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AAFB Airmen host 42nd annual boom operator symposium

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Trenton Jancze
  • 97th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs

ALTUS AIR FORCE BASE, Okla.-- Airmen from the Altus Boom Association hosted the 42nd Annual Boom Operator Symposium at Altus Air Force Base, Oklahoma, April 29-30, 2022. Boom operators from around the world celebrated in the time-honored tradition.

More than 150 active duty, guard, reserve, retired and honorary boom operators from 12 bases and 20 units participated in multiple events, including professional development briefings, a retreat ceremony at the boom operator memorial in Wings of Freedom Park and a heritage banquet dinner. Chief Master Sgt. Michael Arroyo, the U.S. Air Force career enlisted aviator career field manager, and Chief Master Sgt. Lucero Stockett, senior enlisted advisor to the director of Air Force Legislative Affairs, served as the event’s distinguished visitors.

Tech. Sgt. Amy James, 56th Air Refueling Squadron KC-46 Pegasus instructor boom operator and Altus Boom Association president, was excited about how many people participated in this year's event.

“I couldn’t have asked for a better turnout,” she said. “We had almost twice as many people as last year, and to have had the opportunity to help put this all together meant a lot.”

During the symposium, the memorial and retreat ceremony was held at Wings of Freedom Park. The ceremony honors boom operators who have lost their lives in the line of duty.

At the beginning of the ceremony, narrators read the names of boom operators who have died in the line of duty. Chief Master Sgt. Andrea Inmon, 54th ARS senior enlisted leader, reflected on the importance of the ceremony.

“Remembering where we came from, stopping and reflecting on our heritage,” she said. “It’s something that’s important not only for us, but for our Airmen in training to see too.”

Inmon said reuniting past and present KC-46 and KC-135 Stratotanker boom operators celebrates the rich history of the career field, which begins with initial aircrew training at AAFB.

“Altus is the center of gravity for our initial skills training; this is where it starts,” said Inmon. “Our symposium reminds us of where we started, where we are and where we’re going in the future.”