The 2017 Personal Equipment, Aircrew Life Support, Survival Equipment, and Aircrew Flight Equipment Reunion

Join us this year in Newport News, VA at the Newport News Marriott at City Center, 740 Town Center Drive for our 22nd annual Personal Equipment/Aircrew Life Support/Survival and Flight Equipment Reunion on Monday, 18 September thru Thursday, 21 September, 2017.  Travel days are Monday, 18 Sept and Friday, 22 Sept. For those of you who would like to arrive a few days early (Saturday, 16 Sept or Sunday, 17 Sept), you can and will get the discounted rate as long as you indicate you are coming in for the reunion. All veterans, active-duty, Guard, Reserve, and civilian personnel who worked (or is working) in the USAF Personal or Survival Equipment career fields, Aircrew Life Support or Flight Equipment career fields, and individuals in other branches of the US military and civilians in related professions and their guests are invited to attend.

REUNION RESERVATION: To register, download and complete the  2017 Registration Form.  Send in the form NLT 31 Jul 2017.  To cancel your reservation and avoid a loss of your banquet fee, contact Bob McElwain NLT 31 Aug 2017 at 760-684-3790 or email him at

HOTEL RESERVATION: Hotel Rates: $95.00 plus tax per night Saturday, 16 Sept. through Thursday, 22 Sept. single or double occupancy The rooms come with complimentary Internet and discounted self-parking of $3 per car per night. Reservations must be made NLT 15 Aug 2017 by dialing 866-329-1758 and asking for the USAF/ALS/SE/AFE Reunion group block.  Reservations can also be made by using the following group link:  Book your group rate for USAF/ALS/SE/AFE Reunion. The hotel will accept reservations from attendees after the Cut-Off Date, and/or for dates up to 3 days before or after the Event dates, only on a space- and rate-available basis.

All reservations must be accompanied by a first-night room deposit plus the applicable state and local taxes, or guaranteed with a major credit card. In the event a guest wishes to cancel a reservation; the deposit is refundable if notice is received before 72 Hours prior to the day of arrival and a cancellation number is obtained.

BUS TRIP TO THE VIRGINIA AIR & SPACE CENTER: Included in our agenda is a trip to the Virginia Air & Space Center located in Hampton, VA. This is the birthplace of America’s space program, the Virginia Air & Space Center (VASC) is the official visitor center for NASA Langley Research Center.  Its mission is to educate, entertain and inspire explorers of all ages.  VASC features interactive aviation exhibits spanning 100 years of flight, more than 30 historic aircraft, a hands-on space gallery, and more.  Guests can pilot a space shuttle, program Mars rovers for a mission, become an air traffic controller, fly an airplane, and climb aboard a WWII bomber. The Center is home to the  Apollo 12 Command Module that went to the moon, a Mars meteorite, a moon rock brought back by the Apollo 17 mission, and the Lunar Excursion Module Simulator (LEMS) used to train the first astronauts to land on the moon.  VASC also features the Riverside 3D Digital IMAX Theater. The cost for this trip is $20 per person.

GOLF TOURNAMENT THURSDAY 21 SEPT 2017:   Our annual golf tournament will be held Thursday, 21 September 2017. Please call or e-mail Dave Chitwood and let him know you intend to play NLT 31 Aug 17.  Send Dave a $55 golf fee per person and advise him if rental golf clubs are needed. Rental golf clubs are not included in the golf fee and must be requested.  Dave can be reached via telephone at 850-543-7771, or Email at or postal mail at 9792 Corbett Place, Manassas Park, VA 20111.

HOTEL CHECK-IN / CHECK-OUT: Check-in time is after 4 pm and checkout time is 11 am. Any changes from this policy will be subjected to an early check-in and checkout fee.

REUNION CHECK-IN:   After getting your room, look for the reunion check-in counter/booth in the hotel lobby to sign-in for the reunion, and don’t forget to stop by our hospitality room after 5:30 PM for food and drinks.

