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End of an action-packed 2018

A year of training, exercises and new leadership for the Rainier Wing

U.S. Army paratroopers assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division and British Army paratroopers board a C-17 Globemaster III at Pope Army Air Field during Exercise Swift Response 18 June 8, 2018. Photo credit: Airman 1st Class Gracie I. Lee

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The world has rung in the New Year and welcomed 2019. As 2018 proved to be a year full of training, exercises and new leadership for the 446th Airlift "Rainier" Wing. Check out a summary of 2018 accomplishments and milestones pulled together from Public Affairs coverage.

Missions, Exercises and Training

  • Rainier Wing Reservists supported exercise Swift Response 18. The exercise included approximately 2,300 participants from seven allied nations to help train the U.S. Global Response Force.
  • The 446th Aeromedical Staging Squadron helped put together Rainier Medic, a joint reserve training event meant to bring Air Force, Navy, and Army units from all over the U.S. to practice field medical skills essential to mission accomplishment while deployed or responding to a contingency operation.
  • The 446th Security Forces Squadron teamed-up with Joint Base Lewis-McChord to develop realistic training scenarios designed to hone readiness skills in exercise Haywire. The training included flying in a U.S. Army UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter.
  • Weather challenged Antarctic airlift support during the Operation Deep Freeze season, but the 304th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron came together as a team and overcame challenges to successfully support the National Science Foundation's research in Antarctica. Soon after completing the final flight of the Southern hemisphere winter Antarctic season, the 304th EAS sprang back into action for a medical emergency.

Awards, Accomplishments and Recognition

  • The 446th Airlift Wing Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron was recognized as the Air Force Reserve Command's Squadron of the Year, Outstanding AFRC Aeromedical Aircrew Officer of the Year and Outstanding AFRC Aeromedical Aircrew SNCO of the Year. Maj. Benjamin Schultze, 446th AW flight nurse, was recognized as the Outstanding AFRC Aeromedical Aircrew Officer of the Year and Senior Master Sgt. Kristy Wellman, 446th AES technician, was recognized as Outstanding AFRC Aeromedical Aircrew SNCO of the Year.
  • Senior Airman Adam Olander, a crew chief assigned to the 446th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, was recently named the winner of the Air Force Reserve Command Lt. Gen. Leo Marquez award in the Aircraft Maintenance Technician category. He helped improved C-17 safety throughout the entire Air Force.
  • Master Sgt. Eric Ellis, 446th Security Forces Squadron Combat Arms NCOIC, participated in an international shooting competition as part of an Air Force Reserve Command Security Forces team. The team placed first by more than 100 points, winning the International Bavarian Military Competition held in Lagerlechfeld, Germany.
  • Tech. Sgt. Freddie Garza, 446th SFS Combat Arms instructor, took his singing ability to local and national events, like an NBA Finals game. Garza got to show the world his talent when he performed the National Anthem before 16.24 million television viewers and an energized crowd at the Cleveland Cavaliers Quicken Loans Arena for Game 4 of the NBA Finals.
  • The wing held its annual awards banquet to honor significant contributions of its Air Force Reservists, civilian workers April 7 at the Temple Theater in Tacoma. The event celebrated the Rainier Wing's historic World War II-era contributions to the nation's security as well as diversity.

Community Outreach

  • The Rainier Wing joined Team McChord's Honorary Commander program and inducted City of Lacey Mayor Andy Ryder as the first Honorary Commander.
  • During the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve annual awards presentation, the wing was presented the Seven Seals Award by Washington ESGR State Chairman John Patterson.
  • Iconic rock n' roll musician Joe Walsh stopped by Joint Base Lewis-McChord to meet with servicemembers on his way to perform at a concert in Tacoma for Veterans Day.
  • Reserve citizen airmen and a C-17 Globemaster static display supported the 10th annual Alaska Airlines Aviation Day at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport for more than 2,000 kids.
  • Representatives from the 446th AES spent a week at Carter Lake Elementary School talking to students about treating patients.
  • For the first time in three years, the entire 446th AW came together for a Family Day morale event at Cheney Stadium during the August drill weekend. The Family Day and Wellness Weekend fueled August's drill weekend with many healthy activities for resiliency.
  • The Rainier Wing supported many flyovers, including the 313th Airlift Squadron supporting the Seattle Seahawks Salute to Service game with an airdrop in November. The squadron airdropped in the U.S. Air Force Wings of Blue Parachute Team members. Also in November, the 97th Airlift Squadron supported the University of Washington's Salute to Service game with a flyover.
  • JBLM's neighboring community members teamed-up with the Pierce Business and Military Alliance to deliver donated food to servicemembers throughout the base during the annual Turkey Drop and Ham Grenade.

Leadership Changes

  • The year began with a change in leadership. Col. Sean P. Pierce assumed his role as the 446th Airlift Wing's newest commander. Outgoing commander, Col. Scott L. McLaughlin, transitioned to become the Fourth Air Force chief of Staff at March Air Reserve Base, California.
  • Col. Anthony P. Angello became the 446th Operations Group commander and recently transitioned to become the Rainier Wing's vice commander.
  • We celebrated the retirement of the 446th Maintenance Group commander, Col. Kirk Peddicord, in February. He dedicated over 38 years of service to the Air Force Reserves.
  • The 446th Maintenance Group held a Change of Command in August and we welcomed incoming commander, Col. Kirsten M. Palmer. She ventured to the Rainier Wing from Joint Staff in Washington, D.C.
  • We bid Col. Kenneth Jambor a fond farewell as the outgoing commander of the 728th Airlift Squadron, and welcomed Lt. Col. Michael Masuda as the new commander in November.
  • Col. Kristina D. Forbes assumed command of the 446th Aeromedical Staging Squadron and Col. Bruce K. Neely assumed command of the 446th Aerospace Medicine Squadron in July.
  • Maj. Patricio Acuario took command of the 446th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron. And we wished the former commander, Lt. Col. Stephen Oliver, a warmhearted departure in November.

Looking to the future, 2019 will bring the largest mobilization the wing has experienced in 10 years. More than 300 members will be deploying worldwide to support military operations. The wing's mission is to provide ready airmen to support global operations, and the start of the New Year will be focused on readiness.

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