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Alaska Guard air battle managers receive rating

Alaska Air Guard officers pin on ABM wings

Alaska Air National Guard Lt. Col. Shane Wallace, 176th Air Defense Squadron commander, pins Air Battle Manager wings on Maj. Christopher Perham, 176 ADS executive officer and ABM, July 22 at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson. Guard officers who earned aeronautical rating as ABMs now may pin on the wings, 20 years after their Regular Air Force counterparts. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by David Bedard/Released)

Alaska Air Guard officers pin on ABM wings

Alaska Air National Guard Maj. Nathaniel Sukolsky, 176th Operations Support Squadron assistant director of operations, pins Air Battle Manager wings on wife Maj. Erika Sukolsky, a 176 ADS ABM, July 22 at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson. Guard officers who earned aeronautical rating as ABMs now may pin on the wings, 20 years after their Regular Air Force counterparts. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by David Bedard/Released)

Alaska Air Guard officers pin on ABM wings

Air Battle Manager wings rest before being pinned on newly recognized Alaska Air National Guard ABMs of 176th Air Defense Squadron. Guard officers who earned aeronautical rating as ABMs now may pin on the wings, 20 years after their Regular Air Force counterparts. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by David Bedard/Released)

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.  “ABM’s 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.

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