Jim worked at several detachments as well as at Denver, Germany and California. In 1981, Cot. 'Meis' selected him to the organization's highest enlisted post, 'Senior Enlisted Advisor,' and he served in this capacity until his retirement in '83. Along the way. Jim earned a Master of Science degree in Management and was decorated with the Meritorious Medal and the Air Force Commendation Medal with one oak leaf cluster. He has been an active supporter and lifetime member of the Alumni Association since the first year of its existence in 1985. In 1999, he accepted the Membership chair and has made notable contributions in that position.

Jim has implemented procedures and changed the membership data from a hardcopy status to a computer generated product, and at the same time linking the Worldwide Directory, Membership Directory and the individual data of 4000 records.

Jim has also established procedures to contact individuals who register on the web page and any member who 'overlooks' their dues. He makes them aware of the advantages of staying with, or joining, the alumni association in a very informal, friendly manner. Jim also handles all requests (letters, emails, packages), and ships any items ordered from the association's 'Shop.' All in all, Jim does an outstanding service for your association. Thank you Jim, for your continuing service to the Air Force, AFTAC, and the Long-Range Detection Alumni Association.


A contingent of Alumni attended the recent AFTAC Headquarters Open House held on December 21, 2016. In attendance were Dr. Mike Young, Bill and Gail McCune, Frank and Edna Calenda, Joe Goldian, Gene and Dee Melchior, Arlin Massey and Sean Ryan. Looking over the “old” equipment in the Hall of Heritage set up by Dr. Young, brought back so many memories of day’s past. We were visited by many of the organizations active duty personnel and their families. Of course, being old timers, we couldn’t keep from spinning yarns of our past contributions to the mission. We were amazed that they all listened with rapt attention. They even asked questions. How about that? Following that, we dined on yummy food gathered by Sean Ryan and talked amongst ourselves about those same old times. Several escorts arrived and we were off for unclassified briefings in the various squadrons. All of us had that same feeling of knowing what everything was all about but then came to the realization that we really don’t know that much anymore. The visit to the Command Center brought us memories of our large data terminals of yesteryear and put us in awe that the same functions are being handled by one or two people now. Of great interest was the Innovation Laboratory. The displays of the “self-learning computer” and the 3D printer were quite facinating. The Tesla coil that played Christmas music was of considerable interest. That was a big hit for the younger crowd. Actually, we liked it too. We could easily see the pride held by the AFTAC'ers in all the work that they do. It was a great day and we look forward to the invitation for the next open house. If you didn’t attend, you should try to make the next one. You won’t be disappointed.

Golf N’GetTogether Reported By Ed Lindsay

The Fall Golf N’GetTogether was originally scheduled for 30 September. A conflict with the AFTAC Toilet Bowl the following week and possible bad weather caused concern of a low turnout. We did not want the same issues as our Spring GetTogether, with the 2nd half rainout. Plus we had to try to get our tournament in the books before the golf course went to Winter rates. There were many negotiations, changing schedules around, and the golf course being closed for 16 days due to damage from Hurricane Matthew. Finally reached an agreement to hold the GetTogether the Friday before Daylight saving went in to effect.

John H., Eileen B., and Pat S. registering the golfers
Best dressed: Ed Lindsay, Frank Woodard, Pat Murphy, Tony Calenda

On 4 November, 86 men and women gathered to socialize, beat up a defenseless, little ball, and have some adult beverages and food. It was going to be a beautiful day. To start off, John Horsch joined Ed Lindsay to stuff the goodie bags with water, bananas, crackers, slim jims, and other survival supplies. It was a hectic job and these two worked feverishly to get the bags stuffed before the masses showed up. Then on to the registration. Eileen Best showed up to lend a hand and John H jumped right in to help sell Mulligans. Pat Snyder, who was also golfing, asked to helped and jumped right in to get the golfers signed up. Bob Wiley and Judy Henderson arrived and started taking photos. It was a great start, to a great day.

Rene Uzee, the Manatee Golf Course Tournament Director, and ex-AFTACer gathered the players around for a final brief. With all the formal announcements completed, the 22 teams headed to their assigned holes. Bob Wiley could be seen throughout the course snapping photos. While everyone was out chasing the golf balls, Eileen and Judy stayed behind to sort out the Raffle ticket mess that Ed had left them. They did a phenomenal job making sure that everyone that played, received at least on door prize.

As the day progressed, one could hear many cheers and expletives emanating around the course. The rain never came, the course was in great condition, and the weather was awesome. A perfect day for golf with a whole bunch of friends. The teams started to head back to the clubhouse to turn in their scorecards. Then they sat down for a nice catered Bar B Que lunch, catered by the golf course staff. Ed then began to give out the awards.

1st place: Joe H., Bob C., Sonny Z., Donnie C.
2nd place: Gary K., Chad B., Larry S., Larry B.
  • 1st place: Joe Hauser, Bob Callahan, Sonny Zigler, Donnie Coffield.
  • 2nd place: Gary Killian, Chad Brotherton, Larry Silhanek, Larry Brown
  • 3rd place: Troy Lawson, Daneille Turlington, Jason Netz, Jason Klug
  • Closest to the pins: Mike Paglia, Troy Lawson, Marty Urbanski, Devin Dean
  • Long Drive: Women: Pat Snyder   Men: Evan Carlson

And of course we couldn’t have had such a successful event without all of our sponsors. Thank you to Moon Golf, Fiesta Azteca, Beef O’Brady’s, Charlie and Jake’s, U.S. 1 Golf Center, And our $250 sponsors: Space Coast Intelligent Solutions and Andres Yepes from Raymond James, Financial Advisors

TOILET BOWL Reported By Ed Lindsay

Fall of 2016 was a season for many needs for change in AFTAC. So, more of the same. One of these was the need to change the date of the Annual gathering that pits Directorates/Squadrons against each other on the softball field. A windy, blowhard named Matthew visited much of the East coast of the U.S. The initial Toilet Bowl date of 7 October had to be scrubbed three days prior to the event since it appeared that Matthew was looking to do some major damage to the Space Coast.

Matthew passed and now it was time to clean up. But the question still arose, “when is the Toilet Bowl”? AFTACers needed a break from the hustle and bustle, so Nov 10, the day before Veteran’s Day, was the date selected for competition, food, and fun.

The softball competition was a double-elimination format, with 9 teams participating. An 8:00 safety brief was conducted. Then the first games began. It was a very calm, cool day. Perfect for a long day of softball and picnicking. Unlike some of the previous years that were hot, muggy, and rainy at times. The games went on and some teams were eliminated.

Director of Staff, Jim Whidden taking his turn providing beverages

Throughout the day, chances for the Winter Social gift baskets were also being sold. This was a great idea and many were filling up those chance boxes with plenty of tickets.

Bob Wiley, James Griffieth, Ed Lindsay, and Jim Whidden helped man the beer kegs. Beer and cider was flowing and the stories were being told. The championship teams had been determined, but they would have to wait. It was now time for the Home Run Derby and to eat some wonderful pulled pork, hot dogs, and hamburgers that had been prepared by MSgt Chevis Stanley and others.

Colonel Gorski, AFTAC commander, getting a pie in the face for the cause
People getting ready to get a pie in the face. Colonel Gorski on the left.

Also during the day’s events, there was a nominating competition going on to select someone to get a pie in the face. Once the Home Run Derby was finished, the real bidding started. Five individuals were selected, but this author does not know all the recipients. Two of them were AFTAC Commander, Colonel Gorski and SMSgt Chad Madore.

AFTAC Alumni president Ed Lindsay, playing for the winning MS-1 team

After people got cleaned up, the masses met for the final games. Colonel Gorski thanked everyone for attending and the National Anthem was sung by Atomic Blue, the AFTAC chorus. Then Mission Support 1 (MS) and Materials Directorate (TM) faced off. MS-1 had already beat TM in a close game during regular competition. The MS-1 team took it to the TM team hard and only one game was needed to crown MS-1 the winners for the second year straight.

It was a great day to get together, have some friendly competition, many laughs, and get ready for the long weekend. Looking forward to next year’s event and I have heard some murmurings of putting together an AFTAC Alumni team…I know we have some softball players out there and some very crafty ones at that.

Some of the Toilet Bowl trophies and the tournament bracket

Colorado Fall Dinner

We sincerely hope you had a great time Saturday at our Fall dinner. We had 40 in attendance with Alumni and current active duty members from Det 45, Det 46, and OL-GT. It was great to see members with their spouses and families, and we hope you all enjoyed the dinner. Cindy and her team at the Tin Cup always do a wonderful job.

Thanks to all who helped make the dinner a success, from decorations (Joncee and Glen), the invocation (Ken), organizing (Bill), the Missing Man table and reading (Bryce and Darrel), leading the Pledge of Allegiance (MSgt Cobarruviaz), our active duty updates (Maj Fulton, Maj Dalton, Maj Martin) and every one of you who were able to attend. It would not be a success without you. I'd also like to thank my son Zac who figured out the Bluetooth stereo thing, so we could play the National Anthem.

OK, I guess that snow can start to show a little. Just a little.
Steve Clark
CO AFTAC Alumni Pres.

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NOTE: Unless otherwise requested, we will credit you, by name, for notifying us of information for this page.

Research Geophysicist - Closes 8/24/2017

GEOPHYSICIST - Closes 8/28/2017

Defense Intelligence Agency Jobs - Posted 8/9/2017

Applied Seismologist in Tasmania - Posted 8/8/2017

E-Commerce company hiring 3,200 seasonal workers in Melbourne, Merritt Island - Posted 8/2/2017

2 Geophysicist positions, Charlottesville, VA - Posted 7/17/2017

Columbia University Field Technician - Posted 7/10/2017

Maritime Analyst - Overhead Persistent Infrared Job

KBRwyle seeking radiological detection expertise

I'm a retired AFTAC'er and wanted to forward a job opportunity to you as the AFTAC Alumni Job Listings POC. Please post as you deem appropriate.

KBRwyle, is seeking multiple people to assist on its existing Test Instrumentation Support contract with the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) at Kirtland AFB in Albuquerque, NM. Depending on the individuals’ expertise, this could be for an immediate start. The current project runs through September and an impending task order would require support for an addition five years.

Individuals should have radiological detection expertise including setup and operation, functional and comparative testing, plus research and development. Commercial Off The Shelf technology includes High Purity Germanium, Sodium Iodide, Lanthanum Bromide, Helium 3, Geiger Muller, and Polyvinyl-Toluene. Levels of support needed include technician, engineers/engineering, and scientific. The scientific level could be a consultant.

Interested individuals should contact Alan Bell ( for more information.

Sending from my personal Hotmail account, my contact information at the Albuquerque Seismological Laboratory is below.


Jeff Anthony

Please forward all queries to: Scott Morgan


AFTAC, University of Texas to partner on nuclear forensics research - 8/9/2017

Claudia Granger, a mass spectrometry technician at the Ciambrone Radiochemistry Laboratory, fills a liquid nitrogen trap in a thermal ionization mass spectrometer. Granger is one of more than 1,000 people assigned to the Air Force Technical Applications Center at Patrick AFB, Fla., the Department of Defense’s sole nuclear treaty monitoring center. (U.S. Air Force photo by William B. Belcher)

By Susan A. Romano, AFTAC Public Affairs PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla.
Sponsored by the Department of Homeland Security’s, Domestic Nuclear Detection Office, the Nuclear Forensics Research Award establishes a team of researchers including faculty, graduate and undergraduate students, as well as a national or defense laboratory to conduct advanced nuclear forensics research. AFTAC’s Ciambrone Radiochemistry Lab was chosen by DHS’ National Technical Nuclear Forensics Center to collaborate with two graduate students from UTA on short-lived radionuclide analysis.

AFTAC, the Department of Defense’s sole organization responsible for nuclear treaty monitoring, is also on the forefront of protecting the homeland as part of the NTNF program. Through an established array of sensors across the United States, AFTAC assists the Federal Bureau of Investigation with nuclear forensic collection and analysis after a nuclear detonation.

Technically speaking, AFTAC and UTA will focus on analyzing short-lived radionuclides using gamma coincidence spectroscopy with multiple high-purity germanium detectors. The two organizations will use fission-spectrum neutron sources in conjunction with rapid sample retrieval systems to produce relevant fission-product forensic samples.

In layman’s terms, the students, faculty and scientists collaborate to develop methods and techniques to improve nuclear forensics timelines after a nuclear explosion in order to provide data rapidly to senior decision makers.

“AFTAC’s efforts and involvement with the NTNF program are making the DoD’s vision to protect U.S. personnel and interests from the threat of a weapon of mass destruction a reality,” said Dr. Bill Johnson, Ciambrone Radiochemistry Lab senior scientist. “Nuclear forensics is a keystone of AFTAC’s responsibility of assisting the U.S. government in its commitment to hold perpetrators accountable, and also counters the smuggling of nuclear material by helping to identify those responsible. Our lab performs that analysis, and having this partnership with the University of Texas will bolster our analytical capabilities, while helping the students gain invaluable hands-on experience in an operational radiochemistry lab.”

The Ciambrone Radiochemistry Lab, the only lab of its type in the Air Force and one of many in AFTAC’s own network of analytical labs across the United States, is used to identify radiologic or nuclear debris in support of AFTAC’s Nuclear Debris Collection and Analysis Program. The lab analyzes samples to assess signatory compliance to established nuclear weapons testing treaties in support of the U.S. Atomic Energy Detection System.

