49thFSA Meeting Minutes
Annual Business Meeting:
  Friday 15 Sep 2017: 
Welcome:                              Tony Asterita, Commander

Reunion schedule overview: Tony Asterita

Financial report:                    John Jannazo, Treasurer
Secretary:                             Christine Wallace

New Business Agenda:        Tony Asterita

  • 1.49th FTS Squadron Update: Mission overview, Mullinax fund, etc. - Andrew "Samson" Pence,Major USAF
  • 2.Memorabilia: inventory status - John "Paddy" McGowan, Capt USAF
  • 3.Hangman Newsletter: Cost, alternatives
  • 4.FSA participation in annual wreath ceremony, Semple Memorial, Orange, France
  • 5.Future reunion planning: Continue with in-house tasking or outsource?
  • 6.Open slot - Vice Commander; volunteers sought.
  • 7.What can we do to increase our membership
  • 8.Location for next year’s reunion
  • 9.Open mike - extemporaneous comments welcome.

2017 Annual meeting Notes:

Tony Asterita opened the meeting with a welcome to all and addressed the remaining reunion schedule. He noted that this is the first reunion whereby P-38 members were not present, but also noted that three wives of WW ll members were present - Gladys Kisbaugh, Lorraine Weatherbee. and Judith Tabor (Musgrove). He underscored that several positions on the FSA leadership team needed to be filled, most notably, the position of Vice Commander. Presently, only three positions are filled - Commander, Secretary, Christine Wallace, and Treasurer, John Jannazo. The rest of the meeting followed accordingly:

A. 1-John Jannazo discussed the financial summary to include the balance sheet and checkbook balance, and use of a debit card.  He mentioned if anyone sends payment, send a check, not a money order. Balance is presently $14,460 but there are still bills to be paid related to the reunion.  Part of the balance relates to the  Mullinax Fund  which buys name tags for new FTS students. So far, 110 nametags have been paid for totaling $1,528.95. Spreadsheet highlights include: $1421,40 nametags, $1,325,00 reunion,$1,016,09 newsletter as the top expenses. Other items available on the financial report. Newsletter is biggest expense. It costs nearly $1 000 (set up, printing, mailing) for each edition. When expenses from the reunion are paid we should have a balance of about $8,000.

B. Major Andrew Pence (Samson) gave an excellent briefing on the squadron mission and operations. New pilots and weapon system operators (WSO's) are assigned to the FTS and are tested and evaluated to determine if they can advance to operational fighters.  He explained the details of training and the types of planes new pilots and WSO's would be assigned to after graduation. He described the average week of a new student. The course is tough and students are tested to make sure they are qualified to advance to operational duty. Major Pence received a warm round of applause and he thanked the FSA for paying for the name tags for new students via the Frank Mullinax memorial fund.
C. Captain John McGown (Paddy) maintains FSA memorabilia at the 49th FTS at Columbus AFB. He talked about the 49th scrapbooks which were shipped to the reunion and explained that they are used  in training the students. He also discussed the inventory on hand including shirts, patches and other items available for purchase. He is able to send items if a member is interested. Tony asked for a list of items available for sale so we can list them on the website. Paddy also thanked the Association for the nametags and stated that they are significant in communicating our heritage and keeping it alive.

D. The next item concerned the cost of the newsletter which costs nearly $1,000 to set up, print and mail. One member moved to make it electronic. All agreed to an electronic format so all subsequent newsletters will be sent electronically. For those few members not on email, a copy will be printed and mailed.

E. There was a unanimous decision to purchase the wreath that is placed every year in Orange, France at the Lt. Warren E. Semple memorial. This wreath commemorates Lt. Semple, a P-38 pilot that was killed near Orange in 1944. Payment will be sent each August to Mr. Nico Courtine who developed and maintains the memorial.

F. There was a discussion concerning the vast amount of work and coordination in planning our annual reunion. The “boots on the ground” is absolutely essential but another option is a company that can do the legwork. We are investigating this option and will let you know the results. It will be up to membership to decide how to proceed to plan the 2018 reunion.  Bangor, Maine and Virginia Beach were suggested as venues. Kudos to Mike Baldwin, Bill Mahaffey, Christine Wallace, John Jannazo, and Grant Bruckmeier for helping to make the 2017 reunion a resounding success.

G. There is an open position for Vice Commander for the Association. We welcome anyone who may be interested to fill that position.

H. Membership at our annual reunions has been declining in recent years. An open question is what can be done to increase our membership. A parallel and related question is what can be done to increase member participation at our reunions. With more than 250 members in the FSA, there is certainly adequate clientele. Several suggestions were mentioned. One is the consideration of a joint reunion with the 48th FSA which has been having problems with participation at their last two reunions. We will contact the 48th FSA Commander and will report results.

I. Doug Barbier, Author of the book, 'The World’s Fastest Single Engine Fighter' spoke briefly about his book and his love of planes since childhood. He discussed some of the details of writing the book and offered signed copies to anyone interested.  He thanked everyone for inviting him and his wife to the reunion.

J. An 'open mic' session followed.

Anthony J. Asterita
49th Fighter Squadron Association