JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska — Alaska Air National Guard senior leaders pinned Air Battle Manager wings on eight 176th Air Defense Squadron officers during a July 22 ceremony at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson.
Col. John Oberst, director of staff, Joint Force Headquarters, formally recognized the officers who carry out the same training and deliver the same expertise as their regular Air Force counterparts.
The ABM wings are bestowed to officers trained and qualified for airborne command and control, air surveillance, electronic warfare and airborne weapons capabilities in aircraft.
ABMs of 176th ADS lend their expertise to the Alaska NORAD Region Air Operations Center, ensuring air sovereignty for North America.
“During air combat there are no small decisions,” said Oberst, who explained it is a no-fail mission. “ABMs must utilize strategy, experience and an intimate knowledge of aircraft, weapons and surveillance to stand watch over our nation ready to deter and defeat air threats 24 hours a day seven days a week.”
Lt. Col. Paul Foxworth, 176th ADS director of operations, said there was a decades-long gap between recognition of regular Air Force and Guard ABMs.
“Over the past 20 years Guardsmen carried out the same mission as their active duty counterparts but regulations did not allow them to receive their wings until today,” he said.
Oberst lauded the ABMs for faithfully carrying out their duties despite the delay.
“These leaders are deserving of the wings they received today, they earned them and I congratulate each one of them,” Oberst said.