“The award helps ensure a robust nuclear forensics operational capability,” said Dr. Mark Suriano, DNDO assistant director who leads the NTNF Center at DHS. “This award is key to bringing students into the nuclear forensic workforce and to supporting the United States government’s capability to counter nuclear terrorism.”

Dr. Glenn Sjoden, AFTAC’s chief scientist, emphasized the importance of partnerships like this.

“Nuclear deterrence is critical to the overarching role this center plays in our national strategy,” he said. “When we’re able to introduce new minds to our unique 70-year history of monitoring nuclear activity across the globe, it allows us to stress the vital importance and necessity of deterring other nation-states or even non-state actors from waging war with nuclear weapons. As long as the threat exists, however, AFTAC stands ready to support our leaders in their decision-making. I look forward to working with the students from UTA.”

Greet the New Colorado Chapter Alumni Prez Posted 7/16/2017

Dunn.png Bryce Dunn studied engineering at Mars Hill College near Ashville, N.C. from 1968 through 1971. He worked for Westinghouse Elevators installing elevators in Norfolk and Portsmouth, VA and at the Wachovia Bank building in Winston Salem, N.C. He also worked as an electrician, plumber and an HVAC specialist with a Mechanical Contractor in Harrisonburg, VA. He studied electronics at Blue Ridge Community College where he acquired his deep interest in electronics. Bryce signed up with the Delayed Enlistment Program for the Air Force in October, 1973. He was active duty in the Air Force from February 1974 through February 1994 when he retired as a MSgt. His entire time was spent within AFTAC organizations including the Lowry School Squadron, Detachment 423 1974 – 1975, Detachment 421 1975 - 1977, OL AO 1977 – 1985 (NCOIC operations), HQ AFTAC 1985 – 1990 (Chief, SOC) and finally Superintendent of Detachment 45, Buckley ANGB, CO. At Det 421 he helped operations to recover from the aftermath when a flood took out the entire LP and helped to fight the bush fire in 1977. In the fall of 1985 Bryce worked with AFTAC Operations, the Technical Directorate and Space Command to stand up Detachment 45. After the Air Force he signed up with Antarctic Support Associates as a technical writer for the National Science Foundation’s Antarctic Program where he created technical documentation to support operations and maintenance of communications systems for the National Science Foundation’s Antarctic Program. Technical documentation included microwave links, INMARSAT, Intelsat, GOES, LES-9, and other satellite equipment links, HF and FM radio systems, pager systems, data acquisition systems including data loggers, hybrid power stations (solar, wind and diesel generators), and shipboard information systems. He created the Network Operations Center (NOC) Guide for McMurdo Station, Antarctica. On 1 August 1996 he received the Antarctic Service Medal from the US Department of the Navy. In 1995 Bryce graduated from Columbia College with a Bachelor’s of Science in Computer Information Systems, Cum Laude. In November 1996 he hired on to Lockheed Martin Astronautics as a Software Quality Engineer for the Titan booster program. There, he tested and verified launch software for the Titan II, Titan IVA and Titan IVB boosters. He was a member of the launch team and had to verify correct software versions on multiple systems prior to launch. One of his memorable launches was the Cassini Spacecraft, launched on the first Titan IVB booster with a payload that contained two RTGs. After Titan, Bryce was a Quality Engineer Senior Staff for multiple ground systems, including the Lead QA at the SBIRS MCS at Buckley AFB. Bryce maintained the ISO 9001 and AS9100 quality management systems at various Lockheed programs. He retired from Lockheed Martin in March 2011, and then worked as the Quality Manager for two small aerospace businesses over two years to help them achieve AS9100 and ISO 9001 certifications. In November 2012, he retired from full time work to part time performing ISO 9001 certification audits for a National Certification Body in the lower 48. In January 2016, he hung up his auditing hat and is now spending more time with family, community, hunting, fishing and his jeep project. Bryce was a Committee chair, Scoutmaster and District Commissioner for the Boy Scouts of America and supported the USO at Denver International Airport during the heaviest fighting of OEF. During this time he received two Presidential Volunteer Service Awards. Bryce is a 32° Scottish Rite mason of the Denver Consistory and a member of the National Sojourners. Bryce and his wife, Sue, raised three sons: Daniel, David and Collin. Daniel was an Army Infantry Officer and spent two tours in Iraq, David is a Master Sergeant currently stationed at Ramstein, GE. Collin is enjoying life and working in the Denver area. Bryce & Sue have been married for 38 years, have four grandchildren and currently reside in Aurora, Colorado.

From the new Prez
Fellow alumni, Thank you for electing me as your new president. First, I would like to sincerely thank MSgt Steve Clark (Retired) for his years of leadership of the Colorado Chapter following MSgt Jack Smith (deceased). Also thanks to the officers: Darrel Cline, Vice-President; Bill Schmied, Treasurer; Jerry Moxley (Mox), Editor; Ken Behrens, Publisher; and Bill Harris, webmaster; and Rick Phillips for all of his work in the past as co-cook for picnics and co-editor of the Echos after Ben Vlassick. Also thanks to the Detachment Commanders and other Colorado units for all of their support that they have provided through the years. I think we all enjoy the synergy between the ‘now’ and ‘back then’.

Sue and I consider AFTAC as our second family – we have made many good friends during the years. I hope to continue the traditions of the Colorado Chapter and help to provide great venues for us all to get together, communicate and have fun. The first venue will be a picnic in Castle Rock on June 17th at Matney park pavilion. This is a new area for us but more convenient for those of us that have difficulty getting around and a more central location for Colorado Springs and Denver. It is a beautiful park and the 17th was the best date I could get. Yes, they have two horseshoe tracks among other amenities. For those that are planning to go to the World-wide Reunion in California on the same date, I apologize, but we can catch up at the breakfast in September or the Veteran’s dinner in November.

Please do not hesitate to call or email myself or the officers if you have any questions or suggestions. We love to hear from you and may use your input in the Echos newsletter. We all share a common theme which is as important today as it was ‘back then’.

Bryce Dunn

Son of AFTAC first sergeant earns Youth of the Year honors 6/27/2017

By Susan A. Romano, AFTAC Public Affairs PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla.
YOY2.jpg “You know you’ve selected the right person when competitors in other categories sigh in relief knowing your candidate isn’t matched up against theirs!”

Those are the words of Darleena Jones, youth program coordinator for the Patrick AFB Youth Center here about the base’s 2016 Youth of the Year, Xavier Chambers, 16. Xavier is the son of Senior Master Sgt. Braderick Adams, first sergeant for the Air Force Technical Applications Center, and Rachel Adams, a Brevard County social worker.

Sponsored by the Boys & Girls Club of America, the Youth of the Year is selected on the basis of the candidate’s leadership experience, character, commitment to community service, academic achievement and long-term healthy lifestyle. It also recognizes the impact teens have on the lives of other young people.

Jones encouraged Xavier to apply for the award because she knew he possessed all the traits and characteristics required for submission.

“In the past year alone, Xavier has been mentoring and tutoring other Youth Center members in a variety of subjects,” said Jones. “He is a huge motivator, especially when it comes to fitness. He gets the other teens to participate in activities instead of sitting in a comfy chair with a controller in their hands. It made perfect sense for him to submit a package, and it really comes as no surprise that he was selected. He has got quite a bright future ahead of him.”

The application process requires candidates to write four essays: one about their club experience, another about their military youth experience, a third about their personal brand, and the last on their vision for America’s youth. They also undergo a personal interview by a panel of judges and are graded on their responses, poise and public speaking abilities.

Xavier’s military youth experience essay was especially noteworthy. He considers himself “fortunate” to be part of an Air Force family, despite the challenges it can pose.

“At some point, we have to relocate to different states and sometimes even to another country,” he wrote. “Changing locations means having to go to a different school and it’s hard because you miss your old teachers and friends. But for me, the most difficult part was my dad’s deployment to Iraq in 2004 when he was gone for almost a full year. It was just my mom and me and we didn’t have video chats at that time. She was filling two roles, and that was a challenge for all of us at times.”

He continued, “But being in an Air Force family is not always challenging. Moving around means you get to learn more about the world and you get to see news things and visit more places than the average kid would ever get to see.”

The Satellite High School junior made quite a mark on many of his teachers and advisors, an impressive feat for student at a new school.

“This is a young man who has a desire to do well,” said Olga Peraza, Satellite High’s world language department chairperson. “He uses his knowledge of language to lead his classmates to success and has done an outstanding job to achieve the respect and admiration of all the faculty here, as well as his coaches and peers.”

Detra McCarthy, Physical Evaluation Board Liaison Officer, at Fort Gordon, Ga., has known Patrick’s Youth of the Year for more than six years through her work with Fort Gordon’s Children and Youth Service program, and has nothing but high praise for this year’s winner.

YOY1.jpg “Xavier is an amazing kid!” said Detra McCarthy. “He encompasses the characteristics associated with building lifelong healthy habits, and his influence with other kids is beyond measure. He leaves a positive and profound impact wherever he goes.”

In his “Personal Brand” essay, Xavier wrote about what he feels his most positive attributes are. “I believe I’m mindful of other’s feelings and situations,” he penned. “I try to find commonplace between people I meet. I act on empathy, I’m sensitive to others, and I want to teach others. My goal in life is to show what we can do together and how effective we can be when we set our minds toward a goal. That is what I feel my purpose is here on earth and I plan to follow that wholeheartedly.”

When his parents learned of his selection as Patrick’s Youth of the Year, they were ecstatic, but certainly not surprised.

“Xavier has always been a team player,” his father said, “not just on the athletic fields, but at school and especially at home. He takes on responsibility at every turn, and pretty much completes his tasks – even the toughest ones – with a smile on his face. I couldn’t be more proud of him. He is an exceptional young man and we expect great things from him as he continues on his journey of success!”

AFTAC Airmen energize children at All SySTEMs Go event 6/26/2017

Capt. Barron Stone, a scientist with the Air Force Technical Applications Center, and his wife, Olivia, also a scientist, demonstrate quantum levitation to a young man attending the 45th Space Wing’s “All SySTEMs Go” event June 17, 2017. Stone is seen using liquid nitrogen to cool a non-magnetic disk to cause it to hover over the Plexiglas plate. (U.S. Air Force photo by Susan A. Romano)
Capt. David Moreno, 45th Weather Squadron’s range and airfield weather operations flight commander, shows a weather balloon to Sage Crandall, daughter of Tech. Sgt. Nathan Crandall of the Air Force Technical Applications Center at Patrick AFB’s 2nd Annual All SySTEMs Go event June 17, 2017. (U.S. Air Force photo by Susan A. Romano)
Dr. Weiping Yu, a NASA physicist and aerospace technologist, describes how a plasma ball emits high-frequency, high-voltage electric current to NAME during Patrick AFB’s 2nd Annual All SySTEMs Go event June 17, 2017. (U.S. Air Force photo by Susan A. Romano)
Satellite Beach youth librarian Marlena Harold (right) holds a tablet as Meara and Patrick Welker navigate a robot using the tablet during the 2nd Annual All SySTEMs Go event at Patrick AFB, Fla., June 17, 2017. (U.S. Air Force photo by Susan A. Romano)
Dr. Mike Sklar, senior engineer at Harris Corporation, helps a youngster build electrical circuits using colorful snap-together plastic parts to illustrate how electricity travels from one point to another. Sklar was one of numerous vendors who participated in Patrick AFB, Fla., 2nd Annual All SySTEMs Go event at the base Youth Center June 17, 2017. (U.S. Air Force photo by Susan A. Romano)
Kevin McGarry, department chair of biomedical sciences at Keiser University, shows Brooke Vena (center) how to create a DNA necklace as 10-year-old Spencer Maletzke looks on. McGarry was one of many vendors who displayed their scientific wares at Patrick AFB’s 2nd Annual All SySTEMs Go event June 17, 2017. (U.S. Air Force photo by Susan A. Romano)
Volunteers from Patrick AFB, Fla., prepare to launch model rockets for anxious onlookers during the base’s 2nd Annual All SySTEMs Go event June 17, 2017. The event, sponsored by the 45th Space Wing, is designed to encourage youth to become involved in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). (U.S. Air Force photo by Susan A. Romano)
Lyla Moomaw, daughter of Tech. Sgt. Jason Moomaw of the 45th Space Wing Staff Judge Advocates Office, and her friends Faith Assunto and Faith’s 6-month-old son Giovanni, put on a show at the 2nd Annual All SySTEMs Go event at the Patrick AFB Youth Center June 17, 2017. The trio had fun using green screen technology to develop a ‘flip book’ of photos they were able to keep as a souvenir from the event. “I had so much fun,” exclaimed Lyla. “It was a perfect day!” (U.S. Air Force photo by Susan A. Romano)
Vince Tapaoan, a scientist with the Air Force Technical Applications Center at Patrick AFB, Fla., demonstrates drone technology to a young girl who attended the 2nd Annual All SySTEMs Go event sponsored by the 45th Space Wing June 17, 2017. Tapaoan was one of several members of the nuclear treaty monitoring center who volunteered to educate attendees on various aspects of STEM. (U.S. Air Force photo by Susan A. Romano)

By Susan A. Romano, AFTAC Public Affairs PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla.
For the second year in a row, members of the Air Force Technical Applications Center here volunteered to educate and interact with children attending the base’s “All SySTEMs Go” event at the Youth Center June 17.

