Association History

In April 1995, Bob "Animal" Thomas, now deceased, activated the BIA with a core group from the early 1960s. The BIA now proudly includes USAF personnel who were assigned to the intelligence unit in Berlin throughout its history (1950 – 1992).

The first BIA reunion was held in Sep 95 in San Antonio, Texas in conjunction with the Freedom Through Vigilance Association's (FTVA)* annual reunion.

Dictator Joe "Stalin" Kinel took over the mantel of leadership in 1996 and retired in 2002.  During his tenure the BIA grew dramatically, the treasury was left in good condition and Joe continues as an active member. Joe initiated the semi-annual Newsletter and as part of the '98 reunion's banquet agenda, Joe initiated the BIA Hall of Fame.  He constructed the first web site for the association.

The second BIA reunion was held in conjunction with FTVA's in Oct 98.

The third reunion, under the direction of member Gene Kyle, was held in Berlin, Germany in Oct 2001.

Führer Phil Adams took over the reins of association management in Feb 02.  He expanded the content of the Newsletter and asked Charlie Bishop, Gene Kyle and Bob Womack to manage the Hall of Fame selection process which they graciously did through 2008.  The website rapidly grew too large for the initial layout and it was redesigned to cover the range of historical articles and photo's included there.  The Patrons List was initiated to recognize those members who contributed financially to the association well beyond what was required or expected.  An Internet-based Bulletin Board was begun in 2002 to aid in communication and was replaced in late 2008 by the BIA "Comm Center", a more flexible system for member posting of photo's, videos and audio media.

In Sep, 2002, the fourth reunion coincided with the FTVA reunion held in San Antonio.

The fifth reunion was held in the Tampa Bay area of Florida in April, 2004.

In Oct, 2006, the sixth reunion was held in Berlin, Germany.

In Sep, 2008, the seventh reunion was held in San Antonio in conjunction with the 60th Anniversary of the founding of the Security Service.

In Sep, 2011, the eighth reunion was held in Berlin, Germany.

From 2004-2008, Joe Covern handled new membership and Gene Kyle edited the newsletter.  Don Peterson was the web Meister from '04 to '06.  Tom Emdy handled the reunions in '06, '08 and '11.

Because of the gifts of aging, effective 10/1/2008, Phil reduced his direct involvement in many of the activities described above.  The Newsletter and Hall of Fame are now in abeyance.

The BIA serves as a means of making and keeping contact with associates who have that unique shared experience of AF Intel service in Berlin during the Cold War.  The Comm Center aides in the facilitation of that contact.

* The FTVA is composed of former and present members of the USAFSS/ESC/AFIC/AIA/AFISRA who have been assigned all over the world in defense of our nation's interests.

History Page