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NEWS | May 3, 2024

Nebraska Air National Guard hosts Open Hangar recruiting event

By Airman 1st Class Jeremiah Johnson 155th Air Refueling Wing

The Nebraska Air National Guard’s 155th Air Refueling Wing hosted an Open Hangar event at the National Guard Air Base on May 1, 2024.

Situated at the fuel cell hangar and flight line, where the KC-135R Stratotanker maintenance squadron is located, the wing hosted over 350 students from 30 local high schools at the event. Additionally, representatives from seven colleges and universities, civilian employers, and the Nebraska National Guard showcased over 45 distinct career fields.

“Our recruiters have been on the trail for the last four or five months, promoting and giving opportunity for people around the state to come see the base,” said Senior Master Sgt. Kyle Eddy, 155th ARW recruiting and retention senior enlisted leader. “Considering these community partnerships statewide, it's an all-encompassing event where people get to come out here and see what we do.”

The event served as a valuable platform for attendees to engage with military personnel, inquire about various career paths, and develop a comprehensive insight into opportunities within the armed services. Highlights of the event encompassed a tour of a KC-135R Stratotanker, live demonstrations by the explosive ordnance disposal team featuring their robot, as well as presentations by fire, medical, and communications professionals showcasing their equipment and expertise.

“This allows students to see what all is available,” said Staff Sgt. Madalyn Kelley, a fitness operations Non-Commissioned Officer with the 155th Force Support Squadron, overseeing the services table. “Kids might not know what's all here but they become more interested in knowing that they can become say, a firefighter in the Air Force and outside.”

This experience aimed to educate and inspire not only young participants but also members of both the civilian and military communities about the significant impact the base has within the community and abroad.

“The opportunities in the Air National Guard are extraordinary and rarely are you able to consolidate these opportunities in one setting,” said Col. Christopher Hesse, 155th Air Refueling Wing commander.

With two open hangar events now concluded, Eddy is confident this will become a recurring experience, serving purposes beyond recruitment.

“Immediate result, the event is going to lead to enlistments,” said Eddy. “On a grand scale, experiences like this strengthen our partnerships and relationships with our state and local partners, with our Airmen and their families, in ways we cannot measure.”