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58th SOW brings home three 2018 flying training awards

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Lauren Pape, 71st Aircraft Maintenance Unit CV-22 electrician, performs her daily duties at Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M., March 8. The 71st Special Operations Squadron won the Rotary Category Award at the 2018 Air Education and Training Command Flying Training Awards ceremony. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. J.D. Strong II)

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Lauren Pape, 71st Aircraft Maintenance Unit CV-22 electrician, performs her daily duties at Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M., March 8. The 71st Special Operations Squadron won the Rotary Category Award at the 2018 Air Education and Training Command Flying Training Awards ceremony. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. J.D. Strong II)

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas -- The 58th Special Operations Wing came away with three awards at the Air Education and Training Command Flying Training Awards ceremony Oct. 26, 2018. 

The second annual event, hosted by the 19th Air Force, the numbered Air Force responsible for flying training, recognized the dedicated efforts of the exceptional individuals and teams across AETC who continue to produce highly qualified aircrew for the Air Force over the last fiscal year.

Kirtland 58th SOW won three awards. The 71st Special Operations Squadron won the Rotary Category award, and the 58th Maintenance Group took home the Top Maintenance Group in Gray Tail Division. Top cap off the accolades, the 58th SOW captured the Top Wing in Gray Tail Division award. 

“Tonight simply reinforced what we already knew—that we have the world’s greatest aircrew and instructors out in the field, training and educating the world's finest combat ready Airmen to deliver Airpower,” said Maj. Gen. Patrick Doherty, 19th AF commander. “Every single Airmen in the flying training enterprise understands that teamwork, production and innovation are the key to solving the Air Force’s current pilot crisis and winning future wars.”

To kick off the event, each flying training wing’s individual award winners, known as the “High Flyers,” were announced.

“These “High Flyers” have demonstrated they really love the mission, love to fly, and love to instruct,” said Doherty. “These awards really are meant to show these instructors how much we value what they do—we can’t accomplish our mission without them!” 

The 19th AF C-130H “High Flyer” award was presented posthumously to the family of retired Lt. Col. Reagan Kyle “Shaggy” Whitlow, a former C-130 instructor pilot with the Arkansas Air National Guard’s 189th Airlift Wing, who passed away in September 2018. Whitlow, a distinguished graduate of the United States Air Force Academy and the C-130 Weapons Instructor Course, was a mentor to many in the flying community. 

“(Reagan) had a unique ability to light up a room with his one of a kind personality and character, and lived his life to the fullest, while bringing great happiness to all that he encountered,” Doherty said. “His achievements brought great credit to himself, his family, and the United States Air Force. He is and will be missed.”

In being named the “Top Wing of Wings,” the 71st FTW took home the trophy named in honor of Lt. Gen. Henry Viccellio, Sr., the first and third commander of 19 AF.

“Keeping the flying training machine running requires everyone – the instructors, staff and our maintainers – to be ready to execute the mission every single day,” Doherty said. “We are so grateful for and proud of the work our team does to ensure we continue to produce the combat aviators of tomorrow.”

The 19th Air Force is responsible for the training of more than 30,000 U.S. and allied students annually in numerous specialties ranging from aircrews, remotely piloted aircraft crews, air battle managers, weapons directors, Air Force Academy Airmanship programs, and survival, escape, resistance, and evasion Specialists. They execute operational-level command and control of all formal aircrew flying training missions within Air Education and Training Command and provide Airmen with a 5th generation, cross-domain warrior mindset to the Combat Air Forces, Mobility Air Forces, and Special Operations Air Forces to sustain the combat capability of the United States Air Force.