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June 2019 Newsletter

Vol 7, Issue 5

TED’S TALK

Welcome to our 50th newsletter in a series that began in 2014. June and July have over the years proven to be slower months in the reunion market, with graduations and the summer heat pushing groups into the shoulder months. We had very successful events this month though: the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment (Blackhorse Assn.) reunion in Las Vegas stood out. Blackhorse returns every few years to Sin City to visit with their active duty brethren stationed at Fort Irwin, CA – and the Fort really rolls out the red carpet for their returning soldiers.

AFR also hosted the fifth annual Service Academies Global Summit (SAGS) in Annapolis. All five Service Academy Superintendents attended (with the exception of LtGen Darryl Williams who was dealing with the tragic death of a West Point cadet), and some of the keynote speakers were Gen. Stanley McChrystal (USMA ’76) and Montel Williams (USNA ’80). The 94th Infantry Division visited Columbus, GA and Fort Benning’s National Infantry Museum, while The Misawa Project (vets of Misawa AFB Japan) gathered in Bloomington, MN.  USS Luce sailed into Navy town Jacksonville, and USS Hugh Purvis moored in Hartford, CT. Alpha Battery 1/12 stormed Albuquerque while the A Troop Alumni set down in San Antonio.

We at Armed Forces Reunions are hotel contract specialists and nationwide tour operators. No matter the size of your group it costs ZERO to have AFR negotiate a reunion-friendly hotel contract in any city coast to coast. If your group has over 100 in attendance we provide a full spectrum of event planning services (tour planning, hotel function planning, pre- and onsite registration). We also have our own user-friendly registration software that makes data and financial management super easy for groups. We are a family-owned operation that has offered 5-star service to groups for over three decades. If you want to get your group the best deal, your first step should be to call and TALK TO TED at 1800-562-7226 or email me at ted@afri.com.

The highlight of our newsletter continues to be an interview with a veteran in AFR’s orbit of event planning for the military, whether for active duty, Reserves, or reunion groups of those who previously served our nation. Our Featured Veteran this month is Major General Jon (Goose) A. Gallinetti, USMC (Ret.), who retires at the end of this month from Rolls Royce as Vice President of the company’s Government Business/Defense Relations Division.  Goose served as Deputy Commander of Marine Forces Command here in Norfolk prior to retiring from the Marine Corps in 2007. He serves on the board of the Marine Corps Aviation Association (MCAA) and hosts presentations and exhibits on behalf of Rolls Royce at MCAA’s annual Aviation Awards Symposium, which is planned and managed by AFR.  At this year’s event in San Diego there were over 900 active duty and retired Marine aviators in attendance.

The Top Destination this month is St. Louis, MO, known worldwide as the “Gateway to the West.” Hardly a year passes without AFR having groups in St. Louis. There are very reunion-friendly hotels with good rates and which allow byo alcohol in meeting space for hospitality. Aside from being the hometown to Anheuser Busch, there are many great attractions such as the Museum of Westward Expansion, paddlewheeler cruises on the Mississippi, the historic towns of Kimmswick and St. Charles, Grant’s Farm (as in Ulysses), and Missouri’s wine region with the Daniel Boone Home and Village.

The Must-See Museum is the National Museum of the United States Army, due to open at Fort Belvoir in 2020.  AFR is already booking groups in DC for 2021 and 2022 to see this great attraction. It will be a technological marvel incorporating the latest advances in museum exhibits, celebrating over 240 years of Army history.

 


VETERAN OF THE MONTH

Major General Jon (Goose) A. Gallinetti, USMC (ret.)
Service in the Skies Then and Now

Naval Weapons Center China Lake in California during the early 1980s was a primary site for the latest in U.S. fighter plane technology development and experimentation. Marine developmental test pilot and weapons project officer Major Jon (Goose) A. Gallinetti was there at the forefront for assessment, research and development of the most innovative aircraft and weapons systems of that time. In addition to flying the A-4M Skyhawk that he had flown for many years in the states and in the Western Pacific, he was also among the first to fly the new F-18 Hornet:  “We flew our butts off in the Hornet, the most sophisticated and thrilling fighter-attack aircraft in the world at the time”, said Gallinetti, 69. “I was also involved with software development and testing of the newest weaponry that was later used in Desert Shield, Desert Storm and the extended global war on terror. We were on the leading edge of the next generation of aircraft and had the times of our lives.”

