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Spring 2000
Karen's Comments
Greetings from San Antonio!

For those of you who are suffering in a drawn-out winter, I recommend San Antonio. We are having a gorgeous extended spring. I will admit my allergies are not thrilled about all the pollen floating in the air and the swimming pool filter is working overtime to deal with the live oak pollen strands. However, given those small inconveniences compared to ice and snow, I will suffer willingly.

A major thank you to all for heeding my plea for donations in the December Newsletter. You are superb. Our treasury is sound, for now, and the Board has taken steps to ensure we continue in that mode. However, reality is that we depend upon your generosity to conduct our business. Please keep those donations coming.

Your National Board of Directors is actively engaged with the South Texas Group of AFWOA planning the September Conference and Reunion. Ah, you note the addition of the word "conference". This has been done for two reasons. First, in the survey you recently completed, many members indicated a desire for informational briefings/seminars. The Planning Group has taken that to heart and is working to provide topics ranging from Long-Term Care to current issues for active duty women. We will offer six topics each day, Friday and Saturday. Attendees will be able to choose three each day. Secondly, the topics you identified showed us that we needed to invite speakers from outside organizations, e.g., VA, TROA, USAF, to provide the most current and inclusive information. Government employees are restricted from attending Reunions in a TDY status. To ensure we can get the subject matter experts we desire, we included conference. That will avoid TDY issues.

In September, we will present the AFWOA Pioneers Award to an individual who has furthered the service of military women. You may recall that in 1994, AFWOA presented its first AFWOA Pioneers Award to Major General Jeanne Holm. On the occasion of our Banquet on Saturday, 9 September, we will award the second AFWOA Pioneers Award

We have entered into oral agreements with the Air Force Reserve Officers' Training Corps and the Officers' Training School at Maxwell AFB to sponsor graduation awards. We are already sponsoring the outstanding female swimmer award at the USAF Academy, and it seemed only appropriate to expand our visibility to include those schools which have historically been responsible for graduating the majority of women officers. [Note: for a complete list of the swim award winners, see page 108 of the Directory.]

One feature of our Conference/Reunion that is moving right along is the Yearbook. The year 2000 marks the 25th Anniversary of our founding. The Board felt we should capture the significance of that occasion with a celebration yearbook. The book will be professionally published and will include biographies of our membersYthose who choose to participate. This is a wonderful opportunity to document so many historical facts about the service of women in the Air Force which are not captured anywhere else. The yearbook will cost approximately $54.00 (plus tax). To be included in the Yearbook, send your biography and photos (optional). There is no charge unless the bio is more than 150 words; then the additional cost is 15 cents per word over 150. Send your bio and money to the address indicated on the application provided in this newsletter. We have extended the deadline to encourage all members to submit. You do not have to order a book to be included - you can just send your bio to the publisher..

Not a Conference/Reunion subject but one that is dear to me has to do with the ROTC and OTS awards. We have worked with the staffs of those organizations to name annual or graduation awards in honor of one of our distinguished members. AFWOA will sponsor the award, which will recognize leadership or academic accomplishment. We will provide a memorial plaque to the institution as well as a certificate to the individual. AFWOA already sponsors the Outstanding Swimmer Award (Woman) at USAFA. This is a relatively low cost way to foster AFWOA name recognition among young officers. These awards are in keeping with the Board's efforts to develop membership in the active duty force as well as with our retirees.

The Board and I and the Planning Group look forward to seeing you all in San Antonio in September. That is a beautiful, somewhat warm time of year here but guarantees many different kinds of interesting sightseeing and entertainment opportunities.

See you then!

REUNION 2000. . . . . . . . . . by Sue Wright

Hey y'all, your AFWOA Conference/ Reunion Committee has planned a fantastic celebration of our 25th Anniversary on the Riverwalk in San Antonio!

Our San Antonio headquarters is the Holiday Inn Riverwalk Hotel from 6 through 10 September 2000. Our hotel is going through a $4 million+ renovation that will be completed in time for our gathering. The hotel is reserving 75 rooms for us until 8 August 2000 ; after that time, rooms will be available on a "Space-A" basis only. Call them now at (210) 224-2500 and be sure to mention you are with the Air Force Women Officers group. Our rate is $119 per room (not per person).

