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  • Time to get dirty: Wisconsin runway offers training to pilots in the air and airmen on the ground

    At the southern edge of Fort McCoy, Wisconsin exists a runway with no lighting, no markings and no pavement. It’s not the ideal airfield pilots are looking for when making a landing, but sometimes it might be the only option if you’re delivering cargo or personnel at a deployed location. To prepare for that possibility, an Illinois Air National
  • Air, Army National Guard might on full display during airdrop exercise

    In early American history, the Minutemen were civilian colonists who organized together into militia companies and earned their name by being ready at a minute's notice. The Minuteman is the symbol of the National Guard, and that history, work ethic and dedication to being ready when called upon is what it means to be a member of the National Guard. This ethos was ingrained in all levels of a Joint Forcible Entry exercise coined “Minuteman JFE” between the 182nd Airlift Wing out of Peoria, Illinois, and 1st Battalion (Airborne), 143rd Infantry Regiment out of Terrell, Texas, where the capabilities of both forces were on full display, said Maj. Brandon Retherford, a standardization and evaluation pilot with the 182nd Operations Group.
  • Gearing up for a successful military, personal career

    Changing roles from employee to military member to student is a lot to keep straight. Rushing from class to class, then off to work and adding in military service can be overwhelming, but rewarding for the type of person who likes to get the most out of life. This is how Air Force Staff Sgt. Samantha Palacios, an aerospace propulsion specialist at the 182nd Maintenance Squadron, explains her path to finishing a degree in mechanical engineering at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville while serving in the Air National Guard all at the same time.
  • Illinois Services Airmen take on the path of the hurricane

    Imagine watching the evening news with your family and you witness everything being ripped away in the blink of an eye from the citizens you took an oath to serve. What would you do? Would you have the courage to put everything on hold? Would you set aside a sister’s sixth birthday party, a little brother’s basketball games, or a degree you’ve been working so hard for, all to do something selfless for an island of strangers you’ve have never met?
  • Forging relationships to expand wing family

    Messages are constantly flying in on her three phones. Voicemails, emails and text messages from over 20 applicants would seems like a barrage to some, but keeping track of the details amid the chaos is crucial to performing in the fast paced environment of a recruiter. This is a normal day of work for Staff Sgt. Hailey McFall, a production recruiter and retainer at the 182nd Force Support Squadron.
  • Air National Guard families spend weekend building Strong Bonds

    Fourteen Illinois Air National Guard families converged on a Wisconsin hotel and waterpark lodge on a mission: To join forces for the weekend to strengthen their family bonds by learning “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families”. Chaplains and chaplain assistants from the 182nd Airlift Wing and 183rd Wing led the families through the program, which included lessons, practical exercises and time for family bonding.
  • Airmen honor chief of maintenance’s legacy

    It was 1947 when Chief Master Sgt. Homer Wells enlisted with the 169th Fighter Squadron to work on F-51 Mustangs — the same year Jackie Robinson signed with the Brooklyn Dodgers, Chuck Yeager broke the sound barrier and the Department of Defense was established. When Wells retired 37 years later, the chief of maintenance had worked on or supervised 11 different aircraft in a unit that underwent four re-designations, received its first Air Force Outstanding Unit Award and would soon earn a rating of “excellent” during its first Operational Readiness Inspection.
  • Cooking for the field

    How many MREs did it take to feed 47 military members for two weeks in field conditions? Zero, because services specialists from the 182nd Force Support Squadron were there to feed them. When the 182nd Civil Engineer Squadron departed their Illinois Air National Guard base to build veteran’s houses in the middle of the rural Crow Reservation, Montana, they brought with them six Airmen armed with an on-site mobile kitchen and a mission to serve.
  • What is mentorship?

    What is mentorship? Images may come to mind of a formal, rigid process in which an Airman gets assigned to study under a superior. However, the Air Force Mentoring Program states it’s more about a relationship in which one person guides and develops another person both personally and professionally. The Air Force doctrine emphasizes it not only helps mission success, but also helps Airmen reach their goals. If those two things are important, perhaps mentorship is worth looking into.
  • Family, employers help keep Peoria Air Guardsmen always on mission

    The National Guard Bureau says that success in serving with the Guard is like a three-legged stool made up of the service member, the family and the civilian employer. If one of the legs can’t support the stool, the entire structure could collapse. For Airmen with the Illinois Air National Guard’s 182nd Security Forces Squadron, that support is vital. For one weekend a month, two weeks a year and often much more, they put on the uniform of the United States Air Force and train to be called upon at any time, anywhere.
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