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

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 Felix ‘Sam’ Sambogna

Remembering Felix ‘Sam’ Sambogna

Lt. Col. Felix L.”Sam” Sambogna, USAF retired, passed away on September 24, 2021. He was born in Manchester, CT in 1931 and graduated from Trinity College in Hartford, CT in 1953.

  • ► Felix Sambogna’s Obituary

    Lt. Col. Felix L.”Sam” Sambogna, USAF retired, passed away on September 24, 2021. He was born in Manchester, CT in 1931 and graduated from Trinity College in Hartford, CT in 1953.

    He is survived by four children: Michael Sambogna and Ron Watterson of Dallas, Texas; Nancy and Michael Shoults of Destin, FL; Patricia and Michael Hardiman of Destin, FL; Felix Jr. and Karen Sambogna of Alpharetta GA; and eight grandchildren: Whitley (wife Rosey), Erin (husband Andy), Samantha (husband Ben), David, Hannah, Jordan, Grace, and Ryan, and four great grandchildren Addison, Alden, Rylan, and Sterling.

    He served 29 years in the USAF as a command pilot, squadron commander, deputy base commander, and staff officer. Overseas assignments included Japan, Thailand, Korea, and Vietnam. After retiring from the USAF, he was employed by Oklahoma State University (OSU) and worked for 17 years at the OSU Field Office on Eglin AFB. After retirement from OSU, he performed as a volunteer for the Guardian ad Litem program for 16 years as an advocate for abused and/or neglected children. Felix was a member of the Air Commando Association (past president), Military Officers Association of America, Air Force Association, the Order of the Daedalians, and Saint Mary’s Catholic Church.

    Granddad Sam loved his family, his country, and the Air Force. His children and grandchildren were the joys of his life. He also loved tennis, racquetball, the NY Yankees and Notre Dame Football.

    He was a force of strength, unconditional love and humility that will be forever missed by his family. Peace be with you dad.

    A funeral mass will be at 10:30 AM on Friday, October 15, 2021 at St. Mary Catholic Church in Fort Walton Beach. Arrangements are being handled by McLaughlin Mortuary. He will be cremated and inurned at Beal Memorial Cemetery following the mass.

    Donations may be made to the Air Commando Association, Hospice or American Cancer Society.

    Published in Northwest Florida Daily News
  • ► Tributes

    “Sam was a constant from the first time I walked into the HQ ACA building. A buddy with John Grove, he had his heart in Appalachian relief efforts, Bless the Children global charities, the John Grove School support, a zillion shipments of goods and medical supplies that went all over our hemisphere as well as supporting Christmas Wish while it endured and supporting fresh water projects in Thailand that started years ago by SOF forces during the SEA conflict. Sam provided steady leadership/management of the McCoskrie Threshold Foundation until its termination this year. He was an inspiration to all of us and a challenge for each of us to run as well as we can, as far and fast as we can for just as long as we can. I will miss that bright light.”
    –Steve Connelly

    “Sam was one of the good guys — a big heart, a true listener, and giving friend to so many.”
    –Norm Brozenick

    “What a blessing and an honor to know and work with him. Always a kind word! Hope next time we are all together we can hoist an adult beverage to him.”
    –Chris Foltz

    “I’m truly saddened to hear this. I always looked forward to chatting with Sam at St. Mary’s Church and we always looked for each other after Mass. I really enjoyed our little chats. We will miss him and he and the family are in my prayers.”
    –Max Friedauer

    “I am also heartbroken to hear this sad news. Sam was so selfless.. involved in so many charities that he never spoke about… just doing things for the greater good and not for the recognition.
    He was truly the “Quiet Professional” working in the background, making things happen for the Annual Memorial Ceremony at the Hurlburt Field Airpark. He will be sorely missed! My prayers for his family.”
    –Heather L. Bueter

    “Thank you for informing me of Sam’s passing. I cherish the memories of the many times I spent with him. He was always a joy to be with and will be long remembered; not only for what he accomplished, but more importantly for the man he was. RIP Sam, fly high.”
    –John Sweet

    “Truly, a good man. Always had the ACA at heart”
    –Harry Bishop

    “So sorry to hear this. Sam was everywhere doing everything at the few Reunions that I have attended. ANY TIME, ANY PLACE”
    –Ed Broughton

    “Sorry to hear that news. I few with at Ben Hoa in 1969 & 1970. He was truly a historical fighter pilot.”
    –R. Wayne Moorhead, Lt. Colonel, USAF

    “So sad. Another stalwart will be very much missed.”
    –Larry Ropka

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Jerry Klingaman

Col Jerry Klingaman CAA #9

Photos submitted to the Air Commando Journal to accompany the articles “A Tribute to Jerry Klingaman” by Larry Ropka, Col, USAF (Ret) in Vol 10 Issue 2 and “Origins and Concept of Train-Advise-Assist” by Jerry Klingaman, Lt Col, USAF  in Vol 5 Issue 1.

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6th SOS

6th SOS Photo Gallery

Photos submitted to the Air Commando Journal to accompany the article “Adaptive Precision Strike: Combat Aviation Advisors put the Finish in Partner Nation Air Forces” by Maj Daniel Jackson, USAF

  • A Hellfire missile streaks from the rail on a CAA-flown Cessna 208 at White Sands Missile Range, February 2020. (Photo courtesy of MAG Aero)

  • Majors Paul Tandberg (left) and Daniel Jackson (right) conduct precision strike training with a Lebanese AC-208 crew in 2020. (Photo courtesy of author)

  • Left to right, Lt Col Will Slotter, Capt Ryan Mayer, Maj Brian Schaf, and Lt Col Steve Vestel preflight their missile-toting Caravan prior to the first live-fire flight on the White Sands Missile Range, February 2020. (Photo courtesy of Brian Schaf)

  • Lt Col Steve Vestel and Maj Brian Schaf took delivery of the squadron’s first CATM on December 1, 2017, and snapped this “proof of life” picture before locking it up for the night. (Photo courtesy of Brian Schaf)

  • The author shoots a Hellfire missile at the Utah Test and Training Range, July 2021. (Photo courtesy of author)

  • A Hellfire missile slams into a CONEX target at the White Sands Missile Range, February 2020. (Photo courtesy of Brian Schaf)

  • Majors Phil Vaughn, Brian Schaf, and Paul Tandberg takeoff in N321NH with Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson and AFSOC commander Lt Gen Brad Webb in February 2018. (Photo courtesy of Air Force Special Operations Command)

  • Conducting a rocket attack at the Fort Stewart Range, March 2021. (Photo courtesy of author)

  • A Hellfire leaves the rail at White Sands Missile Range, February 2020. (Photo courtesy of MAG Aero)

  • Secretary Wilson addresses CAAs from the 6th and 711th SOS in front of the CATM-armed Caravan at Hurlburt Field. (Photo courtesy of Air Force Special Operations Command)

  • Majors Brian Schaf and Jeff Malinen plot out single- and multi-ship strike tactics on a whiteboard at Destin Executive Airport. (Photo courtesy of Paul Tandberg)

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2021 EC Honor Games

Emerald Coast Honor Games 2021

Awesome participation this year! Emerald Coast Chapter of the ACA made us proud!! Thank you to everyone who volunteered and participated. We look forward to next year!

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