Glad to be onboard

  • Published
  • By Maj. Karl Lewis
  • 301st Fighter Wing
Let me tell you a about my interesting route to the 301st. I have been involved in aviation for more than 25 years through various positions with the Air Force, Air National Guard and Navy, starting as a crew chief in the mid 70s. I transferred to the Michigan Air National Guard until 1983 when I went to college. 

After graduation, I entered the Navy as a naval flight officer student, spending 15 weeks of "fun in the sun" with my favorite drill instructors, and was rewarded with the "Heart of a Marine". After 18 months in navy aviation I became an intelligence officer. 

I left the Navy in 1993 due to the first round of BRAC on the west coast. A colleague at my civilian job asked me to join his California Air National Guard squadron in 1998 due to my extensive knowledge with aircraft systems, tactics, and operations. I was the senior intelligence officer until 2005 when another round of BRAC prompted me to transfer to the Air Force Reserve as a senior intelligence analyst. Then I received the call that the 301st needed a chief of Public Affairs. 

Now, how did a Marine Corps-trained Navy aviation/Intel guy become an Air Force PAO? Here's how it happened. 

In 1996 I took a civilian position as an operational systems test engineer with a secondary role as a flight test engineer at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. I had an additional duty as the PA contact for my squadron. In 2004 I took an assignment as the liaison between the Engineering Test Wing and the Air Force Flight Test Center's Public Affairs office as a PA officer. This included working with movies and TV series with the Edwards PA office. I was also the base lead narrator and air show committee member. 

I have a number of other interests. I'm an aviation subject-matter expert as well as a private pilot with time in aircraft ranging from gliders to tactical jets.
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