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NEWS | Aug. 5, 2010

Airmen honored at PBR event in SA

By Deborah Silliman Wolfe 502nd Air Base Wing OL-B Public Affairs

A number of local Airmen and retired military members were recognized Saturday during the Professional Bull Riders United States Air Force Invitational at the AT&T Center in San Antonio.

Staff Sgt. Kenneth Pratt, 341st Recruiting Squadron Marketing and Training NCO and event coordinator for the Air Force segment of the show said the event was outstanding and said it gave him a great feeling of honor seeing his fellow Airmen recognized in front of a patriotic audience.

"Bull riders are very supportive of military members and what we do for our country," Sergeant Pratt said. "PBR attracts a large audience, and honoring our Airmen in front of such a large crowd brings absolute gratification."

Retired Army chief warrant officer and current civilian Air Force employee Wayne Sellers and his son Dwayne Sellers, a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel, were two of the honorees who participated in the event.

"My son and I were both enlisted and worked our ways though the ranks," Mr. Sellers said. "Our journey is a lot like the American dream: you work your way from the bottom and finally get up to the top trying to be the best you possible can be."

Nine Airmen representing the enlisted ranks of the Air Force, six veterans and six Airmen who recently returned from deployments were recognized in front of the crowd of more than 10,000 PBR fans, as well as a televised audience. Thirty participants from the Delayed Enlistment Program were also sworn into the Air Force by Maj. Gen. Gregory Feest, former 19th Air Force commander.

"This is really exciting for all of them," Tech. Sgt. Michele Thomas, 341st Recruiting Squadron enlisted accessions recruiter, said. "Whenever they take their first enlistment, they understand what they are doing, but I really think this is going to hit home because they are doing it a venue with this many people and are being sworn in by a general. This is something that not many people get to do."

Delayed Enlistment Program participant Jessica Flores said she was excited about the opportunity to swear into the Air Force at such a large event.

"I am so excited," she said. "It is a great honor to serve our country. And to get sworn in by a general, it is such an honor to even be in his presence. And then have him say the oath, it is amazing."

While Airmen were being honored inside the event, the public had a chance to explore the Air Force's newest mobile marketing tool, Command Center Alpha. Command Center Alpha is set up to let visitors into the "sci-fi" world of the Air Force with an interactive tour that includes 3-D computer graphics, videos, educational kiosks, digital downloads and a full-size F-16 Thunderbird display. Command Center Alpha educates visitors on the wide variety of opportunities the Air Force has to offer.

"We like to work with PBR because they hold shows throughout the nation," said Sergeant Pratt. "With the Air Force being involved with the events, it enables Air Force Recruiting Service to reach out to the public and gain awareness."