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                                                                    Maxwell Arnold Kriendler, personable, jovial, endless energy, big hearted, generous and boundless loyalty, all defined him. One of the Greatest Generation, who learned business in the darkest days of the 1930s, would combine insight and realities experienced in World War II to prepare for an even greater role in post-war national security matters, the Air Force Association and the promotion of airpower. Fifteen years after founding of AFA and modernizing the U.S. Air Force with missiles, satellites and Mach 2 jets, East West tensions were growing. The Berlin Wall was under construction. Soviet forces amassed along the Iron Curtain. U.S. Forces braced to counter a Soviet push across German plains into France. Air Guard units deployed to beef up USAFE bases. U.S. civilians were briefed on escape routes to Switzerland. It was 1961, the Berlin Crisis, prelude to the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis. Mitchel Field closed. A greater Air Force presence was needed in the heart of industry and finance. On a visit with AFA friends in Manhattan, U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff, General Curtis E. LeMay suggested an AFA Chapter in Manhattan. Air Reserve Colonel Maxwell  “Mac” Kriendler founded the Chapter in his ‘21’ Club and named it the Iron Gate Squadron. America was in the time of need.

Pre-war prophecies of airpower advocates General Billy Mitchell and Alexander P. de Seversky had been validated, with the gigantic bomber formations, pre-dawn briefings, heavy losses, and the bravery of college aged crews. ‘Mac’ made the ‘21’ Club home for Airpower, put his full support behind the AFA and added his influence to that of Jimmy Doolittle in selling the public on supporting the Air Force. The ‘21’ Club grew into an internationally known institution, referred to as “cross-roads of the world” for epicureans seeking the finest of New York, and patrons of the aerospace industry. Mac’s work at 8th AF in public relations would continue for the rest of his life, advocating Airpower and a strong national defense. The Kriendler family and fellow patriots became the driving force of AFA in the heart of Manhattan, emphasizing the linkage between a strong U.S. Air Force and market stability. He was a powerful influence on the Manhattan audience passing his way. Mac Kriendler left a legacy critical to national security that we carry on in Manhattan. New York’s once great aerospace industry is gone, but the financial industry has grown and technology makes grassroots communication more powerful than ever. The September 1973 anniversary issue of the Air Force Magazine noted that New York’s Senator Jacob Javits sponsored the following proclamation in tribute to Maxwell ‘Mac’ Kriendler, which was unanimously approved by the U.S. Senate and printed in the Congressional Record.

U.S. Senate PROCLAMATION: The Air Force Association is young as organizations go, and time has thinned its ranks but little. Hence, when any stalwart falls he leaves a bigger than ordinary gap. The  phenomenon is compounded when the man himself is extraordinary – when he is Mac Kriendler. Maxwell Arnold Kriendler died in New York City’s Mt. Sinai Hospital on August 7, 1973. He had been grievously ill with cancer for the past two years, although the proximate cause of death was pneumonia. He was sixty-five. Those are the bare statistics. Behind them lie a complicated, warmhearted, generous person who gave more to each of the three enthusiasms in his lifetime than the average man is able to devote to one. Enthusiasm – number one – his business life, in which family, social, and personal relationships were inextricably entwined. It centered around the best-known restaurant in the country, the “21” Club, at 21  West 52nd Street in New York – an internationally known watering place that began as a speakeasy, under the aegis of Mac’s late brother, Jack Kriendler, and their cousin, Charlie Berns. Mac joined “21” in 1929, following graduation from St. John’s Law School, and served as its president from 1947 to 1955. In that year, he moved next door as president and treasurer of 21 Brands, a liquor distributor and importer of,  among other fine spirits, Ballantine’s scotch and Hines cognac. He later served as chairman of its board.   Enthusiasm number two (only Mac could have said what should be the proper order) – the United States   Air Force. The “21” Club is full of souvenirs of the Air Force, in which Mac rose to the rank of lieutenant colonel during World War II, being discharged in 1945 as chief of management control, the Eastern District, Air Technical Service Command. He remained active in the Air Force Reserve and retired as a colonel in February 1968. Associated decorations include the Exceptional Service Award , highest civilian decoration of  the Air Force, Legion of Merit, and Air Commendation Medal. Enthusiasm number three – the Air Force Association, including AFA’s Aerospace Education Foundation, the Iron Gate Chapter of New York, and the Annual Air Force Salute, sponsored by the Chapter. His service to AFA was endless and tireless. He was the first President of the Iron Gate Chapter when it was chartered on September 21, 1961. That same year he was elected to AFA’s National Board of Directors, on which he served until his death, excepting only the years 1964 – 1966. His tenth term in 1972 made him a permanent member of the board. For nine years, beginning in 1965, he was a member of AFA’s Finance Committee.  He received AFA’s Medal of Merit in 1961 and it’s Exceptional Service Plaque in 1962. In 1964, Mac was named AFA’s “man of the Year.” In 1964, he became a member of the Board of Trustees of the Aerospace Education Foundation, on which he served until his death. In 1966 and 1967, he was Treasurer of the Foundation. Mac Kriendler- genial host, successful businessman, devoted Air Force officer, dedicated AFA leader – but most of all a generous and unselfish friend. His life was so full because he was so full of life.  He will be missed but never replaced.


