PO Box 7, Mary Esther, FL 32569  •  850.581.0099  •  info@aircommando.org

Welcome Newest ACA Members

The ACA is proud to welcome the following Air Commandos to our association. We hope new members and seasoned members alike, will continue to volunteer and donate to our mission of “Supporting Air Commandos and their families: Past & Present!”

Wes Alderman

William Barnwell

Drew Belcher

Russell Bergeron Jr.

Joe Borrell

Jason Browne

Nigel Carl

Patrick Dugan

Ana-Maria Ehrler

Anthony Ferrara

Jeffrey Fields

Colin Fleck

Ralph Furtner

Michael Hackman

Jake Haines

Richard Hollinger Jr.

Ryan James

James Kinsley

Joseph Lopez

Keith Maresca

Patrick McAllister

Jeremiah McCoy

Derek McLane

Steven Meyers

Jeremiah Monk

Gregory Moody

Sean Oats

Donald Plater

Eric Prince

Tommy Roberson

Ruben Ruiz Perez

Joseph Rushlau

Jeffrey Shaw

Taylor Williams

Fellow ACA Member Inducted in Georgia Military Veterans Hall of Fame

The ACA recently learned of life member Colonel (Retired) Walter K. Schmidt’s induction into the Georgia Military Veterans Hall of Fame. We congratulate Colonel Schmidt and are please to present the citation content below for our readers:

Walter k Schmidt, Col, USAF, (Ret) has been selected for induction into Georgia Military Veterans Hall of Fame for valor on 5 November in Columbus, GA. The HOF objective is to publicly emphasize the honor brought to the state and nation by the sacrifice of Georgia military veterans and their families. It’s dual purpose is to honor our Georgia vets and educating young people as to who are our real heroes.

Col Schmidt’s career has been nothing but outstanding. He joined the 463rd Troop Carrier Wing at Clark AB flying 10 and then 15 day shuttles out of Tan Son Nhut AB Vietnam from January 1966 to June 1968 flying 481 days in Vietnam. On one of his Air Medals it was noted, he distinguished himself in Phu Yen Province flying day and night combat assault in hostile environment in deploying the 1st Cav, enabling them to trap and demoralize a major hostile force. It was also noted on one of his Distinguished Flying Crosses that he participated in aerial flight near A Loui, A Shau Valley in an extremely hazardous Tactical Emergency airdrop mission under adverse conditions to deliver ammunition to the beleaguered forcées in the valley. The outstanding skill and professionalism displayed by (then) Captain Schmidt in getting the load on target under adverse conditions exemplify the highest standards of tactical airlift. On his second tour at Nha Trang AB 1970-1971 in 15th/90th SpecialOperations Squadrons with Military Assistance Command – Studies and Observation Group (MACSOG); a highly classified multi-service United States special operations unit which conducted covert unconventional warfare operations, strategic reconnaissance, and physiological warfare operations against North Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and South Vietnam. MACSOG was made up of Army Special Forces (green berets), Navy SEALs, Air Force Special Operators, Marine Force Recon and CIA operatives. On this tour Col Schmidt’s total time in country (Vietnam) now is 831 days to include 1801.6 hours combat time, 429 combat missions and 2214 combat sorties. Col Schmidt stayed within the Special Operations community for next 20 years; including a tour as Commander United States Air Forces Europe elite 7th Special Operations Squadron. As 21st AF, Director Special Operations and Special Activities, he was responsible for close hold planning and coordination of MAC airlift forces in night airdrop invasion of Panama. And as CAT director he directed all MAC assets; 12 C-130s deploying Rangers, 80 C-141s deploying 82nd Airborne Brigade and 11 C -5s hauling reinforcement supplies in the invasion of Panama in Operation Just Cause in December 1989, which has been described as most efficient and effective use of airlift in history. Colonel Schmidt is an extremely highly decorated officer to include Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross with 1 cluster, Meritorious Service with 2 clusters, Air Medal with 16 clusters. Air Force Accommodation Medal, Army Accommodation Medal ((Air Liaison Officer to US Army Special Forces (Green Berets) Europe)), Air Force Presidential Award, Navy/Marine Presidential Award (26th Marines with a landing at Khe Sahn), Army Presidential Award (MACSOG), plus numerous other medals. Colonel Schmidt is also a parachutist, which he is very proud of, with 38 jumps, to include 6 as a Captain, 23 as a Major, 1 as a Lieutenant Colonel and 8 as a Colonel. Colonel Schmidt’s entire period of service of 28 years in the United States Air Force was nothing but professional in every aspect. These distinct accomplishments and professional competence, aerial skill, airmanship and devotion to duty displayed by Colonel Schmidt reflect great credit upon himself and United States Air Force. Colonel Schmidt has been married for 52 years to Monique (née Flocon) Schmidt. They have five children; Eric, Chantal, Annick, Brigitte, and Darya. Colonel and Mrs Schmidt have been extremely active in their local community affairs for all of their tours. He was inducted in to the Air Commando ( Special Operations) Hall of Fame in 2010. And this induction into Georgia Military Veterans Hall of Fame is the pinnacle of his career. Colonel Schmidt taught AF Junior ROTC at Cherokee High School for 12 years upon his retirement from the AF in 1990. He and his wife reside in the Soleil sub-division of Canton, GA.

