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Alamo Chapter

    Buenos Dias from San Antonio and the Alamo Chapter. The Alamo Chapter of the Professional Loadmaster Association (PLA) is primarily made up of C-5 Loadmasters from the 433rd Airlift Wing Joint Base San Antonio – Lackland. Our chapter also includes some retired reserve Loadmasters, retired active duty Loadmasters as well as some active commercial airline cargo Loadmasters from San Antonio Texas and the south central Texas area. Andy Vaquera and Hector Leyva are the co-founders of the chapter. The membership is made up of highly decorated combat veterans that include the Silver Star, Distinguished Flying Cross, Purple Heart, Meritorious Service Medal, and the Air Medal.

     The Alamo Chapters highest priority is to increase our membership. From its inception in June 2008, the chapter was established, by-laws were written, members were found from around the area and was certified as a chapter by the National President in October 2008. The Alamo Chapter was given the privilege to host the 2010 PLA “Gathering of Loads” convention. We had a great time putting on the convention, visiting with old friends and making new ones. Our wish is that you support the 2019 Gathering of Loads convention (hosted by the Northwest Chapter) as well as you supported ours and make it an even better convention. The chapter’s focus over the past couple of years is supporting the Career Enlisted Aviator Center of Excellence and the Basic Loadmaster Course.

 

The Alamo Chapter is currently meeting on a monthly basis.  Andy Vaquera will send out notice for upcoming meetings by email, text or telephone call. If you have any questions, feel free to contact Andy Vaquera at (210) 559-7487 or andyvaquera@sbcglobal.net.

 

Chapter Officers:

President - Andy Vaquera

 

 

 

Alamo Chapter Latest News

March 2019

    Bill Weeper, Alamo Chapter Member - Buenos Dias from San Antonio and the Alamo Chapter.  The chapter monthly meetings are now rotating between the Texas Air Museum, the Basic Loadmaster School (BLM) and the 68th Airlift Squadron, in an effort make it easier for Loadmasters to attend our meetings.  We haven’t had a chapter meeting in some time, but we plan to have one in the near future.  The Alamo Chapter sponsors a Loadmaster classroom (along with sponsoring a breakroom for all enlisted aviators) at the Career Enlisted Aviator Center of Excellence/Basic Loadmaster Course (CEA/CoE/BLM) and we have been continuing to work on our chapter’s Silver Star Loadmaster project.  There are 5 living Silver Star Loadmaster recipients that we know of, and we are honoring them by having their photographs, Silver Star award, Silver Star citation and biographies printed and framed.  These will be placed on a wall in the Alamo Chapter sponsored classroom for all to see.  Andy Vaquera our chapter President will send out notice for the upcoming meetings or events by email, text or telephone call.  If you have any questions feel free to contact Andy Vaquera at (210) 559-7487, andyvaquera@sbcglobal.net.

 

November 2018

    Bill Weeper, Alamo Chapter Member - Buenos Dias from San Antonio and the Alamo Chapter.  The chapter monthly meetings are now rotating between the Texas Air Museum, the Basic Loadmaster School (BLM) and the 68th Airlift Squadron in an effort make it easier for Loadmasters to attend our meetings.  We haven’t had a chapter meeting in some time, but we plan to have one in the near future.  Andy Vaquera will send out notice for the upcoming meetings or events by email, text or telephone call.  Six members of the Alamo Chapter (Andy Vaquera, Ray Snedegar, Ralph Bemis, Charlie Armistead, Doug Rasar and Bill Weeper) attended the Troop Carrier/Tactical Airlift Association (TC/TAA) monument dedication and Professional Loadmaster Association CMSgt William "Bill" Cannon bench dedication at National Museum of the United States Air Force, October 10 – 14, 2018.  Many of our chapter’s Loadmasters also belong to the TC/TAA.  Andy and Norma Vaquera spent many hours in the hospitality and banquet room selling a lot of TC/TAA merchandise.  The Alamo Chapter sponsors a Loadmaster classroom (along with sponsoring a breakroom for all enlisted aviators) at the Career Enlisted Aviator Center of Excellence/Basic Loadmaster Course (CEA/CoE/BLM) and we have been working on a Silver Star Loadmaster project.  There are 5 living Silver Star Loadmaster recipients that we know of, and we are honoring them by having their photographs, Silver Star award, Silver Star citation and biographies printed and framed.  These will be placed on a wall in the Alamo Chapter sponsored classroom for all to see.  I had the opportunity at the TC/TAA monument dedication and PLA CMSgt William "Bill" Cannon bench dedication event to sit down in the hospitality room with both Ralph Bemis and Charlie Armistead and interview them so that we could finish their biographies.  These Loadmasters have led very interesting lives, and I am glad they took this opportunity to work on this project with me.  I am also looking for a C-130 Loadmaster named Michael W. Michaud who received the Silver Star at the end of the Vietnam War.  If anyone has any information about him, please send me an email at weeperjr@satx.rr.com.  Speaking of the BLM, our long-time liaison James Grove has PCS’d to Robins AFB GA.  We would like to thank him for all the support and especially the help he has given the chapter when we have had fundraisers at the BLM.  The chapter is sad to announce that the co-founder of the Alamo Chapter Hector Leyva has passed away.  He will be missed by many.  His obituary is in the November 2018 issue of “The Loader” in the “In Memorium” section.  Andy Vaquera is our chapter President and if you have any questions feel free to contact him at (210) 559-7487,andyvaquera@sbcglobal.net.

