Northwest Military Blogs: McChord Flightline Chatter

Posts made in: 'Honors' (20) Currently Viewing: 1 - 10 of 20

July 12, 2013 at 4:39pm

446th Airlift Wing earns Air Force Outstanding Unit Award

Let's all head into the weekend with a big smile on our faces. Our Air Force Reserve wing just earned a major award.

Congratulations 446th Airlift Wing!  Outstanding!

MCCHORD FIELD, Wash.-  Some of the Citizen Airmen who've been here with the 446th Airlift Wing for a while might not have been too surprised to learn the news that the unit recently earned the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award. After all, it's not like it was the first time the unit had earned one.

So, what did the Air Force expect the unit to do with this one? Probably put it on display in the trophy case as another reminder of the wing's minimum standards- and maybe to get it acquainted with the other five AFOUAs the unit had triumphed in years past.

But before the sum 2,200 Reservists of the 446th AW could give each other pats on the back and return to business as usual, leadership expressed gratitude in a recent email:

"I wanted you to know how much I appreciate your service," said Col. Bruce Bowers, 446th AW commander. "It's amazing what you do. You do it in spite of multiple obstacles we place in front of you. You do it without complaining and with a sense of pride and professionalism. I truly stand in awe of each and every one of you. Thank you."

The AFOUA is granted by the secretary of the Air Force to units that showcased exceptional service or achievements, which set the unit above and apart from similar units. The 446th AW earned this one based on its accomplishments from Oct. 1, 2010 to Sept. 30, 2012. Some of the feats that propelled the 446th AW to excellence include:


The 446th AW aircrews flew nearly 40 percent of Air Force C-17 Globemaster III missions in tandem with its active-duty partners from the 62nd Airlift Wing here. About 60 Reservists provided airlift support for the president's Banner Express mission. The wing sent the first C-17 to Benghazi to help evacuate U.S. troops during the Libyan Embassy attacks.

Operation Deep Freeze

In 2012, 446th AW aircrews, and their 62nd AW teammates, helped deliver about 5,200 passengers and more than 6 million pounds of cargo in 74 ODF missions. ODF Season 2012 to 2013 was the fourth year in a row they exceeded previous years' records.

Team McChord aircrews also performed an emergency mid-winter aeroevac, which displayed their night-vision-goggle skills and capabilities. Soon after the patient rescue, the 446th AW aircrews walked away with the 4th Air Force Aircrew Excellence and Aviation Week's Laureate Award for Heroism honors.

Aeromedical Evacuation

The 446th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron deployed close to 110 medical specialists to Southwest Asia, moving more than 1,200 sick and wounded patients from hostile airfields. These highlights, among others, led the 446th AES in taking home the Air Force Reserve Command Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron of the Year Award.

Explosive Ordnance Disposal

The 446th Civil Engineer Squadron's Explosive Ordnance Disposal Flight received the Stryzak Award as the Best EOD Flight in AFRC due to the heroism displayed by their members.


The wing Safety Office received both the AFRC Safety Office of the Year and the Air Force Flight Safety Award. Having zero reported Class A mishaps in the last five years, not to mention only enduring two in the last 50 years, might have had something to do with that.

Summing up some of the many accolades the Citizen Airmen of the 446th AW accumulated in that timeframe alone, proves "outstanding" is business as usual.

The 446th AW maintains that award time isn't the only time they shine. Day in and day out, year in and year out, they continue to raise the bar in supporting the global airlift mission. 

By the way, it might be appropriate to mention that the 446th AW earned the Airlift/Tanker Association's Sherrard Award in 2011 for the best Mobility Air Force Wing in AFRC.

June 30, 2013 at 12:29pm

Meet the new 62nd Airlift Wing technical sergeants

Congratulations to the following staff sergeants who have been selected for promotion to technical sergeant.