Antelope Island 30th Anniversary and Rededication

On Saturday, Oct. 29. 2022, a memorial service was held to honor the lives of 12 men – 30 years to the day after they died. Oct. 29, 1992, an MH-60G Pave Hawk chopper crashed into the Great Salt Lake, claiming the lives of 12 of the 13 men on board during what the Air Force called a routine training mission.

ACA members along with family, friends, and service members from our military community gathered on a cold October day to remember their fallen loved ones and to re-dedicate the memorial in their honor. The ACA is proud to have been a part of this remembrance and honored to have participated in the restoration of the memorial.

For the complete story visit: https://www.abc4.com/news/florida-man-mission-restore-memorial-12-fallen-soldiers-antelope-island/

To see all the photos from the Rededication visit: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/ups5qdqwrd7jkqk/AAB4O87kzaJJxS-kM6RY0ghpa?dl=0

Hoplite Group Looking for Admin Support

The Hoplite Group, a growing veteran-owned small business, is seeking a Program/Admin Specialist to support our Defense U.S. Government customers and DoD programs, responsible for administrative and operational support. This is a fantastic opportunity for an individual with a get things done mindset, energetic and ready to seize an opportunity for growth potential. While this is a mid-level position, the successful candidate for this position should have a skill set which would allow them to progress to more senior management roles as they gain more experience.

Ideally located in the Tampa to work remotely, or in the Panhandle/Destin area to work from Hoplite Group’s headquarters

Click on this link to apply. www.thehoplitegroup.com/adminpmspecialist

DoD Gov Contracts Program Admin Support
Destin or Tampa – Florida (Remote support)

START : Immediate Start

LOCATION : Destin or Tampa – Florida (Possibility of Remote Support)

 

RESPONSIBILITIES 

– Maintain ongoing day to day interaction as needed with corporate management, subcontractors, prime customers, and employees or consultants on contracts regarding administrative issues, operational matters, billing questions, contractors’ hours, project reports, invoicing etc.

– Administers oversight of FTEs positions and engages with strategic partners and prime/sub-contractor management.

– Prepares monthly invoices, including payroll reports, and organizing invoice supporting documentation for the Finance Department.

– Manages requests and updates for contractual requirements and insurance, including DBA.

– Submits contract data items such as periodic progress/performance reports, or other contractually required documentation.

– Facilitates operations and support of staffing, logistics, and mobilization of personnel – CONUS and OCONUS.

– Travel accommodations and reimbursement

– Acts as SPOT administrator.

 

QUALIFICATIONS & IDEAL BACKGROUND

– Bachelor’s Degree, ideally in business administration or management.

– At least three years of experience in government contracting admin/program management work.

– Ideally, experience/understanding of SOF environment

– Familiarity with the Fly America Act and international travel management

– Holds an active Secret Clearance with Department of Defense. Desired but not required.

– Proficient with Microsoft Office, and Google suite.

– Able to produce clear and concise communications.

– Extremely well organized and a get things done attitude.

Photos of the 2022 ACA Convention

We are very excited to share all the photos which were taken by ACA life member Scott Schaeffler of Scott Photo Works. Scott was a helicopter pilot by trade (flew the Pavelow in the 20th SOS 1994-97 and ended his military career flying Hueys with the 6th SOS). His company is based in Northwest Florida and offers an array of professional photography services from real estate to events. The ACA is incredibly fortunate to have such a generous and talented member be our official photographer! Thank you Scott!