The event, sponsored by the 45th Space Wing, is designed to encourage youth to become involved in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

Airmen from AFTAC’s Innovation Lab, plus other scientists, engineers and technicians from the nuclear treaty monitoring center, educated scores of boys and girls of all ages about vacuum pumps, seismometers, and 3-D printers.

But the headliner that drew significant crowds was AFTAC’s high-voltage Tesla coil, which has the capacity to generate up to 250,000 volts. The wireless transformer created visual bolts of lightning synchronized to music, much to the delight of the children and adults alike.

Attendees seemed mesmerized by the fascinating displays, including Sebastian and Sofia Compton and their cousin Joseph Kriska who was visiting from Cascade, Washington.

“It’s all so interesting!” exclaimed Roxana Compton, Sofia and Sebastian’s mother, while touring Orlando’s Skeletons Museum of Osteology booth. “I never realized there was so much to a skeleton, and now I really want to take the kids to visit this place!”

Children were also treated to model rocket launches, building electrical circuits, radio-controlled robots and quad-copters, as well as green screen technology, infrared toys and various physics demonstrations.

“This event is a wonderful, unique experience for the children,” said Pam Jordan, 45th Force Support Squadron’s chief of Airman and Family Services. “All the vendors here, including the Airmen from our own units at Patrick, are experts in their respective fields and they really go above and beyond to make sure the kids have a great time, all while learning about science at the same time. We hope to continue this tradition well into the future!”

In addition to AFTAC’s booth, there were 11 other interactive displays that captured the kids’ attention, to include vendors from NASA, Harris Corporation, Keiser University, and many units from the 45th Space Wing.

“This is the second year we’ve held this event in an effort to continue to expose young folks from Brevard County to all aspects of STEM and get them to appreciate the importance of math and science,” said Brig. Gen. Wayne Monteith, 45th SW commander. “I’m very pleased with the support from all the individuals involved in the program to make science fun for the kids!”

Six continents, 14 locations and 9 time zones don’t stop this squadron from mission accomplishment 6/19/2017

Mission2.jpg By Susan A. Romano, AFTAC Public Affairs PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla.
In 1966, author Geoffrey Blainey coined the phrase “tyranny of distance,” metaphorically referring to how distance and isolation shaped the history of one of earth’s most intriguing continents, Australia.

Today, members of the Air Force Technical Applications Center here are subjected to the tyranny of distance, but thanks to innovative Airmen, modern technology and state-of-the-art communications platforms, they are able to adapt and overcome the so-called tyranny to accomplish their nuclear treaty monitoring mission.

AFTAC’s Technical Support Squadron, commanded by Lt. Col. Dennis Uyechi, leads the way by providing a broad range of world-class operations support to the center’s various mission areas. His squadron of 145 active duty Airmen and 11 civilians operates and maintains the U.S. Atomic Energy Detections System, or USAEDS, to monitor foreign compliance with various international treaties limiting nuclear testing. His team of highly-skilled experts assists with detecting special events in the atmosphere, underwater, underground and in space to determine if the event is nuclear in nature.

The majority of TSUS detachments and operating locations are positioned overseas, with a handful scattered throughout the continental United States. Each location serves a specific purpose ranging in scope from airborne collection and satellite operations to special equipment maintenance and logistics support.

Mission1.jpg “TSUS supports six different AFTAC mission sets at our nine detachments and four operating locations,” said Uyechi. “That support is a mixture of operations and maintenance to AFTAC’s global network of sensors, the largest in the U.S. Air Force. If a suspected nuclear explosion occurs somewhere around the world, our Airmen get to work determining if the event has nuclear characteristics. Once further analysis is conducted, the information is reported to U.S. decision-makers at the highest levels of our government.”

To help them accomplish that mission, the squadron maintains a variety of partnerships ranging from support agreements with other Department of Defense components to international agreements with host nations, to leases and agreements with local civilian land owners.

“TSUS Airmen not only must be excellent technicians in their primary job; they are also ambassadors of AFTAC and are expected to positively represent the command and our mission around the world,” said Uyechi. “Specific activities the Airmen are involved in include maintaining and repairing special instruments, performing station upkeep like ground clearing and road access maintenance, and evaluating scientific data for both quality and content.”

Uyechi, a 1997 U.S. Air Force Academy graduate with a degree in Electrical Engineering, took command of TSUS in October 2015, the first officer to do so when the squadron was activated after AFTAC reorganized as a wing equivalent. He has visited all of his geographically separated detachments across the globe, and is particularly proud of how his squadron responded to two recent North Korean declared nuclear tests.

“The Airmen within our global network worked around the clock to provide headquarters with everything it needed to properly evaluate and analyze the situation as it unfolded,” said Uyechi. “My maintainers’ herculean efforts keep system data availability over 99 percent, which ensured the equipment was operational and ready to detect any event. My satellite operators jumped into gear, evaluating the situation with space-borne sensors. The WC-135 special equipment operators and technicians immediately began preparing flight plans and finalizing logistics to perform their airborne collection mission. All of these elements were synchronized in an impressively complex process, with their sole focus on getting data from the field back to AFTAC and the center’s network of national labs for further scientific analysis.”

While Uyechi and his leadership staff face typical work-related hurdles that any organization deals with on a daily basis, geographical separation seems to pose the greatest challenge.

“We operate in nine different time zones and have to diplomatically consider various cultural nuances with our international partners,” he said. “Those factors sometimes make it difficult to complete the simplest tasks such as conducting a staff meeting or responding to a last-minute request for information from higher headquarters. Email is great for one-way communication and distributing general information, but it’s not the best facilitator of real-time, multi-party conversations about emerging events. But my Airmen in my squadron never fail to generate smart and innovative ways to overcome these challenges.”

Beyond the distance, geographical challenges, maintenance issues and cultural differences, Uyechi boasted about one common denominator that brings his squadron together: the Airmen.

“These scientific applications specialists, better known as 9S100s, are enlisted Airmen who are enormously intelligent and highly skilled,” he said. “They can diagnose complex problems and improvise workable solutions, which is critically valuable in situations where access to sites and equipment may be either limited or prohibitively expensive. It is a great privilege for me to be a part of AFTAC’s unique mission, and I am constantly impressed with the quality of my Airmen and their unwavering dedication to getting the mission done.”

“Our Airmen are the heart and soul of this mission,” said Col. Steven M. Gorski, AFTAC commander. “In addition to the great work they perform for the center, they are veritable ambassadors for the Air Force and represent our government as a whole by virtue of the work they perform in various countries around the world, sometimes under austere conditions. Their professionalism and technical knowledge are absolutely second to none.”

AFTAC hockey skates against Sheriff’s Office ‘Enforcers’ for charity 6/19/2017

Bill Hungate, captain of the AFTAC hockey team, accepts a ceremonial check from Rob Medina, director of Military and Community Relations for Congressman Bill Posey, during a charity match versus the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office June 10, 2017. The event, which took place at the Space Coast IcePlex in Rockledge Fla., raised more than $2,700 for the Space Coast Sled Hockey program. (U.S. Air Force photo by Susan A. Romano)
Col. Steven M. Gorski, commander of the Air Force Technical Applications Center, Patrick AFB, Fla., and Brevard County Sheriff Wayne Ivey, drop ceremonial pucks as Bill Hungate, AFTAC’s captain, and Brad Cervi, BCSO’s captain, prepare for the faceoff. The two teams met in a charity match June 10, 2017 to raise money for the Space Coast Sled Hockey program. (U.S. Air Force photo by Susan A. Romano)
Rob McLaughlin (center) positions himself in the slot as Brent Matteson stickhandles the puck towards the goal. The two are members of the Air Force Technical Applications Center at Patrick AFB, Fla., and competed in a charity match against members of the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office June 10, 2017. Proceeds benefitted the Space Coast Sled Hockey program. (U.S. Air Force photo by Susan A. Romano)
Players from the Air Force Technical Applications Center and the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office pose for a group photo after the two teams competed in a charity game to raise money for the Space Coast Sled Hockey program June 10, 2017. (U.S. Air Force photo by Susan A. Romano)

By Susan A. Romano, AFTAC Public Affairs PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla.
Airman Battle Uniforms and Sheriff’s Greens were replaced by skates, pads and jerseys as members of the Air Force Technical Applications Center went head-to-head against the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office in a charity hockey game June 10, 2017.

With more than 200 spectators packing the stands, AFTAC and BCSO took to the ice to raise money and awareness for the Space Coast Hurricanes Sled Hockey team. Sled hockey is a sport designed to allow participants with a physical disability play a sit-down version of the game.

Players use a sled with a seat bolted to a metal frame with two blades underneath while they grasp two shortened hockey sticks in each hand. On one end of the sticks, there are two stainless steel picks the players uses to propel themselves across the ice, while the other end has a standard stick blade used to move the puck.

“What’s cool about sled hockey is that is gives people with physical limitations the opportunity to play this great game,” said AFTAC forward Rob McLaughlin. “It’s a full-contact sport with the same rules as stand-up hockey. The only real difference is it’s played on a sled. And having played regular hockey for many years, I can tell you it’s a LOT harder to skate sitting down using just your upper body strength to get from one end of the ice to another. The guys who play this sport really amaze me”!”

The two teams battled at Space Coast IcePlex in Rockledge, Fla. Prior to the start of the game, Sheriff Wayne Ivey and Col. Steve Gorski, AFTAC’s commander, dropped ceremonial pucks in a face-off between AFTAC team captain Bill Hungate and BCSO’s captain Brad Cervi. Rob Medina, director of Military and Community Relations for Congressman Bill Posey, presented a symbolic pre-game ticket sales check in the amount of $1,250.

Once the ceremonial formalities were complete, the official puck was dropped and the game was underway. AFTAC quickly scored first, and posted another goal on the scoreboard before the Enforcers were able to sneak the puck past AFTAC goalie Scott Barnikow. By the end of the first period, the score remained close at 3-1.

The second period saw the introduction of sled hockey player Greg Shaw, a two-type Olympic gold medalist and three-time world champion sled hockey offenseman. The Merritt Island, Fla., native skated with the Enforcers and made it look easy to everyone in the crowd.

“I was blown away by him being out there with the upright players,” said AFTAC fan Kathy Querry. “I could not get over the fact that he was able to keep up and be a part of the play and how he lifted himself and his sled off the ice during line changes. That takes an enormous amount of skill, strength and talent!”

It wasn’t until the third period that the game really opened up. Despite the established “no contact” rule agreed upon by the two teams, Cervi and AFTAC defenseman Ronnie Grove engaged in some friendly (and most likely pre-coordinated) fisticuffs to excite the crowd and generate a healthy rivalry. AFTAC slipped three more pucks past the Enforcer’s goaltender, posting a final score of 6-1.

“What a great way to get agency partners together for a great cause,” said Ivey. “I’ve said time and again that it takes a community to protect a community, and I’m proud to see the incredible turn out here tonight.”

AFTAC’s commander echoed Ivey’s sentiment.

“Events like this illustrate just what health, friendly competition is all about,” said Gorski. “Fans are treated to a fun afternoon, players bond on and off the ice, and funds are raised for a very worthy cause. In the end, both AFTAC and BCSO help keep America safe. I’m honored to be a part of this community.”

Eliot Lemoncelli, an Orlando resident who’s been playing sled hockey since 2010, makes the 160-mile round trip drive every week to participate in the sport he fell in love with more than seven years ago after watching a sled hockey scrimmage following an Orlando Solar Bears game.

“I’m looking around and as long as I have been coming here, I have never seen the stands so full of people!” Lemoncelli exclaimed. “I mean, you could add up all parents and friends I’ve seen sitting here all year and it still wouldn’t equal how many are in the stands tonight. I love it that the Air Force and the Sheriffs are playing to raise money for our league. That is just so awesome. It makes me feel really good!”

After the game, the two teams came together for a group photo, and Hungate announced they raised an additional $1,483 from souvenirs, at-the-door ticket sales and raffle drawings, which when added to the pre-ticket revenue, totaled $2,733 for the sled hockey program.

“It is hard for me to express how proud we are to be a part of this great community event to raise awareness of the Space Coast Sled Hockey Program,” said Hungate. “To be on the ice with Greg Shaw was an honor for me, and by far the best part of the game. I hope this serves as a spark for others to become involved with this program.”

He added, “We would also like to thank our community leaders for taking the time to support us both on and off the ice. It demonstrates through their actions that they are dedicated to our cause and that means a lot to everyone involved.”

Through tragedy, loss and amputation, Airman learns ‘new norm’ 6/19/2017

Tragedy1.jpg By Susan A. Romano, AFTAC Public Affairs PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla.
"My leg looked like a boomerang." Those were the words of Staff Sgt. August O’Niell, an Air Force pararescueman, to members of the Air Force Technical Applications Center when the combat warrior visited the base to discuss resiliency during the center’s Combat Airman Fitness Day.

