Success worth celebrating

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Beth Kobily
  • 911th Airlift Wing Public Affairs


Wenn es Ärger gibt, ist es deine Familie, die dich unterst ützt.

The German phrase above translates to “When trouble comes, it’s your family that supports you.”

In 2017, members of the 911th Airlift Wing family geared up to deploy to locations across the country. Between bursts of sending members to support the mission out in the field, the base held its first Wings Over Pittsburgh Open House / Air Show in six years, an event which brought together our Pittsburgh family, both military and civilian, to revel in the incredible human feat that is air power.

As Steel Airmen abroad began to return to “The ‘Burgh,” the wing moved from the command of the 22nd Air Force to the 4th Air Force. In the same ceremony, the 911th AW guideon was passed from the hands of Col. Jeff Van Dootingh to our new commander, Col. Douglas Strawbridge. A new mission which had been talked of for some time became a reality when Congress passed the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017, and on November 9, 2017, ground was broken on base to build a hangar large enough to house not one – but two – C-17 Globemaster III aircraft, an aircraft well over twice the size of the C-130 Hercules aircraft previously housed by the 911th AW. But a mission change takes more than metal, so many pilots took off to learn how to fly the mighty C-17. Maintainers began training at C-17 bases across the U.S. to learn firsthand how to keep those birds up in the air. Families whose fathers, mothers, sisters and brothers had just come home started to support them through a new type of “deployment” as they travel back and forth between Pittsburgh and Wright-Patterson Air Force Base to work on the C-17 aircraft which will soon be staying at the 911th AW.

With a will of steel the 911th AW family, both military and civilian, made and continue to make each of these endeavors a success. Their dedication and commitment are the driving force behind this base’s many accomplishments over the past year and a half. So in the time leading up to the October 2018 unit training assembly, the wing commander made a decision – everyone deserves to take a breather. An Oktoberfest event was planned for Saturday, October 25th, at the end of the duty day. Members were invited to the Community Activity Center for a few hours of downtime together.

“Oktoberfest was a nice, positive way for 911th Airmen to mingle with old familiar faces, meet some new ones and just step away from the bustling UTA,” said Master Sgt. Kristin McGeorge, Wing Career Advisor with the 911th FSS.

The event featured local music talent The House Band, a cornhole tournament, a meet-and-greet opportunity with World Wrestling Entertainment Superstar and Olympic Gold Medalist Kurt Angle, and a smorgasbord of kielbasa, bratwurst and sauerkraut.

The hope was that the event would bring the hardworking 911th AW family together to take a break from supporting each other in the working mission and enjoy each other’s company. According to the commander, the event was a great success.

“It provided the venue we hoped for - a chance for our Airmen to relax after pushing hard for over a year, a chance to get to know one another a little better, and a chance to see what a great place our CAC is,” said Strawbridge. 

Every member of the 911th AW knows they are part of the mission’s success. This has been proven time and time again with the incredible feats this wing has accomplished. When trouble comes, it really is our family – both the family at home and the family in the uniform – that supports us.  

“My thanks to all of the folks who went above and beyond to make this happen,” said Strawbridge.  “See you again next year!”