Dear Distinguished Alumni,

Welcome to our fifth annual alumni update. We know our current organization stands on your shoulders and will never forget the things you did to make Arnold Air Society and Silver Wings what it is today. On behalf of our 3,800 members enrolled at 130 colleges and universities across the Nation, THANK YOU! This will always be your organization!

400 Days to $40,000: Combined Federal Campaign

Last year, we told you about a new focus area involving the Combined Federal Campaign, a charitable campaign that allows federal employees to donate to any of thousands of charitable organizations through monthly allotments from their pay. Unfortunately, we were unable to meet the minimum funded scholarships threshold to qualify for the campaign…last year. 

As a result, Arnold Air Society and Silver Wings is providing a grant to the Arnold Air Society, Silver Wings and Angel Flight Educational Fund (ASEF) this Fall, which will ensure we are able to produce a qualifying application this year. This collaboration makes us confident we will be eligible for donations through the Combined Federal Campaign beginning next year (Fall 2020), which could be a “game changer” for our great organization. 

So please take a look at our “new” focus area in the highlighted box below. The Arnold Air Society and Silver Wings Educational Fund (ASEF) will become eligible for the Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) beginning in the Fall of 2020. That is just 400 days from now!

AAS-SW Alumni Engagement Initiative

In addition, we have decided to take a more proactive approach to keeping you informed about your organization. While the Joint Alumni Association may continue to operate, we believe alumni outreach is a fundamental part of our responsibilities as current Arnold Air Society and Silver Wings leaders. We ask that you forward our news now, and in the future – please spread the good word among your friends and contacts and on your own social media accounts…so we reach as many as possible.

Do you know alumni who would like to stay connected to AAS-SW? Send them this link to sign up for our newsletter and updates.

2018-2019 Academic Year in Review

The 2018-2019 Academic Year was well executed. Arnold Air (AAS) membership increased slightly, continuing a trend in the right direction, and several smaller detachments expressed interest in starting programs. Silver Wings (SW) membership also grew modestly for the second straight year. Sustaining our existing Silver Wings chapters remained a major concern. A leadership module program developed by our National Advisory Consultants the previous year, helped provide chapter presidents materials for certain chapter meetings.

A new front-end website was established that expanded our ability to publicize programs and attract students. In addition, our new site allows our equipment store to be accessed without a student login, permitting easier use by students and alumni with an interest in AAS/SW equipment.

The Fall 2018 Executive Board was very well executed, and we welcomed another fantastic set of speakers including the Commander of Air Force Space Command, the Commander of Air Forces Europe and Africa, and the Director of the Defense Logistics Agency for Aviation, along with our outgoing Chairman, General Duncan McNabb.

The year continued a string of highly successful years of professional growth and development, community service and servant leadership. We were fortunate to have four great teams lead our efforts, and as always, extend special thanks to our host universities at Purdue University (AAS), Embry-Riddle (Prescott) University (SW), Michigan Tech University (NATCON Co-Command), and the University of Cincinnati (NATCON Co-Command).

Special thanks to:

  • Cadet Jake Marino (2018-2019 Arnold Air Society National Commander)
  • Mr. Everest Berggren (2018-2019 Silver Wings National President)
  • Ms. Niki Harrison (2018-2019 NATCON Co-Commander)
  • Cadet Noah Hart (2018-2019 NATCON Co-Commander)

    NOTE: We mention only the top of each leadership team here, simply due to space available. Many extraordinary leaders and followers behind the scenes made every success during this year…a reality, and there is no doubt that the leaders we mention would agree that without their incredible teams, they would never have achieved what was achieved during the year.

Board of Trustees Leadership

This year, we bid farewell to Ms. Mary Anne Thompson, who retired from our board of trustees following more than 62 years of service to Angel Flight, Silver Wings and Arnold Air Society. She remains an inspiration to us all and is one of the giants upon whom we all stand. In addition, General Duncan McNabb retired following six years of service as our Chairman and we were incredibly fortunate to have General Robin Rand step into our role as Chairman.

Joint National Project Success

Perhaps the greatest highlight of the year was our Joint National Project which focused on providing relief for victims of natural disasters. Unfortunately, the need was great. The most measurable response was a National Fund-Raising effort that produced over $3,000.00 for Tyndall Air Force Base recovery. However, there were many other less easily quantifiable efforts by students across the Nation that made a huge and positive difference in affected communities such as the North Carolina Coast and Alaska.

Scholarships and Internships

We distributed eight academic scholarships (-7), twenty-five flight scholarships (+3), and five (-1) parachute scholarships. Our Pentagon Internship Program held at fifteen slots and added sponsorships in the Office of the Surgeon General where two students were sent to Medical Treatment Facilities across the Nation, Air Force Public Affairs, Executive Administration, and Air Force Intelligence (at their request). These new additions were added to a portfolio that included International Affairs, Legislative Liaison, Financial Management, Legal, Operations and Strategic Deterrence. We also placed interns with IronNet Cybersecurity, the Air Force Association, the Women’s Memorial Foundation, and at the Joint Warfighting Analysis Center as part of the Air Force Premier College Intern Program.

