A look back at 2017 at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, part 1

Throughout 2017, the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base community celebrated the 70th birthday of the U.S. Air Force, the 75th anniversary of the Doolittle Tokyo Raiders and the 100th anniversary of McCook Field as well as other significant milestones achieved by numerous organizations.

Here are some of the milestones, events, awards and other achievements that contributed to the overall success of missions:


■ A number of public events commemorated the 75th anniversary of the Doolittle Tokyo Raid April 17-18 at Wright-Patterson AFB and the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. The April 18, 1942, Doolittle raid on Tokyo, led by Lt. Col. James H. Doolittle, was an important event in the development of American air power as it was the first combat use of strategic bombardment by the U.S. Army Air Forces in World War II. A B-25 Mitchell bomber static display and flyover, books signings and ceremonies were part of the celebration. A B-1 bomber from Ellsworth AFB, South Dakota, was rechristened the “Ruptured Duck” and its new nose art unveiled in tribute to a B-25 Mitchell bomber that was flown during the Doolittle Tokyo Raid. The sole remaining Doolittle Tokyo Raider, Richard E. Cole, a retired lieutenant colonel who served as Doolittle’s co-pilot on Crew Number 1, participated in the events.

Recommended for you

Recommended for you

Recommended for you

Most read

  1. 1 Police: Miami Twp. officer hit on SB I-75 ‘awake but very sore’
  2. 2 Allen leads Dunbar boys charge at Moses Relays
  3. 3 Florida commissioner allegedly fed, housed couple in exchange for sex

■ Lt. Gen. Robert D. McMurry Jr. and then Brig. Gen. William T. Cooley officially took command of the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center and the Air Force Research Laboratory, respectively, in a joint change of command ceremony May 2. McMurry replaced Lt. Gen. John F. Thompson, who left to command the Air Force Space & Missile Systems Center, Los Angeles AFB, California. Cooley replaced McMurry as the AFRL commander.

■ Hundreds of Airmen, their families, personnel and leaders at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base gathered the afternoon of May 20 to celebrate U.S. Armed Forces Day inside one of the hangars at the 445th Airlift Wing as Vice President Michael Pence spoke. Prior to speaking, the vice president and Second Lady Karen Pence toured a 445 AW Globemaster III aircraft and learned about crew members’ duties. Following his speech, Pence and the Second Lady posed for 40 minutes for photos with audience members and met with Airmen’s children.

■ May 22, 2017, marked Wright-Patterson AFB’s 100th anniversary as the “Cradle of Aviation.” The base traces its origins to the Wright brothers’ 1904-1905, 1910-1916 operations on Huffman Prairie. The military installation began shortly after the nation entered World War I on April 6, 1917. Military leaders from Wright-Patterson AFB joined with local community leaders, elected officials, base personnel and the public Oct. 6 at the site of what was once known as McCook Field to mark the 100th anniversary of Air Force aviation and technology development in the Miami Valley.

■ Hundreds of acquisition and industry professionals gathered June 13-14 at the Air Force Institute of Technology at Wright-Patterson AFB for two days filled with demonstrations and presentations from some of the brightest minds in acquisition, technology, intelligence and sustainment. Hosted by the AFLCMC and Defense Acquisition University, the ninth annual Acquisition Insight Days event was broadcast live and drew senior Air Force leaders and experts from across the country. The theme for the conference, “Keeping a Decisive Edge,” was highlighted in the more than 60 presentations participants had an opportunity to attend.

■ Air Force Materiel Command’s 25th anniversary was commemorated July 10 by Gen. Ellen M. Pawlikowski, AFMC commander; Maj. Gen. Warren D. Berry, AFMC vice commander; and Chief Master Sgt. Jason L. France, AFMC command chief. On July 1, 1992, Air Force Logistics Command and Air Force Systems Command combined to form AFMC, a single, streamlined organization with an expanded mission. The new command built upon AFLC’s expertise in providing worldwide logistics support – including maintenance, modification and overhaul of weapon systems – and AFSC’s expertise in science, technology, research, development and testing.

