Northwest Military Blogs: McChord Flightline Chatter

May 4, 2017 at 1:08pm

New 62nd OG commander

Col. Leonard Kosinski (left), passes a guidon to Col. Mark Fuhrmann as Chief Master Sgt. Scott Mills (center) stands at attention May 1 during a change-of-command ceremony at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. Photo credit: Senior Airman Jacob Jimenez

Airmen of the 62nd Operations Group said farewell to their commander and saluted their new commander for the first time at a change-of-command ceremony May 1 at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. During the ceremony, Col. Mark Fuhrmann took command from outgoing commander Lt. Col. Brian Smith.

"We are celebrating the change of command for an outstanding unit full of outstanding airmen," said Col. Leonard Kosinski, 62nd Airlift Wing commander. "As you take command of the 62nd Operations Group, I look forward to where your capable leadership will take us in this critical time in our nation's history."

New to the command, Fuhrmann is not new to McChord Field. He used to be assigned to the 7th Airlift Squadron flying the C-141B Starlifter and C-17 Globemaster III aircraft in the early 2000s.

"It is my privilege to welcome you back to McChord," said Kosinski. "The transition to joint basing has not always been easy, but as you will learn during your time here, Team McChord and the 62nd Airlift Wing are better off with the shared resources and training opportunities provided by the joint environment."       

Having worked with Fuhrmann in 2003 at Joint Base Charleston, South Carolina, Kosinski said he is confident in his ability to command the 62nd OG and lead the airmen assigned to the group.

"I have no doubt that the 62nd Operations Group will continue to meet and exceed expectations under his tenure," said Kosinski. "He has incredible qualifications and experience. I can personally attest he is ready to command."

With more than 23 years of services, Fuhrmann has served in a variety of capacities in the Air Force, to include being a communications officer, mobility pilot, joint staff actions officer and having commanded the 437th Operations Support Squadron at Joint Base Charleston.

A rated command pilot, Fuhrmann holds more than 3,200 flight hours in the T-37, T1-A, C-141B and C-17 aircraft. He has earned numerous awards and decorations, to include the Bronze Star Medal, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal with two oak leaf clusters, Air Medal with two oak leaf clusters and the Air Force Commendation Medal with two oak leaf clusters.

"What a privilege it is to be here today with such an extraordinary group of airmen and civilians," said Fuhrmann. "I firmly believe that the strength of our squadron not only comes from the airmen and civilians here today but from the strength of the families that supports each them. I look forward to serving each of you and your families."

May 4, 2017 at 12:51pm

McChord member retires after 50 years of service

Carl Barnes (middle) conducts an inspection on a carton of ammunition while Tech. Sgt. Christopher Groessler (left) and Senior Airman Forrest Fender looks on at the munitions facility on McChord Field. Photo credit: Senior Airman Jacob Jimenez

For more than 50 years, Mr. Carl Barnes has been a member of the U.S. Air Force, serving 30 years and 28 days in the active-duty and then another 20 years and three months as a civil service employee, and on April 30, he will hang up his hat and retire as an employee of the service.

Barnes is from Lufkin, Texas, and joined the Air Force in 1965, 30 years later, he retired as a chief master sergeant, and within nine months of that he entered back into the Air Force as a civil service employee.

Working in munitions his entire career, with his last position as the 62nd Maintenance Squadron munitions flight chief, Barnes has dedicated this time in service to his country and his fellow airmen.

"Mr. Barnes has served his country in the same career field since December 1965. Since his enlistment during the Vietnam War, he ascended to the top of the enlisted ranks and achieved the rank of chief master sergeant," said Chief Master Sgt. Rodney Neiss, 62nd MXS maintenance superintendent. "After his retirement from active-duty he elected to continue his service with the munitions community as a civil servant. After 50 years of service, Mr. Barnes has chosen to hand off the baton and finish his race."

As Barnes reflected on his 50 years, he mentioned how so much has changed since he first entered the military.

"The utilization of the computer has been the biggest change I have seen since entering the Air Force," said Barnes. "When I first came in, we used pencil and paper to document everything to include the EPR form.

"We would hand write our EPRs, turn them over to an administrative clerk who would type them up, hand them back to us, and then we would proceed with getting the signatures.

"Even as I was leaving my active-duty career, we were just starting with word processors and it took me a while to get used to this new technology."