 

July 2018

    Bill Weeper, Alamo Chapter Member - Buenos Dias from San Antonio and the Alamo Chapter.  The chapter monthly meetings are now rotating between the Texas Air Museum, the Basic Loadmaster School (BLM) and the 68th Airlift Squadron in an effort make it easier for Loadmasters to attend our meetings.  I was recently at a retirement luncheon for Don Sawyer and thought I'd share my thoughts from that day.  Don has been an Instructor Loadmaster at the Basic Loadmaster Course since 1989.  That's right 29 years!  During his tenure Don showed true commitment to the Loadmaster community by following the course as it moved from base to base.  First at Sheppard Air Force Base TX as an active duty Loadmaster then in retirement to Altus Air Force Base OK and finally to Lackland Air Force Base TX as a civilian Instructor Loadmaster.  A lot of us know when you are actively flying you rack up a bunch of flying hours.  In Don’s case he is probably the all-time high podium instructor with 12,000 hours of podium time dating back to November of 2007.  This does not include the 1,000’s of additional hours he logged for the first 18 years he instructed, when hours were not tracked. Beyond that Don mentored thousands of students.  I think about some of my mentors who were instrumental in my career and how they influenced me and other Loadmasters around my squadrons.  But I think that Don is one of those exceptional exceptions in how he initially taught, mentored and guided the Basic Loadmaster Course.  Don has probably taught or encountered 98% or more of all Loadmasters who are flying today.  To say that he has had a positive and influential impact on these Loadmasters and the Loadmaster career field would be an understatement.  I want to congratulate Don on a great second retirement.  He deserves it.  I am sure after the retirement glow has worn off Don will find another endeavor to fill his spare time, but I would bet that Don will be doing something related to being a Loadmaster.  Whatever he undertakes, big or small, after spending so many years as a Loadmaster you just can’t stop being one.  So as Don speeds off in his Corvette to the Dallas-Fort Worth area I just can’t help but think, I just witnessed another Loadmaster chapter coming to an end.  Don will be missed but as always in the military someone will take his place.  They will have a lot to live up to when compared against accomplishments of Don but in true Loadmaster fashion they will do the best job they can do and create the next Loadmaster generation.  The Basic Loadmaster Course will name a classroom after Don as a tribute to his many dedicated years of service to the course.  I can’t think of a more fitting way to honor him than to have a classroom named for him.  This way he will still keep on influencing Loadmaster students well into the foreseeable future.  Andy Vaquera is our chapter President and will send out notice for the upcoming meetings or events by email, text or telephone call.  If you have any questions, feel free to contact Andy Vaquera at (210) 559-7487, andyvaquera@sbcglobal.net.

 

March 2018

    Bill Weeper, Alamo Chapter Member - Buenos Dias from San Antonio and the Alamo Chapter.  The chapter monthly meetings are now rotating between the Texas Air Museum, the Basic Loadmaster School (BLM) and the 68th Airlift Squadron in an effort make it easier for Loadmasters to attend our meetings.  The Alamo Chapter had a fundraiser planning meeting at the BLM on February 9, 2018.  Only a small group of chapter members were in attendance.  The group met in the Alamo Chapter sponsored Loadmaster classroom.  Plans were discussed on what additional photographs and frames were needed and measurements were taken.  A fundraiser is necessary to raise funds to purchase those additional items and finish the classroom project.  The next chapter meeting after the fundraiser will be at the 68th Airlift Squadron.  Andy Vaquera is our President/Treasurer, Jerry Zuniga is Vice President and David Molinar is our Secretary.  Andy Vaquera or David Molinar will send out notice for the upcoming meetings or events by email, text or telephone call.  If you have any questions, feel free to contact Andy Vaquera at (210) 559-7487, andyvaquera@sbcglobal.net or David Molinar at (210) 415-3735 damolinar@aol.com.

 

November 2017

    Bill Weeper, Alamo Chapter Member - Buenos Dias from San Antonio and the Alamo Chapter.  The chapter monthly meetings are now rotating between the Texas Air Museum, the Basic Loadmaster School and the 68th Airlift Squadron in an effort make it easier for Loadmasters to attend our meetings.  On October 13, 2017 our chapter sponsored a hospitality room for the 68th Airlift Squadron reunion.  Ray Snedegar flew in to attend the reunion along with Operation Babylift nurse and children who survived the crash of C-5A 80218 out of Saigon on April 4, 1975.  Our chapter provided food and refreshments.  Regina Aune, Aryn Lockhart and Carrie (Ngoc Anh) Briggs and Ray Snedegar autographed quite a few of Regina and Aryn’s book “Operation Babylift: Mission Accomplished, A Memoir of Hope and Healing.”  You can purchase a copy of this book through Blueline Publishing at:  http://bluelinepublishingllc.com/product/operation-babylift-mission-accomplished-a-memoir-of-hope-and-healing-by-regina-aune-aryn-lockhart/.  A Loadmaster group photograph (which included Alamo Chapter members) was taken during the reunion.  Andy Vaquera is our President/Treasurer, Jerry Zuniga is Vice President and David Molinar is our Secretary.  Andy Vaquera or David Molinar will send out notice for the upcoming meetings or events by email, text or telephone call.  If you have any questions, feel free to contact Andy Vaquera at (210) 559-7487, andyvaquera@sbcglobal.net or David Molinar at (210) 415-3735 damolinar@aol.com.

