The Air Force 2019 Female Athlete of the Year is Maj. Amy Natalini, director of headquarters 8th Air Force. Photo: Courtesy
The Air Force 2019 Female Athlete of the Year is Maj. Amy Natalini, director of headquarters 8th Air Force’s commander’s action group at Barksdale AFB, La. Natalini is a marathon runner who, as team captain, led USAF’s women’s marathon team to a first place finish at the DOD Championships. Natalini also coaches elementary school runners and leads running clinics.
The Air Force 2019 Male Athlete of the Year is 2nd Lt. James Griffin Jax, the most decorated baseball player in Air Force Academy history. Photo: Courtesy
The Air Force 2019 Male Athlete of the Year is 2nd Lt. James Griffin Jax, the most decorated baseball player in Air Force Academy history and an inductee into the USAF Baseball Hall of Fame. Jax, an acquisitions officer who is in the World Class Athlete Program, is in the Minnesota Twins minor-league system and was recently assigned to Class Double-A to play for the Pensacola Blue Wahoos.
A1C Michelle Speer and A1C Joshua Brewer took their vows before Speer’s boss, 436th APS ramp operations supervisor TSgt. Joseph Rice. Photo: Roland Bakil/USAF
Two 436th Maintenance Group airmen tied the knot aboard a C-17 Globemaster III at Dover AFB, Del., in January. Both bride and groom wore ABUs (airman battle uniforms) as A1C Michelle Speer and A1C Joshua Brewer took their vows before Speer’s boss, 436th APS ramp operations supervisor TSgt. Joseph Rice. Both families and wingmen were in attendance.
Air National Guardsman CMSgt. Greg Souders, center, the 193rd Special Operations Logistics Readiness Squadron’s superintendent. Photo: USAF
Air National Guardsman CMSgt. Greg Souders, the 193rd Special Operations Logistics Readiness Squadron’s superintendent, hits humanitarian home runs with Baseball Miracles, a nonprofit that hosts baseball clinics for kids in underserved communities. Souders led his first clinic last December in Yabucao, Puerto Rico, which he called “the hardest hit area from Hurricane Maria.” The group fixed batting cages, repainted facilities, and provided bats, balls and gloves.
1st. Lt. Rachael Preslar was crowned Mrs. Colorado. Photo: Courtesy
1st. Lt. Rachael Preslar was crowned Mrs. Colorado March 30. A mission commander at Buckley AFB, Colo., she is the first USAF Active Duty service member to win the title and will be competing for Mrs. America in August. She is a 2015 graduate of the Air Force Academy and, in addition to her Air Force duties, Preslar is an outdoors and fitness enthusiast, and the daughter of a Miss Taiwan (1990).
173rd Fighter Wing Commander Col. Jeff “Sled” Smith. Photo: MSgt. Jennifer Shirar/ANG
173rd Fighter Wing Commander Col. Jeff “Sled” Smith is reinventing commander’s calls to better connect with his airmen. Playing off popular “TED” talks, Smith’s “SLED Talks,” are private discussions with 12 airmen or fewer to discuss the future of the F-15, possible future mission options, and timelines, he said. Airmen from multiple shops attend each talk, offering “diversity of thought, perspective, and experience,” and more feedback than prior commander’s calls generated.
Air Force Academy Vice Superintendent Col. Houston Cantwell, left, and Cadet 2nd Class Yann Wollman. Photo: Armando Pereez/USAF
Air Force Academy Vice Superintendent Col. Houston Cantwell, with concept assistance from Cadet 2nd Class Yann Wollman, won a $250,000 investment commitment to create a “What’s Up” app that helps individuals or groups share calendar events with fellow airmen and USAF families. The prize comes with assistance from AFWERX and private sector tech accelerators to help develop a prototype of his app concept.
A1C William Raley, left, a weapons director technician with the 610th Air Control Flight. Photo: SrA. Sadie Colbert
US-Japan relations are generally strong, but language can be an issue. A1C William Raley, a weapons director technician with the 610th Air Control Flight, recently earned an award from the Japan-America Air Force Goodwill Association for breaking down those walls with voluntary English classes for Japanese airmen working in command and control.
AFRL’s Dr. Adam Pilchak is this year’s recipient of the Jaap Schijve Award. Photo: USAF
AFRL’s Dr. Adam Pilchak is this year’s recipient of the Jaap Schijve Award. The international award is based on technical contributions to the advancement of the field of aeronautical fatigue. Selection criteria includes scientific quality of work, quality of publications in peer reviewed journals, relevance to fatigue and damage tolerance, and impact on aerospace engineering. Pilchak has emerged as USAF’s leading expert in microstructural fatigue and damage tolerance of titanium alloys.
K-9 Callie, a Dutch Shepherd with the Kentucky Air National Guard’s 123rd Airlift Wing. Photo: Kentucky ANG
K-9 Callie, a Dutch Shepherd with the Kentucky Air National Guard’s 123rd Airlift Wing, is the Air Force’s only search and rescue dog—and a social media star. According to her Instagram page, where more than 7,000 followers keep up with her, Callie’s Air Force career began on Sept. 6, 2018, following training at the University of Pennsylvania’s Penn Vet Working Dog Center. Follow her adventures on Instagram at @sar_pup.
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Memorial Day is a time to remember all those who died fighting for their country, just like A1C William Pitsenbarger, an Air Force pararescueman who took part in more than 250 rescue missions before he was killed at the age of 21. His selflessness and valor in the Vietnam War earned him an Air Force Cross and, eventually, a Medal of Honor.
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