Airman-Auctioneer Bids Farewell to the 120th Fighter Wing
By Senior Master Sgt. Eric Peterson, 120th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
/ Published May 25, 2011
GREAT FALLS, Mont. -- A 120th Fighter Wing crew chief is taking 13 years of Montana Air National Guard experience to his new position as the Air National Guard liaison for the 17th Training Wing located at Goodfellow Air Force Base, Texas.
Tech. Sgt. Don Kirby will be reporting to the active duty training base in June to serve as a point of contact between Air National Guard students and their home base during their technical training in the intelligence and firefighting career fields.
As a member of MANG, Sergeant Kirby served in a variety of jobs as a jet engine mechanic, recruiter, F-16 hydraulics technician and F-15 crew chief.
In his new position, Sergeant Kirby will be available to assist new students if they encounter family emergencies, financial difficulties or just need to contact their supervisor at home.
He says he was motivated to apply for the position while listening to a speech given during his master's degree graduation ceremony from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.
"I was told at the commencement exercises that I have an obligation and a responsibility to give back. I felt that this job, as a training liaison, would be a way for me to help give back to the students that are just beginning their military career. That's what prompted me to apply for this job," he said.
Sergeant Kirby was an active volunteer at the 120th Fighter Wing, serving as a National Guard summer camp counselor, a member of the Honor Guard and a member of the Crash Recovery Team. He also played the part of Santa Claus for the families of MANG members during several wing holiday events.
A trained auctioneer, Sergeant Kirby is well known for volunteering his auctioneering skills for community benefits and charities. He served as the auctioneer for West Elementary School's Art Festival, assisted Preservation Cascade with their fundraising efforts for the 10th Street Pedestrian Bridge, and performed an auction at the end of the National Guard youth camp to give the children an opportunity to experience a live auctioneering event.
In 2009 he participated in and won a wing-wide event that awarded him with an incentive ride in the F-15. He finally experienced his first high-performance fighter aircraft flight on May 19th.
"The ride was absolutely awesome. I was filled with exhilaration the majority of the flight. I was able to laugh and just enjoy the feeling of the G-forces. Looking at the beautiful air and the sky, it was sunny and hot up there above the clouds. The total experience was breathtaking," he said.
What suggestions does he have for the next lucky unit member to be able to fly in the back seat of the F-15?
"I would encourage the next winner of an incentive flight to be confident in the maintenance that is performed on these aircraft, trust in the pilot and remember the important things during the training that they'll receive. And they'll have the ride of a lifetime," he said.