Rotorheads Running History 2006-2009

Shortly after Thanksgiving 2005 Jerry Bucknall called Jim Moore and a connection that had been lost for a few years was re-established.  Both had been stationed with the 21st SOS at NKP in the 68-69 time frame and served together in Okinawa and at Hill AFB.

Jerry sent Jim some e-mail items that he had received from Bob Arnau one of the pilots in the 21st. This is Bob’s effort to keep some of the Dusty’s, as they were called, in touch with each other.

During the many emails between Jerry and Jim and attachments of Bob’s work the name of Jim Burns was seen as an addressee on one of the emails.

Around 1 Jan 2006 email connection with Jim Burns was established.  Jim was also a member of the 21st SOS at about the same time.

Jim Burns had the email address of Bill Crawford who was also in the 21st.  Bill was contacted around the middle of January.

Between the four, numerous emails were sent remembering and sharing stories from the past. Pictures were sent in emails as well as those that were on the OFOTO website for viewing. It was in one of photos that Bill recognized a picture of Bob Runninger who he knew from a previous assignment.  Bob and Jim Moore were in the 917th FTD in Saigon in the 1963 – 1964 timeframe.

Bob was then brought into the loop and the stories and pictures began to flood the emails.  Out of this came the idea to contact other Air Force helicopter folks we had known in the past and set up an email group to share stories and pictures.  Jim Burns suggested the group be called ROTORHEADS and it became the “official” name of the group.

It soon became evident that a method needed to be devised to somehow compile the great stories and pictures so the need to read the many emails would no longer be required.

In mid-March of 2006 a Blog was initiated.  The many stories were posted on the Blog and a link to the pictures on the OFOTO website was established within the Blog.  This allowed members to easily read the stories and view the pictures without having to deal with the many emails.  In this manner new members could readily see what was on the Blog and therefore didn’t require having all the previous emails sent to them.

Soon after the need for a method for retaining data which really didn’t have a logical fit within the Blog was required.  It was determined that the use of web site would provide the method to contain this data.  A web site was built containing various items of information such as names of members, biographies, and other related information.  A link to the web site was then placed on the Blog.

22blue_ezg_1

The Web Master also maintains a file of current members, their personal data, bios, and photos.  He forwards updated member information to all members as required.

A Statement of Purpose was written and distributed to all members on 11 April 2006.  This document establishes the purpose of the ROTORHEAD group.

As of 11 April 2006 there are 18 members in the group.  Some are not as active as others are due to various reasons.  The group is continuing to seek new members and encouraging members to provide their life experience stories as well as photos for sharing with the group.

On 19 April 2006 the Blog became an ideal place to post helicopter related trivia questions.  The idea being that the group members will read them, then answer them on the Blog in the comments section.  There are now 19 members in the group.

On 10 May 2006 a revised web site was created.  The web site now recognizes many of the accomplishments of the members and their family. The web site will continually be updated by Jim Moore as additional items of interest are received.  As of 10 May we have 21 members in our growing group.  We continue to look for additional members.  As of this date there are 49 posts to the Blog and there have been 739 visits to it. 

On 24 May 2006 it was decided to stop posting Trivia questions on the Blog since Blog postings have slowed, we didn’t want the Blog to be flooded with Trivia questions.  The Trivia questions are new emailed to the members.  We now have 22 members in our small group.  As of this date we have had 940 visits to the Blog, and increase of 200 during the past two weeks.  E-mail traffic among members have slowed since the warm weather (for the Northerners) has arrived and folks are doing other things.

On 21 June 2006 the last Trivia questions were sent out.  This practice was terminated due to minimal participation and increasing difficulty in coming up with helicopter related questions.  Visits to the Blog has reached 1066 so there are still plenty of folks checking out the Blog.  There hasn’t been many Blog posts recently.  Hopefully this will improve.  We are still seeking new members for our group.

On 4 July 2006 a notice was placed on the ROTORHEAD Members page stating that new members are wanted.  A link to the group email was posted with the notice.  We currently have 23 members and hope to expand on that number.  Visits to the Blog now stands at 1199. As interesting applicable links are discovered they are added to the Sites Of Interest page.

On 11 July 2006 several pages were added to the web site.  These pages reflect a remembrance for those of our helicopter family that were KIA/MIA and to honor those that became POWs during the war in SEA.  A page honoring ARRS and Special Operations Medal of Honor recipients has also been added. The number of visitors to the Blog continues to grow, it now stands at 1239.