1961 – 2011, Iron Gate Chapter & 21 Club serving the U.S. Air Force 50 Years in Manhattan.

For airpower advocates, the 1945 celebration of victory was overshadowed by mourning losses of so many of our best and brightest, the urgency to preserve what had been gained and to assure air defense from surprise attacks. Air superiority and strategic bombing had been decisive. Paramount was preserving an Air Force that had been built in four years, and modernizing it with missiles and an all-jet force. Stakes were high: national security, the future of democracy.

General Hap Arnold raced against time. When he needed to boost public morale in the darkest hours of 1942 he tapped Jimmy Doolittle to lead the Tokyo Raid. With the public concerned about the air war in Europe, Arnold called on prominent New Yorkers; C.V. “Sonny” Whitney, J.H. ‘Jock’ Whitney, John R. ‘Tex’ McCrary and Maxwell ‘Mac” Kriendler to serve as Eighth Bomber Command  Public Relations Officers in London, to work with correspondents on news of the air war over Nazi held territory. When B-29 bombers failed to produce over Japanese targets, he tapped Curtis E. LeMay.

In September 1945Arnold needed to sell the nation on an independent U.S. Air Force, and came to New York, tapping Kodak VP and retired Major General Ed Curtis, to organize the Air Force Association, which first met   on 12 October 1945 in Manhattan with twelve directors: John S. Allard, Everett Cook, Edward P. Curtis, James H. Doolittle, Deering Howe, Rufus Rand, Sol Rosenblatt, Julian Rosenthal, James Stewart, Lowell P. Weicker, C.V. “Sonny” Whitney and J.H. “Jock” Whitney.

National hero and VP of Shell Oil Company, Jimmy Doolittle, was asked to serve as AFA President. He quit     his job for a year. Hap Arnold gave him a B-25 to fly. That was January 1946. No other person had contributed  so much to nurturing aviation out of its infancy and into a mature industry as Jimmy Doolittle. His credits in promoting aviation are endless; MIT’s first PhD in aeronautical Engineering, lead designer of blind-flight instru- ments, piloted first blind flight, holder of every trophy of air racing, led Tokyo Raiders, Congressional Medal of Honor recipient, commander of 15th AF and 8th AF, as VP of Shell, made long endurance flights to sell the public on aviation for business travel, and developed additives for aviation fuels. He was a natural salesman, popular and drew huge audiences. His name alone opened doors. He flew to every major city in the U.S. and true to his fashion, the job was done by the end of the year, and on 18 September 1947 President Truman signed the law making the U.S. Air Force an independent service. It had been a tall order. Jimmy Doolittle was age 50.

Jimmy Doolittle never lost his love for Iron Gate and the’ 21’ Club, timing New and timed hisYork visits for Iron Gate luncheons. Our most popular award  is the Jimmy Doolittle Fellow that  includes a  $1,000 check to AFA for Aerospace Education. In  that same spirit, we now celebrate  the  50th  Anniversary of the Iron Gate Chapter and ‘21’ Club for having carried on the legacy of Jimmy Doolittle in Manhattan, birthplace of the Manhattan Project, the Air Force Association, U.S. Air Force support and the force behind Airpower.

Foremost in our celebration is the legacy of Colonel Maxwell A. Kriendler, who  made his ‘21’ Club home for Airpower Advocates and founded Iron Gate at the  suggestion of General Curtis E. LeMay   LeMay is the one other person whose massive impact affected every aspect aerospace during his 21 ½ years as a General Officer, Eighth Air Force in the UK during WWII, B-29 operations in the Pacific, Vice Chief of Staff for R&D, modernization, missiles, satellites and an all jet Air Force, Commander of U.S. Air Forces in Europe,  the Berlin Air Lift, Father of the Strategic Air Command and Chief of Staff, U. S. Air Force.