Why have we changed the name of our gathering from "Reunion to "Conference/ Reunion"? Because it is new, improved, and expanded, and so we meet the requirements of AFI 36-3003 (new version of regulation) that allows our active-duty women to use Permissive TDY to attend.

Our infamous Hospitality Room (an executive suite, thank you Holiday Inn) will open the afternoon of Wednesday, 6 September, and close sometime Sunday afternoon, 10 September. We will have our Registration tables open 6 and 7 September.

Events and Tours:

  • Our first tour will take place from 0830-1400 on Wednesday, 6 September and is for our fanatical shoppers. Buses will take us to the San Marcos Outlet Mall (about an hour's drive each way) and stop for lunch on the way back to San Antonio, at the scenic Grist Mill restaurant in Gruene (pronounced" green" for you non-Texans.) The Outlet Mall is huge and is located on both sides of the freeway - of course, we will stop at both sides.

  • The second tour is Thursday, 7 September, to Austin. This tour starts at 0730 (you can sleep on the bus) and returns to our hotel about 1700. The tour will include the Governor's Mansion , the Texas Capitol Building , and the Lyndon Johnson Presidential Library . Lunch will be at the Shoreline Grill.

  • Thursday evening is our first-ever AFWOA Cruise on the San Antonio river, along the Riverwalk. The river-barge pickup is at the hotel about 2000 - after the sun goes down. Our cruise includes an hour on the river with knowledgeable guides and an open bar with premium-brand spirits, soft drinks, juices, and mineral water.

  • On Friday, 8 September, we will tour Lackland Air Force Base and attend a Basic Training parade. We'll have a seated luncheon at the Officers' Club and return to our hotel about 1300. We then have two rooms reserved for seminars (so you can pick and choose) from 1400-1600 Friday and from 0900-1200 Saturday.

  • Friday evening our Welcome Mixer/ Reception starts at 1800 in the hotel - with lots of heavy hors d'oeuvres, and strolling mariachis in a San Antonio Fiesta setting.
  • A local San Antonio tour will be available Saturday afternoon from 1300-1600, with plenty of time to get ready for our gala AFWOA Silver Anniversary Banquet . Our speak is Brigadier General Terry Gabreski, Headquarters USAF, director, maintenance, Deputy Chief of Staff for Installations and Logistics.

  • Our final scheduled event is a Brunch/ Business Meeting on Sunday, 10 September, at 1000 with our traditional champagne toast(s) in the Hospitality Suite prior to the brunch. Please make your outgoing flight not earlier than 1500, in order to enjoy all our planned activities. We anticipate having a check-out time of 1300 or later. If you check out earlier, you can take your luggage to the Hospitality Suite where we'll have someone watch over it during our brunch.
Registration materials will be mailed about 1 June.
If you have questions, please call our toll-free number at 1-877-22AFWOA.

AFWOA's History. . . . . . . . . . by Carol Habgood

As this is our Silver Anniversary year, let's look back to the founding of our organization.

In 1975, Norma Breedlove developed the idea of forming a group of retired Air Force women officers to occasionally meet and renew friendships made while on active duty. She contacted several women in the San Antonio area, and from that beginning, they developed the first roster, dated November 10, 1975, with 93 women listed. By the end of the year, membership increased to 239. (Today we have 952 members.)

Organizational efforts included selecting a name (WAF Officers Associated for Friendship in Retirement), writing the by-laws, selecting the Board of Directors, and attending to the myriad details involved in setting up a non-profit organization with the Internal Revenue Service and the Texas state government. And, of course, setting up a bank account and obtaining donations to start a kitty for printing and postage costs.

Original membership in 1975-1976 included retired, former, and active duty and reserve Air Force women officers, but the latter were honorary members until their retirement. However, the original by-laws, dated September 23, 1977, extended full membership to all.

The first board was formally organized in 1976, with Norma as president (until 1992); Terri Slone-Baker, vice president (Terri served on the board until 1995); Barbara M.S. Pratt [LeMahieu], secretary- treasurer (the two duties split in March 1981, and Barbara became treasurer; she served on the board until 1995); June K. Vorce [McLaren], member (June served on the board until 1994); Patricia W. Carlson, legal counsel. Pat resigned in May 1977 and was replaced by Dorothy Bartlett as a member (Dottie became secretary in March 1981 and served on the board until 1991).