Jonathan Abel
David Albertson
Israel Arizpe
Brandon Baimbridge
Alejo Blas Jr.
Daniel Bowman
Andrew Brower


April 2, 2012 at 4:47pm

Family pins new Reserve vice commander

MCCHORD FIELD, Wash. - Newly promoted Col. Rick Grayson gets pinned on by his family March 30 at McChord Field. Grayson is the new vice commander for the 446th Airlift Wing. In his civilian life, Grayson is a 737 first officer for Alaska Airlines, and lives in Gig Harbor with his wife and two children.

(U.S. Air Force photo by 2nd Lt. Denise Hauser)    

July 28, 2011 at 12:51pm

McChord C-17 named in honor of Medal of Honor recipients

Retired Army Col. Bruce Candrall, a Medal of Honor recipient, was a guest observer as a newly-crafted C-17 Globemaster III is dedicated the “Spirit of the Medal of Honor” July 26 at McChord Field. (Photo by Airman 1st Class Michael Battles)

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash.  -- A new C-17 Globemaster III was named for all Medal of Honor recipients at a ceremony here July 26, 2011, during Air Mobility Rodeo 2011.
The naming ceremony is a time-honored Air Force tradition of dedicating aircraft to significant places, events and people. Previous honorees include prisoners of war and missing in action service members as well as Purple Heart recipients. Gen. Raymond E. Johns Jr, Air Mobility Command commander, officially dedicated the C-17 as the "Spirit of the Medal of Honor." Retired AF Col. Joe Jackson and retired Army Col. Bruce Crandall attended the ceremony.

"The Congressional Medal of Honor serves as a symbol of courage and military heroism in defense of America's freedoms," said Bob Ciesla, Boeing C-17 program manager. "Likewise, whenever this C-17 flying the insignia of the Spirit of the Medal of Honor lands, the spirit of America's bravest will land with it, bringing hope, saving lives and preserving peace." "It's humbling to be here in the presence of America's bravest patriots," Ciesla added.

Johns expressed his gratitude to both service members for what they contributed to our military and country.

They were called upon unexpectedly when it mattered most, said Johns.

And they did it without regards for themselves. During the ceremony Johns and Ciesla, along with Jackson and Crandall, unveiled the new C-17, which will join the fleet at Joint Base Lewis-McChord Ciesla also presented Johns and the MOH recipients with a lithograph from the employees of Boeing as a thank you for the service and sacrifice that they give to their country.

March 17, 2011 at 2:20pm

Washington HS AF JROTC cadets excel at nationals

The Washington High School Air Force JROTC team traveled to Phoenix last weekend to compete in the Air Force Junior ROTC west coast nationals against top teams from western states including Texas, California, Hawaii and Arizona.

Under the leadership of cadet Joshua Stage, the team  competed in unarmed exhibition, regulation and inspection, and all team members competed in the unarmed drill down. In their best performance of the year, the team managed a second place finish in exhibition and also garnered a fourth in inspection. To top off the competition, cadet Brenda Munguia finished first out of over 250 participants in the unarmed drill down. While this was the team's first trip to Arizona, it was the third time in the past six years they earned a first or second place at the national level.

"The competition at nationals was fierce but our team's dedication and hard work paid off in the end," Stage said.

Other team members included Jesse Tuivaiave, Kushaiah Pritchard, Cody Hoefs (Franklin Pierce), Nick Patrick, Byron Crisostomo, Jasmine Kim, Mi Kyeong Jung, Francesca Pratt (FP), Alexandra Svendsen, Brenda Munguia, Collin Schaaff (FP), Nina Williams, Amanda Jimmie,Cody Barnett, Kennett Ashford-White and Meagan Dunmire.

Filed under: Honors, Tacoma, Education,

February 2, 2011 at 4:08pm

Pilots who stay in can collect bonuses

This from Air Force Times: Hundreds of pilots, including those who fly unmanned aircraft, are eligible for big bucks if they promise to stay in the Air Force at least three more years.

About $3.9 million in bonuses is available through the fiscal 2011 Aviation Continuation Pay program, released Jan. 26 by the Air Force.

