USAF Helicopter Pilot Association

Reunion 2006

Reunion #13 - September 19-22, 2006,
Shades of Green, Disney World, FL


his Reunion is in the Books. 238 attendees came to the “Shades of Green” on the Disney World property. The committee members from the Florida area spent most of the previous year on the beaches blowing hot air towards the East. It worked. There was never a hint of a Hurricane threatening the Reunion Activities.

Highlights of this reunion were the attractiveness of the facility, the friendliness of the staff, the History Documents presented by KV Hall, the first time we had 40 golfers, the Banquet Talk by former Astronaut Fred Gregory, the presentation by the 301 Rescue Squadron from Patrick AFB, the lively Business meeting and last but not least ALL the ATTENDEES who made it the success it was. It’s always heartening to see so many folks volunteer to help in any way they could from Registration to tending the bar, to cleaning up the area at night’s closing, to taking photos and just helping others.

I know I can speak for all the Orlando Committee when I say thank you all for coming and we look forward to seeing you all and many more of you who missed this one when we gather again for #14 in San Antonio in 2008.


Ah what a grand event it was!!

When we finally found the Shades Of Green, we found beautiful grounds, an attractive resort, and a large roomy hospitality room. Of course the important thing was the old friends we had been waiting for a year to see again. Updates and war stories were the rule of the day. A few old friends arrived on Monday, and of course that required a meeting for snacks and brews at the Evergreen Sports Bar.


KV provided an interesting series of helicopter pictures he has collected over the years on a laptop screen, and displayed many historical documents and photos on his display table. Dick Van Allen showed helicopter videos on a large screen TV. And of course the well stocked bar saw lots of action with volunteer bartenders serving up the drinks.

Come Wednesday evening many of us boarded buses to take in Dolly Parton's Dixie Stampede . While we watched a rider perform a jump through a ring of flames while riding on the top of two horses, we devoured a whole chicken using our fingers.

Thursday some of us boarded buses for a tour of the Kennedy Space Center. USAFHPA member Armand Fiola, who works for Disney and leads tours to the Space Center, provided many interesting descriptions of what we were seeing. Former Astronaut Fred Gregory accompanied us on the trip and answered questions from the other passengers. We were quite fortunate to see the Shuttle Atlantis which had landed six hours earlier as they moved it into the rehab hangar.



Another group went to the Palms Golf Course for the Golf Tournament headed up by Bill Waters, Golf Guru on the reunion committee.

Friday morning the members gathered for the business meeting. Chairman Bob Putlock introduced and thanked each of the reunion committee members and described their contributions. He described how the committee had taken over the USAFHPA web site and developed it to provide improved communications for the association members. By posting the newsletters on the web site and notifying 400 out of 550 members by email, we saved money and time, while providing the information virtually instantly. KV, Don, and Bob Strout have posted excellent web pages depicting the history of several of the large helicopter squadrons from the 50's and 60's. Our aim is to preserve the heroic feats of USAF helicopter pilots before it is too late.


After the formalities, Lt. Col. Rob Ament, Director of Operations of the 301st Combat Search and Rescue Squadron, provided an interesting view of the modern Combat Search and Rescue unit, and described the systems designed to protect the H-60 Pavehawk from enemy fire. He reviewed some of the missions in Iraq and Afghanistan, and acquainted us with the herculean efforts following Hurricane Katrina. He outlined the units responsibility for support of NASA and Counter Drug Missions.

Sam Houston Deviney proposed that the next reunion be held in San Antonio in the spring of 2008. Al, Pepper Marcum, Larry Burke, John Eliff, and Bob Strout volunteered to put it on. The members unanimously approved the site.

During the Business Meeting a number of the wives joined for a lively game of bridge.

Friday evening we dressed up and posed for our memory book photos, and assembled for the dinner. Reunion Chairman Bob Putlock thanked everyone for their assistance with registration and the hospitality room. Yvonne and Chuck Rohr were key volunteers during registration, assisted by the Lamoreaux's, Mary Ann Putlock, Mary Lou Damoth, and Harriet Van Allen.

The presentation of the Flag was performed by the USAF ROTC Cadets from the University of Central Florida. A young lady Cadet conducted the MIA presentation, explaining the meaning of the items on the missing person table set up as a reminder to present of the sacrifice of former service members. Mary Ann Putlock prepared the table for the presentation.

