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Answering the call, McConnell attends A/TA
Members of McConnell’s Crud tournament “A” team, (left to right) Staff Sgt. Dan Mills, Tech. Sgt. Matt Rosenfeldt, Tech. Sgt. Jeff Clouse, Shawn Hinkle and Capt. Gabe Arrington, pose with their awards for coming in first place during the 2011 and 2012 Airlift/Tanker Association Convention. (U.S. Air Force photo/2nd Lt. Jessica Brown)
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Answering the call, McConnell attends A/TA

Posted 11/14/2012   Updated 11/14/2012 Email story   Print story

    


by 2nd Lt. Jessica Brown
22nd Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs


11/14/2012 - MCCONNELL AIR FORCE BASE, Kan. -- Active duty, Guard and Reserve Airmen gathered with Department of Defense civilians, industry partners and military families from across Air Mobility Command at the 44th Annual Airlift/Tanker Association Symposium Nov. 1 to 4 in Anaheim, Calif.

The A/TA symposium is an annual event which allows Airmen, senior leaders, career field experts and civilian counterparts to strengthen relationships and discuss more efficient and effective ways to meet future mobility challenges. This year McConnell sent 34 Airmen to attend the symposium.

In an attempt to maximize professional development while conserving taxpayer dollars, this year's A/TA was revamped to include 11 previously scheduled stand-alone conferences, ranging from the Aeromedical Evacuation Conference to programs like High Flight and Phoenix Stripe.

McConnell members also had the opportunity to participate in more than 50 seminars focused on Air Force issues ranging from enlisted and officer career development, aviation fuel efficiency, and Total Force Integration.

There were also major addresses delivered by several distinguished leaders, including U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh III, Transportation Command commander Gen. William M. Fraser IV., Commander of Air Mobility Command Gen. Ray Johns, and Chief Master Sgt of the Air Force James A. Roy, among others.

"It was encouraging to hear how passionate our leaders are about taking care of Airmen and how much they appreciate what we do on a daily basis," said Staff Sgt. Danielle Peck, 22nd Air Refueling Wing plans and program technician. "My favorite part of the conference was hearing our senior leaders speak, [including] General Welsh and an inspiring speech from General Johns."

Welsh opened the symposium with a thank you to Airmen for commitment and dedication to their families, sacrifice, courage, innovation and to the Air Force's core values. He also introduced the theme of the symposium, "Mobility Airmen Answer the Call."

"You have answered your nation's call, and you'll do it for your whole career, and on behalf of your nation, thank you," said Welsh.

His gratitude reverberated throughout many of seminars offered. However, many McConnell Airmen picked up on another common theme.

"Even though General Welsh introduced the theme as 'Mobility Airmen Answer the Call,' there was also another focus and it was remembrance," Said Capt. Edmund Ballew, 22nd ARW chief of standardizations and evaluations.

While the three-day convention allowed Airmen to submerge themselves in professional development, nightfall brought friendly rivalry and esprit de corps in the game of Crud.

This year McConnell took two five-man teams to compete in the Crud Tournament. The sport is a tradition within the Air Force. AMC teams compete for the coveted A/TA Crud Tournament trophy.

"Being able to defend the Crud title was a great experience," said Shawn Hinkle, 22nd Medical group facility manager. "Even though we only had two teams this year, we were still able to take first and fourth place. That makes us the third base ever to be repeat champions."

McConnell won the first Crud tournament in 2001. Combined with the past two wins, McConnell now has a total of three Chairman's Victory Cups.

After their win, former Chief of Staff of the Air Force Gen. (retired) Ronald Fogleman, presented the team with the Crud Tournament Plaque.

While the theme of the symposium celebrated Airmen doing what they do best, the final day of the symposium was dedicated to those who have answered the call. Air Force leaders at the symposium again expressed gratitude and reminded Airmen that they are integral to success of the mission.

"Sometimes it is difficult to see the big picture from behind a desk or in a warehouse. But, what we do every day is so much more than that. It's important because we make the Air Force elite and the strongest in the world," said Peck.



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