2018 Spring e-newsletter
ACA Board Visits Duke
Members of the Air Commando Association (ACA) Board of Directors (BOD) and special guests recently toured the facilities of Duke Field and the 7th Special Forces Group (SFG) this past fall. The ACA BOD received an excellent Total Force Intergradation (TFI) mission briefing on the 919 Special Operations Wing (SOW) and the 492 SOW while at Eglin Aux #3. This included very detailed information on the activities of the 524th Special Operations Squadron (SOS), 6 SOS, 711 SOS, 2 SOS, and 5 SOS. During the mission briefing the ACA was allowed to brief the 919th and 492nd leadership on the activities of the ACA and the opportunity and benefits to starting a Duke Field ACA chapter. The visitors toured the Aviation Foreign Internal Defense/Combat Aviation Advisory (AV FID/CAA) facilities, met the FID crews and toured the U-28, C-145 and C-146 aircraft.
The tour continued "across Hwy 85" at the 7th SFG and lunch was served in the outstanding Green Beret Dining Facility where the ACA BOD members met a representative of the Special Forces Association. A tour of the overall SFG facility followed along with an impressive live fire demo of light arms by Special Forces (SF) soldiers. This was followed by a detailed 7th SFG mission briefing and extended meeting with the leadership of the 7th.
The tour contributed much information and situational awareness to the ACA BOD for future reference. Hopefully it may also result in a new Duke Field ACA chapter.
Courtesy of 919 SOW Public Affairs
Did You Know SMSgt Ron Williams USAF?
My husband, SMSgt Ron (Willie) Williams passed on July 23, 2017. I am still in search of any military or civilian member that may have known Ron, talked with him or heard of him during his service in NKP and Da Nang 1971- 72. He left Bergstrom AFB Austin, TX under classified orders. I have not been able to find those orders or who issued them. He was a Staff Sergeant while in SEA and worked in Life Support at NKP and taught survival skills at Da Nang. He told me there were 3-4 NCO's that went down to Da Nang every Monday to teach classes. I have not been able to locate the travel vouchers they flew under. He was assigned to the 56th CMBT SPT OP. I have the names of two commanders, LTC Robert H. Finley and LTC Lawrence R. Hileman. I am not sure where these commanders were stationed in SEA. They both have signed documents for Ron.
Before Ron passed, the VA denied all his claims. He had 2 heart attacks (heart disease), prostate surgery, sinus surgery, 2 back surgeries and Parkinson's disease. He also had indications of PSP. I sent over 300 pages of military documentation, which included letters from all his doctors, to the VA, which should have proven he was in NKP and Da Nang. Because of the verbal orders, he was given, I had no proof of his teaching in Da Nang. The VA wants proof that he actually was in Da Nang.
What I need for the VA to verify Ron's claim, is for anyone that knew him, talked with him or heard of him to write a letter with their name, SSN, and member id stating any of the above facts, including dates, pictures of him, any other information they feel might help me prove my case.
I can be reached at:
106 Liz Lane
Georgetown, TX 78633
Re: Charles Hicks ACA Scholarship
To the Air Commando Association,
I’m writing to you in appreciation for the $1500 scholarship I’ve received. These funds will be very helpful in paying tuition and purchasing books. Your help on my path into software engineering is greatly appreciated. Thank you for your money and time.
Love reading the articles, etc. Makes us happy, nostalgic, etc... but always a bit of sadness, the Commando Years in Fort Walton Beach and over three years at Howard AFB in Panama were THE BEST!!!We miss those years, the many friends during that time AND the many who have since passed away. Thank you VERY much for all you do for the ACA!!!
Mary Sue Reim
Thank you so much for the chance at the [Charles Hicks ACA] scholarship but also for working with me once I won it. You guys rock!
With Best Wishes for Christmas and the New Year!
