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ACJ Vol 8/3

Air Commando Hall of Fame 2019

ACJ TEAM

  • 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

Robert Cardenas, Brig Gen, USAF (Ret) Commander #3, USAF Special Air Warfare Center
ACA Life Member #0174

The idea for an Air Commando Hall of Fame pre-dates the formation of our Air Commando Association. In January 1968, “Heinie” Aderholt, then my Deputy Commander for Operations at the USAF Special Air Warfare Center (SAWC), proposed the idea in order to recognize outstanding Air Commandos past, present, and future. Well, as Jim Ifland noted in a previous edition of this journal, if someone has a good idea the commander is likely going to tell you to run with it … and that was exactly what I did.

Heinie put the committee together and they received 200 nominations from Air Commando units around the world. They then created a ballot and sent those ballots back out to the units so that individuals could vote for the most deserving candidates. It was a very democratic process. In April 1969, 20 Air Commando from the Second World War through the beginning of the Vietnam War were inducted into the first Hall of Fame class. I was transferred that summer and for many reasons, including changing priorities, loss of personnel, and resource constraints, the Hall of Fame went inactive after that first class. It took 25 years, but again it was Heinie who took the initiative and resurrected his original great idea. In 1994, we started recognizing Air Commandos again in the Hall of Fame.

Because of the 25-year hiatus, there was some catching up we needed to do. For a few years we had some pretty big HoF classes, but now we’re in a good place and operating at “steady state.” A few years ago, Wayne Norrad described the new updated rules for nominating some to the HoF. He also explained why, in 2010, the ACA Board of Directors decided to limit class sizes to five per year. Theirs was a good decision and fully in keeping with what Heinie intended back in 1968, when he suggested we needed a way and a place to recognize our most outstanding Air Commandos.

Since that first class, way back when in 1969, almost 200 Air Commandos have been inducted into our Hall of Fame. All have made meaningful contributions in the service of our nation and to Air Force Special Operations. As you will read in this issue, in October your Air Commando Association inducted five more outstanding Air Commandos into these distinguished ranks. I urge you to read their stories and think about the examples they have set. They carry on our association’s proud traditions of service, achievement, and valor. Any Time, Any Place.

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Air Commando Association Press


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