As much as technology has changed since he first entered the Air Force, the mantra of taking care of his people and those he works with has never changed.

"People are the most important asset you have. I have always lived by the fact that you need to take care of your people and to let them know you care about them," said Barnes. "This is not always giving them a pat on the back and sometimes requires a kick in the pants to motivate them, but at the end of the day, it is about having their backs."

"For more than fifty years Mr. Barnes continued to serve from his love for the munitions mission and the men and women that followed that career path," said Tech. Sgt. Christopher Groessler, 62nd MXS NCOIC stockpile management. "This is not a dedication and drive found very often in many, especially with the knowledge and expertise he possesses. The leadership style he has dedicated himself to cannot be measured and will undoubtedly leave behind an immense void to be filled."

Speaking to this fact of taking care of your people, Barnes commented on one of his most proudest moments in the Air Force.

"Back during Operations Desert Storm and Desert Shield, while assigned to Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina, I led 240 airmen into a deployed location and we supported seventy-two F-16 aircraft as our primary mission," said Barnes. "I led 240 airmen into that conflict, we were successful in completing the mission, and we returned home with all 240 airmen, and this was one of my proudest moments."

According to Maj. Dave Thompson, 62nd MXS squadron commander, Barnes is leaving big shoes to fill and will be deeply missed.

"We will be ‘hanging up' his Air Force number permanently. This number was an index used to track personnel that stopped sometime around the Vietnam War and very few government employees can claim they still have one," said Thompson. "His placard will be memorialized very close to his seat in the maintenance conference room where he represented the men and women of AMMO for two decades here at McChord in his second AF career."

"As a true trailblazer, Mr. Barnes has watched our Air Force transform and he was very much a part of the process," said Neiss.  "Not only is the AMMO community privileged with talking to Mr. Barnes, but all airmen are fortunate to share in hearing his Air Force story.

"The message is simple.  The Air Force will be seventy years old this September and Mr. Barnes proudly served his country and fellow airmen for over fifty years of its existence.  What greater message could be shared?"

April 28, 2017 at 2:00pm

Mobility Guardian planning - informing the community

Two McChord C-17 Globemaster IIIs fly over the Mountain Home Range Complex, Idaho, May 17, 2016. Photo credit: Staff Sgt. Naomi Shipley

Lt. Col. Dan DeYoung, Joint Base Lewis- McChord Mobility Guardian director, met with community leaders at the Lakewood Military Affairs Committee, April 18, to brief and inform on what impact the community can expect from the upcoming Mobility Guardian Exercise that will take place here July 30 through Aug. 12.

"Air Mobility Command is calling this their premier or inaugural Mobility Guardian exercise," said DeYoung. "There will be twelve days of activity for the exercise. There will be approximately 3,500 participants coming in and eleven nations participating."

The exercise will challenge air crews to employ skills they've been taught, but also in a scenario that they may experience in the real world.

"This whole exercise is treated like a deployment," said DeYoung. "We're going to have an air drop component, people and equipment component, air land, low level, air refueling, assault landing, formation flying, and we're going to do it with dissimilar aircraft."

The whole exercise will be a transition from competition to training the way we fight, and a big component of the exercise is humanitarian relief operations, which is what Air Mobility Command supports.

"This is probably the first time we want to test our mobility air force skills and everybody else participating is supporting us," said DeYoung. "Every aspect of mobility training will be exercised."

DeYoung emphasized just how significant this exercise will be to our airmen, but also how significant it will be to our communities. He informed them how the base working with the community partners and businesses and informing them of the footprint of this large-scale exercise will better enhance the understanding of what we're doing and why.                                                                                                                                          

"It really is training dollars (time and money spent) improving our capabilities, testing the training we've already done and coming up with lessons learned (where is our training falling short?)," said DeYoung. "After I retire, I will be supporting the military the same way you all are, from the community."

April 27, 2017 at 10:28am

Air Force clubs transition

Football Frenzy is just one program offered by Air Force clubs that give patrons the chance to spend time together and cheer on their favorite team. Photo credit: Airman 1st Class Areca T. Wilson

The Air Force is revolutionizing its club membership program in the coming months, to include a transition away from a club credit card to the Air Force Club Member Portal.

