Team Kingsley spouses taxi out during familiarization event

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Emily Copeland
  • 173rd Fighter Wing

Spouses of 173rd Fighter Wing Airmen climbed into the backseat of an F-15 Eagle and taxied down the runway during a spouse taxi event at Kingsley Field in Klamath Falls, Ore., December 5, 2021.

The spouse taxi event was created to allow military spouses to become familiarized with the pre-flight operations that pilots must go through prior to every flight.

Lt. Col. Adam Gaudinski, the 173rd Maintenance Squadron commander, says this event has two purposes. “First, we look to share the complex mission of the 173rd Fighter Wing to our greatest supporters, our spouses. Second, and more importantly, it is a small endeavor to say thank you to the spouses who sacrifice so much, day in and day out.”

The event started first thing in the morning when the spouses arrived and enjoyed breakfast and coffee while learning about the wing mission.   “This is where we were able to share with them on how they critically fit into the success of the 173rd (Fighter Wing),” said Gaudinski.

Next the spouses were fitted for flight gear and received ground egress training, a non-negotiable requirement for anyone who sits on the cockpit on an F-15. 

“After that, it’s off to the jet for their high speed taxi!” said Gaudinski.  “They completed their day with a certificate and endless praise for their support.”

Spouses are important to the Air Force family and the dynamic culture of the military. By constantly providing support to their member, they allow the Air Force to succeed in completing the mission on a daily basis.

“It takes all of us,” emphasizes Gaudinski.   “Although we often recognize the men and women in uniform for their efforts to mission accomplishment, we must never forget the spouses of America’s Airmen. Even though they don’t wear the uniform, they serve and sacrifice alongside of us every day and are truly the backbone to support our Nation’s call.”

This event was focused on the spouses of the maintenance group Airmen; however, Gaudinski says he looks forward to opening it up to other groups across the wing in the future.