Along with a Vietnam attachè panel, we have the pleasure to have the following guest speakers present this year at VEGASCON:
The Honorable Kristyn E. Jones
Kristyn E. Jones is Performing the Duties of the Under Secretary of the Air Force, the Pentagon, Arlington, Virginia. She is responsible for the affairs of the Department of the Air Force, comprised of the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Space Force, to include organizing, training, and equipping Air and Space Forces and for the welfare of approximately 700,000 active duty, Guard, Reserve and civilian Airmen and Guardians and their families serving around the world. As the Under Secretary, she oversees the department’s annual budget of more than $205 billion and directs strategy and policy development, risk management, weapons acquisition, technology investments and human resource management across a global enterprise.
Prior to her current governmental service, Jones was a Managing Director in KPMG’s Federal Advisory practice, where she supported the Department of Defense, Veterans Affairs, and other federal clients. Previously, Jones served in a variety of government positions. She entered the Senior Executive Service in June 2008 serving as Director, then Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for Financial Information Management until 2014. From 2007 to 2008, Jones was assigned as the Special Assistant to the Assistant Secretary of the Army, Financial Management and Comptroller for Cost Management Transformation. Prior to this role, Jones was the Director of Enterprise Transition Planning at the Department of Defense Business Transformation Agency and served as a Financial Manager at the Office of Naval Research. Earlier in her career, Jones held management positions at two Fortune 500 companies, Capital One and Advanced Micro Devices. Jones also served as a Military Intelligence Officer in the U.S. Army, where she held a variety of leadership positions.
General Mark Kelly
Gen. Mark D. Kelly is the Commander, Air Combat Command, Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia. As the commander, he is responsible for organizing, training, equipping and maintaining combat-ready air, space, cyber and intelligence forces for rapid deployment and employment while ensuring strategic air defense forces are ready to meet the challenges of peacetime air sovereignty and wartime defense.
Gen. Kelly entered the Air Force in 1986, receiving his commission from the Air Force ROTC program at Southwest Texas State University. He earned his pilot wings at Euro-NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training at Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas. Gen. Kelly has commanded a fighter squadron, two fighter wings, an expeditionary wing, and two Numbered Air Forces.
VADM Ret John Bird
John Bird joined USAA in February 2013 as the Senior Vice President of Military Affairs. He leads the USAA Military Affairs Team comprised of more than 50 retired officers and senior noncommissioned officers who advocate for and support our military including those currently serving, our veterans, and military families. His team of professionals, geographically-disbursed across the nation, represent each of their services as well as the nation’s Guard and Reserve forces. They are responsible for creating and sustaining relationships between USAA, strategic partners, military leaders and military-related organizations allowing USAA to better serve and advocate for the military community. He and his team promote the USAA brand and reputation through face to face engagements, creating an enduring bond with the military community USAA serves.
Prior to USAA, John served 35 years in the Navy before retiring in October 2012 as a Vice Admiral, and Director of Navy Staff.
Maj Gen (Ret) Al Flowers
Maj. Gen. Alfred K. Flowers retired from the Air Force on 1 Jan 2012, and was elected to the Board of Trustees at the 2016 National Conclave as our Financial Trustee. At the time of his retirement, he was the longest serving individual in the military at 46 years. He also serves on the boards of trustees for the Air Force Aid Society, Lackland Fisher Houses, Lackland Heritage Foundation, and the Fallen Warriors Legacy Scholarship Foundation. Throughout his service, he exemplified a distinguished career in accounting and finance. His last assignment was as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Budget at the Pentagon from 2009 through retirement. During this tour, he was responsible for planning and executing a $119 billion annual budget that financed all Air Force operations including support for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
General Flowers began his career as an enlisted supply warehouseman in August 1965 at Grand Forks Air Force Base, N.D. He then served as an air transportation specialist for four years beginning in September 1967. In 1971, General Flowers became an accounting specialist and served seven years in that role. After his selection to the grade of master sergeant, General Flowers was commissioned following graduation from Officer Training School as a distinguished graduate of the December 1978 class. In his first three assignments as a budget officer, he served at the squadron, major command and Air Staff levels. In 1990, he was assigned as Chief of the Budget Operations Division for Air Combat Command, where he would later serve as the Chief of Budget. The general has served on the Joint Staff as Defense Resource Manager, and in 1999 he was the Director of Budget Programs for the Department of the Air Force. He has also served as Director, Center for Force Structure, Requirements, Resources and Strategic Assessments at Headquarters U.S. Special Operations Command, and as Commander, Air Force Officer Accession and Training Schools. Prior to his current assignment, the general was Commander, 2nd Air Force, Keesler Air Force Base, Miss.