On 17 July 2006 an Aviation Historian was added to the group.  Mr. Sid Nanson of the UK brings with him a wealth of aviation history that includes data and photos of USAF helicopters.  Sid is a Honorary Member of ROTORHEADS.

On 21 July 2006 “Significant Events” pages were added to the website. Selected Air Force helicopter items of historical interest have been placed on these pages. 

On 7 September 2006 we were contacted by Mr. Leon Wohlert inquiring about any pictures we may have of South Vietnamese helicopters or aircraft to post on his web site.  Leon is a Dutch citizen and lives in The Netherlands.  He maintains a web site on the South Vietnamese Air Force.  Fellow rotorhead Dick Kuenzli was able to provide several great color photos and along with some pictures from Don Cannon they were forwarded to Mr. Wohlert.  The pictures are from the 1963-1964 era when the USAF was at Tan Son Nhut Air Base, SVN training pilots and mechanics on the H-19 helicopter. The helicopters had been provided to the Vietnamese and had Vietnamese markings. The pictures sent to Mr. Wohlert may be viewed on his web site. 

30 September 2006. During the months of July, August, and September we gained four new members into our group.  We are continually seeking Air Force ROTORHEADS to join our group.

We continue to add to our website and Blog and have requested members to forward the links to their friends and contacts as a recruitment tool.

1 October 2006. The first issue of the ROTORHEADS Newsletter, “ROTORWASH”, was published.  A copy was emailed to all members and was posted on the web site.  It will be published quarterly with the first issue covering the July-September 2006 period.

9 October 2006.  During the first week of October several changes, updates and new pages were added to the website.  A link to the Blog was placed on the home page.  A link to an informational letter was placed on the member’s page.  Patriot Guard information was added in the Patriotism section.  One of our members rides with the Patriot Guard. 

A “Decorations” page was added where group members may post the circumstances of their various awards. 

Membership continues to grow; there are now 28 members in the group.

11 October 2006.  A ROTORHEADS “Scrap Book” page was added where pictures of members can be posted.  This page is primarily for when 2 or more members get together to reminisce about days gone by and capture the meeting in a photograph. 

A page about Air Force helicopters in the Korean War has also been added.

15 October 2006.  Vince DePeriso became the first “active duty” member of our group ofROTORHEADS.  Having Vince on board with us we can now state that members of our group have served continuously from 1951 through the current date.

24 October 2006. Joe Ballinger became the first “pilot” to join our group.  This brought the membership to a total of 36.

October 2006 was a good month for new members.  Nine new members joined up.

27 October 2006.  A personnel locator was incorporated into the web site.

29 October 2006.  In an effort to more accurately portray what the group is beginning to evolve to, A ROTORHEADS definition was written, the Statement of Purpose was revised and a Mission Statement and Vision was written.  These are located on the new page “About Us”.

A “comments” page was added where viewers of the Blog and web site are encouraged to provide comments in an effort to insure our site becomes the “site of choice” for Air Force helicopter matters.

1 November 2006.  A “What’s New as of date” tab was added to the top center of the “Home” page.  The date will indicate the last update to the website and/or Blog.  By clicking on the tab a page will open stating what pages were changed.

As of this date there have been 2,618 visits to the Blog.  It is become more apparent that the group is receiving more publicity due to the links added on the PaveLow and the Pedro sites.

14 November 2006. Ed Cartwright became the first HH-43B Fire Fighter to join the group bringing the membership to 38.  In the first part of December two other individuals joined the group and the membership stands at 40.

19 November 2006. It was determined that the various specialists, who may have supported various helicopter units, do not meet membership criteria. The ROTORHEADSdefinition was revised to reflect this.

4-15 December 2006.  Several members provided various patches and the images was placed on the web site along with appropriate recognition and related info if available.

18 December 2006.  Mr. Wayne Mutza became the group’s second Honorary Member.  Wayne is an Aviation Historian and has written numerous books, one of which is “Kaman H-43” an in-depth history of the H-43.

31 December 2006.  The first year of the ROTORHEADS has been a very productive one. We have 41 members, established a Blog (with 3,200 visits), a web site and have documented a significant amount of Air Force helicopter history.  With a dedicated effort by our membership we should be able to increase our membership significantly and continue to document the many stories/pictures/AF helicopter history that remains within the memories of our membership.