■ Team Wright-Patt and members of the community celebrated the Air Force’s 70th birthday at NMUSAF Sept. 8.

■ AFLCMC held its second annual Life Cycle Industry Days Sept. 13-15 at the University of Dayton River Campus in Dayton. The sold-out event drew hundreds of attendees from more than 30 states and from large and small companies as well as senior leaders from various Air Force organizations, to network, learn about and discuss future Air Force requirements and a variety of key acquisition issues. Attendees chose from a robust schedule of more than 60 interactive sessions that covered a variety of topics, ranging from verifying cyber in weapons systems to emerging foreign air and space threats.


■ Runners took off for the start of the 21st U.S. Air Force Marathon Sept. 16 at Wright-Patterson AFB. More than 13,500 runners and walkers from all 50 states and 16 foreign countries participated in a 5K, 10K, half and full marathon supported by more than 2,400 volunteers. Bryan Kelly from Edwards, Calif., crossed the finish line as the overall men’s winner of the full marathon; Ann Alyanak from Bellbrook, Ohio, did the same as the overall women’s winner of the full marathon.

■ AFRL’s Sensors Directorate celebrated the 50th anniversary of its hilltop campus, whose iconic 13-story towers of Bldg. 620 dominate the landscape. On June 8, 2017, directorate staff and invited guests rededicated the Sensors campus with reflections on its 15-fold expansion since its dedication on June 8, 1967, by the U.S. Air Force chief of staff.

■ The Department of Defense’s Science, Mathematics and Research for Transformation Scholarship for Service program held its inaugural SMART Scholar’s “First Flight” Symposium at AFIT July 18-19. Established by the Department of Defense, the SMART Scholarship program is a scholarship for service created to recruit and retain the next generation of science and technology leaders.

■ Celebrity chef Robert Irvine judged the Mess Hall Madness Cook-Off, sponsored by the United Service Organizations of Central and Southern Ohio, and talked with Airmen during his visit to the Wright-Patterson Medical Center Nutritional Medicine Flight Aug. 23. Irvine has appeared on and hosted a variety of Food Network programs and has more than 27 years in the culinary profession. He established the Robert Irvine Foundation to support military personnel and their families.

■ The 88th Air Base Wing started hosting aircraft and associated aircrews Sept. 7 that were evacuating from several military installations threatened by Hurricane Irma. A dozen F-15 fighter aircraft from the 125th Fighter Wing (Florida Air National Guard), Jacksonville Air National Guard Base, Florida, landed Sept. 7. Eight P-8A Poseidons and six P-3C Orions from Patrol Squadron Thirty, Naval Air Station Jacksonville; and six C-17 Globemaster IIIs from the 437th Airlift Wing, Charleston AFB, South Carolina, followed Sept. 8.

■ The National Air and Space Intelligence Center stood up the Integrated Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Analysis Squadron during a redesignation ceremony Sept. 8. The new unit replaced the Integrated Air Defense Systems Analysis Squadron and is responsible for producing predictive all-source intelligence for the operational, acquisition and policy-making communities on integrated C4ISR capabilities.

New Faces

■ Col. David R. Anzaldúa, 88 ABW vice commander

■ Chief Master Sgt. Michelle R. Thorsteinson-Richards, AFLCMC command chief

■ Chief Master Sgt. Kathlina G. Racine, 88 ABW command chief

■ Jack L. Blackhurst, executive director, AFRL

■ Brig. Gen. Donna Shipton, program executive officer, Tanker Directorate, AFLCMC

■ Maj. Gen. Duke Richardson continues as program executive officer, Presidential Airlift Recapitalization Directorate

■ Col. Lori Winn, 88th Communications Group commander

■ Col. Leonard Rose, 88th Mission Support Group commander


■ Dr. Shekhar Guha, senior scientist, Materials and Manufacturing Directorate, AFRL, was named a fellow in the Optical Society of America, a membership designation that denotes distinguished scientific accomplishment. Guha designs experiments incorporating laser beam propagation through linear and nonlinear media, which are useful for predicting experimental results.