RAFFLE: We are accepting prizes/gifts for our tournaments and raffle and thank you in advance for your support. Please bring your donations to the reunion or put them in the mail NET 14 Sept and NLT 15 Sept 2017. Address all donations as indicated follows:

Newport News Marriott at City Center

Attn: Bob McElwain (USAF/ALS/SE/AFE Reunion)

740 Town Center Drive

Newport News, VA 23606


CORPORATE SPONSORSHIP:  If your company or business is interested in helping support this year’s reunion, please send a check or money order payable to our Reunion Committee Chairman, Mr. Bob McElwain at the address below. For your contribution, a board will be proudly displayed at the hotel entrance recognizing corporate and individual generosity. The amount you send is entirely up to you, but please mail it by 31 July 2017 to the address below.  If you will be joining us download and complete the  2017 Industry Registration Form.

Bob McElwain,  12320 Roadrunner Ln,  Victorville, CA 92392



There are two airports in the immediate area. Newport News (15 minutes away) and Norfolk (30 minutes away).  Some people might elect to use Richmond which is an hour north of Newport News.  The hotel is close to Interstate 64 and easy to get to whether you’re driving or flying.


James River Transportation

The counter is located in the Arrivals Terminal (baggage claim area) near baggage carousel 3 and is staffed 24 hours daily. Shuttle service to Newport News, VA is expensive it can run from $99.00 for 3 people one way to $185.00 for a van one way.

The best bet will be to catch a taxi, use Uber or Lyft.


Honestly speaking, a rental car is not needed once you arrive at the hotel.  This is because a military van will be available to transport us to and from the events scheduled on Langley AFB. However, if you do decide to rent a car, seven national rental car agencies are conveniently located onsite awaiting your arrival at Norfolk International Airport.  For advance reservations, please contact individual rental car companies directly. Upon arrival, simply check in at the rental car customer service desks located in the baggage claim area below the main terminal lobby.

Companies to choose from include:

Alamo (800) 462-5266,  Avis (800) 831-2847,  Budget (800) 527-0700,

Dollar (800) 800-4000,  Enterprise (800) 736-8222,  Hertz (800) 654-3131

National (800) 227-7368  and  Thrifty   (800) 367-2277

Gone are the days of standing on a street corner and thrusting out your hand to get the attention of a cab. For many urban city dwellers, hitching a ride is as simple as whipping out your phone, tapping in an app, and waiting for a black town car or pink-mustache-flaunting Prius to arrive.

Look around any major city and you’ll see that ride-sharing services Uber and Lyft are nearly as ubiquitous as taxis, if not overshadowing them altogether.

The agencies permitted to do business at Norfolk International Airport are Uber and Lyft.


What is Uber?  Since its launch in 2012, Uber has become the most recognized alternative to traditional taxi cabs. Uber drivers do not possess special licenses; they use their personal vehicles to offer discounted fare rides. Ride-hailing and payment are all handled through a smartphone app, and you needn’t handle cash or even offer tips to your Uber driver.

Uber drivers cannot pick up street hails, which is the biggest reason Uber is not exactly a taxi provider. Instead, Uber is a kind of car-for-hire service that relies on smartphone tech as its dispatch and fee manager.

Uber is for adults and requires all account holders to be 18 years or older.

A check of a one-way trip to the hotel from Norfolk International Airport using Uber showed a price of $23 – $35. That price might be per person so call and check. To use their service we recommend you sign up for an account and download their app on your phone. To sign up click on the following link:

The Uber Process:

  1. Install the app on your smartphone and create an online Uber account. Your credit card will be attached to your account, so you never need to handle any cash.
  2. When you need a ride, use the app to tell Uber your pickup location. Your phone GPS can help you with this. There are also text message and mobile website alternatives to using the app.
  3. Uber will text you to confirm how many minutes you will wait. Rides are commonly 3 to 10 minutes away in major centers.
  4. Uber will then text you when the ride has arrived. The Uber app will also show you details of the driver, his/her name and photo, and the type of car he/she drives.
  5. Take the ride, optionally sharing with any other Uber users who can split the fare electronically with you.
  6. Payment is handled invisibly, with no tip required. You just step out of the car at the end and wave thank you.
  7. After your ride, you rate the driver on a scale of 1 to 5 (politeness, safety, cleanliness). Similarly, the driver rates you from 1 to 5 (politeness).