"Our members are important to us and the credit card membership system was their number one complaint," said Jonathan Boyd, the Air Force Services Activity chief of nonappropriated fund food and beverage operations. "We've changed that and much more with this new portal and we're very excited to roll it out to our current members and offer it to all of our active-duty force, reservists, retirees and Department of Defense civilians."

The new Air Force Club Member Portal begins at six pilot bases in May 2017 before being rolled out across the Air Force in late summer. The web- and app-based system allows members to choose their payment methods and receive real-time event information directly on their smart devices.

Currently, member dues are charged to a specific bank-affiliated club membership credit card.

"The beauty of the new system is that members can now use their credit or debit card of choice," Boyd said. "It's an easy process ... you simply update your profile using your smartphone, tablet, laptop or desktop computer."

Members without easy access to smart devices or computers can stop by their local club for assistance.

The new Air Force Club Member Portal system also standardizes payment dates for membership dues. Currently, members are charged dues at different times during the month. All members will now be charged dues on the 15th of each month.

In addition to more freedom with dues payment methods, members will be better informed about club programs and events in real time through the web portal and an application on their smart devices.

"Through the club portal, club members will have easy access to a wide variety of information such as events and special programs scheduled, meal specials and other notifications in near real time," Boyd said. "We're also exploring the ability to expand information provided to include what's happening at morale, welfare and recreation activities across the installation."

AFSVA partnered with MemberPlanet to host the new Air Force Club Member Portal. Current member information will automatically be loaded on the club portal so members simply log in and update payment information.

The free MemberPlanet app is available in the App Store and Google Play.

"Once you've updated your account, you can select your preferred method of payment with the system accepting all credit cards and electronic bank drafts," said Boyd.

Since members won't have physical cards to prove membership, they'll now show their digital membership card through the MemberPlant App on their smart devices.

"We understand some members may still wish to carry a physical club card," Boyd said. "The digital card can be printed at home and shown when they visit the club. Some clubs may also be able to print the cards for our members and laminate them."

Although there are many changes in the program, several important things remain the same, according to Boyd.

"Dues are remaining the same, club membership is valid at all Air Force clubs and members can cancel their membership at any time," he said. "And, when our members deploy, their dues will still be waived. They simply talk to their club managers to initiate the pause on their accounts."

"Air Force club membership is a tradition," said Col. Donna Turner, the AFSVA commander. "It's where our airmen experience, learn and share our Air Force culture. Our clubs provide resiliency to our Airmen and their families. This new approach to membership will make it easier for our airmen to stay connected with our Air Force tradition and build on the culture and esprit de corps established by those who have previously served."

Air Force team members - active-duty members, reservists, retirees and DoD civilians - who would like to join the club can visit their installation club or go to their local force support squadron's website during the transition.

April 21, 2017 at 10:25am

Local business executive speaks at McChord's Lunch and Learn

Devin Craig, Jimmy John’s director of operations and 4th Airlift Squadron honorary commander, talks about leadership traits admired by others during McChord Lunch and Learn April 7 at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. Photo credit: Senior Airman Jacob Jimenez

This month, McChord's Lunch and Learn session featured a local business leader as the guest speaker. Devin Craig, Jimmy John's director of operations and 4th Airlift Squadron honorary commander, provided in-depth leadership advice from an experienced business viewpoint April 7 at the McChord Chapel Support Center.

The title of this month's event was called, "What Exactly is Leadership?" and focused on breaking down the different traits that make a good leader.

"There are a lot of different definitions of leadership," said Craig. "Basically, if you have followers you have to take care of others. Every definition of leadership relates to others and purpose."  

Because each airman has served under different leaders, Craig asked airmen to tell him leadership traits they liked or disliked in previous leaders.

"When we see good leadership we know it," said Craig. "When we see bad leadership we also know it. We know the power of leadership, but kind of like love, it's hard to define."

To help show the importance of leadership in different organizational positions, Craig explained the effects poor or good leadership could have on an organization and employees at every level.

"All of us that are put in a position of organizational authority, leadership is expected of us," said Craig. "What people don't realize is that when put in a position of managerial authority, the influence they have on others."

The number one reason why people are disengaged in their jobs is because of poor leadership from management, said Craig.  

"When I first got to my current position I noticed there was a lot of technical competence but a lack of morale," said Craig. "I attributed this to poor leadership and sought to make managers better leaders."

Most organizations focus on technical competence and not the most valuable leadership traits, said Craig.