 

July 2017

    Bill Weeper, Alamo Chapter Member - Buenos Dias from San Antonio and the Alamo Chapter.  The chapter monthly meetings are now rotating between the Texas Air Museum, the Basic Loadmaster School and the 68th Airlift Squadron in an effort to make it easier for Loadmasters to attend our meetings.  On March 10, 2017 the chapter had a very successful day at the Career Enlisted Aviator Center of Excellence where a Basic Loadmaster Course (BLM) fundraiser was held (in the hanger, off the right wing of the C-130 Hercules).  The fundraiser featured a bratwurst plate lunch.  An iPad Pro Air 2 was raffled off and Airman Torello was the winner.  The Alamo Chapter raised enough funds to continue our ongoing sponsorship at the BLM.  Also, out of the proceeds the Alamo Chapter donated $250.00 to a “The Rock” Chapter golf tournament.  The golf tournament was a fund raiser for the upcoming 2017 Gathering of Loads convention.  The chapter has had meetings on April 8, May 20 and June 10, 2017.  Attendance has been small but productive.  If you read this please consider attending one of our upcoming meetings.  The Alamo Chapter will help Andy Vaquera sponsor a hospitality room for the upcoming 68th AS reunion on October 14, 2017.  Andy Vaquera is our President/Treasurer, Jerry Zuniga is Vice President and David Molinar is our Secretary.  Andy Vaquera or David Molinar will send out notice for the upcoming meetings or events by email, text or telephone call.  If you have any questions, feel free to contact Andy Vaquera at (210) 559-7487, andyvaquera@sbcglobal.net or David Molinar at (210) 415-3735 damolinar@aol.com.

 

March 15, 2017

     Bill Weeper, Alamo Chapter Member - Buenos Dias from San Antonio and the Alamo Chapter.  The chapter monthly meetings are now rotating between the Texas Air Museum, the Basic Loadmaster School and the 68th Airlift Squadron in an effort make it easier for Loadmasters to attend our meetings.  The chapter recently had a business meeting on January 27, 2017, Andy Vaquera, Hector Leyva, MSgt James Grove and Bill Weeper met at the Gateway NCO Club at Lackland AFB TX to plan the upcoming Basic Loadmaster Course (BLM) fundraiser scheduled for March 10, 2017.  The fundraiser will feature a bratwurst plate lunch.  An iPad Pro Air 2 will be raffled along with other items.  On February 17, 2017, Bill Weeper meet MSgt James Grove at the Career Enlisted Aviator Center of Excellence (CEA/CoE) and was introduced to the current 344th Squadron Commander LTC Kristin Hipps and CEA/CoE Commandant CMSgt James Hessick.  Bill Weeper described the Professional Loadmaster Association (PLA) and the Alamo Chapter to them and that the chapter has sponsored a CEA/CoE breakroom and a BLM classroom since 2012 when CMSgt Sharon Holloway was the Commandant.  The BLM fundraiser and Memorandum of Agreement for Alamo Chapter property in the CEA/CoE breakroom and BLM classroom were also discussed.  The Alamo Chapter would like to send good wishes to Hector Leyva (chapter Co-founder) after he recently moved to El Paso Texas.  Thanks for all the help you have provided to the chapter.  Andy Vaquera is our President/Treasurer, Jerry Zuniga is Vice President and David Molinar is our Secretary.  Andy Vaquera or David Molinar will send out notice for the upcoming meetings or events by email, text or telephone call.  If you have any questions, feel free to contact Andy Vaquera at (210) 559-7487, andyvaquera@sbcglobal.net or David Molinar at (210) 415-3735 damolinar@aol.com.

     

November 15, 2016

     Bill Weeper, Alamo Chapter Member - Buenos Dias from San Antonio and the Alamo Chapter.  The chapter monthly meetings will now rotate between the Texas Air Museum, the Basic Loadmaster School and the 68th Airlift Squadron in an effort make it easier for Loadmasters to attend our meetings.  The chapter will meet for breakfast at Nicha's Comida Mexicana, 3119 Roosevelt Avenue, San Antonio, Texas 78214, (210) 922-3330 on November 5, 2016 at 1100.  Following breakfast there will be a chapter meeting at the Texas Air Museum – Stinson Field Chapter at 1200 and John Tosh will be our host.  It is located 2.1 miles from Nicha’s on the Stinson Airport at 1234 99th Street, San Antonio Texas 78214, http://www.texasairmuseum.org, (210) 977-9885.  The chapter recently had a business meeting at the Basic Loadmaster School (BLM) on September 9, 2016 and meet with James Grove and discussed having future chapter meetings at the school, continuing sponsoring a classroom and breakroom, and upcoming fundraisers.  The Alamo Chapter continues to sponsor a BLM classroom at the Career Enlisted Aviator/Center of Excellence on Lackland AFB Texas.  The Alamo Chapter will be purchasing more picture frames and photographs displaying Loadmaster history and heroes in the sponsored classroom.  If you would like to help the Alamo Chapter with this classroom financially or materially, please contact Andy Vaquera.  Also discussed and finalized was the PLA business plan that was to be presented by Hector Leyva at the 2016 Gathering of Loads (GOL) convention.  Arrangements were made to have a chapter meeting and fundraiser sometime in January 2017.  The Alamo Chapter wants to congratulate the Trailblazer Chapter on a very successful GOL, our chapter knows how much work goes into putting on a convention like this and the dedication it takes from the chapter members to complete the event.  The Alamo Chapter had 11 members from the chapter in attendance.  Hector Leyva purchased note pad/pen sets for the chapter to handout as gifts during the convention.  Andy Vaquera is looking into having a chapter Christmas party in December and will let members know about the date, location and time.  Andy Vaquera is our President/Treasurer, Jerry Zuniga is Vice President and David Molinar is our Secretary.  Andy Vaquera or David Molinar will send out notice for the upcoming meetings or events by email, text or telephone call.  If you have any questions, feel free to contact Andy Vaquera at (210) 559-7487, andyvaquera@sbcglobal.net or David Molinar at (210) 415-3735 damolinar@aol.com.

