What's New - President's Messages
President’s Message – April 29, 2019
Greetings, fellow AC-119ers, families and friends: Happy springtime to all! Spring is finally in bloom in NJ, and the warmer weather is welcome over the gloomy, short winter days. This message is a Newsletter FLASH, a Facebook post, and an upload to the Association’s website. I feel it’s important to have the REUNION XX REGISTRATION Launch for Salt Lake City be a “focused” announcement. I know many of you wondered if you missed the announcements – nope, but the time is here. Beyond this, I will work with Editor Don Luke to send a full-featured Firing Circle soon.
Registration is live on-line!! After LOTs of work, we’re ready, and the Reunion information flyer provides EVERYTHING you need to know, plus we tweaked our website to make the process as easy as possible for you. The flyer certainly should be printed as a hard copy, for you to have as a handy reference. Wayne Laessig and our Webmaster Liz Buss have my utmost gratitude for putting in the time and effort to get it done. There were many unforeseen delays that resulted in a process that took much longer than imagined. Next year it shall be much quicker. I encourage you to go to https://www.ac119gunships.com/reunion/upcoming-reunion/ and carefully read all about the activities associated with our Reunion in Salt Lake City.
LET’S CELEBRATE: Reunion Coordinator Chuck Williams is giving us a grand event, something special to celebrate our Association’s 20th Anniversary Reunion, and our 50 years of special “brotherhood” as AC-119ers. This dual anniversary will never happen again. What I hear as I meet and talk with you, and what I see on Facebook, is that you love the bonds that we formed and the brotherhood we share. So, let’s reunite in SLC, and make this reunion something special! I am sure it will be. The venue hosted by the Little America Hotel is properly elegant for our anniversary reunion. The fresh food is prepared on the spot for us, the hotel amenities are the best, the hootch is very large and well arranged, and the hotel staff will be doing all the leg work for refreshment resupply missions. It will be a pleasure to be more “catered to.”
Publicity: Time to spread the word and gather together as many of us as possible in SLC. Board members Cash McCall and Jim Dunn sent out the reunion announcements to a dozen military related publications. Also, Chuck Williams has a very well formatted “publicity” news release that he will use throughout his military contacts, and with local outlets. Nevertheless, we (you and me) can also reach out to our buddies, former hootch and crew mates, and our AC-119 email contact lists, and make this Reunion special.
President’s thoughts regarding local social tours: The Association embraced having a “tour coordinator” create this additional reunion activity to make the reunion more interesting to everyone. It is very effective, with past reunion tours well attended and well liked. Andrea Drzyzga accepted the challenge again this year. She began at the end of February. Without venting here all the details, we faced a huge communications breakdown on three fronts. The result was that on April 15, after 6 weeks of effort, the tour for Thursday night that I have been writing about–to attend the Tabernacle Choir rehearsal at Temple Square–was CLOSED to the public. An apology came with an explanation that they were locking down to assure the security of their Church’s President visit. Therefore, without delaying the reunion registration launch any longer, we now plan on only one formal tour: a great Sunday bus trip to historic Main Street, Park City, UT. PLEASE check out the Tour flyer linked on the website reunion page. There is also much to see and do in Salt Lake City, beyond “hootch time” and our routine formal events, some of which is discussed in the reunion flyer.
Looking ahead: The Association’s Board members engage in monthly teleconferences, discussing and brainstorming current events and the future. One thing ahead is a super reunion XXI in November 2010 in Fort Walton Beach, FL. Gus Sininger indicated that our legacy USAF units at Hurlburt, the 18th FTS and 73rd SOS Shadows, are eager to have us visit. Also ahead, for me, is the end of my third year as President. As the Association’s by-laws allow, I intend to relieve Larry “Doc” Fletcher from the “Past Presidents” position, and I will start working now with the Board to seek a qualified new President for 2020. With your support, we will keep the AC-119 Gunship Association vibrant and moving forward.
“With sails unfurled,”
Mike Drzyzga, President 2016-2019
President’s Message – March, 2019. Greetings fellow Gunshippers. Hope this finds you all well.
