Over the last eight years, your ACA has strived to make a solid and lasting relationship with AFSOC leadership and active duty Air Commandos. This has served multiple purposes. First, for ACA to survive, we knew we needed to gain new members from the younger airmen that are serving today. While we were moderately successful in that goal, we also found that there were a host of ways we could serve and support our active Air Commando warfighters. This came in various forms, including many award sponsorships at the AFSOC level, but most importantly, we established your Air Commando Foundation to support our airmen in times of unmet needs. Over these last few years, our reputation with AFSOC for getting stuff done quickly and efficiently has been embraced in a host of ways by command leadership.
As most of you know, the White House announced that the President will present the Medal of Honor (posthumously) to TSgt John Chapman on 22 August 2018 at the White House. This is the first Air Force Medal of Honor presented for actions since Vietnam, 47 years ago. This is a huge event and AFSOC will also honor TSgt Chapman and his family with a three day celebration at Hurlburt from 25-27 October. The trust and respect that I mentioned in the first paragraph led to AFSOC Commander Lt Gen Brad Webb asking your ACA to play a significant role in the celebration. The culminating event will be a formal induction of TSgt Chapman into the Air Commando Hall of Fame. Given the magnitude of the celebration, conducting John Chapman’s induction ceremony during the MoH banquet is the most proper and befitting way to recognize him and embrace his family as an Air Force and Air Commando legend. This event will be attended by the CSAF, SECAF and numerous other national and state dignitaries. All of ACA’s members should be proud that Gen Webb would afford us this honor.
Because of the great opportunity to serve and participate in this effort, your Board deliberated long and hard about the proximity of our planned convention to the AFSOC celebration. In the end, we determined that we could not, nor would we want to detract from those events by executing our own Convention with our annual Hall of Fame induction only two weeks prior to the Medal of Honor celebration. In addition, the two events scheduled that close together would probably overwhelm our talented but very small staff. As Air Commandos we see both events as “no-fail” missions. We know that all of us as Air Commandos recognize the significance of the Medal of Honor celebration and want to make sure we do all we can to help in honoring Sgt Chapman and his family. Therefore, we have determined that we needed to reschedule our Convention for 6-9 December.
Our intent is to maintain all the normal Convention elements to include the Fish Fry, Heritage Seminar, Annual ACA Business Meeting, Golf Tournament, and our Awards Banquet. Though our annual banquet may be held at a different venue than it has been in the past, we assure you that our newest Hall of Fame inductees will still be afforded an elegant and dignified affair that they will long remember. We hope that this does not create any hardship for any of our members whose plans were already made. We also hope that all of you will understand the magnitude of this event and will support us in our decision.
Any Time - Any Place
Col (ret) Dennis Barnett