 

July 13, 2016

     Buenos Dias from San Antonio and the Alamo Chapter.  The chapter has gone back to monthly meetings and they will be held again at the Texas Air Museum (the air conditioning is fixed) but the chapter will also be having a meeting once a quarter at the 68th Airlift Squadron.  To start off our monthly meetings, the Alamo Chapter had a meeting on April 2, 2016.  The location was in the Loadmaster Classroom at the 68th (Bravo 12) Airlift Squadron, 215 Galaxy Rd, (Building 828) on Kelly AFB, Texas and fourteen Loadmasters attended.  Elections were held and Andy Vaquera was reelected as President/Treasurer, Jerry Zuniga was elected as Vice President and David Molinar was reelected as Secretary.  Two new members were signed up: Freddie Kondoff (1 Yr.) and Jason Badder (1 Yr.) and renewals: Albert Campos (3 Yrs.), Edward Campos (1 Yr.) and David Molinar (1 Yr.).  The chapter discussed “The Loader” newsletter, the upcoming Gathering of Loads Convention in Oklahoma City OK, the new national website, the Alamo Chapter (open) facebook webpage, sponsorship of the Basic Loadmaster Course classroom and breakroom, future fundraisers, and Loadmaster awards.  The next meeting was held on June 4, 2016 at the Texas Air Museum.  Eight members attended.  It was very nice to be back at the Texas Air Museum with John Tosh as our host.  To highlight all that John has done for the chapter, he was finally presented with an inscribed C-130 window as a token of appreciation from the chapter.  A donation of $200.00 was given to John to help with the cost of the air conditioning repair.  The chapter also made a donation of $500.00 to the Troop Carrier/Tactical Airlift Association (TC/TAA) for the TC/TAA monument to be dedicated in 2018.  The chapter decided to sponsor (pay for their registration fee) four to six Loadmasters to attend the 2016 Gathering of Loads Convention in Oklahoma City OK.  It was brought to our attention that Thomas Stalvey had a new book out called “The Lucky Loadmaster II, The Wishes of Youth, the Wiles of War and the Realities of Life.”  The next scheduled meetings will be on July 9, 2016.  We will meet for breakfast at 1100 at Brown Bag Touch-N-Go @ Stinson Sandwich Shop, 8535 Mission Road San Antonio TX 78214.  We will go to the Texas Air Museum, 1234 99th St, San Antonio, TX 78214 and have our meeting at 1200.  We will try to meet at the 68th AS again on August 6, 2016.  Andy Vaquera or David Molinar will send out notice for the upcoming meetings by email, text or telephone call.  If you have any questions, feel free to contact Andy Vaquera at (210) 559-7487, andyvaquera@sbcglobal.net or David Molinar at (210) 415-3735 damolinar@aol.com.

 

April 7, 2016

    Buenos Dias from San Antonio and the Alamo Chapter.  The Alamo Chapter of the Professional Loadmaster Association (PLA) had a chapter meeting on April 2, 2016 at 1300.  The location was in the Loadmaster Classroom at the 68th (Bravo 12) Airlift Squadron, 215 Galaxy Rd, (Building 828) on Kelly AFB Texas.  The chapter discussed “The Loader” newsletter, the upcoming Gathering of Loads Convention in Oklahoma City OK, the new national website at: www.loadmasters.com, the Alamo Chapter (open) facebook webpage: https://www.facebook.com/Alamo-chapter-of-the-Professional-Loadmaster-Association-PLA-1523886031175487/?fref=ts, sponsorship of the Basic Loadmaster Course classroom and breakroom, future fundraisers activities, and Loadmaster awards.  The chapter is going back to monthly meetings and they will be held again at the Texas Air Museum (the air conditioning is fixed) but the chapter will also be having a meeting once a quarter at the 68th Airlift Squadron.  Elections were held and Andy Vaquera was reelected as President/Treasurer, Jerry Zuniga elected as Vice President and David Molinar reelected as Secretary.  Two new members were signed up: Freddie Kondoff (1 Yr.) and Jason Badder (1 Yr.) and renewals: Albert Campos (3 Years), Edward Campos (1 Yr.) and David Molinar (1 Yr.).  The next meeting will be June 4, 2016 at the Texas Air Museum.

