Cadet Col. Ryan Castonia, an Air Force ROTC cadet wing commander with Det. 365 at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, on April 5 received the 2009 Air Force Cadet of the Year Award from Gen. Norton Schwartz, Chief of Staff, during a ceremony at the Pentagon. “I feel very blessed and honored to receive this award,” said Castonia, who will graduate from MIT in June with bachelor’s and master’s degrees in aeronautical engineering. Upon receiving his commission, he plans on becoming a combat rescue officer trainee. Schwartz cited the ancient Greek word “arete,” which means excellence in describing Castonia, saying he is “an example of this kind of quality.” Castonia credited his parents for his success as well as the “outstanding training and support” from the cadre at Det. 365. The Air Squadron of the United Kingdom sponsors this award. (SAF/PA report by MSgt. Russell Petcoff)
The F-35 Joint Program Office has officially announced plans to issue multiple sole-source contracts to Pratt & Whitney to upgrade the fighter’s F135 engine—a widely expected move after Pentagon officials indicated they would do so earlier this year instead of developing an entirely new engine.