Craig noted the Eight Most Important Qualities of Leadership identified by Google.

These qualities are as follows in line of importance:

1. Providing good coaching  

2. Empowerment of others without micromanaging

3. Having empathy for others

4. Being results-driven  

5. Being a good communicator

6. Developing people

7. Being a visionary and strategist

8. Having technical competence

"I want to encourage you, if you're in a position of organizational authority, you have the opportunity to lead people and these are the skills that will help you do that," said Craig. "Develop these skills and invest in yourself. You owe it to yourself and the people you lead to become the best leader possible."

For more information about future Lunch and Learn events, call the 62nd Airlift Wing commander's action group at 253.982.7832.

April 21, 2017 at 10:20am

Air Force women break another barrier

The Air Force women’s rugby sevens team huddles together after a practice in Las Vegas, March 1, 2017. Photo credit: Staff Sgt. Siuta Ika

Since 1948, one year after the Air Force became a separate service, women have served in the Air Force. From 1976, when women were allowed in the Air Force as equal members to 2016, when all combat jobs were opened to women, Air Force women have been breaking historical barriers.

Recently, another barrier was broken when, for the first time in history, women in the Air Force were authorized to play Air Force rugby as an official sport.

The Air Force women's rugby sevens team, a team made up of 19 women from across the Air Force, made its first-ever debut in March at the Las Vegas Invitational, the largest rugby tournament in North America.

"Last year, Tech. Sgt. James Hubby, the U.S. Air Force rugby program manager, and I, started kicking around the idea of trying to field a women's team to compete in a trial venue," said Lt. Col. Andy McQuade, 627th Air Base Group deputy commander at Joint Base Lewis-McChord and U.S. Air Force Rugby director.  "Since we had planned for the men to be at the Las Vegas Invitational this year, we identified this tournament as the best to launch.

"We fielded, for the first time ever, one women's side with nineteen players arriving to camp. The women had the opportunity to play Quebec in Sam Boyd Stadium, an honor given to no other team in the amateur pool."

McQuade spoke to the importance of this first-ever event and what it meant.

"We spent much of that time in Las Vegas building a sense of family and that by creating the foundation of a women's team, we have completed what it is to be family. We have now provided an opportunity to women in the Air Force. Since rugby is in the Olympics, both men and women now have the opportunity to compete for the World Class Athlete Program."

Speaking to the fact that this was the first time U.S. Air Force women have been able to participate in the sport, McQuade had this to say.

"Rugby is a sport that is open to men and women. It is in the Olympics for both genders. It is played internationally in all the top tournaments by both genders. In the military, it is a sport that offers an opportunity to express the warrior ethos with fellow airmen. These types of experiences bring together airmen from many career fields and bases, much like we do during deployments. Playing AF Rugby creates that esprit de corps."

Hubby, an Air Force Security Forces Center financial action officer at Joint Base San Antiono-Lackland, Texas, and U.S. Air Force Rugby program director, commented on the responses he has had since this ground-breaking event.

"I average one-to-two emails a day from Air Force members or those outside the Air Force who run rugby programs at all levels, e.g., adult rugby clubs, collegiate and high school programs," said Hubby. "These emails include active-duty, reservists or National Guard members interested in more information, collegiate players curious about the program and seeking more information on Air Force opportunities, or even high school ROTC students who just started playing rugby.

"There is a vested interest in making Air Force rugby an inclusive program that we as an Air Force family can all share. As an openly gay member of our military, it's been a proud few years for me as an accepted member of this program. Now I'm applying that positive experience to another area - making women's rugby a reality."

Making this a reality was something that Hubby experienced first-hand with the women's rugby head coach, Lisa Rosen, announced her tournament roster.

"You could see it in the tears of those selected during camp," said Hubby. "You could see how proud these women were to receive the first official women's Air Force rugby jersey and be given an opportunity so many before them were not afforded."

For the future of U.S. Air Force women playing in the sport, McQuade said the future looks bright.

"Armed Forces Sports wants to build service-level teams and Armed Forces select teams to compete in various tournaments.  However, we want to build on what we see as service-level success and continue to draw in more women to play rugby," said McQuade. "We are very focused on ‘crossover' athletes that have experience in any sport, we will teach them rugby."

