Armed Forces Week Kicks off with Military Display at the 128th Air Refueling Wing

  • Published
  • By SSgt Jenna Hildebrand
  • 128th Air Refueling Wing
United States Air Force aircraft came from units across the country for the Milwaukee Military Display at the 128th Air Refueling Wing on Mother's Day weekend. A C-130 Hercules from the Kentucky Air National Guard was displayed along with an RC-135U from Offutt Air Force Base, a C-17 Globemaster III from the New York Air National Guard, a KC-10 Extender from McGuire AFB, and a T-38 Talon from Whiteman AFB. From Madison, Wisconsin, the Army National Guard brought a UH-60 helicopter and the Air National Guard displayed their F-16 Fighting Falcon.

While aircraft were a highlight of the event, Marine 1st Sgt. Anthony Easton from Milwaukee-based Fox Company of 2nd Battalion, 24th Marines viewed the event as an opportunity for the community to understand the Marines. "You get moms, dads, brothers, and sisters out here and able to get their hands dirty with the equipment that we actually use." The Marines had Humvees and a large display of operational weaponry to represent their unit. Attendees of the Military Display were allowed to sit in the Humvees, go up in the gun turret, and handle various unloaded weapons. Easton expressed that the Military Display enhanced the already excellent relationship that the local military has with the surrounding community by increasing involvement.

The Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) was available for airplane rides for children ages 8-17, through their Young Eagles Flight Experience. The program gives children the opportunity to fly in order to inspire them by what aviation has to offer. Capt. Aaron Gulczynski, the EAA Coordinator from the 128th ARW said, "The Young Eagles program allows children to get to see Milwaukee from the air and get them involved in the flight. It plants the seed about being a pilot and can lead to interest in aviation."

On behalf of the 128th ARW, Capt. Gulczynski said that the unit appreciated that the EAA took the time and resources to enlighten the attendees of the Military Display. He said, "We want the community to know that interest in aviation is accessible to individuals. It's not difficult or impossible, in fact, it's attainable."

In addition to the civilian aircraft that the EAA provided, private airplane owners brought vintage aircraft for the static display.

Military components, local businesses, and vendors had information booths at the Military Display. Organizations that work closely with military members, such as the USO, Civil Air Patrol and Military One Source, were present to offer support to the function. The Milwaukee County War Memorial showcased their artful vintage military posters.

During the display the 128th ARW's Crash, Damaged, Disabled Aircraft Recovery (CDDAR) Team demonstrated recovery efforts if an aircraft would ever crash or run off the runway. Their objective is to save as much of the assets as possible by inflating the lifting bags to raise the aircraft into the air.

Team Chief, Senior Master Sgt. David Roth said, "This weekend's Military Display is a great opportunity to use as training." The CDDAR Team is capable of lifting several types of military and civilian aircraft. 

Roth said that the CDDAR is an invaluable asset to the unit and the community. "We don't have to call O'Hare Airport if there's an emergency. We'll be able to respond ourselves and can have an aircraft recovered within hours."

Recovery Operations Chief, 1st Lt. Lee Russell said, "Whatever we can do to showcase our talents and help the community is a big deal. Things like this let us stay in business and make us valuable to Milwaukee."