Photo by Senior Airman Andrew R.
Lt. Shawn Barrett and his wife April
in front of a KC-135R.
SALT LAKE CITY – Flying high
above Utah’s West Desert, spouses of the Utah Air National
Guard witnessed the refueling of an F-16 fighter jet from
the pod of a KC-135R aircraft on a spouse orientation
flight, which departed from the base in the early morning of
This flight was the first
for spouses since the 151st Air Refueling Wing
converted to the KC-135R model aircraft last spring. It was
also a first for many of the passengers as the aircraft
graced the early spring skies of the Utah Test and Training
April Barrett, wife of 2nd
Lt. Shawn Barrett, was one of the spouses who witnessed for
the first time, what exactly it is that her husband
experiences every time he embarks on a flight.
“I like seeing what my
husband does when he goes up each time, and it really makes
me proud to see how skilled they all are,” said April.
Lt. Shawn Barrett is a
brand-new pilot who in December returned from 20 consecutive
months of pilot training. As a new pilot, Shawn was excited
to show his wife what all his training has prepared him to
do, he said.
“It really was humbling to
show my wife what all the studying we did together over the
last year and a half was for,” Shawn said.
“I liked helping him study,
and to be able to now see it all in action, made it worth
it,” agreed April.
Shawn attributes his success
as a pilot to the support he received from his wife through
his pilot training.
“April’s support and
encouragement made it possible,” Shawn said.
Shawn has spent so much of
the last two years preparing to become a pilot; it has
become part of his daily family life. Shawn and April’s
daughter Karah even says “Daddy goes vroom vroom in the sky”
every time he gets in his flight suit to go to work.
“I am so happy he is able to
do what he loves,” April said.
Shawn is only one part of a
team of exceptionally skilled pilots that journey through
the skies of the world as they complete the mission of the
Utah Air National Guard.
“Our pilots are the best at
what they do, because they are committed to their training
and understanding of the aircraft,” said Lt. Col. Neal C.
Wayment, a KC-135 pilot and chief of safety for the 151st
Air Refueling Wing.
training mission is treated as “real-world,” and just like
the core values of the Air Force: every member of the crew
knows that excellence is required in all things,” Wayment