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 President's Corner

Published in the April 2005 Ragged Irregular

Your officers had our quarterly Conference Call on 12 Feb (we remember Lincoln's Birthday, even if our country seems to have lumped all them Presidents in together).

Thanks to Jim Bard's report from the 91st Recon Memorial Association I was able to report that the new Commander at the 91st Space Wing at Minot is Col. Dan Adams; I will try to see if he is interested in re-starting the on-going relationship with his "grandpa" units. T/Sgt Larry Schomaker is still Historian of their unit (apparently) and April Kozma remains Chief of Protocol. B/G (now) Mark Owen has moved on - we know not where as I write. We'll keep pestering them. I finally got a letter off to the American  Battles Monuments about honoring one of our ground crewmembers in England thanks to the valiant efforts of Vince Hemmings and Paul Limm.

The status of the location of the Memphis Belle is still in limbo (and we have our own feelings about which would be heaven). Earl Pate has talked to the "Committee" in Memphis and will be our action officer; he hopes to visit the appropriate authorities at Wright Patterson Museum soon to assess their intentions. We surely do not want to see this important part of our history deteriorate any more and the aircraft does legally "belong" to the Air Force.

As always, Ace gave his detailed report of our finances which are doing fine. The bill for the completion of the cleaning and retouching of the metal work on the Prop Memorial - which was completed earlier - will be paid from our Memorial Maintenance Fund. That Fund is separate and has grown to over $5000; we will be adding proceeds from a couple of more sales of the "Ruhr Valley Raiders" lithographs soon. I have more copies if you want to make a gift of one to a local school (AFROTC maybe) or library.

Even though our finances are doing very nicely, we are looking at other ways to save money. We discussed the possibility of sending The Ragged Irregular by e-mail to those of you who would be willing to receive it in that form which would save us significantly; Past President Bob Friedman will be working with Steve Perri to see if it is feasible to develop such a list. Steve and Ace have also done the paper work to try to get Post Office authority to mail as a non-profit organization to those who want a hard copy. Nothing is easy, but we are trying. E-mail to Europe would be especially time-saving and money-saving.

We talked about Membership and Money and agreed the former are most desirable even though it also helps the latter. I see a number of young service people at Ft. Lewis and McChord AFB who express an interest; I always encourage them to look at our wonderful website and sign up as a member. It is a double benefit if they are in the service because they help our qualifying numbers with IRS as a military non-profit organization. Ace reported that as of 12 Feb 61% of our Full Members had paid their dues and 66% of Associates; his follow-up "reach-out" letter in the past has added about 75% of the "lost souls."  In line with our hope to serve you, First VP Marv Goldberg who doubles as PX Officer is going to offer some discounts on our 91st goodies including the calendars. Send friends to our website for bargains.

Finally, we talked a good deal about the portions of the to-be-proposed By-Laws revisions   which deal with your officers' duties. As we have said over the past year we  will be proposing to make the BGMA less autocratic and more responsive to a strong Board - your elected officers. Our Chairman of Nominations Joe Harlick will be out soon beating the bushes for candidates for 2006 and we certainly hope some of our younger members will be candidates, at least for Second Vice President. Some of you might want to consider being back-up for Editor of The Ragged Irregular or Secretary-Treasurer, or Manager of the PX.

If I had any doubts I was reminded forcibly of how fast our future can change on 17 Feb. My wife of 48 years, Joan, was involved in an auto accident leaving her with a broken hip, knee and leg and fractures to her sternum and numerous ribs. She planned very nicely to be the least bother possible by having the accident while turning into the Madigan Army Hospital entrance; she is such an accommodating lady. The wonderful staff at Madigan have taken care of her well and she survived the hip replacement very well on 23 Feb; they believe the other fractures will heal in 6-8 weeks though she will be an invalid for that period while the leg and knee heal. Many of you have much worse problems and less chance of getting out to feed the ducks this summer, so this is a note of joyful appreciation, not cause for sympathy for us. Love you all - even if some of you did vote for that Navy guy who was a candidate.  Keep smiling,   ED