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Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Short Gathering of Eagles Q&A

A few tidbits from Maj. Pete Gryzen, the spokesman for this year's Gathering of Eagles event:

1. How were this year's Eagles selected?

The Gathering of Eagles team consists of 15 students selected from the class to execute this yearlong project while meeting research requirements for graduation, and earning a Master’s Degree in Military Operational Art and Science. Faculty advisers provide guidance with senior oversight provided by the Vice Commandant of the Air Command and Staff College (Col. David Solomon).

Each member of the 15-person GOE team was responsible to research and submit Eagle nominations. To accomplish this, the team also solicited nominations from students in the 69th Class of ACSC. From there, the team selected this year's 14 Eagles to represent the different eras of air/space operations and missions they performed.

2. What's the objective/goal of the Eagles event?

For almost three decades, the Gathering of Eagles program has served as the capstone event for the graduates of the ACSC. The program provides a forum to honor men and women who have made significant contributions to air, space, and cyberspace power. The bringing together of distinguished air and space leaders and legends from around the world ensures the Eagles’ “living histories” and “lessons learned” are carried forward into the twenty-first century by the world’s future military and civilian leadership. The GOE program is presented to over 450 students in the rank of major and above from the Air Force, Army, Navy, Marines, as well as civilians from the Departments of Defense and State. Additionally, the class includes over 70 international officers from more than 60 countries.

Between the teaching interviews, informal breakfasts and lunches, and the family oriented BBQ dinners, the GOE program touches over 2000 people each year.

3. What are the benefits, to the AU students, the Maxwell community and the greater military community in Montgomery?

The program directly impacts the ACSC students, Maxwell AFB personnel, and the greater military community in Montgomery by the inspiration that comes from hearing the stories of these living legends.

Through the teaching interviews with the ACSC students, the breakfasts and lunches with various agencies from Maxwell-Gunter AFB, the BBQ dinners with the ACSC students and families, and the Air Force Association brunch (open to all AFA members throughout the River Region), this program reaches out and touches the lives of so many men and women.

The GOE program also awards $1,500 scholarship to one Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) cadet each year. These future officers from across the US compete for this scholarship by submitting a 3-5 page paper outlining who they think should be honored as an Eagle in future years.

The program also traditionally hosts an additional venue for local businesses and community leaders to interact with the Eagles.

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I grew up in the military. Mom was an Air Force nurse for a few years, dad was a navigator on B-52s, among other things. One grandfather served in World War II, uncle is retired Navy, other grandfather and great-uncle served in Korea and a cousin is currently serving in the Marine Corps. Currently, I'm the military reporter for the Great Falls Tribune in Montana. Previously, 


As a military kids, we moved all over. As an adult, I've traveled all over and moved for work. But now, I'm putting down roots in Montana with my boyfriend. We just bought a house and are slowly but surely making it our home. We have more land that we know what to do with at the moment. Now we're getting a garden started, tearing down walls and having loads of fun at what we call the Homestead.

In a part life, I did PR for the guy who built the Vietnam Veterans Memorial on the National Mall, social media for the National Museum of Health and Medicine, before that, edited two military technology magazines for a publishing group in the DC area and before that, I was the military reporter (among other things) at the Montgomery Advertiser, covering Maxwell Air Force Base, the Alabama National Guard, veterans and anything else military related in the area. And in between all of that, I leave town, preferably the country, whenever possible. It all started when I spent a semester in New Zealand.

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