Tag Archives: Utah

One journey at a time


One journey at a timeBy Senior Airman Jette Carr
27th Special Operations Wing Public Affairs

I first realized how much inner strength effects performance when I was 15 years old and my dad and I went on a summer hike. This hike spanned backcountry across the state of Utah – from the Arizona to Idaho border – nearly 700 miles. We completed this in 43 days!

Before this trek, I was a bookworm and a couch potato. I did like the occasional mountain climb, but my body was not conditioned for much else.

I remember before we started someone commented that my legs didn’t look like a “hiker’s legs”. Without solid muscle, no matter how skinny you are, there’s going to be a jiggle.

This comment, among others, fueled my fire and because of this I learned what a bit of determination can do. Along with this new found tenacity, I learned these lessons:

Decide the outcome before you start and hold yourself accountable.

From day one of the Utah trek I was sure that I was going to make it or die trying. I had something to prove and clung to that thought. Even though I had decided I was going to finish, before my 100th mile, I had some moments where I entertained the thought of quitting.

Starting with limited hiking experience and a 50 pound backpack, wading through sand, bearing the heat and drinking from questionable water sources – at times the struggle to continue would get me down. However, I had already decided to finish and because of that I was able to keep myself going.

By knowing what you want, it’s easier to push through challenges.

A tiger can change its’ stripes.

Look at me; before the hike I’d never walked more than 10 miles in a day, but at one point during, we managed over 30 miles in a day.

At first, I wasn’t that thrilled to be walking this kind of distance, but the more I stuck to my guns and worked at it, the more I conditioned myself to enjoy the activity. If I could, I would do it again.

If at first you fail, try again.

When we reached Skyline Drive, Utah, it turned into one heck of a day.

My dad decided we should take an off-trail shortcut, per GPS, to shorten that day’s walk. I was in front looking straight ahead, so I’m still not sure what made me notice the young rattlesnake curled up a few feet in front of me. Freaked out, I called a retreat back to the main trail.

After that, dad generously offered to walk in front to make sure I’d stay safe from the snakes. A few minutes later, a diamondback slithered across the trail in front of me.

At this point, I had become increasingly agitated and wanted to turn back, but we carried on – that was, until we saw the bear footprints. They were larger than normal for a black bear, the type of bear most common to the area. They were also so fresh that the lines in the bear’s foot were visible.

This is where we were forced to turn back for safety reasons.

I was not keen on trying Skyline Drive again and I think I even encouraged my dad to try to find a new route, but no changes were made.

We tried the hike again and had the opposite experience. That section of the hike ended up being one of my favorite. Once we were on the top of that range, it became incredibly green with lakes and breathtaking views.

Take a moment to count your blessings.

As Mac Davis said, “You’re going to find your way to heaven is a rough and rocky road if you don’t stop and smell the roses along the way.”

I learned this while climbing a mountain north of Bicknell, Utah. It was such a hot day that the mixture of sweat and sunscreen were making my face sting as we climbed a steep ascent. It felt like every step I took I was losing two, sliding back in the sand. I don’t recall any trees for shade and during a rest I lay down under a scraggly bush and cried a little. It was so hard! That’s what I kept thinking to myself and even said I’d never hike up that hill again, even for a million dollars.

Looking back on that experience now, and seeing the old photos, I missed out on some serious beauty. This area was uniquely shaped with red and orange sand carved mountains. The view was outstanding! I was too busy wallowing to realize what a spectacular place it was and just how lucky I was to see it.

I’m grateful to have learned these lessons early on in my life so that I can apply them now as an Airman in the U.S. Air Force.

Joining the Air Force is giving your life to a cause that is bigger than yourself. In this transition from civilian to an active-duty Airman, you have to accept that we no longer control which state or country we live in and can deploy at a moment’s notice.

Every assignment is what you make of it. It all comes down to attitude and determination!

Cory Warburton and Jette Carr hike on a trail near Beaver Mountain Ski Resort, Utah, summer of 2003. The hike was part of a trek spanning from the bottom to the top of Utah to each boarder – a journey that took 43 days and was nearly 700 miles long. (Courtesy photo)

Week in Photos, May 4, 2012

By Airman 1st Class Christopher Gere
Air Force Public Affairs Agency

Aim high with the Week in Photos and May the 4th be with you.

