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325th Weapons Squadron unveils inaugural leadership award

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Nash Truitt
  • 509th Bomb Wing Public Affairs

U.S. Air Force Airmen honored one of their forebears and recognized an innovative leader with a new award at Whiteman Air Force Base.

Patrick McGeehan presented the inaugural Lt. Col. Mark McGeehan Leadership Award, named for Patrick’s father, to Maj. William Jensen, assistant director of operations, 325th Weapons Squadron on Dec. 13 at Whiteman AFB, Missouri.

This new award recognizes an Airman who demonstrates the highest qualities of leadership and character.

Lt. Col. Mark McGeehan was a U.S. Air Force pilot who died on June 24, 1994 while co-piloting a B-52H before an air show.

His co-pilot, Lt. Col. Arthur Holland had received numerous complaints from his junior aircrews about him and his unsafe flight practices while a part of the 92nd Bomb Wing at Fairchild Air Force Base, Washington. McGeehan requested for Holland to be grounded, but the bomb wing chose to allow Holland to fly.

Upon being notified about the bomb wing’s decision, McGeehan ordered his pilots not to fly with Holland, choosing not to put the risk of flying with Holland on someone else, instead taking it on himself. That decision not only saved lives but showed McGeehan’s selfless leadership.

Patrick traveled to Whiteman Air Force from West Virginia to be a part of the ceremony that honored his father’s legacy.

“It was a tremendous honor to be a part of this and see that his memory is still alive in the Air Force,” he said. “I have a great amount of respect for the people putting this together because it means a lot for me and my family.”

Jensen was given the award because of the impactful leadership he displayed as part of the 325th WPS. His implementation of new concepts that allow the B-2 Spirit stealth bomber to refuel using non-traditional methods enhances the B-2’s ability to operate out of austere locations. This innovation expands on the Agile Combat Employment capabilities of the B-2 and directly contributes to the new National Defense Strategy.

“It is an honor to be the first recipient of this award,” Jensen said. “I will also say though, that you could have chosen any single one of the instructors in the Weapons School. They all would have been equally opportune to receive this award.”

The 325 WPS is part of the U.S. Air Force Weapons School at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada that provides graduate-level training for Air Force pilots.

The Lt. Col. Mark McGeehan Leadership Award will continue to recognize Airmen who display selfless leadership and character, instilling ideals to inspire Airmen to create and sustain a capable warfighting force.