Northwest Military Blogs: McChord Flightline Chatter

Posts made in: January, 2010 (12) Currently Viewing: 11 - 12 of 12

January 29, 2010 at 10:30am

AMC commander brings good news, praise

Gen. Raymond Johns Jr., Air Mobility Command commander, visited McChord this week on his first official visit as the new AMC commander. 

Johns was previously assigned to McChord as the 62nd Airlift Wing commander from 1998 to 2000. 

Among meeting with various units on base and flying with an aircrew, Johns also announced during a commander's call that AMC has provided McChord with $675,000 to upgrade the fitness center annex with an indoor running track, larger locker rooms and electric system upgrades. The construction is projected to be completed near Labor Day. 

Johns also recognized retiring long-time federal employee, William "Pappa J" Johnson, 62nd Force Support Squadron athletic director. The Fitness Center upgrade was the last in a long series of Johnson's efforts to improve McChord health and wellness programs and facilities. 

Johns also recognized Cheryl Vollmer, director of the Airman and Family Readiness Center, who retires this week after 22 years at McChord and 32 years of federal service. Vollmer is responsible for growing the Airman and Family Readiness Center from two employees in 1988 to 11 in 2010, initializing the Escape Zone, a family resiliency center for parents and children and building a job placement program for spouses of military members and veterans. 

(Information courtesy 62nd AW PA)  

January 31, 2010 at 9:03am

Discovery opens glimpse into McChord's past

MCCHORD AIR FORCE BASE, Wash. -- When Staff Sgt. Josh Kreutzer, 62nd Civil Engineer Squadron, unearthed a box of jumbled papers under the wing chapel last month referencing McChord Field, he hadn't discovered part of a secret or lost Joint Base Lewis-McChord transition plan.

Rather, the documents offered a glimpse of McChord's past - dating to a time when servicemembers went on furlough, the per diem rate was $2 per day for lodging, "pets and friends" were expressly not authorized during temporary duty travel, and new enlistees reported to the Indoctrination Division of Air Training Command in San Antonio, Texas, for processing.

Sergeant Kreutzer and Thomas Wyatt, also 62nd CES, had been working on a maintenance issue underneath the McChord chapel when the sergeant came across what he describes as simply "a hole in the ground". Taking a closer look, he noticed something in the hole - a container of some kind.

Lifting the documents out, the box itself basically fell apart, he said, but a majority of the papers were in excellent shape. He quickly called for Mr. Wyatt and soon they were flipping through the pages of distant McChord and Air Force history.

Some of the better-preserved documents include special orders from McChord Field, copies of Air Force Association and Reserve Officer magazines from 1947-48, radio scripts, religious posters, and a stack of programs for the 1947 base chapel Christmas service.

"These documents likely hadn't seen the light of day in 40 to 50 years," said Mr. Wyatt, "possibly longer than that."

"It's really an amazing find," he said. "Every now and then we'll find an old coin here or there, but nothing of this magnitude."

Sorting through the documents, he even found a pristine 1948 calendar and located his own date of birth - May 9.

After making a few phone calls to see where the documents should go, Sergeant Kreutzer delivered the historical treasure trove to Master Sgt. Susan Robinson, 62nd Airlift Wing historian.

"I was amazed" she said. "I've only been serving as the historian for a few weeks and this provided a truly unique look into the past."

"It really opened my eyes to the important role of the historian - occasions like this are opportunities to preserve the proud culture and heritage of McChord," said Sergeant Robinson.

While it remains a mystery exactly how or why the box ended up under the chapel for decades, many of the documents appear to have once been the property of McChord Field Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Elbert L. Atkinson.

"Now that we've come full-circle, perhaps someone 60 years from now will unearth a box of 'McChord Air Force Base' documents or discs and have the same sense of 'wow'," said Sergeant Robinson.

Filed under: McChord Air Museum,

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