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145th Airlift Wing; Supporting Our Community

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Patricia F. Moran
  • 145th Public Affairs
As the snow fell and another winter storm hit Charlotte, members from the 145th Airlift Wing's Chapter 7 Association partnered with the Military Global Leadership Academy, a high school located in Charlotte, N.C., delivering winter clothing to a homeless shelter in Charlotte. Men's coats, hats, gloves and other items were donated by members of the North Carolina Air National Guard and delivered by Chapter 7 President, Master Sgt. Tracie Rankin, Vice President, Tech. Sgt. Lonnie Brooks and Director at Large, Staff Sgt. Jessie Huneycutt. Gregory Landrum, a student from the Academy, organized the collections with the help of the 145th AW.

Chapter 7, an association of Air National Guard Non-commissioned Officer Academy graduates and other members of the 145th AW, has many objectives. The association supports commanders through the leadership, knowledge and experience of its members by instilling pride and esprit de corps through Air Force core values, military customs, and the demonstration of patriotism with military traditions.

Members of Chapter 7 support the many non-profit organizations as well including Habitat for Humanity, Adopt a Highway, Operation Santa Claus, Loaves and Fishes, Battered Women's Shelter, AMVETS Clothing Drives, Emerging Leader Program and Special Olympics, just to name a few.

Local communities continue to see benefits from the NCANG. Many organizations request that these members take part in their meetings so they can learn more about the 145th AW, its missions and the many ways the 145th AW supports the community.

145th AW, Command Chief Master Sgt. Maurice Williams and retired Chief Master Sgt. Terry Henderson spoke to business leaders and local government officials during a meeting held by members of the Gastonia Optimist Club. "This is a great opportunity to tell our story, share our history and inform the public where we are now. We have 1500 airmen that are ready to respond to the needs of our community, as well as our state and nation," said Williams.

Senior Master Sgt. Kevin Drost, 245th Civil Engineering Flight and Senior Master Sgt. Gary Barber, 145th Force Support Squadron accepted an invitation to speak at a local Cub Scout meeting. To give the scouts an idea of different missions and duties in the Air Force, Barber wore his Airman Battle Uniform (ABU's) and Drost donned his Service Dress Blues. They spoke for half an hour to 25 wide-eyed children from Pack 116 about the North Carolina Air National Guard.

"Our goal is about getting these kids ready for life. Any time there's an opportunity to teach them tools to use in life, we are going to try and take advantage of it," said Drost. Scouts were invited to visit the base, not only as a great way to learn more about our mission, but to earn their aviation merit badge as well!

145th Public Affairs and NCANG recruiters often give tours of the base to students and many other groups from all walks of life that live in our community. Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) is a program offered to high school students to teach the values of citizenship, service to the United States, personal responsibility and a sense of accomplishment. These students can be seen many times a year touring the base. So many of these young adults are seeking to change the community and have an impact on the world. They understand the importance of the military. They understand the importance of the sacrifices that have been made in the past, and what it takes to continue to do well in the future.

The NCANG not only supports real-world military operations around the globe and state missions, but we help bring quality of life to our community. We live in this community. We eat at restaurants, buy our food at local stores, fill our cars at local gas stations and maybe even go to the same church you go to. We want to give back to the community that gives so much to us.

There are more than 1,500 trained and dedicated men and women serving in the NCANG to defend the United States of America. The 145th Airlift Wing takes special pride in serving not just our state but the people in our community as well.