The USAF Life Support Veterans and Retirees Group started out in the late 1980s as a small address list of retired life support personnel that was put together by retired Chiefs Billy Goss and Robert (Tommy) Tompkins.  They used that list to keep retirees in touch with each other via an occasional newsletter.  That newsletter was published twice a year with Tommy and me providing editorial comments until the Dec 09 issue.  My comments were titled “CHILI SEZ” in honor of my friend and mentor, the late CMSgt John Shields (who, by the way, gave me the nickname Chili and named the first Tactical Air Command Life Support Newsletter TAC SEZ.  Responsibility for the newsletter has now been passed on to retired Air Staff and HQ TAC Life Support Command Chief Dave Chitwood.

During the early 1990s, it was suggested that a reunion is held to bring some of these retirees together.  It was a good idea but was never acted upon until retired SMSgt Kemper B. Kinchen (KB) and I put together a plan for the first reunion.  That reunion was held in 1996 in Laughlin, NV.  The success of that reunion evolved into what is now an annual event.

The Veteran and Retired USAF Aircrew Life Support Group formed in September 1996 during that first reunion. The official motto of the group was, “Your Life Is Our Business”, which was put into a poem by SMSgt Danny Keith.  See below to view the poem.  As we take steps to “formalize” our organization we have adopted a new motto.  It is titled, “Protecting Those Who  Fly”. The objective of the group is to bring about the unity of retired and serving members of the United States Air Force Protective Equipment, Aircrew Life Support, Aircrew Survival Equipment, and Aircrew Flight Equipment Career fields, to further among them the spirit of comradeship, mutual help, and esprit-de-corps; and to perpetuate the memory of those of the past.

This website is dedicated to all past, USAF Survival Training and Protective Equipment, Survival Equipment, and Aircrew Life Support personnel, and serving and future USAF Aircrew Flight Equipment personnel.  We also dedicate this website to past and serving personnel in our sister branches of the military and those in the private sector who are involved in the business of aircrew safety.

The goal of this website is to document as much information as possible on USAF Flight Equipment and the people who served in our career field.  If you would like to join us just click on the membership link and follow the instructions. If you know of others in your local area who worked to “Protect Those Who Fly” don’t hesitate to tell them about us.

Bob McElwain


Our jobs we will do day in and day out

So you can fly without concern or doubt.

If your thoughts are distracted, that will not allow

You to employ your weapons as you so well know how.

Our work always comes first; perfection is a must

You can count on that; our quality you can trust.

No job is too small; no task is too large

Our daily performance has your life as its charge.

Life-Saving Equipment must work every time

Anything else will be looked at as a crime.

So fly safe, fight smart, and make our enemies pay

For ” YOUR LIFE IS OUR BUSINESS”; we live it every day.

Sometimes during flight circumstances become uncontrolled

Therefore we train procedures you won’t have to be told.

Trust in our equipment; make your decisions in time

That way into the sky again you will be able to climb.

Eventually, the time must come for us to depart

Replacements we train for that time when they start.

You will be in good hands; there is no reason to fear

Your safety is our only concern; your life we hold dear.

We have dedicated our careers to you the aircrew

Your welfare and comfort were all that we knew.

So fly safe, fight smart, and make sure the enemy pays

For “YOUR LIFE WILL BE OUR BUSINESS” until our final days.