Twenty-seven Airmen from Little Rock Air Force Base, Ark.’s 189th Security Forces Squadron were recently recognized with Army achievement and commendation medals for their support of the Arkansas State Police response to civil unrest in downtown Little Rock from May 31 to June 8, 2020. In addition to providing support to local law enforcement, several Airmen were responsible for training hundreds of Soldiers from another task force to effectively integrate with the Arkansas State Police and their request for assistance. “It’s a rare achievement to receive sister-service medal recognition,” said Squadron Team Supervisor Master Sgt. Matthew Pfleger. “Our defenders [proved] to be the consummate professionals, as expected, the whole time. Their capabilities are limitless, and they’re always on alert and postured for anything.”
For 178th ISR Group Analyst Tech Sgt. Zachary Evans, two times was the charm on his journey to the U.S. Army Ranger School. The Ohio Guardsman is among a select handful of ANG troops chosen to attend the prestigious institution in 2021. “The biggest challenge has been answering the hard question of ‘Why am I doing this?’ while I do the train up,” he said. The answer? “I want to leave a lasting legacy for my family.”
Airmen from comptroller squadrons throughout USAF—including Oklahoma’s Tinker Air Force Base 72nd Comptroller Squadron and the 552nd Air Control Wing Comptroller Office—recently took part in a 5K run to honor the life of late Col. James “Rob” Culpepper on Jan. 27.
Culpepper, a former Air Combat Command comptroller and director of financial management, died of leukemia last December, and would’ve turned 49 on the date of the run. “There aren’t many of us in our career field of Financial Management and when we lose one, it matters,” 72nd CPTS Commander Maj. Benjamin Wright told the runners. “Every one of you matters.”
Two CAP pilots—Michigan Wing Lt. Col. Robert Bowden and Illinois Wing Maj. Rod Rakic—flew a mission in support of Operation Warp Speed, delivering COVID-19 vaccines to Native American tribes in three locations in Michigan. They also transported pharmacists from the U.S. Public Health Service to ensure the vaccines stayed sufficiently cold. “CAP saved the day,” said Daniel Frye, Bemidji Area director for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Indian Health Service. “We had a large geographic territory to cover with several stops for delivery, and there was an urgent time sensitivity balanced with a need to keep the vaccine between 2-8 degrees Celsius.” CAP wings from over seven states have helped transport COVID-19 vaccines, and the organization moved over 7,000 vials in the first three weeks of the shots having Food and Drug Administration approval.
Col. Barry Crane and Chief Master Sgt. Frank Kuba co-founded a mentorship program for Reservists at Barksdale Air Force Base’s 307th Bomb Wing. The program advises enlisted Reservists about key information for different career stages. They first pitched the idea last August, and it launched Jan. 10. “There’s always Airmen who don’t have the tools or maybe don’t know the next steps to take,” said Kuba. “We want to touch base with every level, from senior and junior enlisted to Airman.”
Air Force Reserve Recruiter Tech. Sgt. Autayvia Mitchell’s virtual performance of the National Anthem opened the 27th annual U.S. Air Force Hispanic Games on Jan. 9. The event included over 5,000 high school track and field competitors and over 600 coaches, and the event was broadcast live via social media. “Knowing these young men and women are able to see the Air Force represented in a positive light makes me feel like I’m contributing my part to the United States of America,” said Mitchell.
Four Reserve maintainers from the 512th Airlift Wing at Dover Air Force Base, Del., recently volunteered to help the 914th Air Refueling Wing at Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station, N.Y., perform sheet metal fixes on their KC-135R Stratotanker aircraft. “When you need something, your family will answer,” said 914th Maintenance Squadron Noncommissioned Officer in Charge Master Sgt. Michael George. The Dover Airmen have partnered with Reserve maintainers from Tinker Air Force Base, Okla., on the repair effort.