 

March 1, 2016  

     Buenos Dias from San Antonio and the Alamo Chapter.  The Alamo Chapter has recently changed to quarterly meetings but this hasn’t worked out so well and we are considering going back to monthly meetings.  For the next Alamo Chapter meeting, David Molinar (Chapter Secretary) will confirm the meeting date/location via text message, US mail and/or email.  Andy Vaquera (Chapter President) is still looking for a permanent place to meet.  The Alamo Chapter continues to sponsor a Basic Loadmaster Course (BLM) classroom at the Career Enlisted Aviator/Center of Excellence (CEA/CoE) on Lackland AFB Texas.  If you would like to help the Alamo Chapter with this classroom financially or materially, please contact Andy Vaquera at (210) 559-7487, andyvaquera@sbcglobal.net or Hector Leyva at (210) 767-8160, Hectorl45@msn.com.

 

November 15, 2015

     Buenos Dias from San Antonio and the Alamo Chapter. The Alamo Chapter has recently changed to quarterly meetings.  Andy Vaquera (Chapter President) is still looking for a new place to meet.  For the next Alamo Chapter meeting, it looks like it will be held at the 68th AS (BRAVO 12 building) during their November 2015 Unit Training Assembly (UTA).  David Molinar (Chapter Secretary) will confirm that meeting date/location via text message, US mail and/or email.  The Alamo Chapter and 26th Aerial Port Squadron provided barbecue for the 68th  AS reunion that was held on October 3, 2015 at VFW Post 76 in San Antonio Texas.  Andy Vaquera was on the reunion committee and Ray Snedegar was the guest speaker at the event.  We would again like to thank John Tosh (Museum Director) for allowing us to meet at the Texas Air Museum during the past few years.  A presentation of an engraved C-130 window will be made to John at the November 2015 meeting at the 68th Airlift Squadron.  The Alamo Chapter continues to sponsor a Basic Loadmaster Course (BLM) classroom at the Career Enlisted Aviator/Center of Excellence (CEA/CoE) on Lackland AFB Texas.  The Alamo Chapter recently had a fundraiser at the CEA/CoE on August 28, 2015.  The chapter and Instructor Loadmasters from the BLM cooked 320 bratwursts and hotdogs, along with sauerkraut, baked beans, chips, and sodas.  The chapter would like to thank Andy Vaquera, Norma Vaquera, Hector  Leyva,  Jerry  Zunigas, Bill Weeper, Kathy Disney, Willie Jalomo, Mike Lopez, Don Sawyer and BLM Loadmaster Instructors.  An IPad was raffled, along with other prizes and two cheesecakes.  The fundraiser will enable the Alamo Chapter to purchase more picture frames and photographs displaying Loadmaster history and heroes in the sponsored classroom, and to send $500.00 to the Trailblazers Chapter to support the 2016  Gathering of Loads convention.  If you would like to help the Alamo Chapter with this classroom financially or materially, please contact Andy Vaquera at (210) 559-7487, andyvaquera@ sbcglobal.net or Hector Leyva at (210) 767-8160, Hectorl45@msn.com.

 

July 15, 2015  

     Buenos Dias from San Antonio and the Alamo Chapter.  The Alamo Chapter has recently changed to quarterly meetings.  Andy Vaquera is still looking for a new place to meet and will announce the next meeting location via text message and email.  The Alamo Chapter and the 26th Aerial Port will be providing BBQ for the 68th AS reunion being held on October 3, 2015 at VFW Post 76 in San Antonio Texas.  Andy Vaquera is on the reunion committee.  Ray Snedegar will be a guest speaker at the event.  The Alamo Chapter continues to sponsor a BLM classroom at the CEA/CoE on Lackland AFB Texas.  The Alamo Chapter will be purchasing more picture frames and photographs displaying Loadmaster history and heroes in the sponsored classroom.  If you would like to help the Alamo Chapter with this classroom financially or materially, please contact Andy Vaquera at (210) 559-7487, andyvaquera@sbcglobal.net or Hector Leyva at (210) 767-8160, Hectorl45@msn.com.

 

March 15, 2015 

     Buenos Dias from San Antonio and the Alamo Chapter.  The Alamo Chapter has recently changed to quarterly meetings with our first one being held on Thursday, November 6, 2014 at the Holiday Inn by Seaworld in San Antonio TX.  Andy Vaquera is looking for a new place to meet and will announce the next meeting location via text message and email.  We hope to have our next meeting at the 68th Airlift Squadron in early May 2015.  We would like to thank John Tosh (Museum Director) for allowing us to meet at the Texas Air Museum during the past few years.  The air-conditioning went out in our meeting room and it won’t be replaced in the immediate future.  A presentation of an engraved C-130 window will be made to John at the Texas Air Museum on March 28, 2015 at 11:00 am.  All chapter members are invited to come to the presentation and to personally thank John for helping our chapter.  The Alamo Chapter continues to sponsor a BLM classroom at the CEA/CoE on Lackland AFB Texas.  The Alamo Chapter will be purchasing more picture frames and photographs displaying Loadmaster history and heroes in the sponsored classroom.  If you would like to help the Alamo Chapter with this classroom financially or materially, please contact Andy Vaquera at (210) 559-7487, andyvaquera@sbcglobal.net or Hector Leyva at (210) 767-8160, Hectorl45@msn.com.  Chapters or individuals that are interested in sponsoring a classroom at the CEA/CoE and/or the BLM can contact CMSgt Eric Rigby, Commandant, CEA/CoE, 344th Training Squadron, Commercial: (210) 671-5945, eric.rigby@us.af.mil.