■ Dr. Adam L. Pilchak, an innovative materials research engineer in the Metals Branch, Materials and Manufacturing Directorate, AFRL, was named a recipient of the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers. Pilchak was one of only 102 scientists in 2017 to receive this honor, the highest bestowed by the U.S. government to science and engineering professionals who are in the beginning stages of their research careers.

■ First Lt. Brittney Rufus, a clinical nurse in the inpatient medical/surgical department at Wright-Patterson Medical Center, won the Emmett Broxson Award, nominated by patients and their families at Wright-Patterson AFB’s Fisher/Nightingale Houses.

■ NMUSAF received the Air Force Organizational Excellence Award for exceptionally meritorious service from July 1, 2014 to June 30, 2016. During this period the museum built and populated a new $40.8 million, 224,000-square-foot fourth building.

■ Maj. Michael Policastro, 445th Aeromedical Staging Squadron officer in charge of Critical Care Air Transport, and in his civilian life, an emergency medicine physician and toxicologist in Cincinnati, was named one of the top emergency medicine physicians in Cincinnati by Cincinnati Magazine for the third year in a row.

■ The 88th Security Forces at Wright-Patterson AFB was recognized as the 2016 Air Force Materiel Command’s Large Security Force Unit and competed at Air Force level. The announcement, made by Maj. Gen. Donald Kirkland, deputy director, AFMC Directorate of Logistics, recognized the almost 400-member squadron for leading an integrated defense effort and program protection for the installation.

■ Amber Davis was selected as the AFRL’s Materials and Manufacturing Directorate Supervisor of the Year. She is the section chief for the Materials and Processing Section, Composites Branch, Structural Materials Division.

■ Six individual awards and one large team award were announced by Lt. Gen. Mark Ediger, Air Force surgeon general, recognizing Wright-Patterson medical professionals for their expertise, leadership and commitment across the full breadth of the medical service support they provide to the Air Force mission and the Joint Team. Airmen from the 711th Human Performance Wing’s U.S. Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine and the 88th Medical Group were recognized as recipients of Air Force Medical Service 2016 annual awards.

■ Members of AFRL’s Agile Business Process team were honored with a Special Acts and Services Award for their contribution to promoting efficiency and agility in the lab, while individuals and teams from AFRL and AFLCMC were honored with 2016 Air Force Financial Management and Comptroller Awards for excellence in the field of financial management.

AFRL’s 10-member Agile Business Process team received a Special Acts and Services Award for its contributions to making the lab more agile and efficient, including establishing processes and infrastructure to collect, review, approve and monitor proposed process improvements. The team included Gayle Ingram, Jennifer Morgan, Jayson Wrona, Emily Duke, Patrick Jackson, Susan Butterfield, Amanda McKinley, Lisa Gallagher, Stephanie Hilgeford and Marilyn Jankowski.

Some of the team’s initiatives included facilitating the creation of an online tool to help program managers better navigate through the acquisition process in the unique laboratory environment. Overall, the efforts of the team generated significant savings, including $20 million in cost avoidance in fiscal 2016 and more than $55 million of cost avoidance projected through fiscal 2018.

■ Richard Strode, budget administrator for the Strategic Plans and Programs Office, HQ AFMC, received the President’s Lifetime Achievement Award for contributing more than 4,000 hours of service, most often with the Educational Outreach Office. The award is an initiative of the Corporation for National and Community Service and is administered by Points of Light. Strode consistently supports Wright-Patterson AFB shadow programs, “STEM-ulate Your Mind” teacher workshops, Tech-Fest and countless Boy Scout events, says Krista Gerhardt, EO Wizards of Wright (WOW!) program manager and STEM-ulate Your Mind facilitator.

■ Dr. Jeffrey Calcaterra, the Structural Materials Evaluation Team lead in the Systems Support Division, Materials and Manufacturing Directorate, AFRL, was selected as the newest inductee into the Air Force Safety Hall of Fame for his significant impacts in aviation safety over the past decade. The rarely conferred award recognizes individuals who have made contributions of enduring and significant impact to Air Force safety and mishap prevention, with enduring significance for the Force of the present and the future.

