"Aces of The Eighth" by Jack Fellows

2016 State Of The Association Report

Since Dear Leader will be giving his State of the Union address tonight, I thought it timely to write about the State of The Association.       Currently, communications concerning Association business is sporadic and is mostly only disseminated at reunion business meetings. I hope to continue this now-new tradition and hope follow on Head Headhunters will follow suit.

Membership: Nominally, we have 906 members . That includes Lifetime Members (LTM), Annual Dues (AD) paying members, Honorary Members and Associate Members. Unfortunately, those numbers are a bit misleading as we have 147 AD members who have not paid dues for the 2015 period. I will be starting up the 2016 dues requests in another month or so.

Increasing membership numbers is a continually-vexing problem both for myself and for Jaybird before me. As the older Members are Flying West, we simply are not replacing ourselves. While that is a problem for almost all ageing segments of our society, it is particularly vexing to HH HQ. We should be getting a fair number of new Members from the Juvats. But even with free first-year memberships (a program started by Jaybird and continued through last year) we got few takers.

We’ve tried all sorts of tactics- having a Liaison Officer to pitch memberships. Ditto for using Juvat Lead at Commander’s Calls. Direct emails from HH HQ, etc. There seems to be a flurry of activity at the start with 2 or 3 guys and gals joining up and then interest (or attention to the matter) seems to quickly wane to zero.

Frustration. Heavy drinking. Yelling at Rita. Kicking Beau The Wonder Dog. But all that doesn’t help improve the situation either…

The reality is, we don’t need numbers of members. We need members who will participate- attending reunions, posting on the website, sending in personal milestones for publication in the Newsletter and so on. We don’t need money. We do need active Headhunters.

So I’m putting the onus for success back on the Membership. The Association is only as strong and relevant as your individual participation makes it. That’s the no bull shit long and short of it. Your HH HQ team will stay the course- Lude, Nogas and me. Will you?

Question for the membership: The River Rats have local chapters where the members of which get together for drinks, dinner and socializing. Should the Headhunters copy them? Is there any interest? If so, how should we set them up? Would you be willing to be the local chapter CINC? Drop me a line with your input, please.

Finances: Thanks in part to the generosity of Paul Murphey’s estate and many, many others our overall finances are in very good shape. We started the year with $20,973 total cash and liquid instruments on hand and ended with $15,597, after paying for the 2015 Reunion Hospitality Suite expenses, contributions to offset bus transportation , WWII Aviation History Museum banquet expenses and a honorarium donation to the Museum. We also paid to refurbish Kirby (actually “Peanut Nevels’) flying jacket and built our display cases for the Museum. We also reimbursed several members who reproduced copies of their historical documents, memoirs, scrapbooks and so in, in both digital and paper formats. Had we been able to collect all the AM dues, the money on hand would have been about $17,067.  While it may seem that we don’t need any more dues money, I would not be doing my due diligence if I didn’t keep us as financially strong as possible, and who knows where the future will lead us?

Newsletters: We’ve reduced newsletter costs significantly, currently mailing out paper copies to our older, non-computer-enabled Members. Total cost in 2015 was approximately $700 versus $2800 in previous years. As a reminder, HH HQ publishes newsletters in Feb/May/Aug/Nov and are available to anyone on the website under the “Newsletters” tab.

Annual Post Cards: Jaybird used newsletter mailings and “Your Dues Are Due” mailings to keep Member’s addresses current. Since we don’t really mail out Newsletters and have encouraged on-line payment of dues, HH HQ is losing track of Member’s addresses. To help keep updated I’ve begun to annually mail out yellow postcards to try to keep current on Members’ addresses. Lude (your Webmaster) contends that this is now a virtual world and that snail mail addresses are not relevant any more.

What says the Membership? Would you be happy with only having an email address and telephone number to contact your Headhunter buddies?

The Orphanage: At the last reunion several Members thought it a good idea to join with the active-duty squadron in support of the Korean orphanage. After sending several emails to the Squadron, it appears that the Juvats no longer interact with said orphanage. Dead end. OTOH, if anyone will be the POC, I see no reason why we, as an Association, couldn’t support them. If you’re interested, please contact me and we’ll get that ball rolling.

HH01 Change Of Command: I’m planning on shaking the stick at the 2017 reunion. It will have been a great 7 year run, but I’ll be 72 and willing to let younger heads (so to speak) pick up the torch- mixed feelings at best. If you’d like a crack (so to speak) and fixing all my mistakes please drop me a line.

So, rolling into 2016 your HH HQ is still proud to serve you. The Headhunters are still the premier fighter squadron in the US of A’s Air Force and still kicking ass everywhere in the world.

How can we make our legacy stronger?

Talk to us.

Tex, Nogas, Lude and Jaybird (Emeritus)

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