 

November 15, 2014  

     Buenos Dias from San Antonio and the Alamo Chapter.  Our chapter would like to congratulate two of our chapter members, the new National President; Kathy Disney and Central Vice President Rene (Red) Delarosa.  We wish them all the best of luck and we would like them to know they have our chapter’s support.  We would also like to thank past National President Ron Pierce for all that he has done for the Professional Loadmaster Association.  The Alamo Chapter recently held a fundraiser (bratwurst/hotdog plate and I-Pad raffle) at Career Enlisted Aviator Center of Excellence (CEA/CoE) - Basic Loadmaster School (BLM).  Thanks to Kathy Disney, Jose Basaldua, Don Sawyer, Hector Leyva, Bill Weeper, Primo and the rest of the Loadmasters that helped, we recruited four new members and raised enough money to send $500 to Kevin Butler at the Gateway chapter to assist in the hosting of the 2014 Gathering of Loads (GOL) in St. Louis MO.  Hector Leyva, Bill Weeper, Ray Snedegar and Randy Christian represented the Alamo Chapter at the 2014 GOL.  We would like to thank Kevin Butler for all the hard work that he and his team did to put together an excellent GOL.  The Alamo Chapter is going to quarterly meetings after our next meeting on Thursday, November 6, 2014.  It is going to be at the Holiday Inn/Northwest/Seaworld, 10135 State Highway 151, San Antonio TX at 5:30 pm.  The chapter is also looking for a new home.  The air-conditioning went out in our meeting room at the Texas Air Museum and it won’t be replaced in the immediate future.  We would like to thank John Tosh (Texas Air Museum Director) for allowing us to meet there during the past few years.  Andy Vaquera is looking for a permanent place to meet and will announce the location via text message and email.  The Alamo Chapter continues to sponsor a BLM classroom at the CEA/CoE on Lackland AFB Texas.  The Alamo Chapter will be purchasing more picture frames and photographs displaying Loadmaster history and heroes in the sponsored classroom.  If you would like to help the Alamo Chapter with this classroom financially or materially, please contact Andy Vaquera at (210) 559-7487, andyvaquera@sbcglobal.net or Hector Leyva at (210) 767-8160, Hectorl45@msn.com.  Chapters or individuals that are interested in sponsoring a classroom at the CEA/CoE and/or the BLM can contact CMSgt Eric Rigby, Commandant, CEA/CoE, 344th Training Squadron, Commercial: (210) 671-5945, eric.rigby@us.af.mil.  Also please keep CMSgt (Ret) Harold (Snake) Tilton in your prayers, he is in rehab and wish him well and a speedy recovery.

 

July 15, 2014  

     Buenos Dias from San Antonio and the Alamo Chapter - The Alamo Chapter has breakfast on the first Saturday of every month at 10:00 am.  We are currently having breakfast at Nicha's Comida Mexicana, 3119 Roosevelt Avenue, San Antonio, Texas 78214, (210) 922-3330.  Following breakfast at 11:00 am there will be a chapter meeting at the Texas Air Museum – Stinson Field Chapter.  It is located 2.1 miles from Nicha’s on the Stinson Airport at 1234 99th Street, San Antonio Texas 78214, http://www.texasairmuseum.org, (210) 977-9885.  Andy Vaquera (Alamo Chapter President) was selected by Ron Pierce as chairperson to head a nominating committee and obtain nominations for Professional Loadmaster Association (PLA) National President and 3 National Vice-President elections.  Andy put together a committee, made a plan of action, wrote letters, emails and personally contacted PLA Chapter Presidents and individuals running for elected office, received nominations, verified eligibility and ultimately produced a ballot for PLA members to vote on (see ballot in center section of this issue of “The Loader.”).  Andy and his committee spent their time trying to get PLA members the best candidates for the association’s highest offices, so please cast your vote.  The Alamo Chapter continues to keep busy recruiting and spreading the word about the PLA.  Andy Vaquera, Hector Leyva and Bill Weeper represented the chapter at the 433rd Airlift Wing “2014 Family Day” on May 3, 2014.  They set up a table with PLA applications, Alamo Chapter welcome packages and two display boards.  One display board describes what a Loadmaster is all about and also has photographs of what they do on different military aircraft.  The other display board described the PLA organization, showed a map of all of the chapters around the country and information about the Alamo Chapter.  The boards also had photographs of four Loadmaster heroes’ John Levitow, Charlie Shaub, Manson Grubbs and Ralph Bemis.  To round out the board, four photographs of the 2010 Gathering of Loads convention were displayed along with the PLA’s written history.  Hector Leyva, Alamo Chapter Co-founder, was the guest speaker at the June 5, 2014 Basic Loadmaster Course (BLM) graduation for Class 14024.   His presentation was about the airlift world history dealing with the WWII D-Day paratroop drops 70 years ago to the end of the Vietnam war and the 1972 Easter Offensive air drops at An Lộc South Vietnam, in which he participated.  He also covered the highs and lows of that time including considerable precious causalities and high aircraft combat damage.  The aircrews were awarded numerous medals that included the Air Force Cross, Silver Star, Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal and Purple Heart.  The highlight came at the end of 1972, when 2 airlift crews flew to Hanoi to begin the formal release of our POWs.  He closed his remarks to the class by suggesting they have passion for the job, pride of being a Loadmaster, seek the heritage of their squadron, and always doing their best because others have paid the ultimate price to give them that right.  The Alamo Chapter is sponsoring a BLM classroom at the Career Enlisted Aviator Center of Excellence (CEA/CoE) on Lackland AFB Texas.  On July 3, 2014 the Alamo Chapter had a barbeque fundraiser in the BLM hanger under the right wing of the C-130 Hercules.  The main purpose of the fundraiser was to raise funds to purchase more picture frames and photographs displaying Loadmaster history and heroes in the sponsored classroom.  The chapter offered a barbeque lunch plate, including bratwurst and hotdogs, chips, desert and drink.  An Apple I-Pad was raffled and chapter sold PLA and Alamo Chapter memorabilia at the event.  The Chapter would like to thank Kathy Disney and the instructors from multiple courses at the CEA/CoE for the help they provided before and during the fundraiser.  If you would like to help the Alamo Chapter with this classroom financially or materially, please contact Andy Vaquera at (210) 559-7487, andyvaquera@sbcglobal.net or Hector Leyva at (210) 767-8160, Hectorl45@msn.com.  Chapters or individuals that are interested in sponsoring a classroom at the CEA/CoE and/or the Basic Loadmaster Course can contact CMSgt Eric Rigby, Commandant, Career Enlisted Aviator CoE, 344th Training Squadron, Commercial: (210) 671-5945, eric.rigby@us.af.mil.

