Foundation Participation at ATA Conference a Success!
The Airman Heritage Foundation (AHF) Outreach Program supported a request from Commander, Air Mobility Command, Scott Air Force Base, Gen. Minihan to contribute to his keynote address during the Airlift/Tanker Association (ATA) Conference in Grapevine, Texas in November 2023. His goal was to honor a list of people from AMC’s history by putting current Airmen in historical Air Force uniforms to represent heroes of the past, from WWI Aero Squadrons through more recent SWA conflicts. On five synced jumbo screens, historical footage of their stories were interspersed with closeups of our volunteers of current Airmen in historical uniforms.
The Airman Heritage Museum (AHM) and AHF jumped into action to nail down appropriate combat uniforms worn along with matching sizes in a compressed time frame. Dave Shultz, AHF outreach program manager, shares “This request proved to be a real challenge as matching specific combat uniforms from each era required extensive research to create the uniforms worn by respective individuals being recognized along with the proper accoutrements.”
The AHF would like to express our gratitude to the assistance of Fernando Cortez, AHM curator, whose expertise proved invaluable. Thanks to the teamwork of the AHF and AHM, the “wardrobe” was assembled in record time, using primarily uniforms from AHF’s Heritage Collection and a reproduction WWI uniform from the museum. He also loaded the cargo van from the base motor pool and drove it there and back. “These types of events force us as professionals to dig through Air Force history and not only ascertain which uniforms were being worn in combat, but the stories of each of these individuals as well, which were amazing,” Cortez remarked.
Maj. Justin Lewis, Commander/Conductor of the AMC Band of Mid-America, was tasked with “orchestrating” this presentation and took care of our team as soon as they arrived. “These guys were really focused on the mission at-hand and had everything ready to go in no time flat,” he mentioned. “I was thoroughly impressed with their dedication to the cause, attention to detail, and efficiency in putting all these uniforms together along with the proper collar brass, accessories, and the flight gear that went with them.”
The show was a complete success with major accolades from Gen. Minihan who coined everyone on the team. The Outreach Program once again came through in the clutch, performing the primary mission of the AHF to preserve USAF history, enlightening our current force regarding Air Force history, and honoring our proud veterans. “This was a stellar finish to another busy year,” said Shultz. “Next year is already shaping up to keep us quite engaged!”