Leanne Hardin, is one crossover athlete on the team and is a staff sergeant stationed at Pápa Air Base, Hungary. Although she never watched rugby, she was approached by a coworker who thought she'd be a good fit for the team based on her physique and background in athletics.

"I played football, basketball, baseball with the boys when I was young," Hardin said. "I was told I couldn't play high school football so I played volleyball; they told me I couldn't play baseball anymore so I played softball. I got into boxing later, so I've always been in sports.

"To play for and represent the Air Force at a level that we are is amazing."

"Additionally, we are working hard to elevate our contact methods beyond word of mouth so anyone that wants to give the sport a try knows how to try it and who to get in contact with," said McQuade.

For more information, visit the U.S. Air Force Rugby website at usafrugby.com, their Facebook page at usaf7s or by emailing them at usaf7srugby@gmail.com.

April 20, 2017 at 1:07pm

Tower team averts incident

The 62nd Operations Support Squadron air traffic controllers look on at the McChord Field flight line from the tower, April 11, on Joint Base Lewis-McChord. Photo credit: Staff Sgt. Naomi Shipley

The 62nd Operations Support Squadron air traffic control tower at McChord Field responded quickly to prevent an aircraft incident April 11 on the McChord runway, when a U.S. Navy P-3 Orion seemingly lost all radio communications with them.

The P-3 was on the active runway preparing to depart when they were cleared to take off and did not respond.

"We lined the aircraft up to wait, preparing him for an imminent departure," said Senior Airman Christopher Bennett, 62nd Operations Support Squadron, air traffic controller. "When we lined him up to wait, he lost communications with the tower. We tried to clear him for takeoff, he didn't respond; we conducted radio checks, he didn't respond; we told him to exit the runway and he didn't respond."

If the tower loses communications with an aircraft pilot, they have a light gun they use to communicate with the aircraft, by flashing different colors with different meanings at them.

"I don't think he saw it," said Bennett. "We eventually got ahold of him and told him to exit the runway, but because we had an inbound it was pretty significant."  

If there's an aircraft anywhere on the runway no other aircraft can be on it, meaning the inbound aircraft could not land.

"The aircraft trying to land was seven miles out, which is two or three minutes away," said Bennett. "It usually wouldn't be a big deal, because the aircraft would be on takeoff roll, but because we couldn't get a hold of the guy, and therefore did not know what he was going to do, because he was cleared for takeoff, it was a big deal."

The controller sent the other aircraft around so as not to endanger either crews.

"It's what we train for," said Bennett. "Our job is to separate aircraft in the air and on the ground. We make sure to keep everyone safe, all while getting the aircraft in and out as fast as possible."

The 62nd OSS tower here controls traffic in the air and on the ground and yesterday they were doing what they are trained to, communicate with the aircraft and when said communication fails, they do everything they can to keep the crews safe.  

The controllers in that tower spend 13 months in training before they are expected to complete the job on their own, without having direct oversight by a more senior trainer.

"When we are in the simulators, our trainers will intentionally make planes go towards each other and put us in scenarios to make us uncomfortable," said Bennett.

Bennett said that as a result of their training the controllers always must have constant situational awareness and must use correct phraseology when speaking to the various aircraft pilots.

"What you say to a pilot is exactly how they should interpret it," said Bennett. "Before they move into our airspace, taxi or move at all, they have to talk to us, up until then, we're basically just waiting for them to call us."

The tower has a radar that indicates what type of aircraft, their call sign and altitude within 64 miles of the tower.

Overall, the controllers agree that communication amongst themselves and the aircraft crews is more than key.

Senior Airman Austin Corcoran, 62nd OSS air traffic controller, said the controllers heavily rely on their radio communications to speak to the aircraft.

"Communication is key," said Corcoran. "We use different radio frequencies for ground control and in the air. That's why the Air Traffic Control and Landing Systems has a very important job, too."

The ATCALS airmen are the ones in charge of making sure the radios the tower use work.

"There's a big push to make our equipment electronically controlled," said Corcoran. "Some of the navigation aids our pilots use are electronic."

However, the downside to the shift towards more electronically controlled communication systems are if something actually happens to the equipment, the controllers would not have anyone to fix it.

"We can't do our job without communication," said Corcoran. "And people entrust us to do our jobs."