 

March 15, 2014 

     Buenos Dias from San Antonio and the Alamo Chapter - The Alamo Chapter has breakfast on the first Saturday of every month at 10:00 am.  We are currently having breakfast at Nicha's Comida Mexicana, 3119 Roosevelt Avenue, San Antonio, Texas 78214, (210) 922-3330.  Following breakfast at 11:00 am there will be a chapter meeting at the Texas Air Museum – Stinson Field Chapter.  It is located 2.1 miles from Nicha’s on the Stinson Airport at 1234 99th Street, San Antonio Texas 78214, http://www.texasairmuseum.org, (210) 977-9885.  The Alamo Chapter has been sponsoring a breakroom at the Career Enlisted Aviator Center of Excellence (CEA/CoE) on Lackland AFB Texas for all enlisted aircrew students and a classroom for the Basic Loadmaster Course (BLM).  If you would like to help the Alamo Chapter with these rooms financially or materially, please contact Andy Vaquera at (210) 559-7487, andyvaquera@sbcglobal.net or Hector Leyva at (210) 632-3257, Hectorl45@msn.com.  Chapters or individuals that are interested in sponsoring a classroom at the CEA/CoE and/or the Basic Loadmaster Course can contact CMSgt Eric Rigby, Commandant, Career Enlisted Aviator CoE, 344th Training Squadron, Commercial: (210) 671-5945, eric.rigby@us.af.mil.  Hector Leyva and his team have finished working on the PLA by-laws rewrite.  Hector and our Chapter hopes you will read the by-laws carefully and cast your vote to approve them.  Andy Vaquera (Alamo Chapter President) has been selected by Ron Pierce as chairperson to head a nominating committee to obtain nominations for all PLA Executive Committee positions to be elected for the current election term.  If you are interested in serving on the nominating committee please contact Andy at (210) 559-7487, andyvaquera@sbcglobal.net.  We would like to welcome our newest member Jerry Zuniga to the Alamo Chapter.  The Alamo Chapter met in February is planning another fundraiser at the CEA/CoE possibly within the next few months and to have a chapter meeting at the 68 Airlift Squadron Kelly AFB when a hard UTA is scheduled.