The second edition of our Newsletter was published.  Numerous favorable comments were received.

 22blue_ezg_1

2 January 2007.  Mr. Johan Ragay of The Netherlands joined our group as an Honorary Member serving as our H-43 Historian.

4 January 2007.  John Flourney was the first to join our group in 2007.

5 January 2007.  The group will consider posting non-member stories and/or pictures that are Air Force helicopter related.  When items are posted the submitter will be credited as a ROTORHEADS contributor.

5 January 2007.  Thanks to Don Damoth, the USAFHPA has a link to our web site from their great web site.

7 January 2007.  Thanks to Bill Junkins, the PRHA has a link to our web site from their outstanding web site.

7 January 2007.  A page was added as a subpage to the “Members” page.  It is a “Special Honorary Members” page that is a tribute to the ROTORHEADS wives that kept the home fires going.  The article is courtesy of Jim Burns.

13 January 2007.  We had the honor of having Ensley Sisk joining our group.  Ensley entered the Air Force in 1950 and served in Korea with the first H-19s to be sent there.

13 January 2007.  Initial steps began in an effort to design a R0T0RHEADS Logo. The intention is to take adequate time and ensure we design the most appropriate Logo that will accurately portray the group.  A well designed Logo will have many uses such as being placed on the various web sites that have the group linked along as a decal or sticker for appropriate display by members.  The primary use of the Logo will be for theROTORHEADS patch.

15 January 2007.  A guest book has been added to the web site.  The capability exists for controlling spam or other inappropriate comments.

16 January 2007.  Jim Burns has taken on the challenge of designing a ROTORHEADSLogo.  He is taking into consideration the comments and suggestions being received from several of the members.  Jim is working to instill the idea in everyone’s mind that we are not a Jolly Green, Green Hornet or Pedro group.  We are an all encompassing group, representative of all Air Force helicopters, a Air Force helicopter family.

17 January 2007.  Thanks to John Flournoy and Sandy Gonzalez the Air Rescue Association (ARA) has a link to our website from theirs.

23 January 2007.  Bill Lyster volunteered his services and capabilities to work on a 3 dimensional designing of the patch.

6 February 2007.  Kyron “K V” Hall became the 50th member of our group.

11 February 2007.  A “Final Flight” page was added to the website to honor and pay tribute to our deceased ROTORHEADS and friends of ROTORHEADS.

22 February 2007.  Fellow ROTORHEAD Chuck Severns departed on his final flight.

25 February 2007.  Membership criteria were established.  See the “About Us” page.

12 March 2007.  Our website has received the prestigious TLC Brotherhood Award of Excellence.

14 March 2007.  Added a disclaimer/privacy link to the home page on the web site.

15 March 2007.  The “official” name of the group and the website is now: USAF ROTORHEADS.  The website will be reviewed to insure the official name of the group is reflected.

25 March 2007.  Our website received The Beloz Award for website excellence.

26 March 2007.  Our website received the LZ Angel Award from LZ Angel and the“The Top 100 Website Award” from The Vietnam Experience.

30 March 2007.  Our website has been awarded the VMB-613 “Semper Fidelis” Award.

30 March 2007.  1st quarter 2007 Newsletter was published.

3 April 2007.  Began a trial program with a Blog to be utilized as a bulletin board for group members.  (Proved to be of little interest and the idea was abandoned)

3 April 2007.  The website was awarded the Angry Skipper award for excellence and honesty.

12 April 2007.  A complete review of the website has been accomplished to insure consistency in format throughout the website.

29 April 2007.  Four candidate Logo images were emailed to the membership for them to view and make a selection of the image they prefer.

The selected Logo was placed on the new “Front Page” to the website.

8 May 2007.  The selected Logo was provided to the embroidery shop for patch making purposes.

19 May 2007. The website was awarded the GOLD “Quartermaster of Excellence Award” and a very special “Thank You” graphic.

25 May 2007.  Received the “U S Wings Gold Site Award”.

30 June 2007.  The website is continuing to grow as we gain new members providing their experiences and pictures. With the increased visibility our website has a significant number of visitors each day.  We currently have 64 members, 4 of which are active duty, and 3 Honorary members.

We are honored to have some active duty folks join our group.  They are able to provide us with current Air Force stories and pictures.

2nd quarter 2007 Newsletter was published.

