History and heritage; Command Chief and Historian take a trip down memory lane

  • Published
  • By Tech Sgt. Joshua Weaver
  • 434th Air Refueling Wing, Public Affairs

The 434th Air Refueling Wing at Grissom Air Reserve Base, Indiana has a long and rich history. One of which must be preserved, or it has the potential to be forgotten.

434th ARW Wing Historian, Brian Knowles, 434th ARW Wing Historian, knows all too well that preserving the Wings history is vital to our future.

“Maintaining mutually beneficial relationships with museums and research centers are important to discovering and preserving our history,” said Knowles. “Aviation museums, such as the Grissom Air Museum, Camp Atterbury Museum, and Atterbury-Bakalar Air Museum, are important venues to showcase and tell the 434ARW story.”

On a recent visit to Camp Atterbury Museum and the Atterbury-Bakalar Air Museum, Knowles along with Chief Master Sgt. Wes Marrion, 434th ARW Command Chief, learned about not only the Wings history, but about aviation history in Indiana.

“I knew that some Tuskegee Airmen had trained at Freeman Field in Seymour, Indiana but I do not recall having heard before that they had also trained at Columbus (Bakalar AFB),” said Marion.

While most people are looking for answers to their historical questions when they visit a museum, Knowles hopes that others that may visit those museums find their answers, but also come away with more questions as well.

“By gaining perspective through artifacts, photos, and displays, I hope anyone who visits these museums, realizes the connectedness of service members, the Air Force, and the conflicts that shaped our culture.” said Knowles.

“From those connections should come more questions, create more interest in our heritage, how we got here and who we are,” he added.

After their visit, Knowles is hopeful that more service members will take the time to learn more about the Wing and their history.

“History makes you smart and heritage makes you proud,” said Knowles. “Learn as much history as you can. Celebrate as much heritage as you can. A person can accomplish both by visiting a museum, there’s nothing wrong with being both smart and proud.”

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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