July 22, 2021

A Celebration of Life for Fay Morgan

Memorial Services took place Thursday, July 22 for Fay Morgan at Parkview Evangelical Free Church in Rapid City.  

Fay passed away March 25 of this year and is buried at the Black Hills National Cemetery.  

The wife of Colonel Al Morgan, USA (Ret), Fay and Al have been long-time members of our Black Hills Chapter family of the Military Officers Association of America.

In notifying chapter members and other friends about the Memorial Service, Chapter Secretary LCDR Bonnie Walker said it well...

"Our thoughts and prayers from those of us in the MOAA Chapter are with Colonel Al.  We so enjoyed interacting with Fay at our Chapter meetings.  She is missed.  God Bless."

Fay's Obituary  (Includes a video tribute)

 

July 2, 2021

Air Force training exercise scheduled for July 19-23

"Combat Raider," a military training exercise involving various aircraft, is scheduled to begin Monday, July 19 in the Powder River Training Complex and will conclude on Friday, July 23, 2021.

The Powder River Training Complex covers much of the air space over northwest South Dakota, southwest North Dakota, northeast Wyoming, and much of eastern Montana.

Combat Raider is designed to provide "joint and coalition flight training with realistic scenarios that support full spectrum operations against modern threats replicating combat operations."  There is a potential for increased noise levels for areas around Ellsworth Air Force Base and throughout the training region . A map of the airspace is available on the Ellsworth website at https://www.ellsworth.af.mil/Portals/146/documents/AFD-151103-009.pdf

 Ellsworth AFB official note that non-military aircraft should thoroughly review the Federal Aviation Administration’s Notices to Airmen (NOTAMS) and review flight plans to avoid the PRTC area. This can be done by calling 1-800-WXBRIEF or visiting online at https://sua.faa.gov/ and http://www.1800wxbrief.com.

FAA  Notices to Airman for this exercise will be issued by the FAA 72 hours prior to its start and will act as the final official notice. 

For more information about Ellsworth AFB, you may contact the 28th Bomb Wing Public Affairs office at 605-385-5056 or email them at:  28bw.public.affairs@us.af.mil.

June 28, 2021

New commander takes over B-1B Wing at Ellsworth AFB

Colonel Joseph Sheffield comes to Ellsworth AFB from Anderson AFB Guam
(USAF Photo by Staff Sergeant Hannah Malone)

Col. Joseph Sheffield took charge of the world’s largest operational B-1B wing during the 28th Bomb Wing change of command ceremony in the Pride Hangar on Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., June 18.

Ellsworth Airmen and their families joined community and political leaders at the ceremony officiated by Maj. Gen. Mark Weatherington, Eighth Air Force and Joint-Global Strike Operations Center commander.

In his opening remarks, Weatherington welcomed everyone and took time to recognize the significance of the first observance of Juneteenth as a national holiday.

“This is a designation that is long overdue,” the general said. “It is fitting on this day that we celebrate the ratification of the 13th Amendment and … for taking that first step of valuing the contributions of all our people.”

He then highlighted the history of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, with special emphasis on the significant role that Ellsworth continues to play in projecting strategic airpower around the globe. He recognized Col. David Doss, the outgoing 28th BW commander, for all the base accomplished during his two-year term, then turned his attention to Sheffield.

“Colonel Sheffield is no stranger to the B-1, and he is very familiar with the combat mission of this wing,” Weatherington said. “He possesses the character, self-discipline and compassion needed to lead Airmen to places they never could have imagined.”

He added that we face a challenging future in an era of great power competition and a period in which the demand for bombers is higher than ever.  He affirmed that Sheffield and Ellsworth are up to the task.

“I am confident you will be the difference maker for this wing,” Weatherington said. “Lead this team well and fly safe. I can’t wait to see what you will achieve.”

Sheffield comes to Ellsworth from Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, where he served as the 36th Operations Group commander. He is a command pilot with more than 3,600 flying hours and 1,125 combat hours, and he has served in a variety of B-1 operational assignments including previous stints at Ellsworth. From April 2014 to March 2016 he commanded the 37th Bomb Squadron and led the 37th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron on two deployments to Southwest Asia.

“It is truly an honor and privilege to be back at Ellsworth to lead the Raiders of the 28th Bomb Wing,” Sheffield said. “In the five years I have been away from the base I have seen and followed the tremendous impacts the 28th Bomb Wing has had on the global stage, such as multiple Bomber Task Force operations to various areas of responsibility, that reaffirmed Ellsworth is ready to provide combat airpower – anytime, anywhere – even during the challenges of a global pandemic. That’s impressive.”

Sheffield, the 44th commander at Ellsworth, said he is devoted to meeting the needs of all those serving at the base.  

“Ellsworth has a rich and storied history,” he said. “Time and again our dedicated Airmen have worked tirelessly to execute our mission and answer our nation’s call. I very much look forward to serving with the high caliber individuals who make up our ranks, and am committed to providing them and their families with the support and leadership they need to further our history and ensure we are able to accomplish the mission now and in the future.”

