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  • Making Something Out of Nothing

    Metals technology Airmen here at the 117th Air Refueling Wing know how to be innovative.  Some of their job descriptions are the same as engineers and programmers. The shop has various pieces of equipment from manual lathes to welding tools, each requiring a different skillset in itself.“We can take a block of metal on the ground and turn it into
  • 117th Captain Earns Distinguished Awards

    "Excellence in All We Do." It's the Air Force core value that comes to mind when you notice the recent accomplishments by Captain Mitchell June. June recently returned from Squadron Officer School at Maxwell Air Force Base where he was named a Distinguished Graduate, a title only given to the top ten percent of the graduating class of approximately
  • Alabama Airman Awarded Outstanding Woman of the Year

    The Alabama National Guard, much like the larger U.S. military as a whole, is a varied organization. Members come from all walks of life, from families where the military is a tradition, as well as those who are the first to serve. However, the popular image of the “military member” in many people’s minds is still a masculine wall of muscle coupled
  • Love Week

    Most Airmen in the Air National Guard have to juggle two careers.  A call to duty may take them away from their home and civilian career at any time.  First Lt. Ben Ortiz is a pilot with the 106th Air Refueling Squadron in Birmingham and a systems engineer for Delta Airlines in Atlanta.  Ortiz willingly stepped up for a volunteer opportunity that a
  • Aircrew Survival Training

    Airmen from the 117th Air Refueling Wing recently found themselves in an unfamiliar land, with unknown terrain, no security and no known point or time of departure.  With all of the uncertainty, a source of food and water had to be found.  The pressure intensified when they had to avoid enemy contact. The Airmen were conducting survival training
  • 117th Civil Engineering Squadron Participates in Patriot South Exercise

    When thinking of natural disasters, the most common image is one of extreme destruction, like an engulfing flood or a menacing tornado as it barrels down the highway. We conjure up images of flying debris, cars thrown around like toys or water suddenly rising in our living rooms. But what we often don’t think of is the aftermath. Who are the people
  • Airmen Learn Life Lessons From Sleight of Hand

    When a first sergeant shows a coin to his Airmen at roll call, they usually expect him to present it to someone under his command to be recognized for their exemplary service. So when this first sergeant made a coin disappear, it was unlike anything they had seen before. And when he lit a candle on top of a table simply by looking at it, this was
  • Vehicle Maintainers

    This shop sits on the hill, out of sight and out of mind from most of the airmen below. However, the airmen inside are responsible for keeping every single vehicle moving. The 117th Vehicle Maintenance Flight refers to themselves as "Vehicle Maintainers."With the sun beating down on a mid-June afternoon, the maintenance crew was busy repairing a
  • Honoring Fallen Bay of Pigs Airmen 55 Years Later

    It was a warm and sunny afternoon in late April in Birmingham, Alabama. As I approached the grave site at Forrest Hills Cemetery near the airport, I could hear a bagpipe playing in the background. I looked for the grave marker that read "1st Lt. Pete Ray" where a wreath laying ceremony was about to begin. There were four of the Bay of Pigs
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