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Spouses take flight

PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. - A wife of a 920th Rescue Wing Reservist here shows her excitement on board an HC-130P/N King airplane before taking off. Col. Robert Dunn, 920th RQW Commander, invited spouses of the Air Force Reservists here to participate in special flights on HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopters and the King airplanes. This event allowed the husbands and wives of hard-working Reservists a glimpse into their drill training weekends and the aircraft they work to maintain. (U.S. Air Force photo/Capt. Ryan Liss)

PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. - A wife of a 920th Rescue Wing Reservist here shows her excitement on board an HC-130P/N King refueling aircraft before taking off. Col. Robert Dunn, 920th RQW Commander, invited spouses of Air Force Reservists here to participate in special flights on wing aircraft. This event allowed the husbands and wives of hard-working Reservists a glimpse into their drill training weekends. (U.S. Air Force photo/Capt. Ryan Liss)

PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. - A group of spouses huddled around an HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopter pilot as he gave them a flight brief before getting on board the helicopter. Col. Robert Dunn, 920th Rescue Wing Commander, invited spouses of the Air Force Reservists here to participate in special flights on the Pave Hawk helicopters and HC-130 P/N King airplanes. This event allowed the husbands and wives of hard-working Reservists a glimpse into their drill training weekends and the aircraft they work to maintain. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman First Class Natasha Dowridge)

PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. - A group of spouses huddled around an HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopter pilot as he gave them a flight brief before getting on board the helicopter. Col. Robert Dunn, 920th Rescue Wing Commander, invited spouses of the Air Force Reservists here to participate in special flights on the Pave Hawk helicopters and HC-130 P/N King refueling aircraft. This event allowed the husbands and wives of hard-working Reservists a glimpse into their drill training weekends. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman First Class Natasha Dowridge)

PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. - A group  spouses get ready to take off in HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopter. Col. Robert Dunn, 920th Rescue Wing Commander, invited spouses of the Air Force Reservists here to participate in special flights on the Pave Hawk helicopters and HC-130 P/N King airplanes. This event allowed the husbands and wives of hard-working Reservists a glimpse into their drill training weekends and the aircraft they work to maintain. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman First Class Natasha Dowridge)

PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. - A group spouses get ready to take off in HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopter. Col. Robert Dunn, 920th Rescue Wing Commander, invited spouses of the Air Force Reservists here to participate in special flights on the Pave Hawk helicopters and HC-130 P/N King refueling aircraft. This event allowed the husbands and wives of hard-working Reservists a glimpse into their drill training weekends. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman First Class Natasha Dowridge)

PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- Historically, when the Air Force Reserve's 920th Rescue Wing here launches its HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopters and HC-130P/N King refueling planes, the people on board are wearing an Air Force uniform. It was not the case here March 6th when the spouses of those wearing the uniform got a lift on 920th combat aircraft.

The 920th RQW Commander, Col. Robert Dunn, invited spouses to the 920th RQW to give them an in-depth look at our mission.

"This is just one way to show them what their military husbands and wives do on drill training weekends," said Colonel Dunn. Reservists train for their wartime duties during these weekends held once a month.

Each spouse who flew had to be nominated by their 920th significant other and could select to fly in either the King or the Pave Hawk.

Mrs. Rebecca L. Ulloa was nominated to fly in the helicopter by her husband, Master Sgt. Jay Ulloa. Although he is a radio operator for the King, a fixed-wing aircraft, she chose to fly in the chopper. It was her first time flying in a military aircraft.

"I felt very comfortable being up in that helicopter. It was exciting!" said Mrs. Ulloa.

Exciting is exactly the feeling Colonel Dunn was striving for.

"It is important to take care of them (military spouses), mentally and physically, and this is just one way to keep morale high before we start our deployments," said Colonel Dunn.

The best part of the flight, according to Mrs. Ulloa, was the communication among the passengers and the crew members.

"It was so fun to talk to the pilots and crew on the headphones!" said Mrs. Ulloa.

Same helicopter - different favorite part; Mrs. Jeanne Griswold, wife of Lt. Col. Clay Griswold, an King pilot, thought that flying with the doors open was the best part.

"I was a little nervous and excited because I've never been on a helicopter before," Mrs. Griswold said. "It was smoother than I thought it would have been. What a great experience!"

For Mrs. Griswold, the spouse's flight was a way to see what her husband went through when he deployed.

"It gives us a chance to give the spouses a fun orientation to flight, and a little education on the 920th and some insight to what their hard-working Reservist does when they're training here," said Colonel Dunn.

"The spouse's flight not only builds morale but also an understanding about what happens every time a service member puts on their uniform," said Command Chief Master Sgt. Gerald Delebreau, the senior enlisted 920th member.

If given the opportunity to participate in another spouse's flight, Mrs. Ulloa wouldn't hesitate to do it again - ",but next time fly in the King," she said. 

"We had amazing feedback from our Reservists and their families for this project. This is the largest group of spouses I've seen at an event like this," said the wing commander. 

It goes to show how much support and respect we have from our families here at the 920th RQW," he said.

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