Brig Gen (Ret) Dick Bundy
General Bundy enlisted in the Air Force in September 1966 and served in Hawaii and the Republic of Vietnam as an air freight specialist. He was commissioned as a second lieutenant through the Air Force ROTC program at San Francisco State University in 1973. During this period he was the commander of the Kenneth F. Winters Squadron of the Arnold Air Society and the recipient of the Randolph Lovelace Award for 1972-73.
The general completed undergraduate pilot training at Vance AFB, Oklahoma and spent his flying career piloting C-141 and C-5 transport aircraft around the world. He accumulated over 4,100 flying hours traveling to every continent except Antarctica. He held a variety of assignments at the squadron, wing, major command, Air Staff, Joint Staff and Office of the Secretary of Defense levels. He was a squadron, group, and wing commander. He retired as the Deputy J-7, Joint Staff, in July 2001.
His first position after retirement from active duty was becoming the Director for Administration at Wesley College in Dover, Delaware. His responsibilities covered all operations supporting the campus and included the Athletic Department. He had numerous accomplishments during this period to include expanding the campus through new construction, recapitalization of 70-year-old buildings and numerous conference championships in football, softball, soccer and field hockey. General Bundy was selected to be the Executive Director of Arnold Air Society (AAS) and Silver Wings (SW) in July 2003. He and his wife Judy supported both organizations at the Executive Management Center for ten years retiring in July 2013. The experience of working with thousands of college students in accomplishing their organizational and personal goals was a highlight in their lives and careers.
In addition to his professional responsibilities, he has been very active with the Air Force Association. He served nine years as the State President of Delaware, has been selected to sit on the national elected officers nominating committee and is the Vice Chairman for Aerospace Education.
The general was elected to the AAS/SW Board of Trustees in April 2013. He and Judy live in Spotsylvania, Virginia, and have a very active family with three children and 6 grandchildren.
Col (Ret) Lee Ellis
A native of Commerce, Georgia, Colonel Lee Ellis graduated from the University of Georgia in 1965 as a Distinguished Graduate of Air Force ROTC. He received his pilot wings in August 1966 at Moody AFB, GA and was assigned to fly the F-4C Phantom fighter-bomber. In 1967 Colonel Ellis was assigned to Danang Air Base, Republic of Vietnam, where he flew 68 combat missions with 53 over North Vietnam. On November 7, 1967 he was shot down, captured and held as a prisoner of war for more than five years.
After repatriation in March 1973 he returned to flying duties with increasing positions of leadership. His assignments included duty as a T-38 instructor pilot, flight commander and section commander at Moody AFB GA and Randolph AFB TX, (560 FTS). At Randolph AFB, he also served as chief of flight standardization and evaluation (12th FTW), ATC staff officer, and flying squadron commander of the 560th FTS. After graduating from the Air War College in 1983, he served as Vice-Commandant Squadron Officer School (SOS) and Commander AFROTC Det. 160 (PAS) at the Univ. of Georgia. He retired as a USAF Colonel on February 1, 1990 completing 25 years or service.
Colonel Ellis is a command pilot whose decorations include the Silver Star with one Oak Leaf Cluster; the Legion of Merit with one Oak Leaf Cluster; the Bronze Star with Valor Device; the Meritorious Service Medal with two Oak Leaf Clusters; the Purple Heart; the Air Medal with eight Oak Leaf Clusters; and the Prisoner of War Medal. Lee is also a 2014 inductee into the Georgia Military Veterans Hall of Fame and the 2015 DAR Medal of Honor Recipient for a lifetime of patriotic service as a military officer and spokesman for leading with honor.
Col (Ret) Chuck Debellevue
Colonel (ret.) Charles B. “Chuck” DeBellevue is America’s top ace of the Vietnam War and the last ace to serve on active duty in the United States Air Force. Colonel DeBellvue was first selected as an Eagle by Air Command and Staff College’s Gathering of Eagles in 1988 and subsequently honored in 2002, 2003, 2008, and 2010, respectively. Born on 15 August 1941 in New Orleans, Louisiana, he attended the University of Southwestern Louisiana earning a commission as a Second Lieutenant through the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps in 1968. After completing Undergraduate Navigator Training at Mather Air Force Base, California in 1969, he was selected to be in the first all navigator class to train as Weapons Systems Officers (WSO) in the McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona. In 1971, he was sent to the renowned 555th Tactical Fighter Squadron, nicknamed “Triple Nickel”, at Udorn Royal Thai Air Base.
It was there that Colonel DeBellevue would make history scoring six aerial victories against North Vietnamese MiGs, garnering him the distinction of becoming the first WSO to earn the title of “ace.”