11 August 2007.  Our membership continues to grow and we now have 73 members, 4 of which are still on active along with 3 Honorary members.  Several members have been recruited after signing the Guest Book.  With new members we are able to document a significant amount of history on the Blog and Website.

Work on the patch continues as we have experienced numerous delays for a multitude of reasons.  A “first” patch has been produced, which we still want to tweak some.  With a little luck we feel we will have the final product soon.

4 September 2007.  Revised the group membership criteria to include members of other U. S. branches of service and Foreign Nationals that are or have been attached/ assigned to a Air Force helicopter organization. 

We included a category for those that meet “Full Membership” requirements and choose not to join USAF ROTORHEADS however they are willing to provide information/pictures to assist in achieving our goal.

25 September 2007.  Our website was awarded the Casper Aviation Platoon Organization (CAPO) Patriotic Excellence Award.

30 September 2007.  Third quarter 2007 Newsletter published.

8 October 2007.  After receiving input from the membership the criteria for Associate Membership was revised to read: Individuals who are agreeable to providing items and/or pictures that contribute to the USAF ROTORHEADS goal of documenting and preserving Air Force helicopter history may be considered for “Associate Membership”. All prospective Associate Members will be known and recommended by a current member to insure the prospect is willing to assist with achieving our primary goal.  Additionally “Associate Membership” may be considered for those that meet “Full Membership” criteria but prefer not to be a member and are willing to contribute to the USAF ROTORHEADS goal.

20 October 2007.  Our patches were received from the embroidery shop.  Jim Burns has designed a membership certificate.  A certificate and patch will be mailed to each member in the near future.

5 November 2007.  A patch and membership certificate has been mailed to each member.

10-19 November 2007. The website Guestbook for some unknown reason became corrupt and all data was lost.  After numerous attempts to recover failed a new Guestbook was placed on the website.

6 December 2007.  A Message Board was added to the website.

31 December 2007. The 4th quarter Newsletter was published.  During 2007 the membership was increased with 50 rotorheads signing on, a slight increase over the 2006 number of 41.  With a little effort we should do better in 2008.

 22blue_ezg_1

1 January 2008.  Dennis McLaughlin was the first to join our group in 2008.

29 January 2008.  There are approximately 360 pages of information and pictures documented on our website.  A considerable achievement taking into consideration the short time the website has been up and running.  A special thanks to all who have contributed and assisted with our reaching our goal.

3 February 2008.  Our website received the WCGowacki.com Web site Award.

8 February 2008.  Our website received the World Wide Web Awards™ “PatrioticAward.

19 February 2008.  Diane Revolinski became the first woman to join our group.  It is believed that Diane can claim to be the second woman in the helicopter career field to retire.  However she is believed to be the first woman to complete a 20-year career and being assigned to hands-on helicopter maintenance positions (flight line/phase docks) throughout her career.

24 February 2008.  Dave Comstock became our 100th member.

17 March 2008.  Our website received the Golden WebPage Excellence Award and Golden WebPage Patriot Award.

29 March 2008.  Received “My American Heroes” POW/MIA Remembrance Award and Excellent Patriotic Award.

1 April 2008.  Published 1st Qtr 08 Newsletter.

2 April 2008.  Web site won the Web Media Award for Excellence in Concept, Content and Customization.

27 April 2008.  Added an on-line member application process.

29 April 2008.  Linked individual members on the Member page to their respective biographies and member/spouse photo.

1 May 2008.  Fellow ROTORHEAD Edward “Ed” L. Gilliam departed on his final flight.

10 June 2008.  Fellow ROTORHEAD Kelly Douglas Day departed on his final flight.

11 June 2008.  Ruth Emanuel joined our group.  It is believed she is the first female to retire after completing a career in the helicopter Air Force Specialty Code (AFSC) (flightline/job control).

30 June 2008.  Published 2nd Qtr 2008 Newsletter.

3 September 2008.  Russ Hauser joined becoming our 150th member.

30 September 2008. Published 3rd Qtr 2008 Newsletter

31 December 2008.  Published 4th Qtr 2008 Newsletter.

The website has over 22,000 hits. 

Membership has grown to 169. The majority of our new members are utilizing the on-line application method.

 22blue_ezg_1

1 January 2009.  Cliff Skaggs became our first member of 2009.

9 March 2009. The website received the Golden Anchor Website Award for Patriotic Excellence.