Bernie Skoch is the Air & Space Forces Association’s new Chairman of the Board, effective Oct. 1, succeeding former Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force #14 Gerald Murray.
Skoch ran unopposed and was elected without objection on Sept. 17 during AFA’s National Convention leading up to the Air, Space & Cyber Conference in National Harbor, Md. He served 29 years in the Air Force in a variety of communications roles. After retirement, Skoch launched AFA’s CyberPatriot National Youth Cyber Education Program. As the National Commissioner, he oversaw the growth of the program as it evolved into one of the most widely regarded and successful cyber-focused STEM programs in the nation.
“CyberPatriot, is having a profound impact on American society. It is demonstrably shaping education in America and helping us raise the technical workforce,” Skoch said at the Convention. “That’s great. We need to continue that momentum with StellarXplorers and other similar programs. But the heart and soul of AFA is in our advocacy role. And the heart and soul of our advocacy role is in the communities that we all occupy. So, I’m looking forward to working with you over the next few years as we go to that role.”
Also elected: Gabbe Kearney and Paul Hendricks, both new AFA Directors, at Large; and Janelle Stafford, new AFA Director, Central Area. Joe Burke’s and Molly Mae Potter’s terms as National Directors, at Large, ended on Sept. 30.
Murray was elected Chairman of the Board in 2019, just a few months before COVID-19 changed the world, and oversaw the association’s historic rebranding following the creation of the Space Force under the Department of the Air Force. Under his tenure, AFA changed its name, and updated its mission, Strategic Plan, and Bylaws to ensure the Air & Space Forces Association will continue to thrive long into the future.
“Gerald, in the history of AFA, you have led unprecedented reinforcement of the AFA mission to ensure our Airmen, Guardians, and their Families are supported and encouraged in a time of daunting threats to our Nation’s security,” said AFA President-CEO Lt. Gen. Bruce Wright, USAF (Ret.). "While we will miss your leadership, we’re excited to welcome Bernie back, as he brings proven Department of the Air Force and AFA leadership to the position of Chairman.”
In his remarks at Convention, Murray said: “It has truly been my honor to serve as your Chairman for the past three years. ... I look forward to my next assignment as I continue to serve our great Association as the Chair of the Nominating Committee. Thank you very much for your confidence.”
In addition to leading CyberPatriot, Skoch has received the AFA President’s Citation for exceptional leadership (2019); AFA’s Chairman’s Aerospace Education Award (2020); AFA’s Hoyt S. Vandenberg Award for most outstanding contribution in the field of aerospace education (2021); and helped put AFA in position to be awarded the Trade Show Executives “Fastest 50” award for exceptional growth in attendance and exhibit sales. Skoch also has served on the Military Cyber Professionals Association Board; the Civil Air Patrol Board of Governors; as a Senior Advisor for Aerospace/STEM Education on the AFA Education Council; and as AFA’s South Central Region President.