AFTAC commander Col. Steven M. Gorski invited the Purple Heart recipient to speak after learning of a connection between O’Niell and another member of the treaty monitoring center, Kevin Callan. Callan has known Auggy (as he’s fondly known by his inner circle) since 2001, and thought he’d be a perfect candidate to inspire AFTAC personnel during their quarterly CAF Day events. Once Gorski learned of O’Niell’s amazing story of courage, he told Callan to do what he could to have him come speak.

In July 2011, O’Niell was on a rescue mission in Afghanistan when his helicopter came under fire from enemy insurgents. Several rounds pierced the chopper, with one tearing through O’Niell’s lower limbs. His left leg was severely wounded, and after nearly two dozen surgeries, immeasurable pain and a desire to stay on active duty, he opted to have his left leg amputated above the knee.

“The non-stop, excruciating pain was just too unbearable,” he told the standing room only crowd. “After talking with the doctors and surgeons and various specialists, I made the decision to have the leg amputated. Once that decision was made, there was no looking back. And to this day I don’t have any regrets about it.”

The PJ’s message resounded with the packed house in AFTAC’s Northrup Auditorium May 22, 2017. He went into detail about that fateful July day that changed his life forever, and talked about how he’s learned to deal with what he calls the “new normal.”

“When I look back at everything I’ve gone through, believe it or not I’d have to say my darkest day was when my ex-wife asked for a divorce,” he said. “It was on a Sunday. I know that because two days before, I called my case manager and told her that I had hit rock-bottom and needed some help. Her response was she’d get me seen by a mental health specialist first thing Monday morning. I was already in a very bad place – physically, mentally, emotionally – and then my wife sprung that news on me. I don’t think I ever felt more alone than I did at that moment.”

Tragedy2.jpg He continued, “I’ve never been suicidal, but I remember going out on a motorcycle ride and I thought to myself, ‘Man, if I take this turn too hard or I wipe out or something, that might not be a bad thing.’ But then Kai (his service dog) came into my mind and I realized he might be left alone for days before someone found me or realized I was gone. I just couldn’t do that to him.”

Kai has been a part of O’Niell’s life since shortly after his accident.

“I told my case manager I was lonely and needed a companion to help me cope with everything,” he said. “She said it could take up to two years for me to get a service dog, and I told her, ‘Two years? But I’m depressed today!’ That’s when I reached out to K9 Soldiers for help.”

K9 Soldiers is a non-profit charity dedicated to improving the lives of military servicemen and women by providing them with fully-trained dogs to assist with everyday challenges.

Kai was at O’Niell’s side throughout his visit to AFTAC – a first for the center. The audience laughed when Auggy warned them about how Kai reacts to applause.

“I just want to let you know he has his own way of clapping along when he hears others doing it!” And O’Niell wasn’t joking – when the crowd erupted in applause after his presentation, Kai popped up on all fours and began to howl and bark.

“That was pretty cool to witness,” said Master Sgt. Tamicka Cogdell, AFTAC’s superintendent of program management. “As much as I loved seeing Kai at his side, listening to his story was so compelling, humbling and heartfelt. Sergeant O’Niell is a hero in my eyes, and it was an honor to listen to what he’s been through, and what he’s overcome. He was truly inspiring!”

After nearly two dozen surgeries, countless hours of rehab, and a drive to return to active duty to rejoin his PJ brethren, O’Niell began the process to requalify and recertify as a pararescueman. His decision to amputate his leg not only helped alleviate his pain, but cleared the way for him to meet a medical board for consideration to return to the job he loves.

“I am a very competitive person,” he said. “I love to win – so much so that if you beat me once, I won’t let you beat me again.”

His competitive spirit was evident during his participation at the Invictus Games in 2016. He rappelled from a helicopter during the games’ opening ceremonies in front of 10,000 spectators and television viewers around the world, with Kai anxiously waiting for him at the center of Champion Stadium in Orlando, Fla. He competed in swimming, and earned a Gold Medal in sitting volleyball. He’s also a give-time Warrior Games gold medalist.

“Sergeant O’Niell’s description of ‘little victories every day’ really resonated with me,” said Gorski. “He talked about how he wakes up each day and sets a small goal for himself, whatever it may be. He tells himself that he just needs to accomplish that one small thing, and when he does, he counts it as a success. This is an Airman who loves his job so much, loves the Air Force so much, and loves being a part of our nation’s fighting force. I hope the AFTAC workforce walked away with a greater sense of understanding of what Auggy went through, and how he’s risen above an enormous amount of adversity to continue to serve his nation. I challenge everyone here to keep his story in mind when they’re facing hurdles that seem tough to overcome.”

Tragedy3.jpg During his presentation, O’Niell quoted the pararescue motto during his presentation, ‘These things I do, so others may live.’ Gorski agreed there is no greater sacrifice than someone willing to lay down his life to protect others. “He is a testament to every aspect of the Air Force Core Values, and it was a privilege to have him visit the center,” he said.

O’Niell is the only pararescue amputee serving in the Air Force.

Tech Ops Squadron is heartbeat of nuke treaty monitoring from air, sea, space 5/23/2017

Military Sealift Command missile range instrumentation ship USNS Invincible makes way during sea trials following a regularly scheduled yard period. The platform is designed to augment the U.S. Ballistic Missile Defense sensor network by providing target discrimination information to U.S. Strategic Command. (U.S. Navy photo by Tommy Chia)
The USNS Howard O. Lorenzen (T-AGM-25) passes Astoria, Ore., as it departs the Columbia River into the Pacific Ocean, May 16, 2014. The USNS Howard O. Lorenzen is named for the late Naval Research Laboratory electrical engineer who was instrumental in the creation of the electronic intelligence capabilities of the United States. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class David Mosley
The WC-135 Constant Phoenix sits on the runway at Patrick AFB, Fla., during a visit to the base where its main mission headquarters, the Air Force Technical Applications Center, is located. The specially-configured aircraft is equipped with external flow devices that allow special equipment operators to collect airborne particulates in support of the U.S. Atomic Energy Detection System in the event of a nuclear detonation. (U.S. Air Force photo by Susan A. Romano)

By Susan A. Romano, AFTAC Public Affairs PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla.
When the Department of Defense needs bombs on target or fighters in the air, they reach out to any number of flying wings within the Air Force to task their squadrons to accomplish that mission. Yet when they need near-real time data of potential nuclear detonations, to include ballistic missile detection, radioactive plume debris collection, seismic activity or gamma ray emissions, there is only one wing within DoD that can meet that need.

The Air Force Technical Applications Center is the sole organization in the Defense Department whose mission is to detect and report technical data from foreign nuclear explosions. One of the ways that mission is accomplished is through the efforts of Airmen assigned to AFTAC’s Technical Operations Squadron.

TOPS, under the command of Lt. Col. Donald W. Wittenberg, is responsible for conducting worldwide surveillance and reconnaissance missions using its maritime and airborne assets in order to provide national authorities with quality technical measurements that may involve nuclear weapons of mass destruction.

“My squadron of 11 officers, 14 enlisted and nine civilians directs and coordinates nuclear treaty monitoring efforts through the employment of the WC-135 Constant Phoenix aircraft as well as our two ship-borne radar platforms, Gray Star and Cobra King valued at more than $2.2 billion,” said Wittenberg. “These assets allow us to accurately monitor space, missile or weapons tests that may pose potential threats or hazards to our nation or our allies.”

Cobra King and Gray Star are state-of-the-art mobile radar systems that consists of S- and X-band radars that AFTAC relies on to provide global, high resolution, multi-wavelength radar data to the Missile Defense Agency and DoD’s strategic community.

“Essentially, each ship’s main job is to monitor any tests of rockets using her S-band and X-band radars. The S-band sensor sweeps vast expanses of sky for possible missiles in flight, while the X-band radar zeroes in to closely track a target,” Wittenberg explained.

According to the TOPS commander, both are capable of collecting radar data on orbiting satellites and tactical ballistic missiles. Each vessel consists of two radar systems and numerous support systems including automatic data processing equipment, navigation and a full communications suite.

“Their mobile instrumentation platforms are one-of-a-kind systems with extremely critical performance characteristics,” Wittenberg said. “The radar systems aboard USNS Invincible (Gray Star) and USNS Howard O. Lorenzen (Cobra King) allow us to execute our treaty monitoring responsibilities. But what makes it unique is the mission commander aboard these U.S. Navy ships is an Air Force company grade officer – an Airman assigned right here in TOPS. Traditionally, the MCs are captains from the space and missile career field and the combination of those skill sets really complement each other and enhance the understanding of foreign tests and capabilities.”

Typically, MCs will be at sea for 60 to 90 days at a time, with most officers going out to sea twice a year. During the last 12 months, TOPS has included nuclear missile officers with a 13N Air Force Specialty Code into the mix for leadership opportunities.

The mission commander’s ultimate responsibility is to ensure the platform team members are able to successfully collect mission data. In addition to daily mission taskings, the MC works closely with experts from Military Sealift Command to schedule port visits and develop a prioritized listing of necessary ship-related maintenance whenever the vessel is in port or at the shipyard.

From sea to air, Wittenberg’s Airmen are involved in nearly all aspects of AFTAC’s treaty monitoring responsibilities. The center’s airborne platform is an integral part of TOPS’ mission execution.

Commonly referred to by the media as a ‘sniffer plane,’ the WC-135 has been in the Air Force inventory since 1965 and currently supports the Limited Test Ban Treaty of 1963, which prohibits any nation from testing nuclear weapons above ground. The Constant Phoenix is the only aircraft in the USAF that conducts air sampling operations. The cockpit crews are from the 45th Reconnaissance Squadron at Offutt AFB, Neb., while the special equipment operators are from AFTAC’s Detachment 1, also at Offutt.

“The WC-135 flies in direct support of the U.S. Atomic Energy Detection System and maintains the most advanced atmospheric research equipment in the Air Force,” said Wittenberg. “The SEOs are highly proficient and well-trained to perform this complex mission. While we don’t discuss specific ongoing operational taskings as a matter of policy, my team has averaged more than 160 days of temporary duty or deployment over the past year flying background sorties to establish baseline levels of atmospheric debris. These Airmen are incredibly motivated to get the job done, no matter where in the world that job may be.”

He added, “We conduct these airborne sampling missions to help us understand what already exists in the atmosphere. We typically fly over the Indian Ocean, Mediterranean Sea, Bay of Bengal, the Polar Regions, the Far East, and off the coasts of South America and Africa to ensure signatories are adhering to established nuclear treaties. It’s a busy mission, and an incredibly invaluable one as well.”

TOPS is one of five squadrons within AFTAC’s wing structure, and the center’s commander had nothing but the highest of praise for Wittenberg and his Airmen.

“The Airmen of TOPS are truly just that – the tops at what they do,” said Col. Steven M. Gorski, AFTAC commander. “They are responsible for a critical link of information that has the potential to be up-channeled as high as the desk of the President of the United States, and that is a huge responsibility. They continuously demonstrate their expertise, sometimes under austere and exhausting conditions, and I couldn’t be more proud of them.”

Wittenberg matched his commander’s accolades.

“I am humbled to be a part of such a tight-knit team that takes pride in performing the mission,” he said. “From the youngest Airmen to the most senior civilian, I see an organization that cares for each other and epitomizes the Wingman ideals. Their professionalism and teamwork inspire me every day!”

2 Chinese Military Jets Buzz US Radiation-sniffing Plane 5/23/2017

U.S. officials say two Chinese fighter jets intercepted the American aircraft in international airspace over the East China Sea. The U.S. military is calling the actions of the Chinese as “unprofessional.”

"The issue is being addressed with China through appropriate diplomatic and military channels," said Air Force spokeswoman Lieutenant Colonel Lori Hodge.

Hodge said the U.S. characterization of the incident was based on initial reports from the U.S. aircrew aboard the WC-135 Constant Phoenix aircraft "due to the maneuvers by the Chinese pilot, as well as the speeds and proximity of both aircraft."

"Distances always have a bearing on how we characterize interactions," Hodge said, adding a U.S. military investigation into the intercept was underway.

She said the WC-135 was carrying out a routine mission at the time and was operating in accordance with international law. The aircraft is a "sniffer-plane" and its mission is to look for signs of nuclear activity in the atmosphere.

Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying declined to comment on the specific incident and referred questions to the defense ministry which has yet to comment.

"For a long time U.S. ships and aircraft have been carrying out close up surveillance of China which can really easily cause misunderstandings or misjudgments or cause unexpected incidents at sea or in the air," she said. "We hope that the U.S. side can respect China's reasonable security concerns. 

Reuters copy/ TRUNEWS contribution

AFTAC volunteers converge at UCF for Regional Science Bowl 5/17/17

Vishal Aravind, an 11-year-old from Quest Elementary School, Viera, Fla., buzzes in during a science bowl at the University of Central Florida May 13, 2017. Aravind and his classmates participated in the event hosted by the National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers, where Airmen from the Air Force Technical Applications Center volunteered their time as judges, scorekeepers, room moderators and timekeepers. (U.S. Air Force photo by Susan A. Romano)
Steven Thomas, secondary education committee chairman for the National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers, addresses students who participated in the NOBCChE-sponsored Regional Science Bowl at the University of Central Florida May 13, 2017. Airmen from the Air Force Technical Applications Center volunteered their time as judges, scorekeepers, room moderators and timekeepers. (U.S. Air Force photo by Rose Day)
Students from Lake Nona High School, Fla., confer on a question during the National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers’ Science Bowl held at the University of Central Florida May 13, 2017. Members from the Air Force Technical Applications Center, Patrick AFB, Fla., volunteered to serve as timekeepers, scorers, moderators and judges. Pictured left to right: Ben Weizer, Omar Mansy, Adam Siegel and Alexandria Bias, all 10th graders from the central Florida high school. (U.S. Air Force photo by Susan A. Romano)

By Susan A. Romano, AFTAC Public Affairs PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla.
With nervous hands on buzzers and anxious minds eager to win, students from Quest Elementary School and Lake Nona High School competed in a science bowl May 13 at the University of Central Florida, hosted by the National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers.

