BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — This month, the 117th Air Refueling Wing celebrates its 100 year anniversary.
The Air National Guard unit in Birmingham has been a vital part of Magic City’s History. Two airmen share with CBS 42 some of their unit’s accomplishments over the years.
The airmen tell us they are honored to be apart of this experience and they are excited for what the future holds especially with the next generation of airmen and women.
The Birmingham 117th Air Refueling Wing began setting its foundation back in the World War I era.
“We’ve been proud to represent our community since the unit began in the 1920s from Roberts Field where we were a local flying club to our current mission now,” said Tech. Sgt. Andrew Birmingham, a member of the 117th Air Refueling Wing.
“It’s an amazing heritage to be part of as a pilot and as part of the unit, to be attached to the aircraft that have been involved in all those conflicts,” said Lt. Col. Lacy Gunnoe with the 117th Air Refueling Wing.
Gunnoe and Birmingham tell CBS 42 that when they are not on a mission, the unit is partnering with organizations throughout Alabama and helping those in crisis.
“Whether it’s the recent flyover at the Alabama-LSU game or the UAB Blazer game, flyovers are a big part of that,” said Gunnoe.
“We’ve also conducted hurricane relief and tornado relief within the state and nation as well as internationally to help out those in need,” said Birmingham.
As these airmen reflect on the unit’s past accomplishments, they are also looking ahead to the future that’s about to take flight.
“We’re excited for the vision that our leadership has for the next 100 years, whether it’s the KC46 or whatever aircraft or mission that evolves from this base, we’re excited to be part of it and get those airmen in here that are going to move it forward and keep the fight on,” said Gunnoe.
“It’s probably the best opportunity they can do with their lives, it’s serving your country but also serving your community and getting to work with some great people, some great aircrafts and getting to learn technical skills that could help you in the future,” said Birmingham.
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