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Young leader hoists airlift award

LITTLE ROCK AIR FORCE BASE, Ark. (AETCNS) -- A 314th Operations Group C-130J evaluator pilot won the 2005 Airlift Tanker Association Young Leadership Award, Air Mobility Command officials announced recently.

Maj. Kenneth Gjone was nominated for his work with the Air Force's first C-130J formal training unit -- the 48th Airlift Squadron -- where he became the first weapons officer ever qualified in the C-130J.

"It means a lot to be recognized for original ideas and hard work," Major Gjone said, "but there are many outstanding professionals at Little Rock Air Force Base who also deserve recognition for their contributions to the J-model program.

"Innovative 'outside the box' thinking is absolutely crucial to tactical development. Our enemies are not standing still, so we have to work hard to stay ahead of them," the major said. "Just as yesterday's tactics have been replaced by those we use today, we are currently developing even better tactics to defeat the threats of tomorrow."

The major was a lead tactician for the C-130J Formation Procedures Development and Evaluation. He initiated, staffed and led development of the first Air Force Tactics/Techniques/Procedures manual for the C-130J. He also developed C-130J defensive systems training from scratch and was one of two to develop the night-vision goggle assault procedures and training now used by C-130J pilots Air Force-wide.

The major said one of the major challenges faced while developing tactics and procedures for the C-130J was the 48th AS having to tackle tasks normally performed at the headquarters level by AMC and Air Education and Training Command.

"Not only were we tasked with developing capabilities, we were also tasked with writing the syllabi to provide proper training on these new capabilities," he said. "Knowing C-130J schoolhouse graduates have the tools and tactics to fly, fight and win makes it all worthwhile.

"The most rewarding part of my job is teaching younger pilots how to employ the C-130J," Maj. Gjone said. "I try to impart all my experience flying tactical airlift in places such as Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan and Iraq, knowing many of our students will soon be tasked to perform the same, or even more demanding, missions than ones I've already flown."

"(Major) Gjone has contributed immeasurably to the development of combat tactics for the C-130J," said Brig. Gen. Joseph Reheiser, former 314th Airlift Wing commander. "His outstanding performance as C-130J initial cadre has been integral to the overall success of the 314th Airlift Wing's mission. (Major) Gjone deserves this prestigious award."

Each year, the association recognizes individuals who have demonstrated superior leadership, made outstanding contributions to the airlift tanker mission and provided invaluable service to their civilian communities. The Airmen will be recognized in October during the association's annual convention in Nashville, Tenn.

Major Gjone said he's proud of his award and looks forward to more challenges in his career.

"This reward means a lot to me. I'm very grateful to be recognized for my hard work thus far, and don't plan to let up anytime soon," he said. "I plan to continue helping the Air Force focus our priorities to make sure we can win any war, any time."
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