How it began ...
Many in this association saw air traffic control take a technological leap forward with the introduction of radar in the 1950s. Some saw air and ground radio stations transform from continuous wave Morse Code to radio telephone. Many of the veterans witnessed the advent of the computer. They all helped the military increase the quantity and quality of communications, data automation, and air traffic controls systems to meet the changing needs of modern warfare.
Formerly called the AACS Alumni Association (1977 to 2008), AACS stood for both the Army Airways Communications System and the Airways and Air Communications Service. Over the years, because the missions were basically the same, the AACS Alumni Association expanded membership to include AFCS, Air Force Communications Command (AFCC), Air Force Command, Control, Communications & Computer Agency (AFC4A), Air Force Communications Agency (AFCA), Air Force Flight Standards Agency (AFFSA), and other Major Commands up to and including today's Air Force organizational structure.
The Air Force Communicators and Air Traffic Controllers Association is an IRS Code 501(c)(19) organization. In accordance with current IRS tax regulations, donations to the Association are tax deductible when filing a IRS Form 1040.
ALUMNI ASSOCIATION HISTORY
The AACS Alumni Association was formed on Sept. 30, 1977. Larry and Doris Camp were visiting Dux and Pearl LeDoux in Eunice, LA in the fall of 1976 when the subject of old military friends came up. Larry and Dux were assigned to the 5th Army Airways Communications System Wing in Europe. What began as an invite to a Poker Weekend in Columbus, OH (Larry and Dux were part of a London, England, poker group for AACS detachment commanders) to be hosted by the Camps, turned out to be the first AACS annual reunion.
The couples contacted as many old friends as they could, who in turn contacted others, and so on. A large number of former AACS troops and their spouses made their way to Columbus and the result was the formation of what is now one of the strongest Air Force Alumni Associations. The name AACS Alumni Association was adopted as the official title and was derived from the Army Airways Communications System and the Airways and Air Communications Service organizational titles.
Individuals who were part of the first reunion had been assigned to AACS units before, during and after World War II, the Korean Conflict, and up to 1961 when AACS became a Major Air Command and was renamed the Air Force Communications Service (AFCS). Over the years, the AACS Alumni Association expanded membership to include AFCS, AFCC, AFC4A, AFCA, AFFSA, and other Major Commands.
The Association was incorporated in the state of Michigan and obtained 501 (c) (19) IRS approved status.
An annual convention is held in different cities each year. Conventions usually begin on the last Thursday of September and end on the following Sunday. The Association operates on membership dues and donations. Association dues are minimal, $15 per year, payable in two-year increments of $30.
In 1938 the Army Airways Communications System (AACS) was formed. During World War II, for a short time it was renamed the Army Airways Communications Wing and then the Air Communications Service, but that only lasted 9 months. When the clamor reached the halls of the Pentagon to retain the AACS designation, it was renamed the Airways and Air Communications Service (AACS) in 1946. This new designation was also a better fit due to the high volume of airplanes flying through US and US-controlled airspace and the need to control airways.
In 1961 AACS was elevated to Major Air Command status and it was renamed the Air Force Communications Service (AFCS). This designation remained until 1979 when it was renamed the Air Force Communications Command (AFCC). The old blue original AACS logo is our official Association logo.
LEGACY COMMANDS/AGENCIES (dates created)
15 Nov 1938 -- Army Airways Communications System
13 April 1943 -- Army Airways Communications System Wing
26 April 1944 -- Army Airways Communications System
13 March 1946 -- Air Communications Service
11 Sept 1946 -- Airways and Air Communications Service
1 July 1961 -- Air Force Communications Service
15 Nov 1979 -- Air Force Communications Command
28 May 1993 -- Air Force Command, Control, Communications, and Computer Agency
13 June 1996 -- Air Force Communications Agency
15 July 2009 -- Air Force Network Integration Center
The first Board of Directors:
Executive Director: Haskell "Hack" Neal
Executive Secretary: Mary Louise Gordon
Treasurer: Paul Haas
Publicity: Jean Winbigler
Newsletter Editor: Ted Carlson
Ham Radio Coordinator: George Walborn
Nominating Chairman: Larry Camp
In addition to the first Board of Directors, Regional Representatives were created to coordinate and recruit ex-AACS members in different parts of the country (these positions have been eliminated)
Initial Regional Representatives:
Ken Klise and Glen Turner (Northwest)
John Hoff (Rocky Mountains)
Gene and M.L. Gordon (So. California)
John Stevenson (Southwest)
Larry Camp (Midwest)
Dick Dickerson (Greater Washington D.C. area)
Max Mankofsky (New York)
List of comm units 1938 and beyond
Click on button to view list of AACS, AFCS, and AFCC communications units (by location and area), 1938-1993 (and beyond).
Click here to visit AFNIC's heritage web site.
Flares to Satellites:
History of Air Force Communications
Long Version (PDF)
"What hath God wrought?" questioned Samuel F. B. Morse in May 1844 in the first long-distance message transmitted over his invention, the telegraph. Over 30 years later, in Mart 1876, Alexander Graham Bell's more prosaic first message, "Mr. Watson, come here. I want you," ushered in the age of the telephone. Unlike these two inventions, no single scientist or inventor can be credited with bringing the idea of radio to fruition . . . .
Past leadership (contd) ...
Over the years, the composition of the Board changed and the following individuals have served:
1977-1978 Haskell "Hack" Neal
1979-1980 Bob "Dick" Dickerson
1981-1982 Joe Beler
1983-1984 Don Donnell
1985-1986 Wally Bailey
1987-1991 Bob Brewer
1992-1993 Cal Venable
1994-1997 Jasper Vaughn
1998-2001 Richard "Hank" Sauer
2002 - 2005 Dick Frye
2006 - 2007 Richard "Hank" Sauer
2008 - 2011 Stan Phillips
2011 - Doug Donnell
Ray French (current)
Cindy Hintz (current)
Mary Lou Fitzpatrick
Bob Akard (current)
Vietta "Offie" Dowd
Hank Sauer (current)
NOTE: Editor/Publisher is now one position.
Susan "Susie" Twedt
Ken Reiff (current)
Membership (was initially performed as an extra duty in the Executive Secretary position):
C.B. "Mac" Maginnis
Walt McLain (current)
Gerald Prather (current)
Judge Advocate: John Milano (current)
P. C. Brown
Fr. Donald Seeks
Jim Weber (current)
Web Site Manager: (an appointed position by the executive director)
Lori Manske (current)
PX/BX Supply Manager:
Bill Cassatt (current)
Director at Large: No longer a board position
Ham Coordinator: No longer a board position.
Air Force Liaison: No longer a position
Publicity: no longer a position
Vietta "Offie" Dowd