2022 ACA Convention Photos

Remembering Our Fallen

Please join us as the Special Operations Community commemorates the 12 lives lost in the helicopter crash on 29 October 1992 near Antelope Island and rededicate the memorial in their honor. 29 Oct 2022 from 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM at Antelope Island Rd, Syracuse, UT 84075 Visit https://combatcontrol.team/event-4978067 for more information.

75th Anniversary of the USAF

Join our community celebration! The Northwest Florida community is honoring the 75th Anniversary of the Air Force and featuring stories of the operations based out of Hurlburt Field, Eglin AFB, and Duke Field.

September 13, 2022 from 1:30pm – 3:30pm CDT
Mattie Kelly Arts Center at NWFSC
$20 per person Tickets can be purchased at Mattie Kelly Arts Center
 
Scheduled Speakers:
Doolittle Raid Training — Cindy Chal/Lt Col Dick Cole’s (of the Doolittle Raiders) Daughter
Korea/Vietnam — Capt (Ret) Dale Dye
POW — Col (Ret) Howard Hill
Operation King Pin (Son Tay Raid) — Col (Ret) Larry Ropka
Vietnam Refugees — Col (Ret) Billy Keeler
Operation Eagle Claw — CMSGT (Ret) Bill Walter
Grenada — Lt Col (Ret) Kirby Locklear
Panama — CMSgt (Ret) Bill Walter
Desert Storm — Lt Col (Ret) Corby L. Martin (USAFSOS)
Somalia ‘Black Hawk Down’ — CMSgt (Ret) Bill Walter
Operation Enduring Freedom Afghanistan — Col Allison Black
Development of the GBU-43/B “MOAB” bomb — Lt Col (Ret) Mark Hunter
Bin Laden Raid (Neptune Spear) — Lt Gen (Ret) Marshall ‘Brad’ Webb

Donate to Help Andy Reed Recover

Former Pave Low gunner, retired MSgt Andy Reed was in dire need of a liver transplant. The good news is he was fortunate to receive a donor liver and had his surgery on 10 July. The Air Commando Foundation (ACF) is assisting with fundraising on Andy’s behalf for his aftercare that could take up to six months and $15,000 or more.

ACF already contributed $1,200 to his pre-surgery support and will provide the first $5,000 of his post-surgery recovery for things that Tricare will not cover.

Your donations to ACF for this specific cause will allow additional support. Any funds not used for this effort will remain in the general ACF account for future unmet needs of Air Commandos and their families. ACF is a 501(c)(3) benevolent organization, and all donations are tax deductible.

Thank you for your continued support of our Air Commandos and their families!

Help Andy Reed Now!

Air Commandos Remembered on Memorial Day

Lt Gen (Retired) & Mrs Brad Webb represented all Air Commandos during the 2022 Memorial Day Ceremony held at the National Museum of the Pacific War in Fredericksburg, TX this past Monday. General & Mrs Webb are shown at the First Air Commando Plaque at the Memorial Wall. visit www.pacificwarmuseum.org to learn more about the National Museum of the Pacific War.

LtGen Slife Reflecting On Conflict in Afghanistan

If you’ve been part of AFSOC in the last 20 years, Afghanistan is almost certainly part of you. I spent the middle third of my career in and out of there between 2002 and 2011, with all the attendant highs and lows. From the very beginning to the very present, I have been responsible for sending countless Airmen into harm’s way there, not all of whom returned to their families. In November 2003, I sent home the remains of my teammates and friends in the aftermath of the first fatalities I experienced as a commander. In May of 2011, we killed Osama bin Laden. Highs and lows…lows and highs…I’ve felt it all.

Like many, I struggle to make sense of it all. There will be history books written about everything from our tactics to our strategy and a host of unanswered questions swirling around in all our minds…all of it will be dissected under the cold, unforgiving light of retrospective assessment. I think I’m still way, way too close to be able to opine on any of this with any degree of certainty. However, there are a few things of which I’m certain.