April 20, 2017 at 1:03pm

Airlift contributes to science

Captain Andrew Rast and Lt. Col. J.W. Smith, 304th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron, prepare to land a C-17 using night-vision goggles on Pegasus Ice Runway near McMurdo Station, Antarctica, July 15, 2016. Photo credit: Staff Sgt. Madelyn Mccullough

Over the past 60 years, winter flying missions have provided a significant contribution to how the National Science Foundation conducts scientific research in Antarctica.

The C-17 Globemaster III 2016-2017 season recently wrapped-up, and the night-vision goggle capability paired with mid-Austral winter flying continued to be a game changing airlift support for the National Science Foundation during Operation Deep Freeze.

Citizen airmen assigned to the 446th Airlift "Rainier" Wing and active-duty Air Force members assigned to the 62nd Airlift Wing, formed blended aircrews to deploy as part of the 304th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron who provide airlift to the Antarctic in support of the NSF managed U.S. Antarctic Program.

"The 446th Operations Group performed at a high level of expertise this season," said Senior Master Sgt. Derek Bryant, 446th Operations Group loadmaster. "Every aircrew member should know that they laid a foundation that the NSF is now building upon and the mid-winter missions coupled with our NVG capability have launched us into a new era for ODF."

Despite the difficulty of operating in an austere environment, the 166 total force personnel deployed from Joint Base Lewis-McChord, airlifted 1.8 million pounds of cargo and transported 2,992 passengers into the Antarctic, logging a total of 393 flight hours.

"The new McMurdo-Phoenix Airfield was validated and approved for C-17 and wheeled aircraft operations," said Lt. Col. Robert Schmidt, 304th EAS mission commander and 62nd Operations Group deputy commander. "The new field replaces Pegasus field, which has experienced several seasons of melting, and is expected to remain in use beyond 2030."

Christchurch International Airport, New Zealand, is the staging point for deployments to McMurdo Station, Antarctica, a key research and operations facility for the USAP. Deployment support at McMurdo is provided by Joint Task Force-Support Forces Antarctica and led by Pacific Air Forces at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii.

Community outreach was a highlight for this season as well. The mayor of Christchurch, Lianne Dalziel, presented the 304th EAS with a civic award for supporting local charities. Aircrews supported New Zealand's yearly IceFest - a unique festival, with over 4,500 attendees, highlighting New Zealand's leadership in Antarctica and the Southern Ocean - with a C-17 static display.

Through six decades of continuous support, ODF has evolved to meet today's logistics requirements of the USAP. Joint Task Force-Support Forces Antarctica, headquartered at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, executes inter- and intra-theater airlift, tactical LC-130 deep field support, aeromedical evacuation support, search and rescue, sealift, seaport access, bulk fuel supply, port cargo handling and transportation requirements at NSF's request in order to support the USAP.

Planning for the next season will include continued refinement of the mid-Austral schedule as well as supporting NSF future requirements.

April 14, 2017 at 9:58am

Reuniting WWII members

Mr. Brad Boland, president, O-Neill Transfer and Storage Co., hands off a bottle of 1945 Calvados brandy to Master Sgt. Todd Wivell, 62nd AW chief of public affairs, March 5, at the O-Neill business office in Beaverton, Oregon. U.S. Air Force photo

It is approximately 2,800 miles from Fredericksburg, Virginia, to Seattle, and can take more than four days of driving to make this trip. That is exactly what took place when two bottles of 1945 Calvados brandy were transported from Fredericksburg the week of March 22, and as one bottle arrived to Seattle the week of April 7,  the other bottle arrived to Lompoc, California, the week before.

These two bottles were transported as an initiative started back during World War II when servicemembers of the 510th Fighter Squadron made a pact to remain in contact and hold reunions throughout the years to come.

At one of the last reunions, the men of that squadron realized they would not be able to continue the traditional reunion and decided to purchase these two bottles of brandy, with a promise that the last two surviving members would get those bottles, pour a drink, and raise a toast to their departed brethren.

Those bottles were kept at the home of Walter Donovan, a fighter pilot of the 510th FS, and before passing, he asked his nephew Dick Dunnivan, a Fredericksburg native, to ensure that promise would stay fulfilled.

Dunnivan followed the remaining servicemembers of that unit until the last two were left, Col. (ret.) Ralph Jenkins of Seattle and Maj. (ret.) M.E. Johns of Lompoc, and thus started the recent journey of these two bottles.

