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2011 Orientation Flight Season Wraps-up

Local civic leaders take flight on a KC-135 Orientation flight with the 171st Air Refueling Wing, Coraopolis, PA, October 14, 2011. (National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Ann Young/Released)

Local civic leaders take flight on a KC-135 Orientation flight with the 171st Air Refueling Wing, Coraopolis, PA, October 14, 2011. (National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Ann Young/Released)

Local civic leaders take flight on a KC-135 Orientation flight with the 171st Air Refueling Wing, Coraopolis, PA, November 10, 2011. (National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Ann Young/Released)

Local civic leaders take flight on a KC-135 Orientation flight with the 171st Air Refueling Wing, Coraopolis, PA, November 10, 2011. (National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Ann Young/Released)

November 2011 -- Another successful year of affording the opportunity to fly on a mission and witness the aerial refueling of a KC-135 Stratotanker has successfully wrapped up for the remainder of the 2011 calendar year.

Unit members are encouraged to submit civic leaders to come fly with us during our annual flying orientation season every year. The 171st Air Refueling Wing hosts anywhere between 10-18 orientation flights every year to showcase our capabilities and educate our visitors on our mission.

New guidance for submitting or nominating an individual on our orientation flights has been published. This change enforces more strict policies and guidelines on who can fly with us. More information can be found on the Steelweb.

The process of submitting individuals is actually completely online with submitting the individuals into a database with an automatic cut-off date implemented and E-Invitations which are emailed to our guests prior to the flight date. With new technology applied to our jobs more and more every day, even the orientation submittal process is following the common trends with newer technology included.

"Thank you and your colleagues for making our refueling mission yesterday such an extraordinary and memorable occasion.  Upon arrival I wasn't quite sure what to expect but what I experienced far exceeded anything I had or would have anticipated and the impressions from the day are life lasting and will be among my most treasured.  As I observed what each of you are doing ... are accomplishing ... the dedication and "spirit" of the Wing caused me to reflect and contrast your achievements and examples with those of the current "Wall Street take over" protesters and, frankly, I experienced a significant surge of pride and patriotism for which I thank you and your associates, said 2011 orientation flight participant Fritz Heinemann.

"We are so fortunate to have a platform that allows us this opportunity to share our mission with local civic leaders. The support that is generated as a result is immeasurable," said wing public affairs manager, Master Sgt. Ann Young.

Look for next year's schedule to be advertised in early spring.