Officers and Board Members


Chairman of the Board - George Dockery  Email
George Dockery is a retired USAF pilot whose troop carrier experience dates back to the late 1950s. He is heavily involved in airlift-related organizations, including the Airlift/Tanker Association of which he is an original member. George lives in Centennial, Colorado

Vice-Chairman - Carl Wyrick   Email
Carl Wyrick is a retired USAF pilot with wide experience in the troop carrier/tactical airlift mission.  He flew C-123s in Europe and at Pope, where he was a stan/eval pilot.  He flew the first C-123 transport to Southeast Asia as part of Project MULE TRAIN.  Carl moved into C-130s and remained in stan/eval.  He flew the lead C-130 in Operation POWER PACK, the aerial invasion of the Dominion Republic.  When the 776th TCS transferred to the Pacific, Carl went with it.  He transferred to 315th Air Division headquarters to assume the role of C-130E/B stan/eval and personal pilot for the commander.  The remainder of Carl's career was in tactical airlift and undergraduate pilot training.  He retired in Big Spring, Texas and until recently was president of a credit union.

President - Mike Welch  Email
Mike Welch is a retired USAF loadmaster who started out in supply in a C-124 squadron at Hickam then cross-trained to loadmaster and was assigned to the 3rd Aerial Port Squadron at Pope. He served with the 606th Special Operations Squadron at Nakonphanom, Thailand. He returned to Charleston AFB, SC and spent the rest of his career in C-141s in MAC. After retiring he joined the C-17 program at McDonnell Douglas aircraft and retired from Boeing in December 2014. Mike is heavily involved in both the Airlift/Tanker Association, the Professional Loadmasters Association and the 57th Alumini Association. He lives in Hermosa Beach, CA.

Vice-President - Bill Kehler Email
Bill Kehler is a retired USAF pilot who started out in troop carrier at Pope AFB, NC in the early 1960s with the 778th TCS.
His career carried him into AC-130 gunships and back into combat airlift. He retired at Little Rock and recently moved to North Little Rock, Arkansas.

Secretary - Sam McGowan     Email
Sam McGowan is a USAF loadmaster veteran. He served with the 35th and 779th Troop Carrier Squadron, and 29th and 773rd Tactical Airlift Squadrons. He lives in Missouri City, Texas just outside of Houston.

and Founder - Ralph Bemis   Email
Ralph Bemis is a retired USAF loadmaster. He served with the 347th Troop Carrier Squadron and the 29th, 50th, 61st and 62nd Tactical Airlift Squadrons. Ralph was a member of a C-130E crew that was shot down during the siege of An Loc and was immediately rescued. He holds the Silver Star. He lives in Kerrville, Texas.

Board Members
Board Member - Jim Elmer   Email
Jim Elmer is a retired USAF navigator whose troop carrier career goes back to the early 1960s. He served at Tachikawa, Sewart and Little Rock. Jim is heavily involved in veterans and military organizations, including the 815th TCS/TAS reunions. Jim lives near Little Rock.

Board Member - Jim Esbeck      Email
Jim is a retired USAF maintenance technician. He served with the 463rd Organizational Maintenance Squadron at Langley and the 51st Fighter Interceptor wing (attached to the 35th TCS) at Naha AB, Okinawa. He lives in Tucson, Arizona.

Board Member - Hector Leyva         Email
Hector Leyva is a retired USAF loadmaster. He served with the 62nd and 776th Tactical Airlift Squadrons and was on the first mission over An Loc in 1972. Hector lives in San Antonio, Texas

Board Member Andy Vaquera         Email
Andy is a retired USAF loadmaster. He served with the 8th Aerial Port Squadron and the 433rd Tactical Airlift Wing. He lives in San Antonio.

Board Member Don Hessenflow - Email
Don Hessenflow is a retired USAF public information officer who started out with the 464th Troop Carrier Wing at Pope AFB, NC in 1964. He now lives in San Antonio, Texas.

Board Member Tom Wark - Email
Tom Wark served as a loadmaster with the 778th TCS at Pope AFB, NC in the mid-1960s, and participated in the famous DRAGON ROUGE/RED DRAGON and  DRAGON NOIR/BLACK DRAGON hostage rescue missions in the Belgian Congo in 1964. After leaving the Air Force he became a professional pilot and is retired. Tom lives in Tavares, Florida.
n Hessenflow is a retired USAF public information officer. He started out

Alternate Board Members

Alternate Board Member Bill Goodall - Email
Bill Goodall served in aircraft maintenance with the 21st TAS at Naha AB, Okinawa with their classified E Flight. He lives in Tucson, Arizona.

Alternate Board Member Walt Dudow - Email
Walt Dudow is a retired USAF NCO with a background in aircraft maintenance.  He served two overseas tours at Naha AB, Okinawa during the Vietnam War.  Walt recently relocated to Round Rock, Texas from Connecticut.

Alternate Board Member Ricky Davidson - Email
Ricky Davidson is a retired USAF reserve officer.  His active duty service was as a pilot with the  39th Troop Carrier Squadron at Evreux AB, France.  After leaving the Air Force, he became an airline pilot but continued in the reserves where he flew C-141s.  Ricky lives in Colorado Springs.

Legal Advisor:

Ernie Gassiott -     Email
Ernie is a USAF pilot veteran. He served with the 778th Troop Carrier Squadron and the 50th and 345th Tactical Airlift Squadrons. Ernie was a participant in the airlift evacuation of Kham Duc. Ernie recently retired from the practice of law. He resides in Livingston, Texas.