Photo: U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Travis Bowen unleashes a barrage of bullets from an M249, April 18, 2012, during a joint exercise at Travis Air Force Base, Calif. Airman Bowen is assigned to the 571st Global Mobility Readiness Squadron at Travis AFB. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Dwayne Johnson)

USAF Art Collection Visits Air Force Week, Salt Lake City

AF ART EXHIBIT @ Salt Lake City Library

Local artist shines

Many facets of the military, particularly the Air Force, were on display last week in Salt Lake City, Utah. Air Force Week sheds light on another area of the Air Force which is not common knowledge to the public: the United States Air Force Art Collection. The Air Force Art Program began its extensive collection in 1950. This week’s display features unique, original artwork spanning from present day to one piece that dates back to 1963.

Air Force Week Salt Lake City was honored to have Air Force Art Program member, Richard “Buz” Sawyer in our area—both he and his own artwork were on display last week in the Salt Lake City library. The library sees many notable exhibits pass through its doors, and the work of Buz and his fellow artists were right on par with the best—a privilege for Salt Lake City area residents to view and appreciate.

Mr. Sawyer has had an impressive career in the Air Force, spending 34 years in the Reserves. He spent eight years as a weapons loader and well over 20 years working in the Intelligence career field. One significant point in his profession was being sent to the desert within a month of the September 11 attacks. Such a hearty career allowed many travels, and Buz claims he’s been “everywhere but Australia, Africa, and China.”

His artistic abilities allowed him to keep the military close; Buz was a technical illustrator at Hill Air Force Base for eight years. Today, his work goes far beyond technical orders and diagrams. Several of his displayed pieces depict the F-16s gained by the Air Force Reserves in 1984.
Sawyer retired from the Air Force Reserves on April fool’s Day, 2006, but he hasn’t strayed too far from his military roots. His talents portray the pride we all share as members of the United States Air Force.
Thanks to Jason Carrion, 75 ABW Public Affairs, for providing this story and James Arrowood for the photo.

Air Force Week–Salt Lake City

Due to some technical issues, these stories from last week’s Air Force Week are running a bit late. Thanks to 2nd Lt. Shannon Laubenthal for reporting from Air Force Week and sharing these posts with us.

LUNCH BUNCH Falconaires Concert @ SLC Gallivan Center

The Wasatch Front is an explosion of military connections between service members old and new, past and present. Air Force Week Salt Lake City is home to infinite venues in which such connections are fostered and continued.

Such was the case on Tuesday afternoon. The Air Force Academy Band Falconaires’ jazz tunes and big band sounds, in addition to the park-like, summer setting of the Gallivan Center, catered to a unique social scene.  Many sauntered in and out of the concert, while others sat and enjoyed lunch with coworkers and comrades. Recruiters manned their posts near the Air Force Super Car and other promotional pursuits, while patrons struck up conversations with fellow attendees.

One such conversation was a discussion between a brand new military member and a soldier of yesteryear named Fred. He joined the Army Air Corps in 1947. Fred served a short three years, but like many veterans of his era, he could easily write a novel about his time. He was trained in electronics and started his time in Guam, working primarily with the Emergency Rescue Squadron.

After moving through several states, Fred eventually settled as a civil servant. He has since retired and now lives in the Salt Lake City area near three of his children. His present-day connection to the military resides in several areas, one of which is through collecting Air Force art. Another is listening to the playing of live music, from the era when he served.

A great venue, great scene, and great atmosphere… The phenomenal summer setting was the perfect backdrop for a conversation with a new Air Force connection.

IMAX MOVIE: “Fighter Pilot” @ Clark Planetarium

As we settled ourselves in front of the massive IMAX screen at Clark Planetarium in Salt Lake City, there were mixed expectations as to how our pilot community would be portrayed by the movie, “Fighter Pilot.” Their career field is, after all, an Airman’s reason for being; all of our efforts and support ultimately exist to sustain our flying, fighting, and winning through ‘Airpower.’

“Fighter Pilot” allowed the audience to extend its appreciation for our fighters in the sky—their intense training, dedicated time, and finely tuned talents are awe inspiring. Watching the IMAX big-screen flick as it focused on two weeks of their training—a small slice of time in the grand scheme of their career. Audiences are exposed to their efforts, with support from their maintenance counterparts, allowing us to put a few of the pieces of the intricate Air Force operations puzzle together.

The IMAX movie was another excellent showcase of America’s Airmen, enabling us to applaud and appreciate a group of Airmen whose world is full of wonder.