■ AFMC selected two Wright-Patterson AFB employees – Carmen Schott and April Barrows – as winners of the 2016 AFMC Sexual Assault Prevention and Response awards. The awards recognize sexual assault response coordinators who have demonstrated outstanding service in support of the AFMC workforce by educating, advocating and collaborating to respond to and stop sexual assault and its harmful effects on the Air Force. Schott received the Sexual Assault Response Coordinator of the Year award and Barrows received the Full-Time Victim Advocate of the Year award.

■ Dr. Dean Evans, Advanced Development team leader of the Photonic Materials Branch, Functional Materials Division, Materials and Manufacturing Directorate, AFRL, was indoctrinated as a fellow of the International Society for Optics and Photonics. Evans is recognized for the fellowship based on his pioneering research and deep involvement in photorefractive materials and devices. Photorefractive materials can be used for beam coupling, where the energy from one laser beam is coupled into another. References in literature on photorefractive materials indicate Evans is among the distinguished authorities on the subject throughout the world.

■ Master Sgt. Keith Watson, Wright-Patterson AFB Honor Guard section chief, was awarded Program Manager of the Year for 2016 for AFMC. Watson has been with the Honor Guard since 2014. He started as a detail staff member and was in charge of scheduling, training and performing details. Wright-Patterson AFB is one of the largest and most tasked Honor Guards in the Air Force and the Department of Defense.

■ William E. Harrison III, director of AFRL’s Small Business office, was recognized with the Revolutionary Leadership Award during the Department of Defense Small Business Vanguard Awards Program banquet in Atlanta April 6.

■ Tech. Sgt. Deondra Parks, executive assistant to the command chief, 88 ABW, won the Eagle Award from the United Service Organizations of Central and Southern Ohio at the MilVets Armed Forces Day Luncheon May 19 in Columbus. The Eagle Award is the top award given to one NCO of the Year recipient. USO board members select recipients based on military accomplishment, community involvement, promoting military/civilian relations, poise and military bearing, speaking ability and knowledge of world affairs and current issues.

■ Alan Fletcher, Materials and Manufacturing Directorate, AFRL, was named a recipient of SAE International’s Franklin W. Kolk Air Transportation Progress Award for his contributions toward the establishment and advancement of aerospace industry technical standards and specifications. Fletcher, who serves as a principal materials engineer, is an international expert in elastomers and a lead for elastomeric test and evaluation efforts. He is the industry leader for aerospace sealants and fluid seals and advances technical efforts in the development and sustainment of specialized aircraft coatings. Fletcher has long been an advocate for the establishment and improvement of aerospace industry technical standards and specifications. Throughout much of his career, he has contributed toward efforts to convert military sealant, elastomer and coating specifications to SAE industry standards.

■ The Society for the Advancement of Material and Process Engineering presented AFRL’s Materials and Manufacturing Directorate with the inaugural SAMPE North America Organizational Excellence Award for work in materials advancement and process engineering technologies. The award recognizes the organization’s knowledge sharing and collaborative contributions in advancing materials and processing innovation with SAMPE since 1944. This accomplishment honors industry, academia and government agencies engaged in the advanced materials and processing community. Nominees also exemplify, encourage and support SAMPE’s mission in providing a global forum for information, education and professional fellowship for those who define the leading edge and application of materials and processes advancement. AFRL’s Materials and Manufacturing Directorate develops materials, processes and advanced manufacturing technologies for aircraft, spacecraft, missiles, rockets and ground-based systems and their structural, electronic and optical components.

■ Senior Airman Joshua O’Sullivan, a respiratory therapist from the 88 MDG, was named to the 10th volume of the Air Force’s Portraits in Courage, an annual program that highlights individual Airmen and teams for their honor, valor, devotion and selfless sacrifice in the face of extreme danger to themselves and others. O’Sullivan responded to an explosion near his quarters while he was deployed to Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, on Nov. 12, 2016. A trained medic, he raced to the scene to render aid, arriving before others. He was recognized for what he accomplished that day as he treated the wounded and mustered support from other responders to get victims to the hospital. O’Sullivan and 17 other individual Airmen and four teams were honored Aug. 4 at a luncheon in the Pentagon with senior leadership as well as an evening Heritage to Horizons concert and reception at the Air Force Memorial with Secretary of the Air Force Dr. Heather Wilson and Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein.

