Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Michelle D. Johnson guest of honor at 97 TRS Anniversary

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

U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Michelle D. Johnson and her husband, John Hargreaves, visited Altus Air Force Base to meet with Airmen and attend the 97th Training Squadron’s 20th operational anniversary celebration on Jan. 6 - 8, 2022.

Johnson, a former 97th Operations Group commander from 2000 to 2002, and her husband had the opportunity to re-familiarize themselves with Altus AFB by going on a tour. They saw firsthand the 97th AMW’s mission, which is to train exceptional mobility Airmen, and the modern student training happening at the 97th TRS. 

The TRS’s mission can be traced back to the 1709th Technical Training Squadron at West Palm Beach, Florida, in 1952, but the history of the 97th TRS is relatively short. 

The squadron first activated on Jan. 20, 1994 at Altus AFB. It became responsible for the mission of the inactivated 330th Flying Training Squadron, as well as the KC-135 Certified Flight Instructor Course. 

In February of 2002, the squadron reactivated to concentrate on its current mission of student administration and quality assurance. 

To start off their tour, Johnson and Hargreaves received a mission brief with the command team, along with group commanders and senior enlisted leaders from across the base. 

“The 97th AMW was able to highlight the changes and new training initiatives we support here since she was the Operations Group commander in the early 2000’s,” said U.S. Air Force Maj. Curtis Sinewe, 97th Operations Support Squadron chief of tactics. “While the core mission of developing Mobility’s Warriors for American air power has not changed, the aircraft, methodologies and National Security picture has changed from when she led here as a group commander.”

After the briefing, Johnson and Hargreaves were able to walk through the TRS’s KC-46A fuselage trainer, experience a pilot simulator, as well as tour the KC-46A on the flightline and base operations, where they saw the new C2IMERA system. 

“It was incredible to host Lt. Gen. Johnson and her husband,” said U.S Air Force Master Sgt. Jon Lauterbach, 97th TRS KC-46 evaluator boom operator. “Having the opportunity to introduce them to the simulator devices that our pilot and boom operator students use to train on the KC-46 was a great experience.”

After the tour, Johnson and Hargreaves joined base and community leaders for an anniversary dinner hosted by the TRS. Johnson was the keynote speaker for the dinner, where she shared her connection to Altus AFB.

“I remember, during my change of command ceremony, I was so choked up that I forgot to give the flag before stepping back,” said Johnson. “I loved it so much here that I didn’t want to let go.”

After spending the day around the TRS, Johnson expressed her gratitude for the base and the community.

“The training squadron has grown beyond what we’d imagined,” said Johnson. “We’re thankful for them letting us be a little part of the community and we still have a little piece of Altus with us.”