All is well as the AC-119 Gunship Association navigates its way through 2019. Your Board is fully engaged with a few projects, most importantly finalizing plans for our Salt Lake City Reunion in Sept. This, our 20th anniversary reunion, is expected to be more elegant, in a beautiful facility, the Little American Hotel. The Board has embarked on a plan to obtain donations and sponsorships in order to keep the costs as low as possible for attendees, to allow us to continue to offer incentives for our special families to attend, and to continue to support the Association’s primary mission. We are offering an opportunity for anyone to help out. Follow this link to learn more: Become an AC-119 Gunship Association Sponsor.
Keep scanning for an April Firing Circle Newsletter. It will be published with any and all updated information, plus new news. There will be info regarding some events with our active legacy squadrons, and info about the need for veterans to push into the VA’s benefit programs, including getting on the national database Agent Orange registration.
I am pleased to say that our Facebook membership continues to increase. Many “lost” fellow AC-119ers and family are appearing and sharing. Thanks again to the FB team for keeping it active.
See you all in Salt Lake City…..Until next time…
Mike Drzyzga, President 2016-2019
President’s Message – February 20, 2019. Greetings, fellow AC-119ers.
As expected, your Board of Directors is working diligently to tweak-up plans for the Salt Lake City, UT reunion, Sept. 3–8, 2019. We are meeting monthly by teleconference and tackling issues as they arise. Reunion Coordinator Chuck Williams is planning for a special event to recognize our 20th anniversary reunion, and wow…..50 years of brotherhood. I am expecting Reunion XX in SLC to be awesome.
The previous Firing Circle did not have many reunion details, so we are blasting out a FLASH message to provide a lot more information. I am sure many of you are waiting for the registration process to go on-line. We are finalizing a few critical components before we can. (1) We have secured an Associate Member of the Association, who helped with tours in the past, to help with making tour arranges for this year, and (2) the IT team, headed by Wayne Laessig and new webmaster Liz Buss, have to first update a few of our web site “service modules” before we can get the registration page up and running. This is an internet issue that many well-established web sites are experiencing.
Chuck is asking for a number of volunteers at the reunion to: (1) help with organizing the Sat. night auctions, (2) welcome and sign-in attendees at the hotel registration desk, and (3) “watch-over” the Hootch if/when any Association Board members may not be present. We will have sign-up sheets available for those who are willing and able to help.
In closing, I cannot help but let “some cats out of the bag.” The next full Firing Circle will have information about Larry “Doc” Fletcher’s “Association History Project,” and an outstanding return-on-investment with an outreach effort by Everett Sprous (Membership Coordinator) and new member Roy Davis. (We are in contact with many new or “lost” AC-119ers.)
“Chance favors the prepared mind.”
Mike Drzyzga, President 2016–2019
President’s Message – January 2019. Happy New Year! The New Year is starting off well for the Association. The Board of Directors is very active, using teleconference meetings combined with lots of email traffic, to keep the “pipper” on our Association business targets. We are fortunate to have a hard-working and dedicated bunch of former gunshippers to help keep us moving forward. The Association website improvements are being implemented by Wayne Laessig with the assistance of a new “volunteer” IT support specialist, Liz Buss. Of special importance, the website updates are crucial to get the reunion registrations page ready.
PLEASE make the time to visit our Web site, www.ac119gunships.com, and look at the wealth of information, as well as the Quartermaster page. Our Salt Lake City Reunion Coordinator, Chuck Williams, is busy moving forward with plans for a super Reunion XX, in Utah. We are also fortunate to have your leadership team enhanced with Don Luke, the Newsletter Editor. He published the November Firing Circle – very well done! A January Firing Circle is forthcoming and will have lots of updated information and more details for you.
Now, my shout-out for our Facebook team. There is a lot of valuable info being shared on Facebook. It is probably not appropriate to single out any one thing in particular. However, I will do so. Former Shadow Maintainer Jim Alvis did an entire series of Facebook posts describing the days of his Shadow ferry experience from St. Augustine, FL (where the “slicks” were converted into AC’s) to Nha Trang on the 50th Anniversary of the flights, very cool. I understand that there is a lot of junk (to put it mildly) on social media websites, but “OUR” Facebook page is very well managed!
Wishing “yous-guys” a great 2019. See ya in Salt Lake City in September.
Mike Drzyzga, President 2016–2019