What is Lyft? Just like Uber, Lyft matches drivers with passengers who request rides through their smartphone app, and passengers pay automatically through the app. Lyft allows consumers to request car transportation via the Lyft mobile app. Lyft drivers use their own personal cars, although drivers can rent a car to drive with Lyft.

To use Lyft simply locate, download, and install the mobile application on any Android or iOS device from the Apple App Store or Android Google Play Store.

When you first launch the application Lyft will ask you to create an account with your current telephone number, email, and credit or debit card information. Enter all information accordingly and follow Lyft’s verification process to complete account setup.

After you have successfully created your account, launch the application and follow the easy steps to complete your first ride.

After you have found a driver of your liking, tap the Call Driver button on the bottom of the screen.

After you reach your destination, the app will automatically move to the pay/rate screen and allow you to adjust the tip amount as well as rate the driver for his services.

What is the difference between Uber and Lyft?  Uber and Lyft are more similar than different. The only major difference is Uber is currently cheaper than Lyft.

How Lyft Works

Wherever you’re headed in the Virginia Beach-Hampton Roads Area, count on Lyft for rides in minutes. The Lyft app matches you with friendly local drivers at the tap of a button. Just request and go. After the ride, simply pay through your phone.

Lyft is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Choose Lyft and get the most affordable ride in town.











Notice to Bidders for the USAF Aircrew Life Support/Aircrew Flight Equipment (ALS-AFE) Reunion Sites

The ALS-AFE Veterans and Retirees Group welcomes proposals for future reunion sites from city convention centers/bureaus, individual hotels and from our members.

To submit your proposal, download our reunion worksheet, fill it out with the help of hotel management and email the completed worksheet to NLT two weeks before our scheduled 2017 reunion. Your proposal (worksheet) will be reviewed by our reunion attendees for consideration for our next two reunions.
Here is some basic info on our reunions to better identify hotel properties best suited for our needs:

• Our reunions are held in late summer in either mid to late September or early October.
• Our Reunions run from Monday-Thursday.

We start on Monday with afternoon registration of attendees followed by the opening of our hospitality room at 6 PM or earlier.
Tuesday from 8 am until around 3 pm is our opening ceremony with all attendees in attendance gathered in a meeting room. Tuesday at 5 pm we open our hospitality room.

Wednesday at noon we open the hospitality room.

Thursday evening at 5:30 pm we open the dining area for our cash bar. At 6 pm we start our farewell banquet until 8 or 9 pm.
• Attendance over the last two years has been between 40-100 people.
• The number of lodging rooms we would need would be around 20-40 or so. An abundance of ADA accessible rooms is a plus, along with elevator service. Additional lodging a day prior and 1 day after the event at the same rate would be appreciated for those wishing to visit the area prior to or after our Reunion.

• If we can get free breakfast or work out some kind of breakfast deal, this would be greatly appreciated by our members.
• Free Wi-Fi in our meeting rooms and all guest rooms is a must.

• We try to avoid downtown/congested areas, if at all possible. Local restaurants and attractions that are easily accessible or within walking distance of the hotel are also preferred.

• We typically have a suite that we designate as our “hospitality room” – this is for members to congregate and visit amongst themselves. It would be preferred to have the same room each day/night for Monday evening – Wednesday night. In the hospitality room, we would like to be able to bring in our own snacks and beverages (soft drinks, water, beer, and wine) for our members.

• In summary, the hotel should be able to offer at a minimum:

Hospitality room, Mon evening thru Wed evening – seating max at one time of 30-50 people, where we can bring in our own food and beverages.

20+ lodging rooms, including handicapped/ADA rooms.

Buffet (or plated) dinner, Thursday evening – for approximately 23 – 40 people, with cash bar.

Meeting room, Tuesday morning – including podium, microphone, and AV equipment.

Please submit your proposals by email or mail to:
Bob McElwain
12320 Roadrunner Ln
Victorville, CA 92392


Click on the link below to access the worksheet.





Past Reunions