■ Dr. Timothy J. Bunning, chief scientist, Materials and Manufacturing Directorate, AFRL, is selected as a 2017 fellow of the American Chemical Society for his outstanding achievements and contributions to science and professional leadership in the field. He was one of only 65 members of the 157,000 person society to receive this designation this year and one of only a handful of AFRL scientists to ever achieve this honor.

■ Staff Sgt. Kacper Sovinski, Geospatial Intelligence Analysis Squadron research and development project manager, NASIC, and Master Sgt. Michael J. Stevens, Military Training Flight chief, United States Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine, were announced as two of the Air Force’s 12 Outstanding Airmen of the Year for 2017 by the Air Force Personnel Center July 7. The annual award recognizes 12 enlisted Airmen across the entire Air Force for exceptional job performance in primary duties, superior leadership and followership, and being the epitome of the Whole Airman Concept.

■ Secretary of the Air Force Dr. Heather Wilson recognizes the career achievements of four senior civilians from Wright-Patterson AFB during the 2016 Presidential Rank Awards Ceremony held at the Pentagon July 14. Dr. Todd A. Fore, director, Manpower, Personnel, and Services, HQ AFMC; Jorge F. Gonzalez, director, Engineering and Technical Management and US-AF Airworthiness Technical Authority, AFLCMC; Dr. Ravinder Chona, senior scientist for structural integrity, Aerospace Systems Directorate, AFRL; and Dr. Stephen W. Schneider, senior scientist for low observables and electronic warfare, Sensors Directorate, AFRL, were four of 12 members of the senior executive service honored. The awards feature two categories: distinguished and meritorious. Nominations are evaluated by boards of private citizens and approved by the president. Only 5 percent, who make up about .03 percent of the total civilian federal workforce of Senior Executive Service employees, may receive the Presidential Meritorious Rank Award. Only 1 percent can receive the Presidential Distinguished Rank Award.

■ AFRL’s Energy and Environment Team was named recipient of the Air Force John J. Welch, Jr. Excellence in Acquisition Leadership Award. The prestigious award recognizes the accomplishments of an Air Force team who, over the course of a year, makes significant improvements and impacts in the field of acquisition leadership. Members of the AFRL Energy and Environment Team stood out for their efforts in executing a $157 million budget dedicated to improving energy and weapons efficiency and reducing environmental impacts and pollution for the Air Force. The 21-member team, based out of the Materials and Manufacturing Directorate, drove the work of more than 200 government and contractor personnel to address over 80 Congressional special interest items.

■ Dr. Campbell Carter, an aerospace systems engineer with the Aerospace Systems Directorate, AFRL, was honored with the 2017 American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Air Breathing Propulsion Award for outstanding research on optical diagnostics for high-speed flow-fields.

■ NMUSAF’s fourth building, an addition that opened June 8, 2016, was recognized Aug. 3 for meeting the standards of LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold certification, as determined by the U.S. Green Building Council. The $40.8 million, 224,000-square-foot building, which was privately financed by the Air Force Museum Foundation, houses four galleries – Presidential, Research and Development, Space and Global Reach, along with three STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) learning nodes.

■ Dede Richardson, a military spouse, received the 2017 Air Force Fisher House Volunteer of the Year Award during a ceremony Aug. 7 at the Fisher House II, one of two, side-by-side compassionate comfort care facilities at Wright-Patterson AFB.

■ Dr. Sheldon Semiatin, the Air Force Senior Scientist for Materials Processing and Processing Science, Materials and Manufacturing Directorate, AFRL, was recognized for significant contributions to materials research and development that have led to the establishment of the discipline of Processing Science, impacting the worldwide research endeavor. He will receive the prestigious 2018 ASM International Albert Sauver Achievement Award in fall 2018.

