Air & Space Conference Daily Wrap-Up

This is the daily blog from the Air & Space Conference and Technology Exposition 2009. Master Sgt. Russell Petcoff will be blogging from it daily Sept. 14-16.

It wasn’t too long after I arrived at the 2009 Air Force Association Air & Space Conference and Technology Exposition that I ran into old friends from previous assignments. Sometimes it pays to get some coffee.

There was Maj. Chris Menuey, who I knew from the 341st Space Wing, Malmstrom Air Force Base, Mont.  It’s a sign I’ve been in the Air Force too long. I first knew the major as a second lieutenant. Never thought I’d be a “gray beard.”

Shortly afterwards, I ran into Chaplain (Maj.) Kevin Lockett. We went to Advanced Combat Skills Training at Fort Dix, N.J., and deployed to the 407th Air Expeditionary Group, Ali Base, Iraq.

Last, I ran into Capt. Harold Catchings, executive officer at the 11th Wing, Bolling Air Force Base, D.C. Small world, small Air Force.

The exposition opened with an opening ceremony featuring Secretary of the Air Force Michael Donley and Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz. One comment the general made touched on the renewing of friendships that’s a byproduct of the exposition. The general said he looks forward to the fellowship and the opportunity for camaraderie and also to engage in constructive dialogue.

In the Exhibition Hall
Many defense contractors, military laboratories and other businesses filled the Exhibition Hall. Each had displays highlighting how they support the Air Force mission. Very interesting some of the information they presented. What was more interesting was the free give-aways many of the contractors had.

Pens, of course. There were pens from the standard stick pen to pens that light up and sparkle. One space contractor had colorful stuffed alien dolls. One contractor gave away mini computer mice while another offered laptop lights that plug into a USB port. Hand sanitizer to help fight H1N1 was also popular.

The most interesting give-away? Easy, a sticky brain from a research laboratory. The official manning the booth said the organization was “the brains of space for the government.”

“We have the scientists, physicists and engineers to assist the Air Force in securing national space systems,” said Dianne Lane, marketing research analyst for the contractor. Maj. Jason Beck, Air Force Fellow, took time out of visiting the displays to talk with Ms. Lane about the sticky brains. Afterwards, she gave him a secret give-away they hadn’t revealed yet – a 3-inch tall lava lamp.

The sticky brain is interesting. Must remember to be careful who touches the sticky brain. Someone left mustard on it…nice.

Later on, the official said they were going to break out the mini lava lamp.