Assisting in the NOBCChE effort were 14 volunteers from the Air Force Technical Applications Center here who donated their time to serve as timekeepers, judges, scorekeepers and room facilitators. A total of 10 teams – six elementary and four high school – competed in the event as they honed their skills on questions about physical sciences, engineering and mathematics, with an emphasis on black scientists and inventors.

Vishal Aravind, an 11-year-old from Quest, was one of his school’s competitors and was visibly excited about the bowl.

“I love the buzzers!” he exclaimed. “I love being able to buzz in with the answer and it feels good to get the question right.”

When asked how he prepared for the bowl, the 5th grader replied, “I did a lot of online research on different subjects, and my teacher also had several meetings after school for us to practice and read up on different subjects. I love to compete, so this was a lot of fun today. I really hope we win!”

Vishal has his sights set on attending an Ivy League school to major in aeronautical engineering. His parents accompanied him to the bowl and smiled at their son’s enthusiasm.

“This is Vishal’s first bowl competition, and he did a lot of reading to prepare,” said Aravind Ramakrishna, Vishal’s father. “He loves science and we really didn’t have to do much to get him ready for today other than support and encourage him.”

Hema Muniyappa, Vishal’s mother, added, “His teacher, Mrs. Conti, has done a great job preparing Vishal and his classmates for the competition. They focused on STEM during the after school sessions, and we’re very proud of what our son as accomplished.”

One of Quest’s Math and Science teachers, Amy Hattrup, escorted her students to UCF and served as a STEM coach during those after school sessions.

“We felt it was important to not only focus on the content of possible questions, but also the rules and requirements of the competition,” she said. “We practiced using buzzers and set up our classrooms with tables that resembled what the bowl would look like so the students could get a feel of the entire experience and feel comfortable.”

While grades were an important factor, Hattrup selected her pupils based more on their enthusiasm over their test scores.

“I felt it was valuable to allow the students who showed a sincere interest in the program versus selecting the kids with the highest grade point average who might not necessarily want to compete,” said the 5th grade teacher. “It’s been a great experience so far, and I’m very proud of my class!”

In addition to the elementary-level competition, the bowl saw teams from Lake Nona High School competing for a second year in a row. Ben Weizer, a 10th grader from Lake Nona, was excited to be participating again.

“I really look forward to being a part of this,” said Ben. “My friends and I put a lot of effort into it, from studying and quizzing each other to practicing and preparing for the competition itself. I want to join Air Force ROTC when I graduate and get a job in a STEM field, so being a part of the NOBCChE bowl really helps me get ready for that reality. It’s also a lot of fun.”

Rose Day, AFTAC’s Civilian Human Resources program manager, has spearheaded the cooperative effort between her center, NOBCChE and local schools in Brevard County for the past few years. While she has seen an increase in interest from various teachers on Florida’s Space Coast, she wants to see more.

“We first became involved in NOBBChE’s science bowl when AFTAC became a partner with Endeavour Elementary School, Brevard’s first and only community school,” Day said. “From there, we reached out to other schools in the area, and Quest Elementary has been a repeat participant along with Endeavour.”

She added, “Our Airmen love working with students and really connect with them at these events. Most of the students we encounter have never considered the Air Force as an option for their STEM career. We have been very successful at exposing them to Air Force culture and educating them on the possible career paths we have in those fields. It’s incredibly rewarding to come back and learn that a student we met the year before has now executed a plan to join the Air Force.”

Dr. Rebekah McCloud, UCF’s Director of Student Development and Enrollment Services and member of NOBCChE, agreed with Day’s assessment of the need to generate further interest in the bowl.

“We encourage all the participants, volunteers, teachers and parents to get the word out about this program,” she said. “I’d love to see more young people involved, especially when I get to see their excitement first hand. I am particularly pleased that we’ve seen an increase in girls who have signed up to participate – we need more of them in the STEM fields, and the bowl is one way to encourage their involvement and nurture their love of science. It’s an invaluable experience, promotes healthy competition, and exposes the students to various aspects of science. Let’s do it again!”

NOBCChE is dedicated to building a cadre of people of color in science and technology, while its broader mission is committed to inspiring and supporting minority students in their pursuit of careers in STEM.

“Our goal for next year is to generate more interest from the junior and senior high schools in the area to see them participate in future science bowls and STEM outreach programs,” said Day. “We hope we can not only achieve that goal, but exceed it.”

For more information about AFTAC’s STEM outreach program or to learn more about a career at AFTAC, send an email to

It's not often the 45th Reconnaissance Squadron's flying missions 5/13/17

It's not often the 45th Reconnaissance Squadron's flying missions -- Cobra Ball, Combat Sent, Constant Phoenix and Open Skies -- are all in one place, but we got lucky today.

Email from Sean Ryan
Thank you for posting Pete. Appreciated, as always. One unique photo for sure...remember them well, from my time at Offutt AFB x 7 years. WE loved Offutt AFB! (Then off to DIA in D.C. Paid big dividends for sure. One, of being a GFO Enlisted Aide to 4, and working for the SEA (Equivalent of Command Chief, in Joint World)). Loved my time at Wing and on HQ SAC staff. It is not often they do this, and have them all together, in one day. Took, one or two of them twice, to the PI, and another arena, plus other tankers, for a training and refueling flight... as an Incentive Flight, for winning Quarterly, Annual, and IM Awards, for Wing assigned. Took another down to Barksdale AFB, with fellow unit members, one day, for a NCOA graduation, that nite, on a training mission. Beat, 12-hours direct, to drive to Barksdale thru the Ozarks. Ain't nothing like flying in "Mess Dress", (back)(BDU's down), with no time to change, at the pilot's and commander's direction, to rock and roll, right after event. I swear, ...we were airborne in 30 minutes. LOL. CMSAF Pfingston (whom I met as a 1-striper at Hurbie, was the guest speaker) ...another story. :) There is nothing like seeing a "refueling live" from the Boom Operator's position! 2 operators instance, one female TSgt and a male SSgt...truly, awesome, professional, and fellow Wingman! Another, "hop" flight from Ramstein AB to Mildenhall AB...coming back from Iraq, after 14 months, on leave in GE and UK. Only 2 of us...he was a retiree. The stories he told, WOW! ...Boom "view", was awesome, for training mission. GE and UK by nite, from the cockpit...++! Just some memories...from aircraft views and travels. Excuse the long wind...

AFTAC routs civil engineers, takes base soccer championship 5/10/17

Jonathan Powers, goalie for Team AFTAC at Patrick Air Force Base, Fla., makes a diving save to maintain the shutout he earned during the base’s soccer championship game April 18, 2017. (U.S. Air Force photo by Susan A. Romano)
Midfielder J.T. Thomas moves the ball forward during the Patrick Air Force Base soccer championship match April 18, 2017. Thomas and his teammates from the Air Force Technical Applications Center shut out the 45th Civil Engineer Squadron, 5-0. (U.S. Air Force photo by Susan A. Romano)
Ehren Carl (right), defenseman with Team AFTAC at Patrick Air Force Base, Fla., demonstrates his foot-dribbling skills against his opponent from the 45th Civil Engineer Squadron April 18, 2017 during the base championship game. AFTAC went on to win the match, 5-0, and took home the trophy for their efforts. (U.S. Air Force photo by Susan A. Romano)
Team AFTAC hoists the base championship trophy over their heads after a decisive 5-0 win over the 45th Civil Engineer Squadron April 18, 2017 at Patrick Air Force Base, Fla. (U.S. Air Force photo by Susan A. Romano)

By Susan A. Romano, AFTAC Public Affairs PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla.
Team AFTAC handily defeated rival 45th Civil Engineer Squadron in a one-game-take-all matchup for the base soccer championship April 18.

The teams went head-to-head on a breezy Florida evening at the base’s athletic complex along the Banana River. The first half saw end-to-end action, which resulted in a close 1-0 score in AFTAC’s favor.

During halftime, AFTAC team captains Pete Oliveri and Jonathan Powers pumped up their teammates with words of encouragement and friendly ‘smack-talk’ about their opponents.

“We got this, guys,” said one. “Keep shooting and we’ll score more goals in the second half,” said another. “We have to keep the pressure on, and we can put this away in a few minutes. They don’t stand a chance now!”

The encouragement must have worked because the second half was as lopsided as a two-legged stool. Nearly all the action took place in CE’s half of the field, where AFTAC scored four more goals – three in the first four minutes of the half – to CE’s zero.

Powers, the team’s goalie, earned a shut out for his squad and made some stellar saves as he adeptly kept the ball out of his net.

“This was one of our best games,” said forward Andrew Belk. “It was a total team effort – that’s been the case all season. We’ve got 13 players on this roster, and each person contributed throughout the 12-game season.”

Defenseman Ehren Carl added, “We come out here to have fun and get some exercise, but it sure does make it sweeter when you walk away as base champions. Definitely a great feeling!”

At the conclusion of the game, Jeffrey Howell, sports program manager from the Base Fitness Center, presented Team AFTAC with the championship trophy, which was quickly hoisted over the heads of the winners.

“I’m really proud of this group of guys,” said midfielder J.T. Thomas. “I’m one of the more senior guys out here, and I’m always amazed at the skill level of some of the junior Airmen. They really have some talent!”

AFTAC finished the year with a perfect 12-0 record and the team is already looking forward to next year season.

Melbourne High School Junior ROTC visits AFTAC 5/4/17

Daelyn Frey, a senior at Melbourne High School, Fla., and member of Air Force Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps Detachment FL-011, examines a seismometer on display at the Air Force Technical Applications Center, Patrick AFB, Fla. Frey and 126 members of her JROTC detachment toured the nuclear treaty monitoring center April 28, 2017. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Susan A. Romano)
David Charitat, legal advisor for the Air Force Technical Applications Center, Patrick AFB, Fla., discusses AFTAC’s seismic history with Kay Brown, a student at Melbourne High School, Fla., and member of Air Force Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps Detachment FL-011. Brown was one of 127 members from the JROTC detachment to tour the nuclear treaty monitoring center April 28, 2017. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Susan A. Romano)
Alethea Marines, a sophomore at Melbourne High School, Fla., checks out nuclear treaty monitoring equipment in the Heritage Room at the Air Force Technical Applications Center April 28, 2017, Patrick AFB, Fla. Marines is a member of Air Force Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps Detachment FL-011, and joined 126 members of her JROTC detachment on a visit to the nuclear treaty monitoring center. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Susan A. Romano)
Air Force Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps Detachment FL-011 members pose for a group photo in the lobby of the Air Force Technical Applications Center, Patrick AFB, Fla., during a tour of the nuclear treaty monitoring center April 28, 2017. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Susan A. Romano)

By Susan A. Romano, AFTAC Public Affairs PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla.
The goal of the Air Force Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps is to instill values of citizenship, service to the United States, personal responsibility and a sense of accomplishment. One of the ways it achieves that goal is when a detachment schedules a field trip to a military base.

Florida Junior ROTC Detachment FL-011 accomplished just that when a group of 127 students from Melbourne High School made a trip to Patrick AFB April 28. One of the stops on their tour was to the Air Force Technical Applications Center, the Department of Defense’s sole organization responsible for monitoring nuclear treaties.

Escorted by retired Lt. Col. Robin Athey and retired Master Sgt. David Greene, Mel High students were greeted by the center’s command chief, Chief Master Sgt. Michael Joseph, and other members of Joseph’s staff. After posing for a quick group photo in front of AFTAC’s historical lobby mural, the cadets received the AFTAC mission briefing delivered by Capt. Reggie Luper, a space operations officer and member of the Commander’s Action Group. From there, the students were escorted to the center’s Heritage Room, a showcase of AFTAC’s 70 year history of long range detection, where AFTAC’s legal advisor, David Charitat, gave a brief overview of AFTAC’s storied legacy.

Stephanie Salonen, a 12th grader and a 4-year Jr. ROTC participant, was quite impressed with the tour. “A few years ago we came to Patrick for a summer camp program, but we didn’t get to visit AFTAC,” she said. “So coming here today was a brand new learning experience, and I’m realizing how cool it is to work here. I want to join the Air Force after college to become a flight nurse, so opportunities like this are really exciting for me. I’m having a great time!”

Donna Crews, Stephanie’s mom, accompanied the group on the trip. “I am beyond proud of Stephanie’s accomplishments and the things she’s worked so hard at,” she said. “Her twin sister Samantha is also here today, and the two of them have spent the last four years excelling in everything they do. While I believe their dad and I have raised them in a structured environment at home, the Jr. ROTC program has put it into perspective for them, and when they get to visit places like AFTAC, it gives the cadets the chance to see that it’s all not fun and games – this is real world stuff.”