■ Airman Justin Morris, 88 MDG dental assistant technician apprentice, was named an Air Force Medical Services’ Trusted Care Hero for his efforts toward increasing patient safety and doing zero harm. Morris brought a possible contamination issue to his supervisor that led to the Air Force adopting new procedures with dental tool kits. The Trusted Care Hero recognition highlights an individual Airman’s contribution to AFMS’s journey to zero harm.

■ The Air Force Association recognized NASIC’s Information Exploitation Squadron as one of the winners of the 2017 National Aerospace and Specialty Awards during the Air, Space, Cyber Conference in National Harbor, Maryland, Sept. 18. The IES earned AFA’s Citation of Honor for the unit’s operations and services. The squadron was one of three Air Force units to win this year’s award, which is presented annually for most outstanding contribution by an individual or organization to the development of aerospace power for the betterment of mankind.

■ Two scientists from the Materials and Manufacturing Directorate, AFRL, were selected as fellows: Dr. Allan Katz, High Temperature Silicon-Carbide-Fiber-Reinforced Silicon Carbide Composites for Turbines program manager; and Dr. Ajit Roy, Computational Nanomaterials principal engineer and group lead. The AFRL Fellows program recognizes outstanding scientists and engineers in research achievements, technology development and transition achievements, or program and organizational leadership. Katz and Roy were selected for this honor representing the top 0.2 percent of AFRL’s professional cadre. They are considered to be among AFRL’s most distinguished and exceptional scientists, at the pinnacle of their careers.

■ Doug Carter, Dr. Joy Haley and Dr. Eric Lindgren, three researchers from the Materials and Manufacturing Directorate, AFRL, were named recipients of the 2017 Affiliate Societies Council Outstanding Engineers and Scientists Award. The award recognizes individuals with superior accomplishments in research, education, technical leadership, and in specific technical fields and disciplines.

■ Mitch Miller, senior technical advisor and expert for avionics development and cyber resiliency, AFLCMC, was selected to receive the 62nd annual Department of Defense Distinguished Civilian Service Award. With about 740,000 DoD civilian employees serving around the world, the award is given to an elite group of individuals who have demonstrated devotion to duty and have made significant contributions to DoD’s effectiveness. It is also the highest honor the department can give a civilian. Miller was recognized for numerous achievements, including his groundbreaking success in leading efforts to strengthen Air Force cyber security and implement open systems architecture throughout the service.

■ Each year, the White House recognizes senior executives from across the federal government with the Presidential Rank Awards. For 2017, several AFMC senior executives were recognized for sustained accomplishments, exemplary public service and demonstrated consistent and lasting dedication to the mission. They included: Distinguished Rank Award category – Trish Young – AFMC/CA; Meritorious Rank Award category – Dr. Ken Barker, AFLCMC; Doug Ebersole, AFRL; and Steve Wert – AFPEO/HB

■ AFLCMC’s Air Transportability Test Loading Activity office was recognized for the crucial support it provided for hurricane rescue and recovery efforts in Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico and countries in the Caribbean. The office provided support by ensuring that approximately 45 vital pieces of equipment, including trailers for carrying food and water, as well as a mobile air control tower, large generators, a 9,500-gallon fuel tank, a mobile field hospital and satellite communications vehicles were safe for flight and compatible with the Air Force aircraft.

■ As part of an increased commitment to autonomy research, a team from AFRL entered and won the Large-Scale Movie Description Challenge at the 2017 International Conference on Computer Vision in Venice, Italy, Oct. 22-29. The AFRL team, comprised of Dr. Scott Clouse, senior research engineer at the Decision Science Branch; Oliver Nina, an Ohio State University Ph.D. student and also a research intern on a DoD Science, Mathematics and Research for Transformation, or SMART, Scholarship for Service fellowship at AFRL; and Nina’s advisor, Dr. Alper Yilmaz, also from OSU, were victorious over world leaders in Artificial Intelligence research, such as Facebook AI research, the University of Toronto and Ecole Polytechnic de Montreal.

More from Daytondailynews