Project 9/1st Air Commando’s
Don Maxwell, 5 continent Air Commandos
Dear Col. Dennis Barnett,
Merry Christmas and happy New Year! On behalf of the entire Red Empire, we want to extend our sincere wishes to you and your family during this holiday season. In our demanding profession, it is important to take time to reflect on what’s truly important in our life- family and friends. We appreciated your support and dedication to the Red Empire. Know that you are appreciated. Your commitment to the Group directly enhances the lives of the Soldiers and families of the 7th Group. May the coming year bring you continued good health, happiness, and prosperity.
Sir, Thanks for all you and ACA do for us, our families and the community. DOL RLTW!
Dear Air Commando Association,
I learned of your existence through Jim Reynolds of The Greatest Generation Aircraft Organization. This Organization is a non- profit that has restored a Douglas A-26 Counter Invader back to airworthy condition. This took 7 years and 70,000 man hours of volunteer labor to do it. We are based at Meacham Field in Fort Worth, TX and we flew our A-26 to Hurlburt Field and performed a flyover at the Air Commando Memorial Event there this month on Oct 14. It was at this event that I visited your ACA table at the Ramada Inn and purchased several items. I just want to support your organization since we feel a special kinship to the veterans (Nimrods) of the 603rd, 606th and 609th Air Commando Squadrons who flew A-26k’s like ours in combat during the Vietnam War. We want to tell their story by bringing our Counter- Invader to airshows across the country and telling the public about these find warriors. Best of luck and please find my business card and enclosed check for membership.
Thanks and Godspeed!
Dear Mr. Barnett,
Happy Holidays! I just wanted to reach out to thank you for your continued support of Special Operations Forces: Warrior Outdoor Leadership for the Future or SOFWOLF.
2017 SOFWOLF took eleven students first through resume and budget workshops and then through outdoor leadership activities in both Park City and Moab Utah, including rafting and camping on the Colorado River.
Our most recent students have interned at VATC and Skullcandy, or studying in forensics, engineering, and Theology with two serving in our military. We appreciate your continued support of helping them grow through our SOFWOLF program. Please feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions or would like to discuss how you would like to volunteer you time for 2018. Reach out to me via email or phone at 202.256.3726. If you would like to donate for SOFWOLF 2018, please go to www.sofwolf.org/support.
Dear Air Commandos,
My husband, Aaron Combs, passed away four years ago and I enjoy reading the Air Force magazines, etc. I dearly appreciate all who serve keeping America safe. Thanks for keeping our Freedoms.
Elzora Combs, Florida
The McCoskrie Threshold Foundation (MTF) is alive and well. We continue to collect many items including clothing, cribs, mattresses, bedding, toys, and medical supplies. Thanks to the generosity of Mr. Bonezzi, a local businessman, we still have three free storage units. When the units get full, we coordinate with Bless the Children in Clearwater FL and Jim Connors and John Easley deliver the load. In 2017, we made five deliveries this past year.
• Friends of John Grove still support the school in Honduras which is named after John.
• We have very few expenses: annual state fee and gas for the deliveries. We maintain an account of approximately $3,900 thanks to generous donations.
• To continue to keep our expenses at a minimum, we have cancelled our PO Box and are now using the ACA PO Box. Our new mailing address is:
Air Commando Association
PO Box 7
Mary Esther, FL 32569
• We received a Christmas card from Karen and Rebecca, BTC Directors, with the following words:
Our dear friends of the McCoskrie Threshold Foundation,
Thanks for being our friends and heroes to so many children and families downrange. We thank God for each of you every day. It is an honor to serve with the Air Commandos. We are blessed beyond measure and love you with all our hearts. God Bless you always.
Karen and Rebecca, Bless the Children
• The following made donations in 2017: John Schillo, Sandra MCCoskrie Blanchette, Ted & Barbara Wixon, Maile Busby, Network for Good –anonymous, Dave Freeman, Steve Connelly, Robert Bieber, Bonezzi Corp.- three storage units.