She added, “Colonel Athey and Sergeant Greene are an incredible leadership team, and we can’t thank them enough for making this trip happen for the kids. AFTAC is an amazing place!”

This is the third Jr. ROTC visit AFTAC has hosted this year, with a fourth one on the horizon in June. Joseph, who has pushed hard to have cadets visit the treaty monitoring center, believes the program offers an invaluable glimpse into what the Air Force – and more specifically – what AFTAC can offer a graduating high school senior.

“What I try to impart on the students who come to AFTAC is pretty simple: you don’t have to be an active duty Airman to be a part of the Air Force,” the command chief said. “Our unit is made up of both military and civilian personnel – about a 60-40 split – and we are always looking for bright, motivated, intelligent and dedicated citizens to become part of our unique organization. I hope each cadet leaves here with a greater understanding of what we do, and how much we need the youth of today to pursue STEM fields of study. Our future relies on them.”

For more information about AFJROTC, visit their web site at

AFTAC Airmen haul in annual STEM hardware 4/27/17


By Susan A. Romano, AFTAC Public Affairs PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla.
Six Airmen from the Air Force Technical Applications Center here earned Air Combat Command accolades for their accomplishments in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math.

The winners, all of whom are assigned to AFTAC’s Technology Coordination Office (TC), learned of their selection from AFTAC’s commander, Col. Steven M. Gorski, after ACC’s 4-star general made the final selections.

The awards were broken up into two distinct groups: one for Science and Technology, and one for Acquisitions. Within the groups were specific categories and recipients were required to submit a lengthy nomination package for each award.

Three of the six awards are named after luminaries associated with the respective award. Capt. Jeffrey B. Archer, chief of TC’s Aerospace Systems Branch, won the Harold Brown Award, the highest award given by the Air Force to a scientist or engineer who applies scientific research to solve a problem critical to the needs of the Air Force. It is named after Dr. Harold Brown, the eighth Secretary of the Air Force and 14th Secretary of Defense.

Capt. Kimberlee S. Pottinger, chief of TC’s Sensors, Surveillance and Development Branch, won the Air Force Science and Engineering Award/Research and Development category for her work on global persistent surveillance and characterization of high value assets within the Department of Defense.

Maj. Ernesto F. Curiel, TC’s deputy director, earned the Air Force Science and Engineering Award/Research Management category. Curiel was instrumental in the advancement of unique communications and identification technologies to meet critical mission requirements.

Maj. Michael Butler, who serves as the chief of TC’s Space Situational Awareness Sensors Branch, was selected for the Air Force Science and Engineering Award/Advanced Technology Development after he led a 62-member team from 15 national organizations to develop a space situational awareness characterization technique. This is Butler’s third consecutive win (same group, different categories), and the past two years he went on to win at the Air Force level as well.

Curiel collared a second award from the acquisitions group—the Gen. Lester L. Lyles Developmental Engineer of the Year award. Lyles was the commander of Air Force Materiel Command who received degrees in mechanical and nuclear engineering.

The sixth winner was Capt. Joshua J. Ford, a TC systems engineer, who was presented with the Dr. Paul G. Kaminski Most Promising Systems Engineer Award for his work on a $2.5 billion geosynchronous earth orbit missile warning spacecraft. Kaminski is best known for his role in the development of stealth aircraft.

“AFTAC Airmen absolutely overshadowed the competition and came away with impressive hardware,” said Lt. Col. David Laird, director of TC. “These awards are a true testament to the caliber of our workforce here, and the recognition our Airmen continue to receive around the Air Force is well deserved. I am honored to serve with them, and I am confident their hard work will continue as it always has.”

Member of Congress briefed on center's nuke role Posted 4/18/17

Dr. Bill Johnson (left), Ciambrone Radiochemistry Laboratory senior scientist, explains the science of trace-level analysis of environmental samples to U.S. Rep. Bill Posey from Florida’s 8th Congressional District as Posey’s District Director Patrick Gavin looks on. The samples are analyzed using radiochemistry and mass spectrometry for low levels of nuclear materials. Posey and members of his staff visited the Air Force Technical Applications Center, Patrick AFB, Fla., for a mission update April 11, 2017. (U.S. Air Force photo by Susan A. Romano)

By Susan A. Romano, AFTAC Public Affairs PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla.
U.S. Representative Bill Posey paid a visit to the Air Force Technical Applications Center here April 11 to receive an update on the center’s nuclear treaty monitoring role and its involvement in recent global events.

Posey, accompanied by his District Director Patrick Gavin and Director of Community Relations Rob Medina, met with Col. Steven M. Gorksi, AFTAC’s commander and members of his staff for an in-depth mission briefing and to bring the congressman up to speed on AFTAC’s capabilities regarding past and potential worldwide nuclear detonations. The congressman was briefed on AFTAC’s scientific contributions to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action as well as underground disturbances the center detected in the vicinity of North Korea in January and September 2016.

“It is always a pleasure to visit AFTAC,” said Posey. “This is the first time I’ve been able to tour the new building since it opened (in 2014), and I enjoy the opportunity to speak to the Airmen who perform this vital mission. Everyone should be very proud of the work they’re undertaking for our nation. It’s invaluable.”

After the briefings, the congressional delegation toured the center, which included stops at AFTAC’s Innovation Lab, Operations Floor and Ciambrone Radiochemistry Laboratory.

“AFTAC shares an incredible rapport with our elected officials,” said Col. Steven M. Gorski, AFTAC commander. “Their support is invaluable to us as we execute our global nuclear deterrence mission. AFTAC Airmen and their family members are integral parts of the Space Coast community, as well as Rep. Posey’s constituents. His visit gave us the opportunity to showcase our mission and illustrate our involvement with the local community. It is a great partnership, and we appreciate the time the congressman and his staff took out of their schedules to meet with us.”

Persistent surveillance gives squadron its global purpose - 4/14/17

Airmen assigned to the Technical Support Squadron, Air Force Technical Applications Center, Patrick AFB, Fla., monitor seismic activity throughout the world in direct support of AFTAC’s nuclear treaty monitoring mission. The center maintains a global network of nuclear event detection sensors called the U.S. Atomic Energy Detection System – the largest sensor network in the U.S. Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by William B. Belcher)

By Susan A. Romano, AFTAC Public Affairs PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla.
Deep within the walls of a four story structure along Florida’s Space Coast sits a squadron of Airmen whose number one mission is to detect, identify and locate nuclear explosions anywhere in the world.

The Technical Surveillance Squadron, a subordinate unit to the Air Force Technical Applications Center, operates 24/7/365 and provides persistent and collaborative surveillance in direct support of AFTAC’s nuclear treaty monitoring mission.

Lt. Col. Ehren Carl, commander of TESS, oversees the daily operations and his squadron’s 60+ personnel.

“The Technical Surveillance Squadron conducts multi-domain ops in land, sea, air, space and underwater,” said Carl. “The Airmen who execute this mission are the gatekeepers of all the near-real-time operational data we receive in the AFTAC Operations Center.”

AFTAC maintains a global network of nuclear event detection sensors called the U.S. Atomic Energy Detection System – the largest sensor network in the U.S. Air Force. In the event of a possible nuclear explosion, USAEDS sensors that are positioned worldwide and in space detect the explosion, and that data are transmitted to Carl’s Airmen in the AOC.

“Our analysts review the incoming data to determine what kind of explosion may have occurred,” he said. “We use precision equipment to establish if the explosion was a naturally-occurring event such as a lighting strike, an earthquake or a volcanic eruption, or a man-made event such as an explosion. If an analyst determines the event may be nuclear in nature, we conduct further analysis and our seismic PhDs get involved in the process. The information our Airmen handle during events like this has the potential to – and actually has – reach the desk of the president of the United States. That’s how critical our mission is.”

TESS is a relatively new squadron at AFTAC. Activated in October 2015, it was part of a five-squadron stand up as the center took steps to reorganize after becoming a wing equivalent in August 2014. Carl is first to take command of the surveillance squadron.

“Forging a new identity in the midst of other major organizational changes was a hurdle that was tough to overcome,” said Carl. “But TESS Airmen – and all the members of AFTAC, quite frankly – are incredibly resilient and innovative. They find ways to come together to achieve the established goals while taking care of each other regardless of the circumstances. We are a pretty tight-knit family here.”

A squadron is considered to be the Air Force’s most basic unit, responsible for vital, day-to-day operations. Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein recently called squadrons “the beating heart of the Air Force.” He further referred to them as “the engines of innovation and esprit de corps,” where standards are set, excellence is fostered and healthy work environments are cultivated.

“It’s where the job gets done,” said Carl. “My Airmen take great pride in our mission and their role in our nation’s security. As a leader, I’m tasked with establishing the vision, providing the resources and setting the conditions to enable the men and women of TESS to execute their daily responsibilities. When they’re given the responsibility as well as the authority to execute their taskings, they will exceed your expectations every time.”

Exceed they have. In 2016 along, TESS Airmen reacted quickly to two separate North Korean-declared nuclear tests, setting in motion full AFTAC alert team responses that ultimately provided information to the White House and the National Security Council.

“In January and September 2016, our sensors detected underground disturbances in the vicinity of North Korea’s reported nuclear tests,” said Carl. “Our initial findings were based on seismic activity, which we quickly analyzed, packaged and elevated to our national decision makers. Our information makes it all the way to the top. We have E3s and E4s who directly impact the U.S. response to these events. It’s an incredible amount of responsibility and our Airmen manage it brilliantly.”

He added, “2016 was an important year for us. It’s been a very long time since AFTAC has had to respond to two nuclear tests in a single year. It’s critical that we’re constantly poised and ready to act; our nation relies on it. We were ready for the last two and we’ll be ready for the next one, should that ever happen.”

Col. Steven M. Gorski, AFTAC’s commander, realizes his organization has the indispensable responsibility as the Department of Defense’s sole organization whose mission is to detect and report technical data from foreign nuclear explosions. He also understands how his squadrons are the crucial element in executing that mission.

Airmen learn self-defense shooting tactics from local sheriff’s office - 4/6/2017

Jim Ordway (right) a member of the Air Force Technical Applications Center, Patrick AFB, Fla., fires off a round as Agent Reggie Hammond, a deputy with the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office, observes. Ordway was one of 25 AFTAC members who attended BCSO’s Self Defense Through Tactical Shooting and Decision Making course March 25, 2017. (U.S. Air Force photo by Susan A. Romano)

By Susan A. Romano, AFTAC Public Affairs PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla.
Air Force Airmen undergo extensive training on the proper use of firearms, especially when they’re preparing to deploy downrange. The training program is aptly called Combat Arms Training and Maintenance, and it focuses on the specific characteristics of each weapon, how to effectively operate it, and basic marksmanship.

Defense3.jpg For the most part, military CATM is geared toward battlefield operations.

But for an Airman who may face a more domestic-type of firearm situation, battlefield training may not necessarily fit the bill.

Defense6.jpg Col. Steven M. Gorski, commander of the Air Force Technical Applications Center here, wanted to know more about self-defense tactics with his personal handgun. He knew enough about how to operate his own .9mm semi-automatic, but felt there was more to learn. So he reached out to the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office to inquire about a class the county offers its citizens.

Defense4.jpg Called Self Defense Through Tactical Shooting and Decision Making, the course is designed to give civilians the opportunity to learn safe gun handling skills as well as the legal aspects of gun ownership. It also gives attendees the opportunity to undergo “shoot-don’t shoot” simulator scenarios, where split-second decisions must be made in a self-defense domestic situation that involves a handgun. Additionally, those enrolled expend 100 live rounds under the close supervision of range deputies.

Gorski encouraged members of his staff to join him, and on Saturday, March 25, more than two dozen AFTACers met at the BSCO training range in Cocoa, Fla., for the 8-hour course.

Corporal Larry Plotkin, master lead instructor, welcomed the group and gave opening remarks during the classroom portion of the course. He was followed by Corporal Jessie Holton, who spoke about the importance of mental preparedness and the tactics of firearms self-defense.

“There has been a huge uptick of personal firearms purchases over the past several years by people who want to protect their families and their homes, but many gun owners don’t know how to operate their weapons,” said Holton. “Most gun encounters occur within five feet or less – you will probably be touching your adversary. So when it comes to surviving a real threat, and if you really want to protect yourself, you need to know what your capabilities are, what the capabilities of your handgun are, and if you’re physically and psychologically prepared to defend yourself. It’s critical to staying alive.”

After Holton’s presentation, the group received an in-depth briefing from Jason Arthur, assistant state attorney for Florida’s 18th Judicial Circuit.

Defense5.jpg Arthur discussed specific state laws that pertain to gun ownership, impacts of the Second Amendment, definitions of deadly force, and Florida’s Stand Your Ground law. He addressed the Castle Doctrine, a lesser known legal theory that gives a homeowner the right to protect his or her home using deadly force, and he also fielded a battery of questions from the inquisitive audience.

The group broke for a quick lunch, then split up into two groups: one group went to the MILO Simulator, and the other group headed to the live fire range.

