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Local voice of ATA

by Lt. Col. John Kafer
Commander, 91st Air Refueling Squadron
photo by 1st Lt. Michal Kloeffler/span>
A C-17 cargo jet on its way to the Airlift/Tanker Association national convention receives fuel from a tanker stationed at Macdill.

Approximately 50 members of Team MacDill's Airlift Tanker Association (ATA) traveled to Anaheim, Calif. to join 2800 other mobility professionals for ATA's 35th annual convention. The ATA is not a lobbying organization, but rather an organization that brings the whole team of active duty, guard, reserve, and civilians together to promote the advancement of air mobility and better understand air mobility's amazing contribution to national security.

The convention provides an awesome opportunity for professional development of socializing among mobility experts. Secretary of the Air Force, Dr. James G. Roche, opened the convention as one of seven keynote speakers that also included the Chief of Staff of the Air Force, General John P. Jumper; Chief of Staff of the Army, General Peter J. Schoomaker; and USTRANCOM Commander/Commander Air Mobility Command, General John W. Handy. Secretary Roche summarized the impressive Air Mobility contributions to the Global War on Terror including Operations NOBLE EAGLE protecting our homeland, ENDURING FREEDOM in Afghanistan, and the ongoing Operation IRAQI FREEDOM.

He then discussed the need to recapitalize our aging aircraft fleet including the replacement of the KC-135. Secretary Roche reiterated his theme on the importance of air refueling in modern warfare by passing along the motto "no tankers, no warfare!" used to promote the need for a KC-767.

The convention provided an opportunity to renew old friendships among the 2800 attendees from around the globe as well as enhance understanding of issues affecting air mobility today. Participants had the opportunity for personal interaction with defense contractors and their outstanding displays as well as their choice from among 34 various seminars ranging from the future KC-767, to lessons learned from recent operations, to informative personnel updates.

As a follow-up to the annual ATA convention, our local Tony Jannus chapter of ATA will resume periodic meetings in the near future. The chapter focuses on professional development opportunities and social interaction to promote better understanding of air mobility and its impact on national security. Chapter president, Lt. Col. Keith Kreeger will announce times and locations through the base paper.




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