Lt. Col. Gerard Ryan, chief of the rated force policy branch in the Air Force personnel directorate, outlined the three options available to aviators:

  • $25,000 a year for pilots who have completed their initial commitment, which is 10 years after earning their wings, and who sign up for five more years. About 200 officers, most of them majors or major selects, qualify.
  • $15,000 a year for pilots who did not participate in the ACP program when they became eligible and who sign up for three, four or five more years.

Pilots must decide to participate in the program before they serve 13 years, and their commitment must take them only up to 16 years, Ryan said. For example, an officer who has served almost 13 years can commit to only three years.

"If they wait too long, they can't do the five-year option," Ryan said.

  • $15,000 a year for combat systems officers who currently fly remotely piloted aircraft and who commit to three, four or five more years. Eligible for the bonus are about 40 combat systems officers who have completed their initial six-year commitment after earning their wings.

Read more here.

Filed under: U.S. Air Force, Honors,

January 26, 2011 at 4:45pm

Airmen, civilians honored at quarterly awards luncheon

The following Airmen and civilians were honored at the 62nd Airlift Wing/Team McChord Quarterly Awards Luncheon on Jan. 20.

Civilian Quarter of the Year Category IA: Lori Brisson, 62nd Medical Squadron; Kathleen Wipple, 627th Force Support Squadron. Civilian of the Year Quarter Catergory IIA: Roy Osman, 62nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron; Robert Snyder, 627th FSS.

Civilian of the Year Category IIB: Kelly Williams, 62nd Maintenance Squadron.

Airman of the Quarter: Airman 1st Class Courtney Nicholas, 62nd Operations Support Squadron; Senior Airman Just Perran, 5th Air Support Operations Squadron.

Noncommissioned Officer: Staff Sgt. Brandon Hower, 62nd OSS; Staff Sgt. Andrew Cox, 5th ASOS.

Senior Noncommissioned Officer: Senior Master Sgt. Curtis Stanley, 62nd AMXS; Master Sgt. Shane Hobrecht, 5th ASOS.

Junior Company Grade Officer: 1st Lt. Marc Marmino, 62nd Operations Group; 1st Lt. Monica Carter, 22nd Special Tactics Squadron.

Company Grade Officer: Capt. Summer Kolcum, 62nd AMXS; Capt. Patrick Lamie, 5th ASOS.

Honor Guard Member of the Quarter: Senior Airman Michael Robinson, 62nd MXS.

January 19, 2011 at 4:02pm

Purple Hearts for 2 airmen injured in war zone

This from Air Force Times: A security forces officer and a joint terminal attack controller injured in Afghanistan each received the Purple Heart on Wednesday from the Air Force's top officer.

More than 300 airmen looked on as Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz presented the honor to Capt. Gil Wyche and Senior Airman Brandon Cullen Towle during a visit to Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan.

Wyche, a security forces officer assigned to the 966th Air Expeditionary Squadron, received shrapnel wounds during an insurgent attack on his base in Jalalabad in mid-November. Fighters using small arms and grenades rushed the perimeter of Forward Operating Base Fenty. Despite the wounds, Wyche and his team repelled the attack.

"We knew where we were going and we knew it was a hotbed," Wyche, deployed from RAF Lakenheath, England, said in a news release. "But, nothing can prepare you until the bullets actually start flying, grenades start getting thrown on top of you, and you start firing back. My guys responded very well."

Towle, a JTAC assigned to the 817th Expeditionary Air Support Operations Squadron, was working out at the gym at FOB Connolly in Nangarhar province in early January when an indirect-fire round exploded near him. Shrapnel pierced his upper thigh. He ran to cover in a bunker, where medics treated the wounds.

Towle then began calling in airstrikes that helped end the assault.

"This wasn't the first time these guys attacked us," said Towle, who is in the fifth month of his six-month deployment from Pope Air Force Base, N.C. "I just wanted to eliminate the threat once and for all."

