14 April 2016
Following a social period, the Flight Captain, Ron Butler, called the meeting to order at 1201 hours. Vice Captain Scott Stevens led the group in the Pledge of Allegiance and Flight Captain Ron Butler gave the invocation. The Provost Marshall toasted our departed brothers, sisters, and the Commander-in-Chief. Our honored guests were introduced and toasted by the Flight Commander. Our Flight Captain went to the national Convention in San Antonio, and he said the Order and the Foundation were in good shape. Last year was their best fundraising year when they collected $ 317,800. The widow of a member gave $48,000. National sponsored 25 CFIP cadets which was up 2 from 2014. One of the big issues that National is tackling is membership. The Order was founded in 1934 for military pilots who had flown before 1918. By 1954, there were only about 80 members left when they opened the membership to all military pilots. A few years ago, National provided a free 3-year membership to new pilots, but it has not resulted in sustained membership. With our current 400 member per year loss rate, it's time to revisit our membership qualifications. They realized that an expanded member eligibility would better reflect support for air power. National should have the pros and cons with a ballot soon.
The Flight Captain repeated a story he heard at National. Back in 1968 when the Air Force really needed pilots, a student pilot only two months from graduation mooned everyone at a dining-inn. Since the wing commander said he wasn't going to graduate during his watch, USAF shipped him to another PIT base to finish the course.
During our last board meeting, we selected our Scholarship winners: Sidney Pfeffer from Texas State and Seth
Kaiser from A&M. Charles Banks of The University of Texas and Jobin Murickan of The University of Texas
will fly this summer, courtesy of our CFIP program. Ken Firestone still needs people to present awards to
junior ROTC cadets at the following high schools: Lockhart, Akin, Del Valle, Bowie, and Reagan. Member Will
Hendricks, the National Scholarship Chairman, said we have been great supporters of the CFIP and scholarship
programs for over 14 years and much thanks goes to Ken Firestone for running the selection process. He would
like to see our flight do a fundraiser so we can continue our support for students that are interested in a
military aviation career. There is a new Moody Scholarship for $10,000 to support Texas Scholarship students.
After 91 years, Bill Pearce took his final flight recently. He flew in WWII.
Our three guests were all inducted into the flight.
Looking for a good place to eject, he found nothing but a road to a house trailer. Bitchen Betty kept yelling "Warning, Warning," and at 1500 feet, it was time to get out. Oh yeah, there was also a fire warning light, and others in the flight saw flames and called him to bailout. There was an explosion upon ejection, and the beeper went off in everybody else's radio. As Andy was coming down, it was weird to see his airplane fly away without him. Others in the flight set up a CAP over his chute. Lead called Ft Polk who just happened to have a medevac helicopter about to take off on a training flight. As soon as Andy came up on his survival radio, Lead asked him to turn off his annoying emergency beacon. He told him to walk north to intercept a road; then take a right to the house trailer. There he was met by a very large dog named Kujo and the owner. The helicopter arrived within 4 minutes, and he was airlifted to Ft Polk. After two blades in the first stage fatigue failed, the airplane remained in the air only 38 seconds. He was on the ground less than 10 minutes, and he didn't even have time to drink his water or get out his fishing gear. Twelve days later he flew to Kuwait and gave his report over the phone. His ejection seat is now in his office.
There were 18 members and 3 guests in attendance. $96 was collected for the scholarship raffle. Our next meeting is June 9. Bring a buddy.