Network Update: Continuing growth after the Rally and RBB
Army parachutist at Rock Beyond Belief
The last network update was Feb 26th, prior to the Reason Rally. The Naval and Coast Guard Academies were able to set up trips to visit. They had representatives on stage during the MAAF military tribute. Rock Beyond Belief (click for pics and videos) was also a groundbreaking show of support for atheists and humanists in the military and was sponsored by Justin Griffith, organizer of MASH Ft Bragg and Military Director of American Atheists. Thousands of military atheists around the world attended these two events while supporting communities in their local areas.
The Naval Academy made the strongest showing, sending 19 Midshipmen to the event. The Coast Guard Academy had two representatives. Cadets at West Point and the Air Force Academy struggled to make the trip due to lack of funding and official recognition from their Academies.
The MAAF Network continues to grow, with new local affiliates at Eglin Air Force Base near Pensacola, FL and at Ft Stewart, Georgia. new Point of Contact Derek Breaux at Lajes Field, Portugal and Jason Wiese at FE Warren AFB, Wyoming. It’s arguable which of these two locations is more remote… Gus Cocarelli at Scott AFB, IL is the newest MAAF Lay Leader. The Air Force has not yet recognized Gus, but we are hopeful that the chaplains will do so.
KMC-MAAF member Fabricio Quinones at the MAAF table at the Reason Rally
- [CA] San Diego Area – – SD-MAAF is looking forward to a visit from comedian and pianist Tim Minchin as well as Richard Dawkins who is continuing a national tour.
- [CA] Travis AFB – – Travis MASH: Dan Rawlings and the local group are continuing with paperwork and outreach to the chaplains. Unfortunately, chaplains have not been supportive thus far.
- [DE] Dover AFB – – Dover Military Humanists: Local meetings are continuing in pursuit of more formal recognition on post.
- [FL] MacDill AFB – – MacDill Atheists & Secular Humanists: Members met for Beer in the Park charity event for Joshua House Foundation on March 9th and met at the post chapel March 20th. The next event is April 17th at the post chapel.
- [GA] Ft Stewart – – Ft Stewart MASH: A big thanks go out to Sgt Nathan Ash for getting things going at Ft Stewart. The group is still new and a notification went out to MAAF members in the area to jump-start activities.
- [HI] Hawaii – – MASH Hawaii is coordinating with MAAF to provide humanist information to the local enlistment station (see MEPS updates below).
- [KS] Ft Riley – – MAAF Ft Riley: Regular meetings are held at the Warrior Zone conference room on Normandy Drive on Ft Riley.
- [KY] Ft Campbell – – MASH Ft Campbell members attended the Reason Rally and are planning future events.
- [MO] Ft Wood – – MASH Ft Wood: Check out weekly Secular Sippin (Apr 15) and regular Munch with MASH (Mar 1).
- [NC] Ft Bragg – –MASH Ft Bragg: MASH Ft Bragg had a great turnout for Rock Beyond Belief and is continuing with 5k run on April 14th.
- [TX] Ft Hood – – CENTEX – MAAF held a BBQ/potluck April 7th.
- [Germany] Kaiserslautern – – Kaiserslautern Military Community MAAF: Fabricio Quinones was able to make the trip to the Reason Rally all the way from Germany. Clint Rasic, local coordinator, is transferring out of Germany and seeking new leadership to continue a strong presence for MAAF in Germany.
- [UK] RAF Lakenheath – – RAF Lakenheath Atheists & Freethinkers: Newly established; currently coordinating with several UK Armed Forces local groups to establish regular meetings, including trips to Down House, home of Charles Darwin, and Woolsthorpe Manor, home of Isaac Newton. Assistant Coordinator Patrick Madden began coordinations with a visit to Cambridge Humanists.
- Academy Updates (USMA, USNA, USAFA, USCGA): Aside from the good showing at the Reason Rally (above), USNA had an excellent topic covering the Hubble Deep Field. This week, they are struggling the ongoing noon meal prayer and their application for official recognition from the Academy. USAFA is currently struggling with new chaplaincy regulations excluding Freethinkers. Each Academy is preparing for summer training to provide humanist alternatives to Sunday church.
- MEPS updates: Humanists at the Louisville Military Enlistment Processing Station will now have humanist materials to read. This pilot program between MAAF and local Louisville secular groups and programs in San Diego, Honolulu, Columbus, and Des Moines are pending.
- Always check the MAAF Calendar for speaking engagements and events of interest.