Two decades later MajGen Gallinetti at war as Chief of Staff of the Multi-National Force – Iraq. “I oversaw logistics, personnel and services to direct day-to-day war-fighting operations with all branches of the U.S. military and Coalition Forces,” he said. “We worked with the CIA and several-other U.S. government agencies and helped with Iraqis civilian control working with the Coalition Provisional Authority. While personally never under a direct attack, I saw the carnage and savagery in an extremely complicated theater. Identifying the enemy was also an issue as most didn’t wear uniforms, just ragged civilian clothes.”

Gallinetti was commissioned as a second lieutenant in June 1972 and while in basic training earned his call sign ‘Goose.’ “I’d been a hunter and fisherman since boyhood and my buddies saw I had a good eye for shooting and Goose stuck,” he said. He earned his wings in 1974 and over a career of 36 years served in many senior capacities abroad and stateside. He attended Top Gun and was a commander of squadrons, air groups and air bases. Gallinetti was Commander of Marine Corps Air Bases Western Area, and Commanding General at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in California.  He also was Chief of the Peacetime Engagement Division and Policy Directorate at US Atlantic Command, and holds master’s degrees from the Naval War College and Salve Regina University.

Among his favorite posts was in the early ‘90s as commanding officer of Marine Fighter-Attack Squadron 225 – The Vikings – at MCAS El Toro, California. “We flew the latest night attack Hornets in the inventory.”  Additionally, as the commanding officer of Marine Aircraft Group 12 at MCAS Iwakuni, Japan he flew all models of the F-18, the AV-8B Harrier, and EA-6B Prowler. “I enjoyed them all, but the F-18 Hornet was special. It was a high-tech upgrade of the old Phantom and A-4 with the newest airborne systems and ordnance. The plane could fly in all weather conditions as a fighter or attack aircraft and was capable of doing just about anything needed in combat. It remains a venerable aircraft that’s still flying today in newer versions.”

Gallinetti served as Assistant Wing Commander of the 2d Marine Aircraft Wing in MCAS Cherry Point, North Carolina from 2001-02, and from 2004-06 as Commander of the Joint Warfighting Center and U.S. Joint Forces Command Joint Force Trainer in Suffolk, Virginia. There he oversaw joint training, exercises and education across the world and served with his teams in Iraq, Afghanistan and the Horn of Africa. His last assignment was as Deputy Commander of Marine Forces Command in Norfolk, Virginia, before retiring in 2007. He accumulated more than 5,300 accident-free flight hours and a score of medals, including the Distinguished Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal and a Bronze Star for his work in Iraq as Chief of Staff of the Multi-National Force – Iraq.

AFR’s Mandy Lee & Molly Dey with MGEN Jon Gallinetti at MCAA’s 2019 Annual Symposium in San Diego

In recent years Gallinetti has brought his experience and expertise to DOD contractor Rolls Royce as Vice President of the company’s Government Business/Defense Relations Division. He is also on the Board of Directors of the Marine Corps Aviation Association (MCAA) and hosts presentations and exhibits on behalf of Rolls Royce at the annual MCAA’s Aviation Awards gala.  The gatherings recognize Marines of all ranks who’ve made noteworthy contributions in their fields.

Armed Forces Reunions has planned and managed MCAA’s Symposiums for years, including this year’s event in San Diego, which was attended by over 900 active duty and retired Marine aviators. A focal point of the symposiums is the exhibit area, where a couple dozen of the nation’s top defense contractors exhibit their latest products and technologies.   

