Vance AFSA Chapter 990 -- a year in review

  • Published
  • By Senior Master Sgt. Robert Woodin
  • 71st Flying Training Wing Inspections superintendent
What a year for Chapter 990 of the Air Force Sergeants Association at Vance.

Every AFSA chapter is charged with ensuring folks know the importance of being a registered voter, the impact of effective letter writing campaigns, and just getting down in the weeds to recruit members. This chapter has done all of these, plus lead a full court press on meeting our wing's goal of "Developing Professional Airmen."

We started the year out by bringing the base voting representative out to educate and help folks get registered. At the same time, they established our chapter's recruiting, retention and transfer goal of 100 in 2013.

On Day One we were at 148 members. The team set milestones to meet goals throughout the year. They set itineraries to meet with folks we have never met before. We set out to educate our officers and family members on their eligibility to become part of this great organization.

They did an incredible job and today, right now, Chapter 990 has 248 members! Incredible. I am so proud to be part of this group.

Our legislative trustee led multiple letter-writing campaigns resulting in more than 250 letters sent to our representatives on issues like cost-of-living allowance, medical, retirement, pay and many others. These letters resulted in representatives personally returning messages and addressing issues.

"Developing Professional Airmen" is not only the wing's goal, but our chapter has taken it to an entirely new level.

Our chapter developed a Senior NCO Mentorship program that allowed nearly all our appointed positions to be filled by staff sergeants and below.

We are very involved in all aspects of our community, both on base and off. We led the 2013 Vance Enlisted Dining-Out Table of Honors Team, in cooperation with the Command Chief's Flag ceremony.

We threaded relationships with other private organizations ensuring no duplicate efforts and strengthening our opportunities. We teamed with the Top 3 with more than 50 folks to clean-up outside our gates and provided more than 40 personnel to be security and run Special Olympics events.

We teamed with the Rising 4 to plan and run two Enid community rummage sales with the proceeds going to the Oklahoma Tornado Relief Fund and Enlisted Dining-Out.

The chapter teamed with the Focus 5/6 group to have a Run-A-Thon with proceeds going to Boston bombing victims.

We are now leading a joint effort to support 24 veterans currently living at Greenbrier Village in Enid. Four visits with these veterans have put many things into perspective for chapter members and inspired volunteerism and dedication to our community.

Chapter 990 reinstituted a $100 AFSA Community College of the Air Force grant, created the AFSA Recruiter, Airman, Auxiliary Member and NCO of the Quarter Program and provides an AFSA annual membership to all 71st Flying Training Wing Airman of the Quarter and Year winners.

The chapter gives junior Airmen real opportunities to lead. A senior airman and airman first class were the leads for the first-ever Wing Masquerade Ball, Jan. 11. They led nine committees, selling almost 100 tickets for the event. Proceeds earned will go toward the Vance Annual Awards banquet and next year's AFSA international conference in Florida.

Each initiative mentioned throughout this commentary helped young airmen, junior NCOs and company grade officers step outside their comfort zone and lead.

Soon I will be leaving for my next assignment, but Chapter 990 will never be forgotten. It is one of the finest organizations I have ever been a part of. As I turn the reigns over to the new president, Senior Master Sgt. John Horton, and vice president, Master Sgt. Susan Yerman, I am confident they will continue where we left off.

Membership in AFSA is open to Air Force enlisted, both active duty and retired, family members, commissioned officers, Department of the Air Force civilians and Civil Air Patrol members.

For more about AFSA, visit their website,, or download the AFSA app for both iPhone and Android.

We cannot afford to sit around and wait to see what might happen. Help AFSA work for you.