He perfected and demonstrated celestial navigation for precise location of ships at sea and global flight, which validated the concept of Boeing’s B-17 Flying Fortress. We take pride in celebrating fifty-years of service to the U.S. Air Force, honoring our rich heritage and paying tribute to Colonel Maxwell A. Kreindler, General James H. “Jimmy” Doolittle and General Curtis E. LeMay, Chief of Staff  U.S. Air Force, K4RFA and W6EZV.

Anniversaries Coinciding with the Iron Gate Chapter’s Fiftieth Anniversary

The centennial of the birth of Major General J. Stanley Holtoner on 4 August 2011 and the tenth Anniversary of the terrorist attacks on our “Homeland,” on 11 September 2011. It is with great pride that we recognize our Iron Gate Chapter members who were “First to Respond” on that morning of   11 September 2001, when Lower Manhattan was turned into a War Zone of death and destruction. Terrorists killed nearly 3,000 people on U.S. soil, an attack on the very cornerstone of Democracy. That morning, those two massive towers and their contents collapsed into a pile of rubble that burned for three months. Lost that morning were 343 firemen, 60 policemen and 3,051 children were left without a parent. Fifteen percent of Manhattan office space was demolished, resulting in doubled leases that sent a ripple of cost increases across the Nation.

On this special occasion we recognize Mr. Bruce Brenner, FDNY Supervisor who dispatched the firemen into the World Trade Towers. We of the Iron Gate Chapter AFA, speaking for a Grateful Nation, thank you for your act of courage in carrying out your duties that was far beyond anything ever before faced by New York City Firemen. You have become a symbol of bravery and courageous dedication to duty for Emergency Responders.

We recognize Mr. Ronald Regan, Manager of FAA New York Air Traffic Controllers, who ordered shut-down of our New York airports, saving further destruction of cherished landmarks of Democracy and thousands of more deaths, an act worthy of a Presidential Citation. Mr. Regan is a veteran of Vietnam where he was an Air Traffic Controller for the U.S. Air Force. We of the Iron Gate Chapter AFA, speaking for a Grateful Nation, thank you for your vigilance and extraordinary sense   of security in recognizing the Act of War, and taking responsibility to order shut-down of our airports. Had he been off-duty, the airports shut-down would have been ordered by his counterpart Mr. Robert Micalizzi, also a veteran of Vietnam where he was an Air Traffic Controller with the U.S. Army.

Major General J. Stanley Holtoner, 4 August 1911 – 17 December 2010

We’ll spend the rest of our lives learning how to be worthy of General Holtoner’s friendship and trust, his encouragement in restoring AFA in Manhattan and for insights he left us on education of aeronautical engineers, whose work pushed aviation out of its infancy into a mature industry, from which evolved U.S. Supremacy in the Air and Space. He was a giant of aerospace without peers.

For his command of two combat groups in WWII we are grateful and he is to be revered for his engineering leadership in R&D that made possible the rapid modernization of the U.S. Air Force with missiles and an all-jet force, and for his leadership as “Father of Edwards AFB” and Chief Experimental Test Pilot. He was a director of the Soldier’s, Sailor’s, Marine’s and Airmen’s Club. He has been vested by the Iron Gate Chapter as an Ira Eaker Historical Fellow, a Jimmy Doolittle Educational Fellow, and a Bernard A. Schriever Fellow and a Hap Arnold Fellowship of AFA. He is the holder of the Thompson Trophy, for a world speed record of 690.118 mph in an F-86D on a 100 km course at Edwards AFB. He earned the MacKay Trophy for the Tactical Air Command with his 832nd Air Division during Cold War action in the Formosa Straits.

He received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Aeronautical Engineering from New York University in 1932 and in 1933 entered pilot training, after which he flew with the 1st Pursuit Group at Selfridge Field for five years, including the famous 94th “Hat in the Ring” Squadron. In 1939 he transferred to Wheeler Field, HI, where he won the Luke Trophy in gunnery competition in each of the two years there. In 1941 he returned   to Selfridge, where the Group was being divided up for training new groups for combat operations overseas.

