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Alumni News - February 2009

Hancock Field Air National Guard Base, Syracuse, NY -- Thursday, February 19th brought the first of this year's monthly Alumni meetings. We may have a small group that's able to attend and participate, but we certainly make up for the lack of numbers in the amount of dedication we show to the 174th and to each other. Since the Thanksgiving Alumni Social back in November had been the last time some of us had seen each other, the meetings sometimes only serve as a back-drop to the stories and laughter and remembrances that are the real reason for any of us even belonging to the Alumni Association in the first place.

But, back to the business of running the business...The election of new officers and Board members did not happen. There were many reasons involved, but the bottom line as we are now half way through the next service year, is that the vote at the meeting was that we maintain those in place that are currently serving, and be more aggressive to the election of 2009. Drop what's past, and let's get on with the business at hand.

Next, this year's Alumni picnic...the group at the meeting has decided on Saturday, July 18th. It will be the same location (Heritage Room, All Services Club), same times, and hopefully many of the same volunteers that worked to keep the total price so low. There are great ideas for suggested improvements, and many of those in attendance want to help by serving on the planning Committee. We're starting the process after our March Alumni meeting. We already have volunteers to work some of the picnic details as well! Frank Duester and Ralph Brooks will again be our 50/50 salesmen, Vince Coon is our lead expert chef, Marilyn White and Susan Amman will be making those fabulous side dishes, and Gary Scheirer will be selling the Scratch-Off raffle tickets. If you can help, or have ideas to improve the event, please let the committee know. You can call (233-2606) or e-mail rita.scheirer@ang.af.mil, and I'll pass on the suggestions, or the best thing would be see you next month (March 19th at 7PM) at the meeting, to share your ideas with us in person!

The Chiefs council (thank you especially to Chief Judy Van Wie) and the 174th Public Affairs office have come together to develop more of the enlarged photographs of the unit history. And special thanks to All Services Club President, SMSgt Mark Shearer for hanging them up in the Heritage Room. They look fabulous, but we're still missing some of the names that go with the faces. All Services Club Vice President, MSgt Marilyn White, is asking for folks to please identify those faces, so she can get labels on the pictures.

This year's State Fair is August 20th through the 31st. The 174th's Military Exhibit tent has been informed that we'll have the same location as last year (outside the Coliseum, parallel to State Fair Boulevard), and at least as much space. Alumni member Bob Murfitt has been asking for pictures and film from the Phalsbourg era. . He's working to consolidate a nice video presentation to have running inside the exhibit tent. Chief Don Whiting brought some great sources in to Bob Thursday night, and lots of you have items you might like to share as well. Get hold of me, and I'll get you in touch with Bob. We'll keep you updated on the presentation, and the premier showing will hopefully be at one of our Alumni Association monthly meetings...or maybe even at the July Alumni picnic!

It's important that we let you know that the Base e-mail, as we know it, is no more. The changes went into effect yesterday, and the bottom line is that just about anything you send to the base as an e-mail (especially youtube and like attachments) is not getting through. These are very tough times for the monster called "information warfare", and it's no small issue. This is not the avenue to share the realism of what some individuals and countries are trying to do by accessing and infiltrating government computer systems. I have to ask your trust in my word that it is a real threat, and possibly the biggest threat that America is currently facing. But for us little guys it means minimizing jokes and junk that passes to and from government computers. From me, in the future, you'll only receive e-mail that would be approvable through any government official that deals with Alumni or veteran affairs. I hope you'll understand and support the defense of this country in this new battlefield as you have in the past.

Toward that end, please look into getting a "GIMAIL" account. Government computer firewalls don't generally believe that Yahoo mail, AOL, or Gmail and such, tend to be official business, so much of what you send, won't even be seen in my mailbox at all. And the sender won't receive notification that their message was not received. I'm told though that at least GIMAIL will allow text communication. Don't let another change in this world get you down...as Darwin said; "...it's not the strongest that survive...it's those with the best ability to adapt". You still have that wonderful technological marvel called the telephone!

Another item mentioned at the meeting was the issue of base access. For answers I'll be going directly to Security Forces Manager, Chief Joel Graham. He'll let us know the bolts and nuts of the issue, and improve the situation of how Alumni can feel a bit more welcome when coming through the Main Gate.

The issue of getting the Alumni Association's name out to possible new members has improved thanks the 174th's Personnel Superintendent, Chief Kathie Hepp. She ensured we now have representation on the Base Out-Processing Checklist. Now everyone that out-processes from the 174th has the information and invitation to join the Alumni Association (Association eligibility rules still apply).

With loss of capability of bulk mailing through the base, it was decided by vote at the meeting that we need to take action to obtain a not-for-profit bulk mailing permit. With the motion accepted, Maureen McNamara has graciously volunteered to do the leg work when she returns from the south. This will make a big difference to Association expenses, so thank you very much Maureen!

Reminder of your Board and Officers: Board of Directors: Pat Normanly, Ed MacNabb, Mike Silkworth, Maureen McNamara, Gary Scheirer

President: Rita Scheirer
Vice Pres: Vince Coon
Secretary: Frank Duester
Treasurer: Floyd Dufore

We'd also like to thank our on-going program chairmen:

Membership Chairman: Chuck Normanly
Chaplain, Sunshine Chair & Memorial: Chief Don Whiting
Programs Chair: Frank Duester

Our next meeting is Thursday, March 19th at 7pm in the All Services Club. Draft beer is served free to Alumni Meeting Attendees, so come on out! At that meeting we'll also start the process of collecting unscratched New York State Scratch-Off tickets for the raffle at the July 18th Picnic. Bring or mail a few in, won't you?

And as always our newsletters carry our sincere prayers and sympathies to the families of Alumni Association members that are sick or have passed. God Bless and Take Care!