AFWOA was originally formed as WAF Officers Associated for Friendship in Retirement. The name changed to Air Force Women Officers Associated on August 16, 1988.

Where our reunions were held:
The first one was in San Antonio, November 5-7, 1976. Subsequent reunions were in:

  • Colorado Springs, Colo. (September 15-17, 1978);
  • Washington, D.C. (October 10-12, 1980); San Diego, Calif. (July 16-18, 1982);
  • Virginia Beach, Virginia (September 21-23, 1984);
  • Albuquerque, N. Mex. (October 17-19, 1986);
  • Orlando, Fla. (September 23-25, 1988);
  • Long Beach, Calif. (September 25-27, 1990);
  • Washington, D.C. (October 9-11, 1992);
  • San Antonio, (November 3-6, 1994);
  • Sacramento, Calif. (October 17-20, 1996);
  • Washington, D.C. (October 17-19, 1997); and
  • Scottsdale, Ariz. (October 22-25, 1998).

  • After Norma retired as president in 1992, she was succeeded by Laura Jensen-Currie, who served as president until 1998. Karen Rankin is the current president.

    Of General Interest . . .

    Recruiter Assistance
    The Air Force Retiree Council has made a commitment to the Chief of Staff to assist in any way possible to help the current recruiting and retention dilemma. According to the Air Force Recruiting Service, there are several ways retirees can help. Full details will be in an upcoming issue of the Air Force retiree newsletter, Afterburner. To highlight some of the activities you can help with:

    • Manning Offices - It helps to have someone in the office to answer phones, help with walk-ins, etc., while the recruiter is out recruiting.
    • Administrative Tasks - If you can't help in an office, perhaps you could help with some administrative duties, such as addressing written materials, from another location (like home).
    • Basic Ambassadorship - Let's take the opportunity to discuss the Air Force with possible recruits we meet in our everyday activities. . .church, family gatherings, and other social gatherings.
    If you want to help, you can call 1-800-423-USAF (8723). An operator will be available 24-hours a day and can direct you to the nearest Air Force recruiting office within minutes. You can also log on to the Air Force web-site at www.airforce.com/info/locator . Enter your address and push the submit key. That will prompt the information screen displaying a map to the nearest Air Force recruiting office, as well as the address and phone number. Or call your local recruiter directly and offer your assistance.

    VA Insurance Hoax
    This seems to never go away. Once again, this hoax is surfacing. Veterans are being told by mimeographed fliers or articles to apply for SGLI/VGLI dividends. The fliers do not originate with the VA. Please note that the VA does not pay dividends on SGLI/VGLI policies. A recent version of this hoax offers to assist a veteran in obtaining the "dividend" for a small fee. Since there is no dividend, you should not pay anyone to get it for you. If you receive an offer like this, report it to the VA Office of Inspector General with all available information (such as name, address, telephone of person offering to help you) to:

    Department of Veterans Affairs Inspector General Hotline (53E)
    P.O. Box 50410
    Washington, DC 20091-0410
    Telephone: 1-800-488-8244
    News About Our Members
    Congratulations to new Brigadier Generals Lorraine Potter (chaplain) and Elizabeth Ann Harrell . General Potter is deputy chief, Air Force Chaplain Service, Headquarters USAF. General Harrell has moved and is commander, 81st Training Wing, Keesler AFB, Mississippi.

    By the way, biographies for all Air Force generals (past and present) can be printed from the Air Force Link at www.af.mil/search/map.html .

    Lost in the Mail
    Directories were returned as nondeliverable to the following members. If anyone knows their current address, please let us know. Ann Duffy, Richfield, Ohio
    Audrey Moreland, Solomons, MD
    Violet Nicklen, Biloxi, MS
    Judith Rubinstein, Devon, PA
    Tommie S. Smith, Gray, TN
    Margaret Steele, Inglewood, CA
    Dorthy Storck, Philadelphia, PA

    Wild Blue Younder
    We regret to inform you of the deaths of:

    Dolores Jan Cleary, Feb. 25, 2000
    Bonnie Martin Kratz, Jan. 23, 2000
    Marguerite Kay Kring, Dec. 10, 1999
    Elizabeth Roche
    Nancy Rust, Aug. 2, 1999
    Edith Toffaletti
    Ruby Walker, Mar. 21, 2000
    Jone Latterner Zutty

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