EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. --
301st Fighter Wing Commander Col. Allen Duckworth and Chief Master Sgt. John Candey, 301 FW Maintenance Group superintendent visited the 44th Fighter Group, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., during the group’s unit training assembly, March 4.
As the 301 FW, Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base, Texas, continues its F-35A Lightning II beddown, the 44 FG—their geographically separated classic associate Air Force Reserve unit whose mission is to produce fifth-generation air dominance for the combat Air Force—will bring some vital fifth-generation experience into the wing’s transition.
The fighter group executes an F-22 Raptor formal training mission and a T-38 adversary support mission. The 44 FG is also integrated with one of Air Combat Command’s F-22 units here, the 325th Fighter Wing, but has also supported the 33rd Fighter Wing who flies F-35 aircraft at Eglin AFB.
The trip not only allowed Col. Duckworth to talk with the 44 FG units about F-35 conversion, potential training opportunities here and to reinforce the wing’s support for the group, but more importantly, allowed him another opportunity to be present with these Airmen, see their impact on the installation and recognize some of their outstanding achievements to include an Air Force Reserve major command award winner.
“It’s great to see and hear when our Reserve personnel work their way into any host installation’s team and demonstrate the value Reservists can bring to any mission…and have the host unit feel the impact and say ‘this is a good thing and we want more of it’,” Duckworth said. “Thank you so much for all your hard work and for representing the Air Force Reserve and the 301 FW so well.”
The warriors recognized for their proficiency and outstanding performance were:
- Master Sgt. Gregory Alexander – 44 FG Aerospace Ground Equipment Flight Chief. His willingness to go the extra mile and expertise in both the F-22 and F-35 airframes allowed him to ensure consistent mission operations.
- Master Sgt. Derek Eubanks – 44 FG F-22 Production Superintendent. He is responsible for all flight line maintenance actions and sortie generation. Over the past four months, he has strengthened the group’s relationship with the 325 FW by the actions he and his team have done to provide solutions while maintaining airframe excellence.
- Mr. Rodney Hankerson – 44 FG Weapons Section Chief. Hankerson, who is also 44 FG master sergeant Traditional Reservist with the same title, received the Gen. Leo Marquez Award at the AFRC level for Aircraft Maintenance Civilian Technician category. This award recognizes base-level civil service aircraft, munitions and missile maintenance personnel who perform hands-on maintenance or manage a maintenance function.
- Senior Airman Deante Walker – 44 FG Maintenance Squadron F-22 Journeyman. For his dedication and impact, he was selected as the 44 FG and 44 FG MXS Airman of the Year for 2021 as well as being selected as the Airman of the quarter for 3rd quarter 2021.
- Master Sgt. Amanda Hampton – 301st Fighter Squadron Superintendent. She was selected as the 44 FG Senior Non-Commissioned Officer of the Quarter for 3rd Quarter due to her skillset and preference to let others shine before herself.