Award winners receive incentive flight

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Thomas Barley
  • 509th Bomb Wing Public Affairs
Two Airmen from the 509th Bomb Wing at Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri, received incentive flights in a T-38 Talon after winning squadron and group-level awards.

Senior Airmen Juan Maese, a 509th Logistics Readiness Squadron fuels facilities technician, and Riley Fulton, a 509th Medical Group medical logistics acquisitions technician, earned the opportunity to fly in the base’s training jets on Jan. 30, 2020.

Being awarded this opportunity is no small feat and incentive flights are only given to a select amount of Airmen each year.

“Incentive flights aren’t given to everyone,” said Chief Master Sgt. Nicholas Conner, the 509th LRS superintendent. “You’ve got to really embrace the whole Airman concept and show that you are a high achiever and high quality performer.”

Maese won the 509th Missions Support Group Airman of the Year award, and Fulton received an Air Force Medical Service award and the 509th Healthcare Operations Squadron Airman of the Year.

Fulton’s leadership praised her hard work ethic and overall excellence.

“She [Fulton] has been a stellar and exemplary performer,” said U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Allen Magbutay, NCO in charge of 509th MDG medical logistics. “She just recently was given the responsibility of managing our medical equipment in the medical equipment management office.”

Maese’s leadership highlighted his efforts outside of his office.

“Maese always has a positive attitude and strives to go above and beyond his peers,” said Technical Sgt. Kristin Thomas, 509th LRS NCOIC of fix facilities, which works to fuel the B-2. “For example he joined our squadron’s booster club as the treasurer and by the end of the year he had become the president.”

Maese said his incentive flight was especially personal because, as part of his job, he regularly fills the liquid oxygen in the T-38s, which allows pilots to breathe at high altitudes.

“I actually filled the tank of the jet that I flew in today,” he said. “Being able to see the end result and breathe in the oxygen that I supplied to the jet really allowed me to see just how important my job is to the mission.”

Maese, a self-proclaimed adrenaline junky, said his flight was unlike anything he had ever experienced before.

Fulton described how exhilarating her own incentive flight had been.

“It felt like a thousand roller coasters going up and down, we were doing loops and barrel rolls,” Fulton said.

These outstanding performers arrived at this point in their careers with a lot of support.

“I am so grateful to have been given this amazing opportunity and to all of those who made this flight possible,” she said.