“The simulator is a law enforcement-specific learning tool, but we give the scenarios to the SDTTS classes so they can experience the interactivity of the program,” said Plotkin. “It’s much more than a kid’s video game; it’s a realistic, versatile training product that exercises a shooter’s tactical judgment under duress. It also gives civilians the chance to see just how fast a situation can go bad for a cop.”

Once on the range, shooters were placed in three different positions: lock out, compressed ready and hip shooting, and fired multiple rounds from each position.

“Lock out is when the shooter draws their weapon and pushes it straight out towards the target,” said Plotkin. “It’s employed when there is some distance between a perpetrator and the shooter. Compressed ready is when a perp is too close for a shooter to execute the lock-out position. You simply tuck your arms into your body and fire multiple rounds into the target. We have shooters fire three feet from the target and force them to pivot while firing at three separate targets. Hip shooting is taught in the event the perp has tackled you or if you’re unable to execute the other two positions. We train shooters to place their gun on their hip sideways to prevent the slide from hitting their body which could cause a deadly malfunction.”

He added, “We want to train gun owners to realize they don’t necessarily have to be looking straight at a target to execute an effective shot. When you’re comfortable with various positions at close range, your chances of survival are greatly improved.”

The groups switched places from simulator to range and vice versa, giving everyone the opportunity to experience all aspects of the course.

After each person fired off 100 rounds and ran through the simulator, they gathered for closing comments and to receive their certificates for a concealed carry permit application. Based on the chatter that could be overheard in the classroom, the course was a resounding success.

Corporal Brian Adams, one of the course instructors, was quite impressed with the AFTAC class. “This group was very engaged and it was obvious they came here to learn,” said Adams. “They picked things up very quickly, even those who seemed a bit hesitant at the start. The whole purpose of the class is to build confidence and make the shooter feel comfortable under pressure. They were among the best classes we’ve ever had take the course. That speaks volumes about their capabilities.”

The sheriff himself was unable to make it to AFTAC’s class due to emerging events, but he did take the time to relay his thoughts about the importance of the training.

“Self Defense Through Tactical Shooting and Decision Making is an amazing course that teaches our citizens how to respond to a violent attack or active shooter scenario,” said Sheriff Wayne Ivey. “While the best law enforcement agencies in the country have response times in minutes, a violent criminal can take our lives in seconds if we are not truly prepared to be the first line of defense for ourselves, our families and those around us when evil comes knocking on the door.”

Angela Schuler, wife of Chief Master Sgt. Wes Schuler, AFTAC’s superintendent of operations, seemed to thoroughly enjoy the training. “This was an incredibly informative course,” she said. “The speakers were great and they distilled the information down to make it very understandable, including all the legal jargon. I would highly recommend it to anyone, whether they’re new to shooting or an experienced marksman.”

“When I heard about this course, I thought it would be a great way for me to meet the requirements for my concealed weapons permit,” said Capt. Reggie Luper, a member of Gorski’s team. “That was my primary motivation. But after going through the entire training, I can’t even begin to describe how much I learned about self-defense and how to use my gun in a close-quarters self-defense situation. It was a superb learning experience!”

Gorski echoed the sentiments of his fellow AFTACers.

“I walked away with an even greater respect of what the men and women of law enforcement face on a daily basis, and appreciate the dedication it takes to put their lives on the line each and every day,” said Gorski. “I value my Air Force CATM training for deployment scenarios, and now I equally value the SDTTS training as well. This was an extraordinary experience and I can’t thank Sheriff Ivey and his deputies enough for offering this invaluable course.”


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Recent Obituaries

Joe Amerena - 8/14/2017

Amerena.jpg John, Frank, Pete:
Joe was at 1155/TOD from 1967 - 1999.

His daughter will send me an obit if/when she gets one. I got it from your "Wall 20 Year" section & cropped it. You may want to do a better job of cropping.

Contacted by Dale Klug, Ken Behrens and John Miner Joe Amerena, long time civilian technical writer at 1155 Tech Ops Squadron & Technical Operations Division, AFTAC passed away Monday 14 Aug 2017. Joe's daughter-in-law, Tina, notified John Miner via email on 16 August:

Hello John (Miner), This is Tina. Joe has passed away...I am so sad to say. He went in the hospital Thursday with a very bad infection. He was not able to beat it. I miss him already. Please inform his friends. You were so very important to him. Thank you for your valued friendship.

I called Tina this morning. She said Joe along with his wife, Jane, will be buried with full military honors in the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific (informally known as Punchbowl Cemetery) at Punchbowl Crater in Honolulu, Hawaii. Joe also was a US Marine Corps veteran who firmly believed "Once a Marine, Always a Marine" and ended his emails with "Semper Fi."

Thomas Rohrs - 11/1/2014

` I am Thomas Rohrs widow. Tom passed Nov 1,2014. I would love to hear from any or all who worked with him at AFTAC, ALEXANDRIA VA. Tom and I married Oct. 1970,in Alexandria. Thank you for your time. Sincerely Lind Rohrs,"

John Joseph Anderson - 6/1/2017

johnanderson.jpg CMSgt (Ret) John Joseph Anderson, USAF, 88, of Carlisle, passed away on Thursday, June 1, 2017 at home.  He was born on March 8, 1929 in Bradford, and was a son of the late Otto R. and Margaret (Fullerton) Anderson.

John was a 1947 graduate of St. Bernard’s Parish School in Bradford.  He retired in 1975 from the US Air Force with the rank of Chief Master Sergeant with more than 25 years of service.  He served during the Korean War and Vietnam War and was awarded several honors and medals.  John was a member of St. Patrick Catholic Church, Carlisle, Toastmaster’s International, St. Patrick’s Parish Council, Knights of Columbus Council 4057 Assembly 2708 and the Air Force Association.

He is survived by his wife of 37 years, Evelyn H. (McDonald) Anderson, three sons; James M. (Mary) Anderson of Gaithersburg, MD, John T. (Lisa) Anderson of Statesville, NC and Robert C. Anderson of Satellite Beach, FL, two daughters; Lee F. (Mike) Bethel of Carlisle and Christy M. (Mike) Van Zant of Prescott, AZ, 6 grandchildren, 2 great-grandchildren and many nieces and nephews.  He was predeceased by one daughter, Lisa M. Anderson.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday, June 6, 2017 in the St. Patrick Catholic Church, 85 Marsh Dr., Carlisle, with Rev. William C. Forrey officiating.  Burial will follow in the St. Patrick’s New Catholic Cemetery, Carlisle, with military honors by Cumberland County Honor Guard.  A viewing will be held on Monday in the Father Welsh room in the Parish Activity Center from 6 – 8:00 p.m. with a Rosary Service at 7:30 p.m. and on Tuesday in the Church narthex from 9:30 a.m. until time of service.  Memorial contributions may be made to St. Patrick Council 4057 Foundation, P.O. Box 281, Carlisle, PA 17013.  Ewing Brothers Funeral Home, Carlisle, is in charge of the arrangements.

Bobbie Futrell - 5/13/2017

From Bill Schmied:
Received notification from RT Bennett that Bobbie Futrell passed away Saturday morning at her home in Centennial, CO where she has been getting 24-7 in-home care. Bobbie had her 93rd birthday last month. She was a lifetime member of our Colorado alumni chapter and spent over twenty years of her life working in Det 057 and SPINSTRA on Lowry AFB. She was a secretary in the training department of Det 057 as early as 1963 when it was located in Bldg 358 next to the SPINSTRA schoolhouse in Bldg 359. She continued working in Det 057 after it was downsized and relocated to Bldg 359 until her retirement from civil service in 1986. She was the "go-to" person if anyone had a question about AFTAC. It is our understanding that there will not be any funeral services or an obituary; however, we will provide any additional info we might receive. The above info provided by RT Bennett and Lonnie Gibbons.

William E. Ivan - 4/28/2017

ivan.jpg On Tue, May 2, 2017 at 04:15 Michael P Ivan wrote:
To Whom It May Concern.
My Father, William E. Ivan, passed away on 28 April 2017. He was a Member of your Organization and 20 year Veteran of USAF, retired as a MSgt. I would like to submit a link to his Obituary for posting in your Newsletter and website.

Here is a link to his obituary at the local funeral home that has been taking care of arrangements:

Please note, if possible, if you can use his obituary posting as is, he wrote it before his death.

I am quite impressed and proud of the work my Dad.

If you have any questions, please contact me either via email or phone: 330-364-1942

Thank you to all that served in AFTAC.

Michael P. Ivan, his Son


William E. Ivan, Master Sgt., USAF, Ret., 80, of New Philadelphia, died Friday, April 28, 2017 while in the care of Community Hospice’s Truman House.

Bill was born in his parent’s home in Port Vue, Pennsylvania on June 30, 1936. He was the third child of the late Mary (Moseh) and Michael John Ivan.

After graduation from Glassport High School, Bill dropped out of Duquesne University after one semester because: “He was tired of being educated.” He joined the United States Air Force and spent the next 20 some years attending technical schools and courses in residence and by correspondence. He was able to attend many off duty university courses offered at his base of assignment, and finally graduated from Kent State University in 1977, a year after his retirement from the United States Air Force.

While stationed near Columbus, Ohio, Bill met a nurse named Connie Mroczkowski and was able to convince her to marry him on October 5, 1963, his parents 36th wedding anniversary. Connie made homes for Mary Jo, Mike and Bill wherever they were stationed.

Throughout his tenure with the United States Air Force, Bill earned his Senior Air Crew Member wings and was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal twice and the Air Medal. He also picked up many “I was there and did that” awards and decorations. However, he often noted when he received his Discharge paperwork, Connie’s Separation Certificate was larger and emphasized how important a good wife is.

Bill and Connie bought a home in Roswell and enjoyed civilian life. Bill served as the Town Marshall, served on Town Council and laid the foundation for the funds that have evolved into the Roswell Community Center and Park. They moved to New Philadelphia and Bill joined the staff of the Child Support Enforcement Agency where he worked as an investigator for almost 20 years, retiring in 2002. Bill enjoyed golfing, bowling, reading, crossword puzzles, and rooting for the 6 time Super Bowl Champion Pittsburgh Steelers.

He is survived by a daughter Mary Jo Ivan of Ashville, Ohio; his son, Michael P. Ivan of the home; a granddaughter, Caitlin Brown of Ashville; a brother, Donald (Mary Lou) Ivan of Glassport, Pennsylvania; a father-in-law, Peter Mroczkowski; a brother-in-law, Gerry (Ann) Mroczkowski; a sister-in-law, Marlene Mattevi and numerous nieces, nephews, great-nieces, great-nephews and their families.

In keeping with Bill’s wishes there will be no public calling hours or services and cremation care will be handled through the Linn-Hert-Geib Funeral Home & Crematory at New Philadelphia. An inurnment will take place at a later date.

In addition to his parents, Bill was preceded in death by his wife, Connie; a sister Mary Ann; his mother-in-law, Mary Mroczkowski and son-in-law, Jerry Brown.

Richard E. O'Brien - 4/13/2017

obrien.png A veteran of 32 years in the Air Force.
A team member of Mercury, Satern an Apollo projects early in his career
A prolific pool player, golfer, bridge player and table tennis aficionado. A true sportsman.
A New York, New Yorker where everything should have happened yesterday.

Survived by his wife of 58 years Ursula, sons Michael (Kathy), previously deceased Mark (Terry), Chris (Camila) and 6 beautiful grandchildren Austin, Alex, Kyle, Joshua, Eric, and Brian. Plus Rich

Chief O'Brien's visitation/service will be on Saturday 4/22/2017 at the Beach Funeral Home on Wickham Road, across from Home Depot. Visitation at 1000, Service at 1100.

"Jack" Gerald L. Johnson - 4/11/2017

Johnson.png Johnson – SMSgt “Jack” Gerald L. Johnson, USAF (RET) born Jan 5, 1931 passed away on Tuesday, April 11, 2017. Memorial services will be held at 12:00 PM on Friday, April 21, 2017 at Corinth Christian Church: 1635 Hwy. 81, Loganville, GA 30052. Minister Don Hardison will officiate. Jack, of Lawrenceville, GA was 86 years old, died after a 16 month battle against esophageal cancer, then a feeding tube site infection, was born in the Walnut Grove area of Walton County, retired from the U.S. Air Force after 28 years of service and retired again after 18 years as a U.S. civil servant. He loved spending time with his wife, children and grandchildren. Much of which was traveling and camping in many of the National and State parks across the U.S. He is survived by his wife of 63 years, Peggie Still Johnson; son: Michael (Karen) Johnson; sister: Juanita (Bud) Pearson; daughters-in-law: Maureen Dailey & Susan O’Neill; 11 grandchildren; 6 great grandchildren and many other family connections and friends. In lieu of flowers, please consider a memorial gift in Jack’s memory to Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University: 1742 Clifton Rd. Ste. 1400 Atlanta, GA 30322 or a charity of your choice. The family will receive friends from 11 AM – 12 PM at the church. Arrangements by: Tim Stewart Funeral Home: 300 Simonton Rd. SW Lawrenceville, GA 30046. 770-962-3100. Please leave online condolences at

To send flowers or a memorial gift to the family of SMSgt "Jack" Gerald L. Johnson USAF (RET) please visit our Sympathy Store.

