It has been another great year for the Navy Mustang Association. We are in the process of resurrecting some “old time” chapters and our existing chapters continue to host great professional growth and social functions in their respective geographic areas. Since the first of the year I have done significant traveling both in CONUS and overseas and I have run into great Mustangs Mustanging up just about everywhere I have been. It is always the highlight of one of these trips when I meet a young Mustang out there who is a cornerstone of their command, running superb programs, training, mentoring and taking care of Sailors, and finding their relief in their copious spare time.
We have just finished another Navy Mustang Association Scholarship season. You will have to wait until the next Pony Express to find out about the winner(s), but I will tell you that in the 10 years I have been doing this, I have never seen such a bright and talented group of applicants. I would also like to pass a personal BRAVO ZULU to those members who sponsored a candidate, got the word out about the scholarship program and made sure we had the enviable problem of having such a great pool of superb applicants from which to choose. To those who did not win this year, I encourage you to apply again next year if still eligible. The line between the first and last place votes was as razor thin as I have seen it and I like your chances next year, especially if you add to your already impressive resumes. I would like to expand the scholarship program and award more scholarship money to deserving students. If you would like that to please consider a contribution to the Navy Mustang Scholarship fund (there is an option to contribute when you join/renew your membership but your contribution is welcome any time).
At this risk of being called predictable, I will continue to beat the drum that our membership dues have not gone up since the inception of the association. Your $20 a year allows our chapters to do what they do, the National Association to support our programs, enables our scholarship program, pays for our administrative and incorporation costs, allows us to recognize the Outstanding Student (as chosen by their peers) from every Mustang U class, subsidize the start-up of new chapters, and much more. Each year we have a few Sailors who are stationed somewhere on the ramparts of freedom, with no Mustangs assigned, reach out to us to help them find Mustangs to help mentor them, board them, groom them for a Mustang commission. Several of these Sailors over the years have later invited me to their commissioning ceremonies and have told me that they likely would not be standing there in an officer’s uniform had it not been for the help we gave them. Heck shipmates, I don’t know about you, but that’s worth $20 right there. If you are member and are not getting your money’s worth, or want to be a member but don’t see what you are looking for…tell me what you would like to see! Really, tell me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll try and do better. On the subject of mentoring, I wanted to give a shout out to the San Diego chapter who has continued to find board members, mentors for outlying Sailors, help visiting ships/units set up boards, etc. Thanks for Mustanging up out there on the left coast.
I was reminded during a recent speaking engagement to a room full of over 200 Hampton Roads Mustangs that I have been the president of NMA now for over 10 years. Like any organization, we have seen some ups and we have seen a few downs, but unlike any organization, our membership is made up of the salt of the earth, active duty and retired Mustangs for whom can’t is not a word in their vocabulary. It does seem that the one thing I can’t do is get the membership to 400 members. How about helping me out and making this the year we top 400 members? If a fair number of our current members rigged a fender and brought one new member onboard each, we would be there! How about it? Help me out here.
Thanks for Mustanging up out there each and every day! Sursum ab Ordine (Up From The Ranks).
P. J. BACHAND
CDR, 6410, USN (Ret)
President, Navy Mustang Association