Airmen from Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass., salute during the national anthem prior to a Boston Red Sox playoff game in Boston at Fenway Park. Todd Maki/USAF
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Faces of the Force

Feb. 17, 2022

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A photo of U.S. Air Force Capt. Kyle Cassady (right), 393rd Bomb Squadron B-2 Spirit instructor pilot, in front of a B-2 Spirit Stealth Bomber Dec. 28, 2021, at Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri, next to a photo of his grandfather, Howard “Hopalong” Cassady, with the Heisman Trophy he won in 1955. Chelsea Ecklebe /USAF, and Tech. Sgt. Dylan Nuckoll

Capt. Kyle Cassady flew a B-2 from Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., over the Rose Bowl college football game between Ohio State and University of Utah, Jan. 1. The game is one of the most high-profile college football games of the year. That’s cool, but even cooler is the tie between Cassady and one of the teams. Cassady is the grandson of Howard “Hopalong” Cassady, a Heisman Trophy winner who attended Ohio State in 1955. Said the young captain: “I hope that through these flyovers, I’m able to kind of inspire the next generation of kids … to join the Air Force.”

U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Jim Slife, commander of Air Force Special Operations Command, presents the Department of the Air Force’s Excellence in Command History Program Management Award to Mr. Eric Witt, deputy command historian of AFSOC, at Hurlburt Field, Fla., Jan. 4, 2022. Staff Sgt. Brandon Esau

The Air Force Special Operations Command History and Heritage Office received the Department of the Air Force’s Excellence in Command History Program Management Award for 2021. The award recognizes the best primary or field command history office for outstanding history and heritage program leadership, providing exemplary historical services to improve organizational effectiveness, esprit de corps, and combat capability. Lt. Gen. James C. Slife presented the award Jan. 4.

Lt. Col. D.J. Abrahamson, second from right, back row, Seventh Air Force Inspector General, poses with his family in the Republic of Korea. USAF/courtesy photo

U.S. Airman Lt. Col. D.J. Abrahamson, was named one of the Korean Air Force ‘s Outstanding Airman of the Year. Each year, the ROKAF Chief of Staff recognizes eight Airmen and civilians in Combat Power Development, Operation of Organization, Digitization, Volunteer, Cooperation and Special​ categories. Abrahamson, 7th Air Force Inspector General, took home the Cooperation Award after devoting 13 of his 26 years in service to the alliance between the U.S. and Republic of Korea.

Senior Airman William Boyce, 30th Security Forces Squadron combat arms instructor, facilitated and rendered aid to a child in the visitor center at Vandenberg Space Force Base, Calif., Nov. 3, 2021. Airman 1st Class Rocio Romo

Senior Airman William Boyce aided a child who was showing signs of a stroke at the Vandenberg Space Force Base Visitor Center in California on Nov. 3. Erin Forte asked visitor center personnel to dial 911 for her son who was experiencing shortness of breath and droopiness on the right side of his face, while Boyce kept the child comfortable, aiding his breathing and conducting a quick neuro exam. The child’s mother credits Boyce with keeping her son, who is on the spectrum, calm until first responders could arrive.

Master Sgt. Robert L. Jones was named the winner of the Chief Master Sgt. Larry P. Gonzales Superintendent of the the Year Award. Airman 1st Class Christian Soto

Master Sgt. Robert L. Jones was named the recipient of the CMSgt. Larry P. Gonzales Superintendent of the the Year Award for 2021. The award highlights the best Financial Management and Comptroller senior enlisted leader throughout the Air Force. “This is my first time in a superintendent position,” said Jones, the senior enlisted leader for the 71st Comptroller Squadron and Wing Staff Agencies. “To win this award is a big deal to me, because it shows that I am doing what I am expected to do at the Air Force level in order to take care of people and to carry out the mission,” said Jones.

Chief Master Sgt. John Payne, right, 36th Wing command chief, gives Staff Sgt. Derek Merkley, Munitions Support Equipment Management crew chief with the 36th Munitions Squadron, a book about the history of Operation Linebacker II at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, Jan. 12, 2022. Airman 1st Class Kaitlyn Preston

Staff Sgt. Derek Merkley was recognized as the 36th Wing’s Team Andersen Linebacker of the Week, Jan. 12, 2022. The award recognizes outstanding Total Force Airmen. Merkley has improved corrosion prevention methods on Andersen AFB, Guam, impacting more than a hundred assets and saving the USAF millions. Andersen has a pervasive corrosion problem due to the salty, damp air. Merkley is also a mentor for local Air Force Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps cadets.

Air Force Museum Foundation Executive Director Michael P. Imhoff. USAF

Michael P. Imhoff will retire as chief executive officer of the Air Force Museum Foundation at the end of January 2022. Imhoff has served as CEO since 2014, a tenure that saw the museum add a fourth building, which hosted the Space, Research and Development, Presidential, and Global Reach galleries. He also oversaw new initiatives, including an augmented reality exhibit and a new program of special exhibits that aim to appeal to a broader audience.

Members of the 76th Software Maintenance Group and Oklahoma City Air Logistics Complex leadership pose with the Rear Admiral Grace M. Hopper Award for Software Maintenance Excellence trophy on Dec. 14, 2021. April McDonald/USAF

The 76th Software Engineering Group won DOD’s 2021 Rear Admiral Grace M. Hopper award for Software Maintenance Excellence in December. The “Stanley Cup of the software engineering world” was presented to the 76th SWEG at the Oklahoma City Air Logistics Complex at Tinker AFB, Okla. The 76th was cited for providing training and tools to implement Open Mission System, including a Critical Abstraction Layer—a multimillion-dollar piece of software that allowed the warfighter and smaller contractors to design systems that were Open Mission Systems compliant.

The 2021 Distinguished Graduates are: Col. (Ret.) Leonard “Lucky” Ekman ’63 of Alamogordo, New Mexico; Dr. William Wecker ’63 of Jackson, Wyoming, and Novato, California; and Maj. Gen. (Ret.) Eugene Lupia ’67 of Fairfax Station, Virginia, and Tampa, Florida. US Air Force Academy Association of Graduates/Facebook

Three United States Air Force Academy graduates have been chosen as USAFA Distinguished Graduate honorees for 2021 by the Air Force Academy Association of Graduates. They are Col. (Ret.) Leonard Ekman, a highly decorated F-105 pilot during the Vietnam War; Dr. William Wecker, an F-4 pilot, former chief of protocol in Berlin and a founder of the Air Force Academy Foundation; and Maj. Gen. (Ret.) Gene Lupia, a 32-year USAF veteran who served during his final four years of Active duty as the Air Force Civil Engineer.

U.S. Air Force Airmen assigned to the 476th Maintenance Squadron load munitions onto an A-10C Thunderbolt II aircraft during the fourth quarter weapons load competition at Moody Air Force Base, Georgia, Jan. 7, 2022. Airman 1st Class Deanna Muir

The 476th Maintenance Squadron from Moody AFB, Ga., took home the win for the fourth-quarter weapons load competition against the 74th and 75th Aircraft Maintenance Units, Jan. 7, 2022. Load competition participants are judged on speed, accuracy, safety and reliability when loading aircraft munitions. They are also evaluated on their uniform dress and appearance, they take a 25-question test, and receive a toolbox inspection. The winning team, Staff Sgts. Brianna Stone, Ace De Dios, and Justin Castellow have been a team for two years.