He commanded two combat fighter groups in WWII, logging 172 hours of combat. His first group, the 342nd Composite Group based in Iceland, defended the North Atlantic shipping route and was the first American unit flying American planes to down a Nazi plane. From December 1943 to March 1945 he commanded the 86th Fighter Group at Waycross, GA, where he applied his combat experience to training pilots for overseas duty. He later commanded the 82nd Fighter Group in Italy, defending bomber routes over the Alps, en route  to Nazi targets. His 82nd Fighter Group was the high-scoring group of the 15th Air Force.

Early in 1946 Colonel Holtoner was assigned to Wright Field where he participated in the conceptual design of most R&D missile projects. Practically all the modern missile systems had their foundations in some of this early work. From May 1946 through 1951 he served as chief of the R&D branch for aircraft, the first two years of which was under Major General Curtis E. LeMay, the first Deputy Chief of Staff for Development. During the final analyses of proposals for an advanced strategic bomber, he told General LeMay that the best choice was Boeing’s B-47. Of the 2,052 made, the crews of the RB-47 reconnaissance models saw combat over the Soviet Union. The swept-wing configuration of the B-47 became the standard for multi-engine jets.

Another major development of the time was the R&D effort for the F-86D single-seat radar interceptor. In mid 1950 Colonel Holtoner helped organize the new Air Research and Development Command and in April 1951 he was assigned as Assistant Deputy for development at headquarters ARDC in Washington, D.C. In January 1952 General Holtoner was ordered to Edwards AFB, where he was responsible for experimental flight testing the high performance jets for which he had been responsible in the design phase. As Father of

Edwards AFB, he ranks among the world’s top Experimental Test Pilots, was among the first to fly the new planes coming to Edwards, was “Number Nine” to join the 1,000 mph Club, he flew the Bell X-1, was “Number Five” to fly the F-104, flew the XB-47, the YB-52, B-66, all of the great Century Series fighters, the F-100, F-101, F-102, F-105, F-106 and F-107, all of the turboprop and jet transports and all helicopters.

By the time his command was completed in May 1957, what had been little more than the desolate remnants of Muroc Air Field, had become the World’s premier flight test center, featuring a concrete runway 16,800 feet long, 3,000 feet wide and 19 inches thick, 14 enormous hangars, a precision radar and optical tracking system, computation laboratories, telemetry stations, and technical facilities. Less known, is the rocket engine test station, developed on the remote granite hills on the East side of Rogers Lake, with the capability for performing static tests of the most powerful rocket engines yet developed. What began as a specialized test stand changed to one of development and test of rocket propulsion systems. A modern laboratory was carved out of the barren rock, with a hydrodynamics laboratory, thrust stands, assembly buildings, telemetry systems, without which the ballistic missiles program would have been delayed many years. Before General Holtoner’s arrival at Edwards, new records were bring set almost daily in high performance prototype jets. Brewing Cold War tensions and pressure to accelerate flight test schedules inevitably led to accidents, and the death rate at Muroc had surged. In January 1950, the base was renamed after Glen Edwards, who died while testing the Northrop YB-49. General Holtoner instituted stern discipline for safety, with protocol refinements for flight test planning, range scheduling and coordination, engineering, flight profile, preflight briefing, post flight debriefing, data processing and productivity.

In 1957 he became Deputy Commander of Third Air Force in the UK, where he was instrumental in tran-sitioning combat forces from outdated aircraft to the modern B-66, F-100 and F-101. From the summer of 1958 to the spring of 1959 he served as commander of the 832nd Air Division at Cannon AFB, NM, which  he led across the Pacific in defense of the Formosa Straits against threats of the Chinese Communists. The 832nd also participated in the Lebanese action, as a part of TAC’s composite Strike Force.

In 1959 General Holtoner was reassigned to the Pentagon where he returned to the field of Research and Development. Here, he was assigned to the newly created Office of the Director of Defense Research and Engineering. In his capacity of military advisor to Dr. Herbert York, General Holtoner participated in the development effort of the XB-70, Minuteman ICBM, Ballistic Missile Early Warning System and Tactical Fighters. From July 1963 to July 1965 Major General Holtoner served as Commandant of the Armed Forces Staff College at Norfolk, VA. In July 1965 he was assigned as Vice Commander, Continental Air Command, where he played a major role in shaping the Air Force Reserve Program. On 31 January 1967 General Stan Holtoner retired, after a distinguished career of 34 years.  Compiled by Frank Hayes