Former Astronaut on three Shuttle flights and Assistant Director of NASA, Fred Gregory, was the speaker for the evening. Fred, who served in Viet Nam as an H-43 pilot, talked about his early career flying the H-43 and the great friendships he had developed. He then gave a vivid description of the feeling of space and the total blackness. He cited a lack of chaos, and noted that the universe and earth are orderly. The land, water, and sky together. In the early days of the flight the different nationalities noted the view of their home town, then later the view of the country, but then they all viewed the earth "the Blue Marble" as their home. Countries become Neighbors because of the time to get there being minutes. Fred said that his favorite part of the flight was always “Wheels Stop”. In his closing remarks he cautioned that the US is in trouble because of complacency. He pin pointed one of the main problems as being the lack of math and science graduates to keep us technologically ahead of other contries. The US is no longer viewed as the world leader. He cited examples such as the Presidential helicopter will soon be manufactured by a European aerospace company, the military service handgun is European made, and that foreign made cars are in many of our garages. He noted the lack of competitors for Airliners in the world, with only one US company, Boeing, bidding against the European company Aerobus. To get things done countries now go to Russia, China, and India, including for space flight. He mentioned that the historical life of a democracy is only 200 years, and discussed where we stand in this time sequence. He said that only we can change the direction the country is heading.




Bob thanked Larry Burke, Jim Eliff, Pepper Marcum, and “Sam Houston” Al Deviney for volunteering to host the next reunion in San Antonio in 2008.

Bob Strout introduced and gave a description of the career of Ed Stevens, the oldest USAF helicopter pilot, who was accompanied by two sons and grandson. Some of his feats can be viewed under the "Claims to Fame" page on our web site.

Music during the evening was presented by Bob Putlock's son in law with a computer controlled player. He graciously took the assignment after the contracted DJ suddenly canceled his engagement a week earlier.



To top it all off, the musical group the Whirlybird Diamonds presented a hysterical show that had the crowd laughing, cheering, and rocking with the music. (Bill Uhl, Jerry Fleming, Grant Mackie, and Bob Putlock) It is noted that the same group, plus one member, presented a similar show 40 years ago at Sheppard.

What a fantastic reunion, thank you everyone.


Palm Course  -  Shades of Green
Thursday  -  November 21, 2006

 Forty players signed to play. However, one player was delayed by weather, and the another  was on duty at Kennedy Space Center for the Shuttle landing.  All in all, the  “WHIRLY BIRD SCRAMBLE” went well considering the course conditions and “cart  path only” rule.


   First - Jerry Fleming, Jerry Haynes, Dick Van Allen, Bill Waters
 (Play-Off) Second -  Tom Romph, Mike Scannell, Tank Sherman.(Ed Taff)
   Third - Larry Burke, Roger Gibson, Ken Gurley, Syd Gurley

   HOLE # 3 - Tank Sherman
    HOLE # 8 - Mike Scannell
    HOLE # 12 - Jerry Fleming
    HOLE # 16 - Bob Putlock

There were eight teams entered in the SKINS Game. And there were 13 “birdies” made. One (1) team won all the “skins” with the only bird on Hole # 8 of the participating teams. Winning Team : Don Berger, Harry Dunn, Dick Richter, Bill Sennett

 Looking forward to the next golf tournament in San Antonio – 2008.

 In the Short Grass...... Bill


From the Historian: Thanks to all the folks that offered information, stories, pictures, etc, at Orlando. This is what really helps us with the History and the USAFHPA website. I'm really glad you enjoyed the things we had on display at the Reunion. Dust off the boxes in the closet or garage and keep your stuff coming. We really appreciate your help.

Mail info to KV at: 46 Eden Acres Lane, Great Falls, MT, 59405 or email to Historian .


Thanks to everyone who attended the Orlando Reunion. I do believe a good time was had by all!

Review of the roster shows 322 members have paid their dues into 2007 and beyond, 115 are current for this year, and 131 are delinquent.

The General Membership voted to add a Life category to our membership classifications. Those who have reached 85 years of age can apply to the chairman for Life Membership. Dues are waived for Life Members. In addition, those who have not quite reached 85 can apply for Life Membership by paying the yearly dues ($10) ahead for each year until they will reach 85. For example, an 80 year old member can become a Life Member by paying $50 dollars.