Shawn M. Rouse - 3/28/2017

rouse.jpg Shawn Miguel Rouse, I, 54, of San Antonio, TX, passed away unexpectedly on Tuesday, March 28, 2017 with his wife Claudia Rouse by his side. He was born December 23, 1962 in Toledo, Ohio to the union of John and Betty Rouse.

Shawn was a 1981 graduate of Robert S. Rogers High School. After graduation, he enlisted in active duty in the United States Air Force. He began his military career where he traveled the globe and blazed trails along the way. In 1993 Shawn was named Military Drill and Ceremonies Noncommissioned Officer, Instructor of the Year for the 331st Training Squadron and was awarded his Master Military Training Instructor (Blue Rope). In July of 2000, Shawn was selected for First Sergeant Duty. He received numerous awards and decorations throughout his career, The National Defense Service Medal and The Meritorious Service Medal with 2 clusters to name a few. As a decorated Master Sergeant and 22 years of service, Shawn was honorably discharged in 2003.

Education was a priority to Shawn and after retirement he obtained his Bachelors of Science from Wayland Baptist University. He then went on to obtain his Masters of Business Administration degree from the University of Phoenix. He began working his ideal job at American GI Forum National Veterans Outreach Program as a Director of Client Services. He enjoyed working with veterans and helping to make their lives better. His drive and dedication in this position placed thousands of veterans and their families in homes.

After saving each veteran, one home at a time, he would then release his stress on the golf course. On any given weekend you could find him, Smitty, Larry, Rudy and Clarence talking trash and planning for the next tee time. Shawn’s other passions included cars, Apple gadgets and the Cleveland Cavaliers. But his biggest love was his family. There wasn’t a day he didn’t live for his children. Rather it be coaching or cheering from the sidelines he was their biggest supporter. Dropping words of wisdom along the way to guide them in their lives. Shawn’s charisma and charm could light up a room. His laugh will forever be in our memories.

He was preceded in death by his father, John M. Rouse, Sr.; step-father, Eddie L. Rines; brother, John M. Rouse, Jr.

He leaves to cherish his memory his devoted wife, Claudia Rouse; Son, Shaden M. Rouse, Daughter, Shanae M. Rouse; Sons, Shawn M. Rouse, II, and Johnathan M. Rouse; loving mother, Betty Rines; Grandchildren, Shaniya and Sekoe; Sisters, Sheila Bolden and Edwina (Carwein) Hardnett; Brothers, Donnell and Terry Rouse; Step-brother, Michael Peacock; Special Aunt, Bobbie Love; Lifetime friends, Rueben Furr, Lawrence Darrington, and Special friend, Leon “Smitty” Smith.

Throughout childhood Shawn grew up with his cousins and they are like siblings; Linda (Brian) Watts, Cynthia (Kevin) Martin, Angela (Larry) Hall-Buck, Veronica Gibson, James and Paul Gibson.

William A. "Bill" Hart - 11/7/2015

hart.jpg Services celebrating the life of William A. "Bill" Hart, 80, will be held at 1:00 p.m. on Tuesday, November 10, 2015 at Hill Crest Memorial Chapel. Interment with military honors will follow at Hill Crest Memorial Park.

Bill was born in Mineola, New York to Augustus and Lillian Hart. He served his country in the Air Force for 20 years. After retirement, he worked for the City of Bossier where he retired as superintendent. He was a member of Ark-La-Tex Gem and Mineral Society and Bossier Stamp Club.

He was preceded in death by his parents; Augustus and Lillian Hart, his wife; Michiyo Hart, sons; William Hart and James Hart.

Bill was survived by his daughter; Theresa Platt and husband William, grandson; Mitchell Platt, sister; Margaret Tomasicchio as well as numerous cousins, nieces and nephews.

The family extends their deepest gratitude to the compassionate and caring staff at the NW Louisiana War Vets Home and The Oaks of Louisiana.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the NWLA War Veterans Home, or the at

Condolences may be shared at

Danny Edwin "Dan" Fadness - 9/6/2016

fadness.jpg Dan Fadness, 77 years of age, of Carmen, Idaho, passed away on Tuesday, September 6, 2016. Memorial services will be held on Saturday, September 17, 2016 at 10:30 a.m. at the Saint Charles Catholic Church with Father Dat Vu officiating. Military Honors and Masonic Rites will be at the Salmon Cemetery following services, and a reception in his honor will follow at the Church reception hall.

Danny Edwin Fadness was born on April 15, 1939 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, the son of Clarence and Zeffie May (Aye) Fadness. Dan grew up in Marion, Iowa where he attended school and participated in track. He graduated from high school in 1957, and went to work for International Harvester assembling silos.

Dan joined the Air Force and was sent to basic training in San Antonio, Texas. He chose to study electronics, and completed schooling in Biloxi, Mississippi where he was assigned to radio-radar systems as a technician in the Strategic Air Command Air Force Base in Topeka, Kansas. He then moved to College Park, Maryland to attend the University of Maryland, where he met Roberta Kost in 1961 while she was visiting Washington D.C. As the military goes, he was quickly moved to Stanford Research Institute in Palo Alto, California, and then to his final station at Adak, Alaska at the satellite tracking station. Dan was honorably discharged in March of 1964, and married his bride on April 25 in Swissvale, Pennsylvania. One daughter, Rebecca, was born to this union.

The couple remained in Pennsylvania for a year where Dan worked at Westinghouse Research & Development Center. They moved to Cedar Rapids, Iowa where he was employed at Collins Radio. A recruiter there for RCA convinced him to move to Fairbanks, Alaska. The family lived in Alaska for the next ten years while Dan worked at a satellite tracking station in electronics. He owned a taxidermy business and hunted big game on the side.

They later moved to Laredo, Missouri, where Dan opened his own taxidermy shop. Dan also loved dogs. He raised, trained, and showed hunting hounds, having up to 28 dogs at one time. After their stay in Missouri, the family decided to pack up their belongings and travel. In 1978 their vehicles broke down on Lost Trail Pass bringing them to Salmon, Idaho, where they fell in love with the countryside. Dan began his work here with Baldree Electric, then with Wheeler Electric, which led him to an opportunity to work at the INEL. Dan traveled to find work for the next several years. While working construction building the new state penitentiary in 1990, the State of Idaho contacted him and he was asked to be the local electrical inspector for the Salmon area. He remained in this employment until he retired in 2005.

Dan loved to train horses, mules, oxen and raise all kinds of animals from raccoons to dogs. He was also passionate for covered wagons and making animal figures and bowls out of local lumber. Dan was a meticulous person and took pride in the fact that he could read a book and give most anything a good try. He pursued each endeavor with enthusiasm and succeeded at most.

Dan was a member of the American Legion Lloyd Shaw Post #67, and Past Master of Lemhi Lodge #11 AF & AM.

Dan is survived by his wife, Roberta of Carmen; daughter, Becky Fadness of Kuna, Idaho; granddaughter, Courtney Robinson of Boise; great-grandson, Talen Jones of Boise, Idaho; brother, Charles A. (Arlene) Fadness of Carmen; and extended family.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Clarence and Zeffie May Fadness; and brother, Robert (Bob) Fadness.

Richard Lawson Gillenwaters - 12/7/2004

A memorial service for Richard "Rick" Lawson Gillenwaters, 51, of Conroe, will be held 2:00 p.m. Sunday, at Metcalf Funeral Chapel with Dr. Charles Walton officiating. There will be visitation 1:00 p.m. until service time Sunday. Mr. Gillenwaters was born January 25, 1953, in Jacksonville, Fla., and passed away December 7, 2004, in Montgomery County, Texas. He graduated from Mission Viejo High School in 1971, and from Baylor University with a MBA in December 1976. He entered the Air Force for Undergraduate Pilot Training at Craig Air Force Base in Selma, Ala., in January 1977. During his military career he flew the T-38, AT-38, F-15, and F-5. He retired at Laughlin Air Force Base in October 1998. Mr. Gillenwaters was most recently employed at Continental Airlines, and trained and flew with Texas Air Aces and Crew Pilot Training. He was preceded in death, July 2003, by his father, John D. Gillenwaters. He is survived by his wife, Lindy Gillenwaters; daughter, Erin Gillenwaters; mother, Marie Gillenwaters; brother, David Gillenwaters; nephew, Ryan Gillenwaters; parents- in-law, Zane and Maurine Jones; brother-in-law, Zane Jones and daughters, Sarah and Katie Jones; brother-in-law, Blair Jones and wife Patti and children, Cami, Alli, and Caleb Jones, all residents of Texas. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Angel Flight, Inc. 1515 E. 71st Street, Ste. 312, Tulsa, OK 74136, 918-749-8992.

Published in Austin American-Statesman on Dec. 10, 2004

Archived Obituaries

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Taps Volume

SAGE SHOP Enter Sage Shop

The ordering information has been updated as follows:
Mail orders, unless otherwise instructed, to:

AFTAC Alumni Assn,
ATTN: Sage Shop, MSgt Travis Goll
Box 254892, Patrick AFB FL, 32925-0892

Phone 321-494-9489

Add $5.00 for shipping/handling of 1 Item & $1.50 for each additional. (no shipping cost for Logo pins)


Active Duty / AFTAC Alumni Association
Current Calendar of Events

Show Calendar

Review these events periodically. Many are designed for you. Plan to attend them if you can.

If there are any questions please email our Publicity Chairman, Sean Ryan

Elected Board

  • Ed Linsey
    Ed Lindsay
  • John Howorth
    CMSgt John Howorth
    (Vice President)
  • Arlin Massey
    Arlin Massey
  • Head Outline
    Sean Ryan

Appointed Board

  • Chief Joseph
    CMSgt Michael Joseph
  • John Horsch
    John Horsch
    (AOY Coordinator and
    Post Monitor/Web)
  • Head Outline
    Mike Young
    (Hall of Heritage)
  • Bob Wiley
    Bob Wiley
    (Hall of Heritage)
  • Judy Henderson
    Judy Henderson
  • Frank Calenda
    Frank Calenda
    (Webpage Services)
  • Michael Steskal
    Michael Steskal
  • Sean Ryan
    Sean Ryan
  • OutlineofHead.png
    MSgt Travis Goll
    (Sage Shop)
AFTAC Symbol
'AFTAC Cares' for Deployed 3/15/2017 Posting. We have five deployed.
AFTAC Symbol


Recent 'Thank You's' (NOTE: date(s) below are posting date(s), not the date of the original email/letter):

07.14 Posting. Please tell the powers that be that I received my AFTAC Spouses care package and am very appreciative. Thanks, V/r Mike Myers, Capt, USAF

05.06 Posting. It’s already been three months!! I hope the next three fly by just as fast. Work is about the same, samples come in, we test them, instruments break down, I look tbaround for something to break, nothing is available, I eat chocolate, call another lab to get help, my lab techs take the instrument apart, everything magically starts working again, then we repeat the process. It’s lovely. So I might be exaggerating a little. We’ve really only had a couple of problems with instruments and to be honest it makes the day much more exciting when they break down. Being in Al Udeid is great, I basically get to experience all the advantages of being deployed without any of the disadvantages. Granted, I am excited to see plants again and have an air conditioning unit that doesn't blow clouds of dust everywhere but there are some definite bonuses. For example, last week we received several boxes of Girl Scout cookies and a cute note from the troops. The cookies were delicious! A couple of weeks ago I was off base with some of the other CGOs and discovered an amazing cupcake shop (which is actually called Amazing Cupcakes) and yes they taste just as good as they look. I wish I could fit the entire store in my suitcase. Last week I also had a chance to tour a B-1 with some other poor CGOs who (like me) hardly ever get to work with or even see planes. Hope everyone is doing well! --Jennie Wood


Contact AFTAC Spouses

In 2007 The AFTAC Spouses started 'AFTAC CARES,' a program to send 'care' packages to deployed AFTACers and family members/friends. Contact AFTAC Spouses for information.

Website Editor's Note: The Alumni Association actively supports 'AFTAC Cares' and asks that all Sages be involved. "Thank You's" are encouraged and can be sent to AFTAC Spouses.

AFTAC Spouses Notice: Help with the packing is appreciated. To contact the The AFTAC Spouses or the 'Calendar of Events', for date and location information. Feel free to send a 'Friend Request' or join the AFTAC Spouses Group by contacting AFTAC Spouses.


On February 2017, five care packages were sent to our deployed personnel containing many items suggested by those recently returning. Many packages have been sent since that time.

Some suggested items are, but not limited to:

  • Socks
  • Baby wipes
  • Gold Bond powder
  • Individual microwaveable brownies
  • Drink mixes

Magazines should be sent in a flat rate priority mail box. This ensures that the packages would proceed directly to the military member and not be held up in a processing center.

Other items should be small to keep the mailing costs down and should be items that are useful in a remote location and not frivolous (i.e. a minion doll)


We are continually in the process of preparing care packages and collecting the names and addresses of our deployed family members. Volunteer help is greatly appreciated.

Monetary donations, both mailed and in person, have been received and are very much appreciated. If mailing, please send them to the following:

AFTAC Alumni Association
P.O. Box 254892
Patrick AFB, FL 32925-0892

Mark them, 'AFTAC Cares Program,' and direct their use, if you desire. That PO Box is checked on a regular basis. If writing a check, please make out to Diane Widden since the spouses are not an official organization in any way. She will make sure the funds are used as you direct.