Contents - Airlift/Tanker Association

Contents - Airlift/Tanker Association



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Great Lakes Chapter

At the invitation of the Great Lakes

Chaper, the A/TA Board of Officers’ summer

board meeting was held on 15 and 16

August at Selfridge ARB, Michigan, marking

the first time that A/TA Board met at an Air

Reserve Base – and the Chapter and Base put

on quite an event.

On Friday evening, the A/TA Board and

Great Lakes chapter executive committee

were hosted by Mr. Philip Handleman and

his wife Mary for an evening filled with

entertainment centered around vintage

aircraft, excellent food and great company.

After a lengthy bus excursion into the north

Oakland County countryside, we arrived

at their private airstrip known as the “Sky

Ranch,” which has been a bastion of aviation,

drawing as guests a wide swath of flyers

and flying enthusiasts including the Thunderbirds,

Blue Angels, and Golden Knights,

famed test pilots, astronauts, fighter aces,

and the neighborhood kids who have had

their first flights in Philip’s vintage Stearman


Philip has been an active pilot for 37

years, and through his award-winning public

television documentaries and his extensively

published photography, he has captured

the hearts of diverse audiences around

the world. His photos have graced the U.S.

postage stamps commemorating the 50th

anniversaries of the Air Force and the Air

Force Academy. He has written 20 highly acclaimed

aviation books and scores of magazine

articles spanning topics from air racing

to combat aircraft. As a tireless champion of

aeronautics, he successfully fought a landmark

case that defined the limits of municipal

control over airport flight activity. He

also fostered regulatory protections for users

of the airspace system in both Michigan

and the nation. His service on more than

30 civic and charitable boards has included

many years as a member of the Executive

Committee of the Selfridge Air National

Guard Base Community Council.

Philip is especially proud of having initiated

the legislative effort that resulted in

last year’s award of the Congressional Gold

Medal to the Tuskegee Airmen. In his artistry

and his myriad other ways, Philip upholds

and conveys the magic, the wonder,

and the spirit of flight.

The A/TA Board and Great Lakes Chapter

members all feel honored to have been

treated to a truly memorable evening.

On Saturday morning, prior to the Board

Inset photos: 1 The colonial style hangar at the Sky Ranch. 2 Host Phillip Handleman, world

renown aviation photographer and author, welcomes the A/TA Board of Officers to the Sky

Ranch. 3 General Kross (left), Chairman of the A/TA thanks hosts Pilliip and Mary Handleman

for their generous hospitality. 4 Vintage aircraft were parked all along the airstrip. Background

photo: Vintage aircraft fly close overhead as they depart the field at the end of the event. (A/TA

Photos by Collin Bakse).

meeting, BrigGen Michael “Pep” Peplinski,

commander of the 127th Wing and

Col Mike Thomas the 127th Air Refueling

Group commander, addressed the board

and explained how the Selfridge ARB is one

of the most diverse and unique military

installation in the U.S. The 127th Wing is

host to more than 20 tenant units representing

every branch of the military, the Coast

Guard, Border Patrol and the US Customs

and Border Protection Northern Air and

Marine Wing. The wing consists of 1,705

authorized personnel, operating both the F-

16C and C-130E aircraft, and supports the

requirements of Air Combat Command, Air

Mobility Command and Air Force Special

Operations Command. The base is named

for U.S. Army 1st Lt. Thomas E. Selfridge,

the first military aviator ever to die in an aircraft

accident during a flight. He was killed

after a crash landing on September 17, 1908,

while flying with Orville Wright.

Following the base’s senior leaders remarks

the Board held a very productive

meeting, paying special attention to the

planning of the Association’s upcoming

convention and symposium.

The Board extends a robust and sincere

“Thank You” to retired CMSgt Jim Wilton

for the invitation to hold a Board meeting

at Selfridge, Capt Joseph Winchester, the

Great Lakes Chapter president, for attending

to all the necessary accommodations for

the meeting, and to Capt Penny Carroll, the

127th Wing Chief of Public Affairs, for acting

as the POC for the meeting and assuring

that we all were where we were supposed to

be when we were supposed to be there.

A/TQ • Airlift/Tanker Quarterly • Fall 2008

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