301 FW LRS Airman finds passion on and off duty

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Kedesha Pennant
  • 301st Fighter Wing Public Affairs

Senior Airman Matthew Kunko, 301st Fighter Wing Logistics Readiness Squadron fuels operations specialist, is featured as one of the wing’s outstanding Airman during the January 2021 Unit Training Assembly. Kunko, a Roswell, New Mexico native, has been in the Air Force for two years and calls Watauga, Texas home for the past seven years. He and his wife have two daughters. He is a Traditional Reservist and also works as a full-time civilian within his same unit.

As a fuels operation specialist, Kunko and his shop are the plug to the F-16 Fighting Falcon.

“We are responsible for every aspect of the refueling [to] all our aircraft on the flightline,” Kunko said. “We [also] manage and do preventative maintenance on our vehicles and equipment to ensure we are putting on the best and cleanest fuel in the world into the aircraft [while also ensuring] the mission is completed as safe and as efficient as possible.”

He takes pride in his career and, as a result, his leadership has taken notice.

“I love [my job!],” Kunko said. “My leadership has given me amazing opportunities and they’re the best supervisors I’ve ever had, by far. They are so invested in my success and have given me such a clear path. When I was being considered for a permanent position, it was the biggest honor ever. I had to pinch myself! I have never been happier coming to work. They make it easy for me to do a good job.”

Being selected as a Wing Warrior of the Month was an exciting way for Kunko to start the new year. He set forth goals to finish out this year as well.

“Getting top [fuel] pumper was a big one,” Kunko said. “Honestly, I [want] the opportunity to show people how hard I can really work, keep learning as much as possible and continue to be an integral part of the team. To be a part of something bigger than what I was doing before has put a ton of wind in my sails. I also want to push my fitness goals further than I ever have.”

His hobbies are writing and recording his own music and performing with his two bands, Gracefails and Remnants. He has written over 100 songs and performed at multiple places in his hometown of Roswell and the Dallas/Fort Worth area.

“Basically, all my free time goes into music in some shape or form,” Kunko said. “It’s definitely where a lot of my passion lies. I do a lot of music production work and audio engineering work, and I’m hoping to play more shows and do more open mics once COVID-19 is over.”

Kunko’s favorite band is Metallica, which is also the first band he saw live. His favorite song of theirs is, “Fight Fire with Fire”.  

“After the show, I said ‘I wanna do that!” he recalls. “I haven’t look back since.”

As he pushes ahead to meet professional goals while following his passion, he acknowledges what’s most important to him.

“I just [want to be as] present as possible for my wife and kids,” he concluded.


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