Working his connections, Dunnivan was able to hand off the bottles to Jeff Barber of J. Barber Moving and Storage in Federicksburg, who transported them to Chicago where they were then handed off to two separate members, Mr. Bradly Boland, O-Neill Transfer and Storage Co., and Ms. Kelly Kirkman, Affordable Quality Moving and Storage, who live in Oregon and California, respectively, and who made the final deliveries to airmen from the Air Force bases closest to these surviving members.

"I feel very honored to be a small part of this chain to get the bottle of brandy to Colonel Jenkins," said Boland, as he handed over the bottle to an airman from McChord Field. "I was humbled to serve a deserving veteran who gave his all for his country."

Speaking to his own family history, Boland commented on how this had a special tie to him and all of his family.

"My father was a veteran of World War II, he served in the 75th Division and was seriously injured during the Battle of the Bulge.  My wife's father served in the Navy during World War II.  My wife's grandfather served in France during World War I.  Three of my cousins served in Vietnam.  One close family friend lost both legs during the Vietnam conflict and two of my brother-in-laws served in Vietnam.

"My dad had some close friends serve in World War II and I can still remember during events how they would tell their stories of serving overseas and sharing their battle stories.  None of them were bragging, they were just telling it like it was."

Boland has his father's ribbons and marksmanship badge hanging up in his office as a constant reminder of the sacrifices the servicemembers endured during all of those battles.

"I am a World War II student and I have read a lot of books on the subject," said Boland.  "Because of the stories I heard over the years, it gave me more interest to read and study about this awful conflict.

"Now the people stories have become more interesting to me, and knowing that I could help reunite the last two remaining members of this World War II squadron meant a lot to me."

On Friday, April 7, at 11 a.m. Pacific Standard Time, through the means of technology and with the help of airmen from JBLM and airmen from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, Jenkins in Seattle and Johns in Lompoc connected with each other and offer that toast to their fallen comrades.

"We could not have done this without the help and generosity of Mr. Dunnivan, Mr. Barber, Ms. Kirkman and Mr. Boland, and all of those that made this possible," said Col. Leonard Kosinski, 62nd Airlift Wing commander. "We are extremely grateful and express our sincerest appreciation for them in allowing us to make this happen."

April 13, 2017 at 10:03am

TACP airmen hold annual memorial run

More than 200 members, military and civilians of the 1st Air Support Operations Group, 194th ASOG, 62nd Airlift Wing, on Joint Base Lewis-McChord, run and walk on the McChord Field outdoor track, March 30. Photo credit: Staff Sgt. Naomi Shipley

Master Sgt. Shawn Leonard, 5th Air Support Operations Squadron operations superintendent, said in total they raised approximately $6,000 at this year's event.

"Each year the TACP community holds an annual 24-hour run to honor their fallen brothers and sisters in arms and to help raise money for their nonprofit organization run by active and retired TACPs through the TACP Association," said Leonard.

The fundamental goal of the TACP-A is to provide support to those members and families in their moment of need and to better the communities they reside in.

To date, the TACP-A has given more than $200K back to the community and their families.

Leonard said the most miles any one member ran totaled more than two marathons, to be exact it was 56 miles in a 24-hour period.

Additionally, 62nd Airlift Wing leadership and other McChord units participated in the run along with family and friends and teams from sponsored businesses.

"Participating in this run allows us to reflect on those who have given the ultimate sacrifice," said Chief Master Sgt. Tico Mazid, 62nd AW command chief and run participant. "It was awesome to see how many people turned out to run or walk in honor of our fallen comrades."

Leonard said the run is really just about the people.

"It's about giving back to the families - no questions asked," said Leonard. 

Recent Comments

abigail said:

you are say about this Air Force highly recommends absolutely right and i appreciate your...

about Air Force highly recommends renters insurance

nurisahi juan said:

This is real take it serious, my name is marian i, who will believe that a herb can Cure...

about JBLM soldier completes ALS

Ken Beseau said:

Its always a treat to be able to get on base and all of the planes from around the world come...

about AMC Rodeo to have new life

Electrician Rochester NY said:

Thanks for giving us nice info. Fantastic walk-through. I appreciate this post.

about Don't be shocked: 446th electricians find the spark

thomas candey said:

way to go usaf soon will be flying a kc46 air craft made right here in everett wash.not france...

about