“The MCAA Symposium and awards offer great occasions from both a personal and business standpoint” said Gallinetti, who resides in Virginia Beach, Virginia with wife Janice. “I get to catch up and share memories with fellow veterans and connect with younger Marines who provide valuable insights and input to meet their combat needs and keep our fighting forces at the top of their game. Lockheed Martin has its Skunk Works and Rolls Royce has its Liberty Works. We supply high tech propulsion products and services for aircraft, maritime and land vehicles, as well as an array of other defense equipment for all branches of the military. The events are great learning experiences of exchanges between old to young and young to old.”

Scott McCaskey is a contributing writer for BMR.com, Account Director at Goldman & Associates Public Relations and a former staff writer for the Virginian-Pilot newspaper.


TOP REUNION DESTINATION 

St. Louis is known worldwide as the “Gateway to the West.” The Museum of Westward Expansion, located beneath the Gateway Arch, houses a permanent exhibit of 33 large format photo murals depicting the campsites and significant places visited by Meriwether Lewis and William Clark during their exploration of the interior of North America. Don’t miss the Anheuser-Busch Brewery where you will be guided through a blend of rich brewing heritage, state-of-the-art technology and extraordinary architecture. Visit Soldier’s Memorial, St. Louis’ tribute to the men and women who lost their lives in our nation’s wars, and Laclede’s Landing, a revitalized 19th century warehouse district with cobblestone streets and cast-iron street lamps. Tour the Cathedral Basilica to see one of the world’s largest collections of mosaic art and enjoy a Dinner Cruise on the Mighty Mississippi River aboard a paddlewheeler reminiscent of times past. Grant’s Farm is a must visit. Here you’ll find the 1855 cabin built by Ulysses Grant and the Bauernhof, built in 1913 as a typical 19th century Bavarian farm, complete with stables, a carriage house, and offices and quarters for those who lived and worked there. Today, it houses the Busch family’s world-renowned carriage collection and stables.

Close to St. Louis, yet far away from the hustle and bustle of the big city, is the delightful village of Kimmswick. This small town located near the Mississippi River offers a chance to step back into the less hurried days of the 1800s.  Many of Kimmswick’s businesses and residents still occupy original buildings from the period of the town’s founding in 1859.  Or go back in time to the quaint town of St. Charles to experience the charm and beauty of a city that has been welcoming visitors since 1769. Founded by French Canadians, St. Charles has preserved its heritage as a river town welcoming visitors for over 200 years. Or spend a day in the beautiful Missouri Wine Country.  Augusta, MO is America’s first designated wine district – three years before Napa, California!  On the way to the wine country visit Daniel Boone’s Home and Village.  Designed by Daniel to resemble his birthplace in Pennsylvania, Daniel and his son, Nathan, began construction on the blue limestone structure in 1803 and completed it in 1810.  Daniel and his wife shared the home with Nathan and his wife and their fourteen children until their deaths.


MUST-SEE MUSEUM

Many groups are anxiously awaiting the grand opening of the National Museum of the United States Army, and AFR is already booking groups in DC for 2021 and 2022, with the Museum expected to open in 2020. The Museum will celebrate over 240 years of Army history and honor our nation’s Soldiers – past, present, and future – regular Army, Army Reserves, and the Army National Guard. It’s a massive undertaking led by a joint effort between the U. S. Army and the non-profit organization, The Army Historical Foundation (AHF). It will be a technological marvel incorporating the latest advances in museum exhibits, while providing advanced educational opportunities that will capture the attention of visitors old and young.

The U.S. Army will operate and maintain the Museum, which will be located on 84 acres at Fort Belvoir, VA, less than 30 minutes south of our nation’s capital.  The main building will be approximately 185,000 square feet and display selections from the Army Art collection,   artifacts, documents, and images. The vast majority of these rare and priceless artifacts have never been seen by the American people. The Museum will welcome an estimated 500,000 to 700,000 visitors every year. It is not too early to begin planning your future reunions to see this long-awaited attraction in the DC area. AFR will steer your group to the most reunion-friendly hotels in the Capital Region.