Aviation Boatswain's Mates Association. | by Bob Gillen Commander (LDO), USN (RET)
The Aviation Boatswain's Mates Association (ABMA) was founded in 1974 and chartered as a non-profit organization. Membership consists of active duty and retired Aviation Boatswain's Mates along with supporters of the ABMA.
To accomplish these goals, a symposium is hosted each year at different locations by local chapters throughout the United States. This makes it possible for more fleet personnel to attend. The symposiums are professionally oriented with the main thrust directed towards the "Symposium Workshops" which improve communications between the Aviation Boatswain's Mates and those personnel and agencies responsible for the design and implementation of the various systems.
The workshops are attended by shore based and shipboard fleet personnel, along with the System Command level technical specialists, in service engineering agents, and manpower management directors. Agenda items are screened and compiled by the Type Commanders from point papers submitted by fleet personnel and technical agencies throughout the year. Areas covered include manpower and professional functions relating to aircraft handling, recovery, launching, refueling, fire fighting, crash/salvage operations both at sea and ashore, and training for all phases of the rate. Workshop results are forwarded to the Office of Chief of Naval Operations for review. Through the quality inputs of each successive symposium, many changes have been made in our rating towards furthering our goal of increasing safety in Naval Aviation.
The ABMA annually selects an Aviation Boatswain's Mate of the Year from the Atlantic and Pacific Fleets. The AB's of the Year and their spouses are guests of honor at the ABMA banquet where they are presented the prestigious navy blue blazer with the embroidered ABMA logo.
An annual $ 2,500.00 scholarship program was initiated in 1976 and is listed in the annual American Legion publication, "Need A Lift." The scholarship was originally $400.00.
Our membership is now over 1600 with annual and life memberships available for both regular and associate members. We encourage all Aviation Boatswain's Mates to join the ABMA and help us accomplish our goals.
Information on the association is available through the ABMA Secretary Mrs. Donna Dodson, via e-mail at
Our symposium is scheduled each year for the first Tuesday of August with four days of business and social activities culminating with a banquet Friday evening and a family picnic on Saturday. Attendance continues to increase yearly with an average of 450 members participating. The 2003 symposium hosted by the Pax River, Maryland, while the 2004 symposium will be hosted by the San Diego Chapter. Past symposiums have been held at Alameda, CA; San Diego, CA; Philadelphia, PA; Pensacola, FL; Mayport, FL; Jacksonville, FL; Norfolk, VA; and Silverdale, WA.
The ABMA would like to thank all concerned Naval Agencies whose actions in support of the ABMA have placed us second to none as Naval Aviation Safety trend setters.