My feet hit the ground and within a large team of people I start my run. I’m grateful for the sun and forgiving weather, but even on a dreary day I would still be here running. Maybe it was the sun shining light in support and for a bright change, and if it was raining I would’ve seen it as the rain releasing all of the sorrow and suffering that is being held.
The 264th Combat Communications Squadron, Illinois Air National Guard, took 26 personnel to the Combat Communications Rodeo March 4 to 14 and their performance brought home the title of 2019 champions. The 5th Combat Communications Group hosted the CCR at Robins Air Force Base, Georgia. Personnel who took part in this event were from multiple specialties that included client systems, cyber transport, cyber operations, cyber security, radio frequency transmissions, power productions and heating, ventilation and air conditioning. Other units — including the active duty and Reserve components — came from across the country to participate.
U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Matthew Henry, a fuels apprentice with the 182nd Logistics Readiness Squadron, Illinois Air National Guard, refuels a C-130H Hercules at the 182nd Airlift Wing in Peoria, Ill., March 27, 2019. Fuels specialists are responsible for refueling aircraft in addition to maintaining and operating petroleum, missile, alternative and cryogenic facilities and equipment. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Lealan Buehrer)
Back in 1981, our unit did our two-week annual training at Davis–Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson, Ariz. I was 21. It was a community relations mission, indoor concert, at a retirement home. I remember this so clearly. A resident came up to me — a woman, an elderly woman — and she looked at me, and she said, “Steve! Steve! I knew you’d come back.” And she hugged me. I’m 21, thinking “Oh boy, what’s this all about,” you know?
Taking a risk and straying from a career comfort zone isn’t easy for some. The Air National Guard allows Airmen to be a part of new and unique career opportunities, and that’s just what this Airman did.

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