86th AW scoops two A/TA awards

Capt. Erin Dorrance
Kaiserslautern American

***image1******image2***Two 86th Airlift Wing Airmen were named Airlift Tanker Association award winners and will attend a recognition ceremony at the A/TA Convention Oct. 29 through Nov. 1 in Orlando, Fla.

Capt. Brian S. Choate, 86th Operations Group C-130 pilot, won the Gen. Robert “Dutch” Huyser Award, which recognizes an outstanding crewmember for sustained excellence in airmanship. Staff Sgt. James E. Ewing, 37th Airlift Squadron flight engineer, was awarded the Young Leadership Award, which identifies outstanding individuals who will likely become future leaders within the air mobility community. 

“I am honored to send two of Ramstein’s best to the convention to accept their awards,” said Col. Rich Johnston, KMC and 86th AW commander.  “They are model Airmen that lead by example.”

These examples of leadership came as Captain Choate and Sergeant Ewing deployed to Iraq for six months and represented the U.S. Air Force as they taught members of the Iraqi Air Force to fly C-130 aircraft. The Airmen worked each day with Iraqis to instruct them about their crew positions which led to the first all-Iraqi-aircrew flight outside Iraq Jan. 29. U.S. Central Command Air Forces said the flight was a benchmark for the future of the Iraqi Air Force.

Captain Choate continued his service in Iraq by flying 98 combat sorties in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.  The distinguished graduate from C-130 instructor school also provided the training to combat qualify five Iraqi C-130 pilots. He also made history when he flew the Kurdish President and other Iraqi political leaders to the country’s first democratic election.

Sergeant Ewing represented the U.S. Air Forces in Europe in the Air Mobility Command Airlift Rodeo and took first place out of 31 crews from seven nations in the “Best Short-Field Landing.” He was also instrumental in a Rwandan relief mission which airlifted 786 international troops. While deployed to Rwanda, he also raised $500 for a local orphanage.

As the Airmen gear up for the A/TA Convention, many of their coworkers at Ramstein stand proud of their achievements.

“You can’t wrap up all their hard work in a single award,” said Col. Henry Sanders, 86th Operations Group commander.  “But, I am glad to see they are recognized for their leadership, professionalism and outstanding service to their country.”