First, the Airmen of AFSOC have done what they were asked to do magnificently. Valor. Sacrifice. Duty. All of it. I wake up every morning with a profound sense of gratitude to be associated with this command and the Airmen who comprise it. Even today, AFSOC forces continue to answer the call and loyally do the things they’re asked to do in these chaotic, turbulent times. From Medal of Honor recipient MSgt John Chapman to the still-serving squadron commander currently on his 19th deployment, AFSOC Airmen have done their duty magnificently.

Second, there will be many hard days…months…years…ahead for many of us as we reflect–often with with deep ambivalence–on how we feel about our experiences in Afghanistan. We’ll process this all while continuing to deal with the physical wounds, the neurocognitive wounds, the psychological wounds, and the moral wounds we’ve suffered along the way.

If, like me, you find yourself trying to put your own experiences into some context which will allow you to move forward positively and productively, I urge you to talk about it. For our still-serving Airmen and families, you can start with chaplains, psychologists, and physicians. For our teammates who have separated or retired since 9/11, there are resources available for you as well. While there is no “one size fits all” answer, there is a size which fits. If you can’t find resources through the Preservation of the Force and Families program, the Veteran Affairs Administration, the local Chapel, the Mental Health clinic at your servicing Medical Group, the Airman and Family Readiness Center, or Military OneSource, ask your chain of command or message me directly and let us help you find the right avenue. We’ve been through too much together as an AFSOC team to try to process these very complex things on our own.

I expect I’m not alone in being reminded of the famous opening lines of “A Tale of Two Cities.”

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.”

I don’t know what it all means. But for now, the knowledge that doing one’s duty is its own reward will have to be enough.


Please note: The AFSOC Commander’s message originally appeared on FaceBook.

Air Commandos Support ECHG

Thank you to all who supported and participated in the 2021 Emerald Coast Honor Games! Good spirited competition among amazing athletes, strong community support, and of course our Air Commandos – Any Time Any Place!

Thank you ACA Emerald Coast Chapter Ruck 22 team: Andrew Malinowski, Justin Bresser, Aliyah Pogue, Lauren Flores, and Cecil Moran

My ‘Project 404’ legacy on wheels

I spent 30 magnificent months with Project 404 (Det 1 606 ACS/Det 1 56 ACW/Det 1 56 SOW. Did the daily shuttle from Udorn to Vientiane and the assigned to L-54. In my 6 years in SEA there was no finer organization … PERIOD! I commemorated that association with personalized license plates over the ensuing years, starting with ‘404’, ‘LAOS’, ‘AT28D’, and adding ‘RLAF’ today.

Steve Herberth
ACA Lifetime Member #768

Valor Untold Available Now

US military personnel and volunteers offload the remains of Jonestown victims from a 55th Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Squadron HH-53 Jolly Green Giant helicopter. The bodies will be placed in coffins for transport to Dover Air Force Base, Delaware.

For the first time ever, ACA Press brings you the untold story of Air Commandos responding to the Jonestown Massacre.

Valor Untold: Air Commandos During the Jonestown Massacre Recovery, 1978
By Richard D. Newton

Published by: Air Commando Association Press, 2021, 38 pages

It has been 42 years since the tragic November 1978 mass suicide/murder of American citizens at the Peoples Temple Agricultural Settlement in Jonestown, Guyana. In the intervening four decades, so much has happened to US special operations forces and the US Air Force, brought about in large part by world events that demonstrated the unquestionable need for fully resourced, trained, and ready joint special operations forces.
This monograph tells the heretofore untold story of what the Airmen who would, a few years later, form the nucleus of Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC), did to help recover the victims’ bodies – a special air operation that pushed the limits of what their training and previous combat experiences had prepared them
for.

Order your copy now!


Price includes shipping and handling.

$

If you want to order additional copies of Valor Untold please contact ACA at info@aircommando.org or call us at 850-581-0099 Mon-Fri from 9am-4pm.

AFSOC wins Spirit Award for ACA 5k FUN RUN

ACA Director Hollis Tompkins put together a great team of volunteers along with our generous event sponsors for the 2021 ACA 5k FUN RUN. Our Spirit Award went to the active duty or Guard and Reserve unit with the most runners. Our inaugural award went to HQ AFSOC’s team led by Command Chief Corey Olson. The trophy will be a traveling trophy and we look for even greater competition in the future.


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