Col. Joseph Sheffield took charge of the world’s largest operational B-1B wing during the 28th Bomb Wing change of command ceremony in the Pride Hangar on Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., June 18.

Ellsworth Airmen and their families joined community and political leaders at the ceremony officiated by Maj. Gen. Mark Weatherington, Eighth Air Force and Joint-Global Strike Operations Center commander.

In his opening remarks, Weatherington welcomed everyone and took time to recognize the significance of the first observance of Juneteenth as a national holiday.

“This is a designation that is long overdue,” the general said. “It is fitting on this day that we celebrate the ratification of the 13th Amendment and … for taking that first step of valuing the contributions of all our people.”

He then highlighted the history of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, with special emphasis on the significant role that Ellsworth continues to play in projecting strategic airpower around the globe. He recognized Col. David Doss, the outgoing 28th BW commander, for all the base accomplished during his two-year term, then turned his attention to Sheffield.

“Colonel Sheffield is no stranger to the B-1, and he is very familiar with the combat mission of this wing,” Weatherington said. “He possesses the character, self-discipline and compassion needed to lead Airmen to places they never could have imagined.”

He added that we face a challenging future in an era of great power competition and a period in which the demand for bombers is higher than ever.  He affirmed that Sheffield and Ellsworth are up to the task.

“I am confident you will be the difference maker for this wing,” Weatherington said. “Lead this team well and fly safe. I can’t wait to see what you will achieve.”

Sheffield comes to Ellsworth from Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, where he served as the 36th Operations Group commander. He is a command pilot with more than 3,600 flying hours and 1,125 combat hours, and he has served in a variety of B-1 operational assignments including previous stints at Ellsworth. From April 2014 to March 2016 he commanded the 37th Bomb Squadron and led the 37th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron on two deployments to Southwest Asia.

“It is truly an honor and privilege to be back at Ellsworth to lead the Raiders of the 28th Bomb Wing,” Sheffield said. “In the five years I have been away from the base I have seen and followed the tremendous impacts the 28th Bomb Wing has had on the global stage, such as multiple Bomber Task Force operations to various areas of responsibility, that reaffirmed Ellsworth is ready to provide combat airpower – anytime, anywhere – even during the challenges of a global pandemic. That’s impressive.”

Sheffield, the 44th commander at Ellsworth, said he is devoted to meeting the needs of all those serving at the base.  

“Ellsworth has a rich and storied history,” he said. “Time and again our dedicated Airmen have worked tirelessly to execute our mission and answer our nation’s call. I very much look forward to serving with the high caliber individuals who make up our ranks, and am committed to providing them and their families with the support and leadership they need to further our history and ensure we are able to accomplish the mission now and in the future.”

May 20, 2021

Black Hills MOAA team carries messages to Congress via ZOOM!

For more years than we can remember, MOAA members from across the country have  converged on Washington, DC every spring to visit their members of Congress and champion the causes important to our military – active duty, reserves, retired, all veterans, and their families. Of course, the Coronavirus changed everything.

This year, MOAA mobilized members for "Advocacy in Action," perhaps a more befitting moniker these days than "Storming the Hill" of yore.  Our 2021 South Dakota visits were "virtual" and took place Wednesday, May 12th via ZOOM.

The Black Hills Chapter of MOAA stepped forward to lead the South Dakota campaign on Capitol Hill, seeking legislative support for three key MOAA initiatives:  (1) Comprehensive Toxic Exposure Reform,  (2) A Basic Needs Allowance for servicemember families most vulnerable to food insecurity, and (3) Tricare Young Adult Parity to afford Tricare young adults with the same protections afforded their civilian peers.

Representative Dusty Johnson visited with our MOAA-Black Hills Chapter team members. 
(Photo courtesy of Commander René Campos)

Our first stop was in the office of Representative Dusty Johnson, who – along with Legislative Assistant Elizabeth Lloyd – met with our Black Hills Chapter-MOAA "Advocacy in Action" team. Team members included Colonel Mike Kain of Lead, Lieutenant Bill Rhode and Colonel Jim Cowan of Rapid City, and Commander Larry Miller of Spearfish.  They were joined by Commander René Campos, Senior Director of Government Relations from MOAA headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia.

During these "Advocacy in Action" sessions, MOAA members were able to delve more deeply into each of these priority issues:

Comprehensive Toxic Exposure Reform.   With Agent Orange continuing to impact the lives of military personnel and their families a half century after Vietnam, exposures from burn pits and other fires during the Gulf War in Afghanistan and Iraq are taking their tolls, along with exposure risks from firefighting chemicals and contaminated drinking water, among other sources.  Expanded health care for those who were exposed is desperately needed.

Basic Needs Allowance.  Servicemembers and their families who are most vulnerable to food insecurity are finding it difficult to make ends meet.  A subsistence allowance would be provided automatically to servicemembers whose gross household income  – not including their Basic Allowance for Housing – is below 130% of the federal poverty line.  COVID-19 has exacerbated this situation, with spousal layoffs hitting younger enlisted families hardest, forcing them to seek food stamps – but sometimes causing them to pursue "payday" loans to avoid the stigma.

