Charlotte Air National Guard Base, NC --
Charlotte, N.C.- U.S. Airmen of the North Carolina Air National Guard line up across the Charlotte-Douglas International Airport base during the first ramp formation in 5 years since the 2017 Conversion from C-130 Hercules to C-17 Globemaster III aircraft and the rise of Covid-19.
A ramp formation is a time-honored tradition in the North Carolina Air National Guard. Ramp formations have generally been conducted three to four times per year and are considered a time for the North Carolina Air National Guard Commander to meet with all personnel from all units within their command and address them in unison, while also highlighting accomplishments and achievements.
“I grew up doing these, I’ve been in the unit 25 years,” states U.S. Air Force Col. Joseph H. Stepp IV, 145th Airlift Wing commander. “Once a quarter we did these and it was a big part of my life in the guard and gave me a sense of pride, a sense of team. For me, as the wing commander, to address the organization is a big deal, but it’s a bigger deal to look at every one and remind them that, while respecting their individuality, this is about being one wing, one team.”
Ramp formations in the past have allowed for departing members to say farewell prior to retirement; they have also allowed for those who have received recent awards or promotions, like Airman of the Quarter, to receive wing-wide recognition.
“It’s been a long time since we’ve done one and a lot of individuals that have been exiting the military via retirement mentioned they’ve missed being involved in these,” states Stepp. “With things slowing down after the pandemic and now having the ability to meet as a larger group, I thought it important to remind everybody that we’re a team with unity and cohesion. It’s a good idea [Ramp Formation], going into the holidays, but more importantly to unify and motivate everyone as we lead into the Air Mobility Command Large-Scale Readiness Exercise Inspection.”