Grissom welcomes new staff judge advocate

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Harrison Withrow
  • 434th ARW Public Affairs

After leaving Grissom as a staff sergeant seven years ago, Maj. Joe Ahlers has returned as the 434th Air Refueling Wing’s newest staff judge advocate.

“I’m very happy to be back at a wing-level installation, especially this one,” said Ahlers. “I’ve spent the last four years in Washington, D.C., and that’s an environment where everyone is very specialized and typically will only handle one certain type of legal issue.

“At Grissom, I get to tackle a much wider portfolio of legal issues like labor, contracts and environmental law, and I get a chance to move around the wing and be more involved in what’s happening,” he added.

Ahlers brings with him a distinguished career, having received the Company Grade Officer of the Year award three times, and Grissom’s own Airman of the Year award in 2008.

Outside of practicing law, Ahlers also spent time as a journalist, and has been published in multiple legal journals and newspapers, including The Onion.

“I really enjoyed doing journalism because it let me get out and talk to people,” said Ahlers. “That’s important in this job as well, because you can’t sit behind a desk and look at papers all day, you’ve got to seek people out and find out what the legal issues are on base.”

Ahlers is just getting started, but already he is eager to help the 434th ARW be the best air refueling wing it can be.

“My goal is to ensure that people across the wing know that we’re here to help them accomplish the mission,” said Ahlers. “Whether it’s checking the contracts that we’re writing are legally sufficient, improving community relations, or advising the Commander and his team so that they can better execute the mission, the staff judge advocate exists to make sure that legal issues don’t inhibit the 434th’s ability to protect national security.”

The 434th ARW is the largest KC-135R Stratotanker unit in the Air Force Reserve Command. The Citizen Airmen from the Hoosier Wing routinely deploy around the world in support of the Air Force mission.

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