Atlanta, Georgia: home to the all-time famous Coca-Cola, Atlanta Hawks, and Atlanta Braves. It also was the city to host the Arnold Air Societies’ (AAS) National Conclave (NATCON) called Hotlantacon! As a first timer, it was one of the greatest experiences of my life.
The experience started the second I got on the plane. Just before takeoff, the lady next to me burst into tears and right then and there I knew I was in for a ride. Once we got to Atlanta, it was quite entertaining to find my way to claim my baggage. After I got my bags, Jeremy T. and I traveled through the city to our hotel. We had to ride a subway that looked like it was going to fall apart at any moment but we made it safely to our hotel.
The actual event started the second day. We talked about all forms of AAS business, from how the event would function and its rules to resolving new ones. This was interesting, but not even close to the best part. We went to a military banquet style luncheon where General McKinley spoke to us. This was a fantastic experience as well. We then ended the day with a tour of The World of Coke. I have never seen more propaganda for a single product in such a small place in my entire life.
The next day we voted on our new Joint National Project (JNP) for this coming year’s AAS. We decided on the Reaching Out program that involves helping the poor in our communities. There was a good deal of free time this day, and it was the shortest because it was Easter Sunday. There were also some very interesting sightings of the Sasquatch throughout the hotel that evening.
The new national staff was selected on the last official day of the trip. There were some more minor changes to the AASMAN and to Arnold Air Society as well. We had a military banquet that night where we said our goodbyes to General Bundy (ret) after he introduced the new national Silver Wing and AAS staff.
Finally, the day to leave had come. We said our goodbyes to the people we had met and would hopefully see sometime again. It was time to leave the big city for our small town of Corvallis, Oregon.
Overall our squadron and area did very well. We received Area of the Year, Nick A. received Director of Support for the Year and Abigail M. received Area Vice Commander of the Year.
NATCON was one of my best experiences so far in my AFROTC career. It is one that I will never forget. I would highly recommend all of the AAS members to go to the next NATCON in Washington DC.