Publisher: Norm Brozenick
Editor: Paul Harmon
Managing Editor: Rick Newton
Senior Editor: Scott McIntosh
Contributing Editor: Ron Dains
Contributing Editor: Matt Durham
Contributing Editor: Joel Higley
Contributing Editor: Mike Russell
Layout Editor/Graphics: Jeanette Elliott
Advertising: Melissa Gross
It’s an honor to serve as your new president and introduce this Hall of Fame (HoF) issue of the Air Commando Journal. If you remember, the Air Commando Association (ACA) decided to cap the number of inductees into the HoF at five starting in 2011, but 2018 was different. Air Commando TSgt John A. Chapman, a Combat Controller, was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor (MoH) by President Trump on 22 Aug 2018. This MoH was the first earned by an Airman since the Vietnam War — some 47 years ago. It was also a long time in coming, some 16 years after his heroic actions took place. With the help of technology, Chapman’s actions on Takur Ghar Mountain in Afghanistan on 4 Mar 2002, showed he was still engaging the enemy long after he was thought to be dead. The additional information led to his Air Force Cross being upgraded to the MoH. His selection into the Air Commando Hall of Fame was an easy exception to the five-person per year rule. You can read more about his extraordinary gallantry later in this version of the journal or wait and read Alone at Dawn written by Air Commando Dan Schilling and Chapman’s sister, Lori Chapman Longfritz, to be released on 25 Jun 2019.
Without much hesitation, ACA decided to celebrate Chapman’s induction separately and induct the other five selectees at another time. After all, it’s hard to compete with a Medal of Honor recipient. So, in conjunction with AFSOC’s local celebration of MSgt (posthumously promoted) John Chapman, the ACA hosted a special HoF Induction Banquet on Saturday, 27 Oct 2018, at the Emerald Coast Convention Center in Ft. Walton Beach, FL. This was the largest event ACA has sponsored, with more than 800 people in attendance, including Chapman’s widow, both of his daughters, his mother, brother, both sisters, and other family members. Air Force Chief of Staff, General David Goldfein, was the keynote speaker, with Lt Gen “Brad” Webb, AFSOC commander, providing introductory remarks. Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force Kaleth Wright also attended. Thanks so much to the many corporate sponsors who helped make this such an extraordinary event. The volunteers who assisted were awesome — including active duty members contributing on their off-duty time. We couldn’t have done it without them. Thank you!
With that behind us, we still had a Reunion/Convention to put on later in the year. Back to work we went. ACA hosted a memorable Heritage Seminar at the Soundside Club on 6 Dec 2018 featuring some of AFSOC’s most talented female leaders. We honored AFSOC’s Commander’s Leadership Award winners at that breakfast event, too. At the banquet on Saturday evening, we honored the winners of ACA sponsored annual awards in special categories. Last, but certainly not least, the five 2018 Hall of Fame selectees were inducted. Please take the time to read their citations in this journal and offer your congratulations whenever you see them. The HoF is a prestigious honor with less than 200 total inductees – taking into consideration that Air Commandos have been in existence for 75 years, that’s a pretty elite group. I offer my personal congratulations to each of them. Enjoy reading the rest of the ACJ.
Any Time – Any Place.