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The Troop Carrier/Tactical Airlift Association is an outgrowth of the Troop Carrier Homecoming that was held at the Victorian Hotel in Galveston, Texas over Veterans Day Weekend in 2005. Organized by troop carrier/tactical airlift veterans Lt. Col. Robert Ruffin and Sam McGowan, the homecoming attracted approximately 55 veterans and their spouses and guests. The first Galveston event started out to be a reunion of C-130 veterans, then progressed to include all TAC troop carrier veterans and finally to include all troop carrier/tactical airlift veterans from World War II through Vietnam. Although the predominent group represented were those who had been associated with C-130s in Southeast Asia, several C-47, C-54, C-119, C-123 and C-124 veterans were also present. When the group met on Saturday morning for an auction, Ace Bowman suggested we form an association for everyone who was ever in troop carrier, an idea that was already in the back of many people's minds. Unlike other military missions such as air commandos, fighters or even strategic airlift, no organization had ever been formed to perpetuate the heritage of the troop carrier mission. There was such an organization for a time for World War II troop carrier veterans but they never sought to expand into those who followed them and the organization eventually faded away as the membership passed away or became too frail to participate. As planning for a second Galveston event got underway, Bill Cannon, who founded the Professional Loadmasters Association and is a past president of the Airlift/Tanker Association, recommended that we incorporate as a not-for-profit organization. Ernie Gassiott, a former C-130 pilot who is a practicing attorney in Woodville, Texas, volunteered to draw up and submit the paperwork for incorporation. Bob Ruffin, Sam McGowan and Tony Girtman were put on the charter as founders, with Sam McGowan as the executor. Bob Ruffin had been performing the duties of treasurer. The Association was chartered by the State of Texas in June 26, 2006. After the paperwork was submitted, Bob Ruffin was forced to withdraw from the role of treasurer due to family health issues and he was replaced by Ralph Bemis. Planning continued for the 2006 Troop Carrier/Tactical Airlift Homecoming in Galveston under the sponsorship of the new organization.

A meeting of the founders - less Bob Ruffin who was unable to attend - was held in Galveston during the 2006 homecoming. The requirements for filing for Federal Tax Exempton were discussed. A slate of officers and board members was presented to those present at the reunion  at the banquet
later that evening. Plans were made for the first official members meeting to be held the following year at Galveston at which an official set of by-laws would be adopted and plans would be made for future growth. Paperwork was submitted to the IRS for recognition as a 501C (19) veterans organization and the Association was recognized retroactive to June 26, 2006 when the organization was chartered. Since the majority of the membership is made up of veterans of World War II, Korea and Vietnam, the Association was granted status as a charitable organization of wartime veterans, thus allowing full tax deductions of all contributions. The 2007 meeting was cancelled due to unforeseen circumstances and a board meeting was held on February 2, 2008 at the Hilton Hotel in Clear Lake, Texas at which the proposed by-laws were officially adopted.

The Association has grown to over 150 dues-paying members and is continually increasing in size as word is spread among the troop carrier/tactical airlift community. The Association newsletter, The Airlifter, is published four times a year for electronic distributorship to the membership, with paper copies for those who do not have Email. The first official association convention was held in San Antonio, Texas on November 6-9, 2008. Subsequent conventions were held in Galveston in 2010, Warner Robins, Georgia in 2012, Tucson, Arizona in 2014, and Little Rock, Arkansas in 2016. Conventions are currently held on a biannual basis, with the 2018 convention to be held in Dayton/Fairborn, Ohio. 

All donations to the TC/TAA are fully tax deductible. Send donations to our treasurer, Ralph Bemis, 248 Valley View Dr., Kerrville TX 78028.


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Last updated October 5, 2016