Officers and Board Members
Chairman of the Board - George Dockery (2017 - 2020) Email
George Dockery is a retired USAF pilot whose troop carrier experience dates back to the late 1950s. He is heavily involved in airlift-related organizations, including the Airlift/Tanker Association of which he is an original member. George lives in Centennial, Colorado
Vice-Chairman - Ricky Davidson (2017 - 2019) Email
Ricky Davidson is a retired USAF reserve officer. His active duty service was as a pilot with the 39th Troop Carrier Squadron at Evreux AB, France. After leaving the Air Force, he became an airline pilot but continued in the reserves where he flew C-141s. Ricky lives in Colorado Springs.
President - Mike Welch (2017 - 2020) Email
Mike Welch is a retired USAF loadmaster who started out in supply in a C-124 squadron at Hickam then cross-trained to loadmaster and was assigned to the 3rd Aerial Port Squadron at Pope. He served with the 606th Special Operations Squadron at Nakonphanom, Thailand. He returned to Charleston AFB, SC and spent the rest of his career in C-141s in MAC. After retiring he joined the C-17 program at McDonnell Douglas aircraft and retired from Boeing in December 2014. Mike is heavily involved in both the Airlift/Tanker Association, the Professional Loadmasters Association and the 57th Alumini Association. He lives in Hermosa Beach, CA.
Vice-President - Bill Kehler (2017 - 2019) Email
Bill Kehler is a retired USAF pilot who started out in troop carrier at Pope AFB, NC in the early 1960s with the 778th TCS. His career carried him into AC-130 gunships and back into combat airlift. He retired at Little Rock and recently moved to North Little Rock, Arkansas.
Secretary (Interim) - Brent Richburg (2017 - 2020) Email
Brent is a retired loadmaster now living in the Dayton, Ohio area. He has served with the 41st TAS, AMCTES, 3rd APS, 14 AS, 17 AS, 21 AS, and 75th AS.
Treasurer and Founder - Ralph Bemis (2017 - 2019) Email
Ralph Bemis is a retired USAF loadmaster. He served with the 347th Troop Carrier Squadron and the 29th, 50th, 61st and 62nd Tactical Airlift Squadrons. Ralph was a member of a C-130E crew that was shot down during the siege of An Loc and was immediately rescued. He holds the Silver Star. He lives in Kerrville, Texas.
Board MembersBoard Member - Jim Elmer (2017 - 2020) Email
Jim Elmer is a retired USAF navigator whose troop carrier career goes back to the early 1960s. He served at Tachikawa, Sewart and Little Rock. Jim is heavily involved in veterans and military organizations, including the 815th TCS/TAS reunions. Jim lives in North Little Rock AR.
Board Member - Jim Esbeck (2017 - 2019) Email
Jim is a retired USAF maintenance technician. He served with the 463rd Organizational Maintenance Squadron at Langley and the 51st Fighter Interceptor wing (attached to the 35th TCS) at Naha AB, Okinawa. He lives in Tucson, Arizona.
Board Member - Hector Leyva (2017 - 2020) Email
Hector Leyva is a retired USAF loadmaster. He served with the 62nd and 776th Tactical Airlift Squadrons and was on the first mission over An Loc in 1972. Hector lives in San Antonio, Texas
Board Member - Andy Vaquera (2017 - 2019) Email
Andy is a retired USAF loadmaster. He served with the 8th Aerial Port Squadron and the 433rd Tactical Airlift Wing. He lives in San Antonio.
Board Member - Don Hessenflow (2017 - 2020) Email
Don Hessenflow is a retired USAF public information officer who started out with the 464th Troop Carrier Wing at Pope AFB, NC in 1964. He now lives in Gainesville, Florida.
Board Member - O. Thomas Hansen (2017 - 2019) Email
O. Thomas Hansen flew C-130s with the 29th ATS at McGuire, then was with the 36th (squadron commander), 38th and 776th TAS. He served as a board member with the Air Force Association and has been in leadership positions with numerous military/veterans organizations. He lives in Stellacoom, Washington.
Alternate Board Members
Alternate Board Member - Bill Goodall (2017 - 2019) Email
Bill Goodall served in aircraft maintenance with the 21st TAS at Naha AB, Okinawa with their classified E Flight. He lives in Tucson, Arizona.
Alternate Board Member - Freddie Rodriguez (2017 - 2019) Email
Freddie is an Air Force reservist, now living in Sugar Land, Texas. He served with the following units: 992nd TCG, 433rd TAW.
Alternate Board Member - Ken Eith (2017 - 2019) Email
Ken is an aerial port veteran and very active with the VFW in New Jersey. He lives in Brick, NJ.
Legal Advisor: Ernie Gassiott Email
Ernie is a USAF pilot veteran. He served with the 778th Troop Carrier Squadron and the 50th and 345th Tactical Airlift Squadrons. Ernie was a participant in the airlift evacuation of Kham Duc. Ernie recently retired from the practice of law. He resides in Livingston, Texas.
Webmaster: Ed Merck Email
Ed was an instructor navigator and flight examiner in C-119s and C-130s in the 782nd and 40th TCS at Evreux, France, RC-130s in the 556th Recon Sq at Yokota and Cam Ranh Bay and C-130s in the 16th TATSq at Little Rock. He also served in staff positions at HqComd USAF, Hq TAC, 13th AF and 314th CSG. He lives in Jacksonville AR.
Newsletter Editor: Sam McGowan Email
Sam McGowan is a USAF loadmaster veteran. He served with the 35th and 779th Troop Carrier Squadrons, and 29th and 773rd Tactical Airlift Squadrons. He lives in Missouri City, Texas just outside of Houston. He was a founder of the association and previously served as Secretary.