Our programs continue to grow…an almost insatiable appetite from our growing student membership

We also significantly adjusted our Air University Civilian Fellowship Program, eliminating participation with the Air University Commander’s Action Group in favor of leveraging the Gathering of Eagles Program executed each year by the Air Command and Staff College. This approach had the advantage of using an already established and highly refined agenda that will bring our fellowship recipients a first- hand view of the extraordinary history of American airpower through the eyes of our greatest Airmen.

Thank you to our generous sponsors!

Our sponsor portfolio grew this year and included The Airlift Tanker Association, Southwest Airlines, USAA, The Airpower Foundation, Lockheed Martin and Boeing. We gratefully acknowledge the extraordinary generosity of our sponsors…we simply could not do the things we do without them. These donations, along with a growing commitment from our own operating account, helped us produce our largest student scholarship results ever and set the foundation for an even more significant year to follow. This included our Women’s Empowerment Flight Program and next year, a flight program dedicated to African American students.

NATCON 2019: CheeseCon

More than 800 attended the National Conclave at The Hilton Milwaukee City Center and guest speakers included Air Force Under-Secretary Matt Donovan, retired General Robin Rand, two international Attaches, a panel of our Trustees including retired Major General Al Flowers, General Rand and Ms. Mary Anne Thompson, and The Profession of Arms Center of Excellence. Our next Conclave will be our 73nd and will be located at Westgate Resort in Las Vegas over Easter weekend 2020. One thousand college students in Vegas…what could possibly go wrong! Please join us for what will be an incredible event and that will include an exclusive poolside mixer and addresses by the Commander, US Space Command, the Commander, Air Combat Command, Dr. Bonnie Dunbar, five-time shuttle crewmember, and Chuck Debellevue, Vietnam Ace and recipient of the Air Force Cross.

While at NATCON, Cadet April Patko from Rutgers University was selected to command Arnold Air Society, Mr. Nick Carrigan from the Rochester Institute of Technology was selected as President of Silver Wings, Cadet Amelia Chromy from Northern Arizona University was selected as SW National Conclave Commander, and Cadet Victoria Brandhuber was selected as AAS National Conclave Commander.

AAS-SW National Advisory Consultants

Our National Advisory Consultants continue to serve with selfless dedication and commitment. It is impossible to express adequately our appreciation to them. 

Our NACs are:

  • Capt Dan Whalen (AAS)
  • Ms. Allison Gross (SW)
  • Capt Hannah Richmond (Conclaves) 
  • Chris Behr (Conclaves) 
  • Chhandashiki Das (Protocol)
  • 1Lt Joey Fitzpatrick (Technical)
  • Ms. Tate Fall (SW)
  • Capt Gabbe Kearney (AAS)
  • Capt Kevin Long (AAS)
  • Ms. McKinnon Pearse (SW)
  • 1Lt Marissa Poje (Conclaves)

Board of Trustees

In addition, our Trustees serve with great dedication and work tirelessly to ensure our organization continues to flourish. They are:

  • General Robin Rand, USAF, Retired
  • Brigadier General Richard B. Bundy, USAF, Retired
  • Ms. Nikki Camhout
  • Colonel Gary L. Copsey, USAF, Retired
  • Bonnie J. Dunbar, PhD
  • Major General Al Flowers, USAF, Retired
  • Colonel Jim Hannam, USAF Retired
  • Colonel Steve Hiss, USAF, Retired
  • Major General Steve Lepper, USAF, Retired
  • Ms. Beverly K. Mentzer
  • Ms. Molly Mae Potter
  • Ms. Megan Stefanovich
  • Ms. Mary Anne Thompson (Retired from the Board 2019)
  • Dr. Jerry E. White (Maj Gen, USAF, Retired)
  • Major General Maggie Woodward, USAF, Retired (Executive Director) 
  • Brigadier General Dan Woodward, USAF, Retired (Executive Director) 
  • Ms. Marianne Williams, (Senior Director)
Our Trustees pose for a photo during our Milwaukee National Conclave

And to you…our distinguished alumni, thank you again for your past service to our fantastic organization. We hope you enjoy these updates and always remember that we know we stand today on the shoulders of giants like all of you!

Best Regards,

Categories: AAS-SW

1 Comment

Janice Rienerth · October 13, 2019 at 10:08 pm

Enjoyed the article. I was Commander of Angel Flight (predecessor to Silver Wings) at Ohio University in the 1960’s. You all have come a long way – fly high.

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