Support staff takes flight to see mission in action

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Courtney Dotson-Essett
  • 434th ARW Public Affairs

Over two dozen civilian support staff  from the 434th Air Refueling Wing received an incentive flight June 25, to allow them to see firsthand how they support the mission.

Employees from Grissom’s lodging and dining facilities, outdoor recreation and fitness center were joined by members of the Miami Correctional Facility K9 unit on a refueling exercise.

It was a rare opportunity for those workers who provide daily support to Grissom and its members.

“I absolutely want you to go up there and see what you help make happen,” said Col. Larry Shaw, 434th ARW Commander.

For several, like Josey Withrow, it was the first time they had ever flown.

“I’m very nervous, but I’m also really excited,” said Withrow.

Withrow’s entire immediate family serves at Grissom.  She said her father was a boom operator for 15 years and she most looked forward to getting a glimpse at what he used to do.

The group departed from Grissom to watch the refueling of a B-2 Spirit from Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri. 

Many of those on the flight, such as the K9 unit, will also be working during the Grissom Air and Space Expo, to be held September 7-8.  With planning well underway, many are working hard to make sure the event is successful.

The refueling flight gave them an understanding of how their support enables the mission, and maybe a little extra motivation for the longer hours they’ll log in September.

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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