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Altus | 97 AMW historian earns AETC AF Heritage Award

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Trenton Jancze
  • 97th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs

Melissa Sims, the 97th Air Mobility Wing historian at Altus Air Force Base, Oklahoma, recently earned the Air Education and Training Command Air Force Heritage Award.

According to AETC, the award recognizes “outstanding accomplishments by Air Force history and museum program personnel that foster a better understanding of the Air Force, its history, and accomplishments.”

From gathering information for the 97th Training Squadron legacy wall to helping oversee the restoration of static aircraft around AAFB, Sims has managed many projects since she took her position in June of 2021. 

Sims mentioned the importance of connecting the past to what AAFB members are doing today.

“When I arrived here, there was an immediate thirst for historical information,” she said. “Historical information on who we are, how we got here, and the significant historical aspects of each squadron and the wing.”

Sims said she could not have quenched that thirst without help from many units across the base and expressed her gratitude for the many people that have helped her during her time as historian.

“I have had some great helpers along the way, from the 97th TRS, 97th (Civil Engineer Squadron), 97th (Force Support Squadron) and the 97th (Communications Squadron),” said Sims. “I am an office of one, so those (units) have been such a help along the way.”

Gail Hargis, 97th AMW chief of protocol, described Sims as “passionate and insightful.”

“She’s very talented at gathering, synthesizing and conveying the wing’s history,” she said. “It’s obvious that she has an extensive knowledge of the wing and our history. It’s clear that she enjoys passing on that knowledge, and she does it in such a fun way.”