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Hot off the presses ... one last time

  • Published
  • By Maj. Jim Roth
  • 169th Fighter Wing
The premiere edition of the SCANG News was published in February 1977. Sylvester Stallone's Rocky had just stepped into the ring for the first time; it looked like the Eagles had a serious hit on their hands with Hotel California; and I was rocking second grade. In addition to UTA dates, job vacancies and a poorly-drawn, barely-amusing cartoon about staff assistance visits, the two-page, type-written newsletter included a "Commander Speaks" column written by then chief of staff Brig. Gen. Grady Patterson (whose son retired as a brigadier general earlier this year!).

General Patterson wrote: "With this publication, we are embarking on a new endeavor to communicate with the membership of the SCANG on a monthly basis. The format will necessarily change as we go along, but generally, the content will consist of pictures, material of general interest to all members, and their families, as well as articles concerning individual members. Professionals will be directing this project, and I think it has great promise."

One of the professionals directing the promising project was editor Staff Sgt Fred Monk, who eventually would earn his commission and, some 15 years later, join fellow Capt Les Carroll in coaxing Staff Sgt Jim Roth into the SCANG.

That would be me ... fresh off four-years of active duty public affairs (editing base newspapers in Louisiana and Germany).

By the time I showed up for my first drill (summer of 1993), the newsletter had grown into a slightly snazzier 12-pager. Edited full-time by then Maj Janet Noble, that month's SCANG News included news briefs, promotions, Top Achievers, the SCANG Snapshot, the chaplains' "Reflections" and ... a poorly-drawn, barely-amusing cartoon about supply pilferage.

To one extent or another, I've been tangled up with the paper ever since. When Noble stepped aside five years later and I took over as editor, my introductory column asked folks to submit their articles "saved-to-disk in rich text format" and stated (I swear I'm not making this up): "I want your help in creating a publication that effectively meets the needs of the community it serves. And, in exchange, I'll provide information you can use. For instance: Murphy's Oil Soap is the chemical most commonly used to clean elephants. Porcupines float and non-dairy creamer is flammable."

A lot has happened since then. Commissioned in 2001, I continued to serve as editor until October 2004, at which point I tricked my trusty assistant editor Master Sgt Richard Hodges into assuming the role of editor, and I promoted myself to "senior editor." Which basically means he did all the work and I took all the credit.

But enough about me. My point ... if I have one ... is that, like you, I'm going to miss the SCANG News. This month's exciting transition from hard copy to web-based publication is bittersweet, and I expect it'll take a few months to get into the new groove.

Ultimately, though, the current roster of PA superstars (like superintendent Senior Master Sgt Ed Snyder and super-editors Technical Sgts Stephen Hudson and Caycee Watson) intends to take SCANG communications to a whole new level, increasing the frequency, speed and value of our shared information. General Patterson warned us a long time ago that the format would necessarily change, but 1977's promising "endeavor to communicate" obviously has paid off, and the next iteration promises to continue strengthening our mission and our community.

Here's what you need to do to help get us started. Send the e-mail addresses at which you prefer to be contacted to And, while you're at it, consider subscribing your spouse and/or employer by sharing their preferred e-mail addresses as well.

In the coming weeks, subscribers will begin receiving weekly updates that steer them to our public website. Going forward, this is how you'll access wing news and information, briefs, photos, features and ... who knows ... maybe a poorly-drawn, barely-amusing cartoon about going green.