TRICARE Young Adult Parity.  There is a glaring disparity between commercial health plans that cover adult children to age 26 and TRICARE, which requires  separate premiums for young adult coverage.  The Health Care Fairness for Military Families Act would would help resolve this issue. Military families who have sacrificed so much in support of our nation should be afforded the same health care protections for their young adult children as is required for their civilian counterparts covered by commercial plans.

Legislative Assistant Angela Merkle met with our South Dakota MOAA "Advocacy in Action" Team on Wednesday, May 12th when we visited the office of Senator John Thune. (Photo courtesy of CDR René Campos)  

 Our discussions were designed to better inform our South Dakota congressional delegation about these important issues confronting our military personnel and veterans – and their families.  

Sen. John Thune
Sen. John Thune
Our mode of communication was not quite as personal as actually visiting face-to-face with the South Dakota delegation in their Washington, D.C. offices.  Dealing with the technology, even as easy as ZOOM might be, was a bit of a challenge.  However, we found staff members of our South Dakota delegation extremely helpful in lining up and implementing these "virtual" meetings.  Among staffers who ably assisted us were Elizabeth Lloyd and Alana Lomas in Representative Johnson's office and Angela Merkle and Amy Barrera in Senator Thune's office.

Importantly, we've asked each of member to support the legislative bills that MOAA has identified as priorities.  Indeed, we've asked members of Congress not only to support the bills – but to become cosponsors.  

Sen Mike Rounds
While Senator Mike Rounds was unable to join us during our Advocacy in Action visit, we are delighted that he was among the early cosponsors of S. 437, the Veterans Burn Pits Exposure Act of 2021.  This is a key piece of legislation that helps address the dire need for comprehensive toxic exposure reform. 

We've listed below the bills that are critical to the success of MOAA's "Advocacy in Action" initiative – with links to where you can learn the status of this legislation in the House and Senate.  To learn even more, we're posting a link to the Military Officers Association of America website that is focused on legislation at the heart of this campaign.  We encourage you to visit the site and contact Congressional members to urge their support.

Go to CONGRESS.GOV and enter any of these bill numbers to learn more about their status:

S. 437 - Veterans Burn Pits Exposure Recognition Act of 2021
S. 927 - Toxic Exposure in the American Military (TEAM) Act
H.R. 2436 - Concede Exposure to Airborne Hazards & Toxins from Burn Pits...
H.R. 2127 - Improve the Provision of Health Care and other Benefits from the VA...
H.R. 2339 - Basic Needs Allowance for Low-Income Regular Members of the Armed Forces
S. 1488 - Basic Needs Allowance for Low-Income Regular Membes of the Armed Forces...
H.R.475 - Health Care Fairness for Military Families Act of 2021

For more information, visit MOAA Advocacy in Action.

Thanks to these MOAA-Black Hills Chapter members who contributed much time and valuable assistance to the Advocacy in Action campaign:  Jim Cowan, Mike Kain, Bill Rhode and Larry Miller. 


March 29, 2021

Fay Morgan (1922-2021)

 Editor's Note:  We are saddened to report the passing of Fay Morgan, the lovely wife of Colonel Alvin Morgan, USA (Ret), long-time members of our Black Hills Chapter family of the Military Officers Association of America.  Our condolences to Colonel Morgan and the entire Morgan family.  Below is Fay's obituary.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Fay H. Morgan, 98, went to be with the Lord whom she loved on Thursday, March 25, 2021 at her home in Rapid City, SD.

Fay was born October 27, 1922 at Sheboygan,  Wisconsin,  one of five children born to Joseph and Anna (Opgenorth) Nack.  She was raised her entire life and resided in Sheboygan until the time of her marriage to Alvin Morgan on May 14, 1949.  After that, she accompanied her husband to many military stations,    including  ten years overseas in England, France, and Korea.    During the time in England, her two children, Lawrence Alvin and Sara Fay, were born.

Fay joined in many  volunteer activities where the family lived at  military stations  and later in retirement  in Rapid City.    She was a Sunday School teacher and choir member for many years  and served the Lord faithfully  in the general thrust  of her life.      She was a faithful and effective member of the Auxiliary of Gideons International serving in many positions, including state vice-president.

She was a devoted wife, mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother.  She loved her family deeply, which was a natural outgrowth of her love for the Lord.   She was loved by all who touched her, family and friends.  She was a great example to all.

Fay is survived by her husband, Alvin; a son, Lawrence; daughter, Sara (Steve) Likness of Richmond, VA; four grandchildren, Joanna (Tyler) Pendleton of Greensboro, NC, Sonja Foust of Durham, NC, Joel Likness of Durham, NC, Aaron Likeness of New York City, NY; five great granddaughters, Savannah Ruth Likness and Zoe Reece Likness born to Joel and Tabetha, and Neve Rosalee Pendleton, Ruby Fay Pendleton, and Elaine Frances Pendleton born to Tyler and Joanna.

Services will be held at a later date.   Burial will be at Black Hills National Cemetery.  Memorials may be addressed to the Gideons International or Parkview Evangelical Free Church.