Greetings from the North Georgia Mountains!
As I write this letter, Veteran’s Day is approaching, and I want to thank you for your service to our great country! The world has never been so volatile in most of our lifetimes, and more than ever, we need to be passionate about our profession and relevant. We need to do this, not only to preserve the legacy of our past DUSTOFFers, but also to protect the legacy of our current and future DUSTOFFers.
I am honored to serve as your Executive Director. I assure you, your association officers are working overtime, managing their own careers, family time, and volunteering many hours to move the Association forward.
I personally want to thank our volunteer officers. We would not survive without them. I want to thank our President, Chris Wingate; Vice President, Pat Zenk; Treasurer, Jack Leech; Secretary, Jeff Mankoff; Membership Coordinator, Brian Almquist, and Store Manager, Kris Willis. I also want to thank Dan Gower for his continued help with content and managing the newsletter and website posts. In addition to these incredible officers, Rick Ortiz has volunteered to work on a strategic plan for the Association, to help keep us relevant! Lastly, our Executive Council, with roughly 700 years of experience, who help guide us through big decisions and keep us grounded. If you are interested in volunteering with the Association, please let us know. We could use help with content, content, content!
As some of you may know, our previous Consultant, COL (Ret) Dave Zimmerman, has retired and handed over his duties to COL Nate Forester. We will continue to be in good hands with Nate. He brings many years of experience to the job, and certainly has our interests in mind.
The AAAA Solutions Summit will be in Denver, CO, next year. Our booth is reserved, and planning is underway. Save the dates for April 24-26, 2024. Currently, COL (Ret) Dave Zimmerman and I will be attending. If you are interested in helping with booth duties, please reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit quad-a.org to become a Quad-a member, and/or register for the 2024 Solutions Summit. This photo is from the Quad-A Solutions Summit last year. The first picture is of LTG Scott Dingle, U.S. Army Surgeon General, and team. The second picture is of our DUSTOFF Association booth.
We have an annual annuity with Quad-A and their scholarship program. This annuity generates roughly $1,000 each year toward our DUSTOFF Scholarship. Also, for our next reunion, we will announce our two Dan and Suzie Gower Scholarship recipients, who will each win a $1,500 scholarship. If you would like to donate toward future scholarships, please contact us.
The new DUSTOFF Store is in the final stages of development. We have decided to use a platform called Shopify and Printful. Your President and Store Manager have been working together to transition to this new experience for our customers. Over the next year, you will see new designs, patches, and apparel available for purchase.
Thanks to COL (Ret) Johnny West, for having very successful DUSTOFF Rallys May 3rd, 2023 and November 3rd, 2023! There were more than 30 DUSTOFFers from San Antonio who participated. We are hoping this catches on across the country and at our OCONUS locations. The second Annual DUSTOFF Rally was held on Friday, November 3, 2023. It was at Torchy’s Taco, 18210 Sonterra Place, San Antonio, TX 78258. If you are interested in holding a DUSTOFF Rally in your region, city, or town, please let us know, and send pictures. We are looking for members who would like to take ownership of event planning in your local area for DUSTOFF crew members past and present. Please contact us if you are interested.
We are well underway, planning for the 44th Annual Reunion, which will be in San Antonio, TX, at the Holiday Inn–Riverwalk on 21-24 March 2024. We will open registration in January 2024. As you know, the Riverwalk is a wonderful place to eat and socialize. We look forward to seeing you there! If you are interested in helping to run our annual golf tournament, please reach out to me at email@example.com.
We are planning to have the 45th DUSTOFF Association Runion in the D.C. area to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the end of the Vietnam War. Our President, Chris Wingate, is researching locations for our banquets in the D.C. area, and he will submit the plan to the Executive Council for their review and buy in.
Our annual awards program for DUSTOFF Rescue of the Year, Aviator of the Year, Flight Medic/Paramedic of the Year, and Crew Chief of the Year has begun. Please send in your nominations as soon as possible, so we have time to vote and create the awards prior to the banquet.
Our HOF committee, led by COL (Ret) Bob Mitchell, produced three outstanding and highly deserving HOF inductees. COL (Ret) Rob Howe, COL (Ret) Otis Evans, and CW2 Julia Bringloe will be inducted at our reunion in March 2024.
My personal goal for the Association is to develop sponsorship levels for both Corporate and Individuals, that/who provide recognition for monetary donations. I plan to seek out additional corporate sponsors over the next year, with hopes of boosting the Association’s income, so we can pay for many initiatives to help with efficiency.
As I like to say: We are America’s DUSTOFF, and we should all be proud of this distinction! We have provided first-class MEDEVAC support to America’s fighting forces, in peacetime and war, for more than 70 years. We are a precious group of people, and we should never forget it. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your service and sacrifice to our country. Also, let’s never forget the men and women who have selflessly given all in support of people they may not have ever known. DUSTOFF!
John H. McMahan