January 11, 2011 at 11:42am

446th CES reservist wins AF level award

We profiled Master Sgt. Glen Tuttle when he won this award at the command level. He recently went on to win the award at the Air Force level as well. Read on. 

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. -- If the gifts of this recent holiday season were measured by the number of awards decorating the mantle of the 446th Civil Engineer Squadron's Explosive Ordnance Disposal Flight, then Master Sgt. Glen Tuttle might be confused with Santa Claus. 

In November, the 446th CES EOD Flight NCO in charge was named the Air Mobility Command Outstanding Civil Engineer Air Reserve Component NCO manager of the year.

In December, Tuttle competed for the award at the Air Force level. And won.

"Glen is one of those individuals who does a few things extremely well and most things really well," said Lt. Col. David Walter, 446th CES commander. "He is an exceptional individual, and this award is just further recognition of that."    

November 8, 2010 at 10:14am

Reserve airman wins AF-level award

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. -- He's flown more than 4,000 hours of civilian and military flying time, including 230 combat dispatches and 873 hours of combat time. He helped in the rapid response to the humanitarian crisis in Haiti this year, delivering 97,000 pounds of emergency rations. He's a C-17A Globemaster III instructor aircraft commander with the 728th Airlift Squadron here and one of only two squadron pilots who maintain every C-17 special qualification.

...And he's only 30 years old. 

These are just some of the accomplishments that made Capt. Daniel Gasper stand out from the pack to win the Lance P. Sijan Award, an honor bestowed upon Air Force personnel who represent the highest professional and personal leadership standards. He won the award at the Air Force Command Level in September.

"When I heard I won, I was surprised and deeply honored," said Caption Gasper, a Tacoma native. "I was in great company with good nominees. I'm happy I made it to the AFRC level."

Maj. Tim Davis, Captain Gasper's supervisor, said he couldn't think of anyone more deserving of this award. 

"Dan's a 'go-getter,'" said the 728th AS flight commander. "He's very intelligent, volunteers his time without question, is very enthusiastic about his job and is totally committed to 446th Airlift Wing mission." 

Captain Gasper's commitment dates back to 2001 when he was one of the first 728th AS volunteers after the Sept. 11 terrorist attack. The captain is currently on orders for his fifth year, gaining more experience in his new role as assistant flight commander. 

"Any time there's a mobility exercise, he's always first to volunteer," said Major Davis. "I've never heard the word "no" come out of his mouth. Captain Gasper volunteers because he wants to and not out of obligation." 

Striving for excellence comes naturally for Captain Gasper. The nine-year Reservist was recently lauded by Air Mobility Command and U.S. Transportation Command officials for his first-class leadership skills and professionalism. The captain was also nominated for the 4th Air Force Airlift Tanker Association Young Leadership Award and the Reserve Officer Association Junior Officer of the Year Award. 

"I've been blessed to have had many opportunities to further my training with the Reserve right off the bat, with the wing's activation," said the captain. "Being activated set me up for high ops tempo situations and gave me a thirst for more training." 

Captain Gasper said his wife, Jess, has been very supportive of his military duties and time away on temporary duty assignments. He said she was proud and excited when she heard he received the award. 

A Boeing 737 first officer for Alaska Airlines, Captain Gasper attained his Federal Aviation Administration certification as an airline transport pilot and Boeing 737 type ratings. He advanced his flight proficiency by attaining his FAA certified flight instructor certificate. In his military career, the captain recently added his qualifications to teach the Instrument Refresher Course and perform airdrop maneuvers with the C-17. 

Major Davis praised Captain Gasper's enthusiasm to always be one crew qualification ahead of where he needed to be and natural ability to motivate peers and supervisors alike. 

"You can't help but feel motivated when you fly with Dan," said Major Davis. "He sets the tone for the flight. He's always up-beat and it's contagious." 

When he's not flying, the captain can be found volunteering at Harverd Elementary School, Parkland, Wash., where his wife teaches. 

Captain Gasper will be adding a new accomplishment to his collection: that of father. He and Jess will be welcoming their first child any day now.     


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