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All Hale the victor!

AFE group photo

Aircrew Flight Equipment Airmen, assigned to the 350th Air Refueling Squadron AFE, pose for a group photo at McConnell Air Force Base, Kansas. AFE Airmen provide and position safety equipment to allow aircrew members to accomplish their mission and come home safely. (Courtesy photo)

MCCONNELL AIR FORCE BASE, Kan. -- Capt. Millie Hale, 350th Air Refueling Squadron aircrew flight equipment flight commander and KC-135 Stratotanker instructor pilot, recently received the Airlift/Tanker Association Young Leadership award for her impact both to the base and the Air Force.

This award recognizes individuals who have demonstrated superior leadership qualities and made outstanding contributions to the airlift and tanker missions.

Hale has influenced many Airmen and programs during her service with the Air Force. Currently, Hale oversees a flight of approximately 50 Airmen who work on the aircrew flight equipment, which allows aircrew to safely complete their missions.

After assuming command, Hale renewed the flight program to allow AFE Airmen to fly on the KC-135 for the first time in eight years. This gives the Airmen a chance to see how the in-flight equipment they work on is put to use. She also implemented a system to acknowledge individual Airmen who have a hand in emergency responses. When an emergency occurs during a flight, the AFE Airmen who provided and positioned the equipment will have their picture posted on a board, showing aircrew that they can rely on their AFE wingmen to bring them home safely.

“I’m not capable of pre-flighting a life raft or repairing a broken oxygen mask; yet, I am in charge of getting that entire team to function correctly day-in and day-out in spite of obstacles,” said Hale. “It is a wonderful, terrifying and rewarding challenge.”

Her accomplishments are backed by leadership.

"Capt Millie Hale sets the standard for all Air Force company grade officers,” said Lt. Col. Aaron Walenga, 22nd Operations Support Squadron commander. “She's an incredible leader, instructor pilot and person who cares deeply for those around her."

“Her recognition as the Air Mobility Command Wilma Vaught Visionary Leadership Award winner, squadron officer school distinguished graduate and the Operations Group Company Grade Officer of the Year, all while deploying numerous times flying combat refueling missions highlight the professionalism, commitment to excellence and dedication she brings to the fight every day,” said Walenga. “There are none better."

Hale’s dedication to bettering the Air Force and its people has helped develop her as a leader, and that is what led to her being nominated and chosen to receive the Airlift/Tanker Association Young Leadership Award.

“The award is an amazing recognition that what I’m doing is working, and I know that I need to keep it up and be even better in the future,” said Hale.