Geoff Hellman provided an eloquent tribute to General Holtoner: “It is an honor to be part of an unbroken    chain of respect and belief in exceptional American traditions, the most important of which begins with patriotic belief in the good of our country’s principles and national ideals, America’s commitment to liberty, and our unhesitating action and personal self-sacrifice to defend our country regardless of seemingly insurmountable hardship. To be in the company of General Holtoner, and to honor the General for his lifetime achievements is to recognize the greatness and genius of the tranquil and steady patriotism he exemplifies, his selfless devotion to our society and the citizens who constitute it, respect for law and community, and how ethics, religion, and science have come together in his distinguished military career for our collective benefit. Staying humble is hard, especially when one has achieved so much, but it is the nature of men like General Holtoner to walk humbly in the steps of those who preceded him, to ensure that the honor and memory of others like Jimmy Doolittle, whose decency, sacrifice, and heroism, and willingness to use our extraordinary military advantage   in defense of freedom is remembered as one of the things that is right about the United States, and why we continue today to be a great nation.”

 Dorothy L. “Dotty” Flanagan and Dorothy M. Welker

The Iron Gate Chapter and National Air Force Salute Foundation were a phenomenal success that began with insight for an opportunity seen by General Curtis E. LeMay to raise funds for the Air Force Aid Society and to increase the presence of the U.S. Air Force in the Manhattan business district during the heightened East-West tensions of the 1961 Berlin Crisis. Republic Aviation’s Robert S. Johnson and Ken Ellington took a big part, with Ken Ellington following Mac Kriendler as chapter president. In 1965, with Milt Caniff as president, Iron Gate  held its second National Air Force Salute at the Waldorf, honoring General Curtis E. LeMay on his retirement. The door prize was two Pan Am “Around- the-World” tickets. The salutes went on to   thrive for 33 years, with up to 1,300 converging on Manhattan from across  the country. Orchestration of those flawless salutes during peak years of the 1980s, was the work of two cherished ladies who dedicated their lives to AFA          and the U.S. Air Force, the late Dorothy L. “Dottie” Flanagan and the late CAP Lt. Col. Dorothy M. Welker.

In New York, Dorothy Welker literally ran Iron Gate and the National Salute Foundation on a day-to-day basis, with ledgers that accounted for every penny expended or distributed and funds received or pledged by aerospace industry supporters. Orchestrating timely arrival of everything, ranging from members and honorees, entertainers and hosts of hospitality suites, to the Amtrak Train and Matinees for Broadway was masterful, a text-book example for a college course in logistics management. In 1994 Bob Hope presented the “Bob Hope Humanitarian Award” to National Air Force Salute Foundation Chairman Tom McKee on behalf of the late Dorothy Welker from Bob Hope himself. Ms. Welker was an avid supporter of the Air Force Enlisted Men’s Widows and Dependents Home.

During those years of heightened Cold War tensions, Iron Gate’s roster soared past 200 and national membership topped 200,000, making AFA Headquarters one of the busiest spots in Washington. As Director of Protocol for AFA, everyone at the Pentagon had Dottie’s telephone number. She was a naturally helpful person and with the diplomacy of a skilled ambassador she made thousands of friends for AFA and the USAF, PR money can’t buy.

When Dottie retired she was honored in the January 1995 issue of the Air Force Magazine with the following tribute by John O. Gray, titled “Dottie Flanagan Retires After Thirty-Six Years.” Last autumn, Dorothy L. Flanagan retired as director of Protocol for AFA. She joined the staff in November 1958, leaving her position in the Office of the Secretary of the Air Force, and immediately went to work on staging the Association’s 1959 World Congress of Flight. Throughout her years of dedicated service, she worked directly with key military and civilian leaders at all organizational levels of the Air Force, aerospace industry and AFA.

Known for her uncanny memory of people, places, and events, she was often affectionately called “Miss AFA.” Among her many awards are the Air Force Exceptional Service Award, the highest recognition a civilian can achieve, ANG’s Eagle Award, the Office of Air Force Public Affairs’ Quill Award, a special award from the Air Force Academy, and a Jimmy Doolittle Fellowship and AFA Medal of Merit from the Iron Gate Chapter. In the 1994 National Convention, in the crowning achievement of her career, she became only the fourteenth individual  in AFA history to receive a Gold Life Member Award. A donation from the late Jack B. Gross, National Director Emeritus, established the Dottie Flanagan Staff Award of the Year for presentation to AFA Headquarters Staff members for outstanding performance.

Young Women & Men Serving our Country “In The Time of Need” deserve the support of the Iron Gate Chapter.