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916th ARW supports Air Force Academy sports

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Brandon L. Rizzo
  • 916th Air Refueling Wing
The 916th Air Refueling Wing here flew the Air Force Academy's women's soccer team to Salt Lake City October 17 for a match against the University of Utah. 

Aside from their regular refueling missions, the 916th ARW occasionally supports the Air Force Academy by transporting various teams aboard their KC-135 stratotankers. 

"It's so much better than flying commercial," said Mr. Marty Buckley, the head coach of the Falcons. "The girls like it because they get to interact with the crew, and someone always gets to sit up front on takeoff and landing. It's a great opportunity to see how the real Air Force works." 

There are many advantages to flying with the Air Force Reserve, said center defender and team captain, Cadet Christin Brodie.

"It's easier because we're not on the airline's schedule, and we don't have to deal with civilian airline security," said Ms. Brodie. "It also makes us feel like more of a part of the real Air Force." 

"I had no idea they loved flying with the Air Force Reserve so much," said Maj. Danny Conway, a pilot with the 916th ARW. "I'm definitely going to volunteer for more of these missions in the future and try to support them as much as possible." 

The love of flying with the Air Force Reserve seemed reciprocated among the teammates, and forward Cadet Katherine Slogic offered other insight.

"They're taking care of us," said Ms. Slogic. "It makes us feel like we're a part of this family. I like to think that one day that will be us out there supporting the mission and taking care of other people." 

Ms. Slogic led the Falcons with one goal against the Utes in the second half of the game. 

With only 1:33 left in the game, the Utes scored however, taking the game into overtime. 

With the help of a penalty kick, Utah barely pulled off a 2-1 win with just over a minute left in overtime. 

After what could be called nothing less than a battle, the Falcons left the field with a new found respect from what is now the top team in the Mountain West conference. The loss drops the Falcons to 2-11-2 and boosts the Utes to 10-2-3, but the intensity with which they played surely put the Falcons on the map. This is their third loss in overtime this season.

"We played our hearts out," said Mr. Buckley. "They know who we are now, that's for sure." 

Playing soccer for the Air Force Academy is more than just a sport to these women, however. 

"We've got great work ethic," said Ms. Slogic. "I love this team. Every practice and every game is all heart. Not every team can say that."

"I love that this is our job," said Ms. Brodie. "We get to travel and represent the United States Air Force."

Air Force Reserve Command has supported the women's soccer team through transport missions four times already this year, and the KC-135 is only one of four types of aircraft they have flown on, said Mr. Buckley. The women have been transported via Air Force C-17s, C-130s, KC-10s and KC-135s. They have even had the experience of watching F-16 Fighting Falcons refuel over Tulsa, Okla.

"No matter what plane or what crew, the experience is always phenomenal," said Mr. Buckley. 

This is the first time the lady Falcons have flown with the 916th ARW this year, however, the wing is scheduled to transport the women's swim team to a meet in Texas near the end of this month.