Air Force Week–Salt Lake City

Air Force Week Salt Lake City is currently in full swing in Utah (running June 1-7). Some of our fellow PAs from Hill AFB sent along some stories and photos of the events.

Pride. Precision.
It’s a theme that is hallmark in our United States Air Force; a theme that is evident and on display in Team Hill’s Air Force Week Salt Lake City efforts. The people, places, and power involved will certainly follow suit during this unique week in an effort to “bring the Airmen to the community.”

It’s pride and precision clearly demonstrated by our USAF Drill Team’s four-man unit, who opened Monday morning’s proclamation ceremony at the State Capitol. Their captain made five as he stood in the center of 11-pound M-1 rifles slung through the air within inches of his eyes.

It’s pride and precision offered in the synchronized sounds of our USAF Stellar Brass Band who accompanied the infectious wave of salutes rendered by Airmen from all of Team Hill.

It’s pride in our leadership, well-represented on the steps of the Utah state capitol building during the ceremony. Governor Jon Huntsman, Jr., noted the amount of “stars” present during broad daylight, illustrating the strong presence of several distinguished guests. Escorting all these ‘stars’ was Secretary of the Air Force, Michael B. Donley; such stars included our Air Force Chief of Staff, General Norton Schwartz, Air Force Materiel Commander, General Donald Hoffman, and our own Ogden Air Logistics Center Commander, Major General Kathleen Close.

It’s pride in who we are as an Air Force; a pride in something bigger. Our fellow service members can appreciate the sentiments of 75th Air Base Wing Vice Commander Calvin Williams, who noted that “This isn’t just about the U.S. Air Force… this is about jointness.” While the focus is certainly on the Air Force and our local Hill AFB, the efforts of our sister services are also highlighted.

The morning ceremony was truly a showcase of America’s Airmen, kicking off a week that will focus on pride in our Air Force and pride in the community that supports us.

AIRMEN’S OPENER AF Night with the Salt Lake Bees @ Spring Mobile Ballpark
Hot dogs… flags… flyovers… and fanfare…

Even the baseball team was in “uniform” at Monday night’s Salt Lake City Bees Airmen’s Opener. They sported camouflage jerseys and followed the theme of Air Force Week as events unfolded to propel our local Air Force community and supporters into a unified frenzy.

Top-notch entertainment was available even before the first pitch was thrown. Four parachute team members parachuted onto the Bee’s baseball field, and the final skydiving daredevil floated down with an American flag flying for all to see. The flag was proudly displayed by six Wings of Blue skydivers for the playing of the National Anthem, which was accompanied by a phenomenal flyover of four F-16s and a KC-135 Stratotanker.

General Donald Hoffman, leader of over 70,000 airmen as Commander of Air Force Materiel Command, also led 40 of our newest airmen in the enlisted oath during the pregame show.
Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker noted that the night “couldn’t be much more American.”

Forty right hands were raised as America’s newest airmen repeated the words of General Donald Hoffman, Commander, Air Force Materiel Command, as our newest troops took their oath to join the United States Air Force on Monday night. The event highlighted a massive evening of honor and entertainment at the Salt Lake Bees Airmen’s Opener at Spring Mobile Park.
One of those who stood in front of the booming crowd was Thomas Prusso of Sandy, UT.
“The only thing that really got me going was the military,” Prusso said of his decision to pursue a career in the Air Force.

Thomas won’t be the only Prusso family member making his way into the military; his older brother, Brett, will also enlist into the Air Force next week. “We’ve been military buffs since we were little,” Thomas said. His own Air Force quest started last November when he first met with his recruiter, and the process continued on Monday night with an exciting swear-in led by a four-star general.

Prusso has numerous Air Force goals, but will begin his trek as an armament systems technician. Eventually, he’d like to join the officer ranks. Prusso plans on making the military a lifetime career.

Staff Sergeant Jacob Reyes, 368th Recruiting Squadron team member, noted that such large-scale swear-in events like the baseball game are common for new recruits in our region. We all look forward to another ceremony this Saturday as new recruits are enlisted by the United States Air Force Thunderbird Commander.
To our newest airmen: we salute you, and we look forward to you joining our family in the world’s best Air Force.

Photo Credits (Skydiver and Swearing-In): Alex R. Lloyd. Thanks to Jason Carrion, Air Force Week Coordination Team, 75 ABW Public Affairs for sharing the stories.