C/A1C Braden Bean
& C/SrA Luke Hohenberger
Southwest Iowa Composite Squadron
“Get up, get up, get up, get your gear and standby!” that’s what we woke up to every morning at the Kansas Wing Winter Encampment this Christmas Break. We had the choice to learn Military Discipline for a week down in Salina, Kansas at Air National Guard Base or stay home and possibly risk not being part of something better.
First, when we got there, we had to go through “in-processing” and that’s where we got the first, loud taste of motivation. We were welcomed with the first words of “walk with a sense of urgency”. Afterward we were thinking, “this is going to be a challenging but fun experience.” At the end of the week there was no doubt in our minds we made the right choice. This is where we wanted to be during Christmas vacation. We learned how to perfect drills for a drill competition that was coming up at the end of the week.
Every time we had free time we were reading our SOP, the Standard Operation Procedures rule book. We ate breakfast, lunch and supper at the St. Johns Military School. The meals were outstanding and the staff was very kind. We took classes such as aerospace, leadership, space command, NRA, managing an airport, battlefield commands, and so much more. Pt or Physical Training as it is known was an early morning ritual, even before sunrise. We chanted jodies on the run from the barracks to the training facility where we would do our pt. Each day they extended the reps, making it more challenging.
On the third day of Encampment we had the best flight of our life! We rode in a KC-135 Tanker, and guess what? We got to sit in the cockpit. We refueled a B-2 Stealth Bomber. It was the highlight of our encampment experience! Seeing this, what people are doing to keep our country free, makes us so proud to be Americans. It confirmed that the Air Force is the right choice for us. On the fifth day we shot .22 cal rifles in NRA Competition, we went to the obstacle course at St. Johns and got covered in mud and a few blisters. We had to change our uniforms because we were so muddy. Then we practiced for the graduation ceremony for the next day. This was the most outstanding time that we have ever experienced. Next year we hope to go back down to the Winter Encampment as staff.
The following are all awards and promotions earned by the members of the Southwest Iowa Composite Squadron during the 4th Quarter 2011 (October|November|December).
- Jessa Erickson – Iowa Aviation Promotion Group 2011 Photography Contest – October 2011
1st Place – Gliders
2nd Place (Provisional) – Gliders
1st Place – Modern Aircraft
2nd Place – Fly Ins
- Luke Hohenberger – Best Uniform Shoulder Cord – October 25, 2011
- Logan Taylor – Red Service Ribbon 1st Clasp – November 3, 2011
- Braden Bean - Cadet Recruiter Ribbon - November 9, 2011
- Josh Salvato – Cadet Recruiter Ribbon 1st Clasp – November 9, 2011
- Jason Erickson – Commander’s Commendation – Awarded at the Iowa Wing Conference
- Jessa Erickson – Commander’s Commendation – Awarded at the Iowa Wing Conference
- Joe Murphy – Commander’s Commendation – Awarded at the Iowa Wing Conference
- Josh Salvato – Best Uniform Shoulder Cord – November 22, 2011
- Jason Erickson – Command Service Ribbon – December 2, 2011
- Josh Salvato – Achievement #8 – November 11, 2011
- Luke Hohenberger – C/A1C – November 11, 2011
- Braden Bean – C/Amn – November 15, 2011
- Jessa Erickson – Captain – December 1, 2011