(October 15, 2013) Buenos Dias from San Antonio and the Alamo Chapter - The Alamo Chapter has breakfast on the first Saturday of every month at 10:00 am. We have changed our breakfast location to Nicha's Comida Mexicana, 3119 Roosevelt Avenue, San Antonio, Texas 78214, (210) 922-3330. Following breakfast at 11:00 am there will be a chapter meeting at the Texas Air Museum – Stinson Field Chapter. It is located on the Stinson Airport at 1234 99th Street, San Antonio Texas 78214, http://www.texasairmuseum.org, (210) 977-9885. The Alamo Chapter has been sponsoring a breakroom at the Career Enlisted Aviator Center of Excellence (CEA/CoE) on Lackland AFB Texas for all enlisted aircrew students and a classroom for the Basic Loadmaster Course (BLM). Additionally, the Alamo Chapter purchased and Andy Vaquera, Hector Leyva, Bill Weeper and Eddie Dunn installed a 55 inch flat panel television, where it was hung on the main wall of the breakroom. Bill Weeper provided over 1125 airlift aircraft, Professional Loadmaster Association (PLA) convention, PLA Monument Dedication and Loadmaster photographs on a flash drive and they play on the television for students to look at during their breaks. As time goes by the other enlisted aircrew career fields will have their photographs displayed. Four large 20 by 30 inch airlift related photographs were put on both sides of the wall next to the television. Two additional 20 X 30 inch photographs representing the Professional Loadmaster Association and the Troop Carrier/Tactical Airlift Association are the first two association displays to go up in the breakroom. The Inflight Refueling Association may be added in the very near future. For the BLM classroom we already have three 20 X 30 photographs featuring the PLA to put up on the walls. If you would like to help the Alamo Chapter with these rooms financially or materially, please contact Andy Vaquera at (210) 559-7487, andyvaquera@sbcglobal.net or Hector Leyva at (210) 632-3257, Hectorl45@msn.com. Chapters or individuals that are interested in sponsoring a classroom at the CEA/CoE and/or the Basic Loadmaster Course can contact CMSgt Eric Rigby, Commandant (and a Flight Engineer), Career Enlisted Aviator CoE, 344th Training Squadron, Commercial: (210) 671-5945, eric.rigby@us.af.mil. CMSgt Sharon Hollaway (a Loadmaster and Alamo chapter member) who had been the Commandant until recently has moved on to HQ AETC/A3RA, as the CEA Force Manager. The Alamo Chapter would like to pass on our thanks to CMSgt Hollaway for all the help she has given to the chapter over the past few years while she was the Commandant. Hector Leyva and his team have been busy working on the PLA by-laws rewrite. The by-laws were posted on the PLA website for the association to review and send comments back to Hector. Some adjustments were made and the by-laws were reposted. We would also like to welcome our newest member Manuel Pena and say goodbye to Robert Stockford who recently passed away. Robert was an active member of the Alamo Chapter until his health prevented him from attending our meetings. The Alamo Chapter is planning another fundraiser at the CEA/CoE possibly in the beginning of next year and to have a chapter meeting at the 68 Airlift Squadron Kelly AFB in the near future.

 

July 15, 2013 

     The Alamo Chapter had a barbeque fundraiser on April 5, 2013 at the CEA/CoE (under the wing of their C-130) to raise funds for the breakroom and classroom project. Andy Vaquera was the guest speaker and pinned wings on some of the Loadmaster students. Along with Andy and his wife Norma, Alamo Chapter members Joe Basaldua, Ray Silva, Hector Leyva, Pat Absher, Sharon Hollaway, Don Sawyer (who joined the PLA that day), Bill Weeper and Chris Dockery helped with the barbeque. Additionally the Alamo Chapter has purchased a 55 inch flat panel television and delivered it to the CEA/CoE, it will be hung on the main wall in the breakroom. Six large picture frames were donated by John Tosh (Texas Air Museum) and resized to fit 20” by 30” photographs, 4 of them will be put on the wall next to the television. The other 2 pictures and frames will be the start of an enlisted aviator association display. The Professional Loadmaster Association and the Troop Carrier/Tactical Airlift Association are the first two association displays to go up in the breakroom. If you would like to help the Alamo Chapter with these rooms financially or materially, please contact Andy Vaquera at (210) 559-7487, andyvaquera@sbcglobal.net or Hector Leyva at (210) 632-3257, Hectorl45@msn.com . Chapters or individuals that are interested in sponsoring a classroom at the Basic Loadmaster Course can contact CMSgt Sharon Hollaway, Commandant, Career Enlisted Aviator CoE, 344th Training Squadron, DSN: 473-8300 or Commercial: 210-671-8300, sharon.hollaway@us.af.mil.  

 

March 15, 2013 

     The Alamo Chapter sponsored the 68th Airlift Squadron 2012 reunion. Members of the 26th Aerial Port Squadron also attended. The chapter raised $236.00 during the reunion on October 13, 2012. The Alamo Chapter had a Christmas fund raiser at the Texas Land & Cattle Steak House - Dine & Donate on December 11, 2012 at 201 North Saint Mary’s in San Antonio Texas. 15% of the total cost from the dinner receipt went to the Alamo Chapter for every person who went to the event. The chapter cleared $94.00. David Scandalito (who has been instrumental in putting together our chapters fund raising golf tournaments) continues to contribute his time, energy to help the plight of a local school and teachers of underprivileged children. This past Christmas he purchased (out of his own pocket) numerous Christmas gifts for the children. If you wish to help David by contributing to these teachers and children, you can contact him at: David Scandalito, 891 Hiden Oaks, Bulverde TX 78163, dls891@aol.com , (830) 980-4416. The Alamo Chapter is sponsoring a breakroom at the Career Enlisted Aviator Center of Excellence (CEA/CoE) on Lackland AFB Texas for all enlisted aircrew students and a classroom for the Basic Loadmaster Course. Representatives from the chapter met with CMSgt Sharon Holloway the Commandant of CEA/CoE to discuss and plan what photographs and memorabilia the Alamo Chapter would provide for these rooms. The two rooms were painted mid December. The Alamo Chapter is having a barbeque fundraiser on the afternoon of April 5, 2013 to raise funds for the breakroom and classroom project. Any individual or chapter that is interested in sponsoring a classroom at the Basic Loadmaster Course can contact CMSgt Sharon Hollaway, Commandant, Career Enlisted Aviator CoE, 344th Training Squadron, DSN: 473-8300 or Commercial: 210-671-8300, sharon.hollaway@us.af.mil . If you would like to help the Alamo Chapter with these rooms financially or materially, please contact Andy Vaquera at (210) 559-7487, andyvaquera@sbcglobal.net or Hector Leyva at (210) 632-3257, Hectorl45@msn.com