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D.W. Oakes March 22, 2019

U.S. Air Force Airman Dustin W. Oakes graduated from basic military training at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, San Antonio, Texas.

The airman completed an intensive, eight-week program that included training in military discipline and studies, Air Force core values, physical fitness, and basic warfare principles and skills. Airmen who complete basic training also earn four credits toward an associate in applied science degree through the Community College of the Air Force.

Oakes is the grandson of Barbara Oakes of Mount Joy. He is a 2017 graduate of Donegal High School.

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Edwards Receives Promotion March 1, 2019

In February, Eric Edwards, a resident of West Hempfield and a member of the U.S. Air Force, was promoted to the rank of chief master sergeant, which is the highest enlisted rank in the Air Force and is limited by law to 1 percent of the enlisted population. Edwards, a 1998 graduate of Hempfield High School, joined the U.S. Air Force in November 1998.

Since April 2018, Edwards has been the Superintendent, 86th Aerospace Medicine Squadron (AMDS) at Ramstein Air Base in Germany. He previously served at Ramstein as superintendent, bioenvironmental engineering, 86th AMDS, from June 2017 to April 2018. In his current role as the senior enlisted leader of the largest overseas AMDS, he advises the commander on all matters affecting the health, morale, and welfare of 125 airmen. The squadron provides bioenvironmental engineering, flight and operational medicine, optometry, public health, aerospace physiology, and health promotion services for 57,000 beneficiaries across 139 geographically separated units, 93 countries, and four combatant commands. The unit also includes the En-Route Patient Staging Flight, which provides transport for patients to higher echelons of care. In addition, Edwards serves as the associate MAJCOM functional manager for 85 bioenvironmental engineering enlisted members assigned to 36 units within United States Air Forces Europe and Air Force Forces in Africa.

His background includes duties in industrial hygiene, environmental sampling and protection, radiation safety, and hazardous materials. He also has experience with munitions systems and precision guided munitions. Additionally, he has served as the noncommissioned officer in charge at the first term airman's center, additional duty first sergeant, and squadron superintendent. Edwards also served in support of Operations Allied Force, Southern Watch, and Northern Watch and the Global War on Terrorism. He has completed assignments around the world, from Italy to Langley Air Force Base in Virginia.

Over the years, he has completed a variety of specialist courses, along with leadership schools and academies. In 2006, he received associate degrees in munitions systems technology and bioenvironmental engineering technology from the Community College of the Air Force. In 2007 he was an honor graduate with a Bachelor of Science in business management from University of Phoenix, and in 2009, he earned a Master of Business Administration from the university.

He has received the Meritorious Service Medal with Two Oak Leaf Clusters, Air Force Commendation Medal with Two Oak Leaf Clusters, and Air Force Achievement Medal, among other achievements.

Edwards is the son of Bruce and Sherron Edwards of West Hempfield.

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National Guard Groups Win Awards February 26, 2019

All three Pennsylvania Air National Guard (PAANG) wings, part of Pennsylvania's Department of Military and Veterans Affairs (DMVA), earned 2018 United States Air Force Outstanding Unit Awards signifying them as exceptional performers. The award spans a two-year period of wing performance.

All three wings have earned this award before, but this is the first time that the 111th Attack Wing in Horsham, the 171st Air Refueling Wing in Pittsburgh, and the 193rd Special Operations Wing in Middletown received the award the same year.

According to the Pennsylvania DMVA, the 193rd Special Operations Wing is home to the only airborne Military Information Support Operations broadcasting platform in the U.S. military. The unit assists civilian authorities during natural disaster or homeland security during peacetime and supports the Air Force Special Operations Command during wartime.

Award citation highlights include the wing successfully executing overseas contingency and domestic operations deployments while maintaining a high rate of readiness. The wing deployed 642 members across 27 nations. Wing members flew 386 combat missions and safely executed 3,000 broadcast hours.

Founded in 1747, the Pennsylvania National Guard (PNG) comprises nearly 20,000 soldiers and airmen who reside in every county across the state. The PNG is part of the DMVA's dual mission, which also includes supporting Pennsylvania's nearly 800,000 veterans.

For more information about the DMVA, readers may visit www.dmva.pa.gov or www.facebook.com/padmva.

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LaBuda Serves Aboard Cruiser February 22, 2019

Ensign Rachel LaBuda, a native of Mount Joy and a 2014 Donegal High School graduate, is serving in the U.S. Navy aboard the guided-missile cruiser USS Port Royal.

LaBuda has served in the Navy for five years and is a U.S. Navy surface warfare officer aboard the guided-missile cruiser, operating out of Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. As a Navy surface warfare officer, LaBuda is responsible for driving warships and ensuring they are properly maintained so the ships are ready to deploy around the world.

Approximately 300 men and women serve aboard the ship. According to Navy officials, their jobs are highly specialized and keep each part of the cruiser running smoothly. They do everything from maintaining gas turbine engines and operating the Aegis weapons system to driving the ship and operating small boats.

Though there are many ways for sailors to earn distinction in their command, community, and career, LaBuda is most proud of spending four months with the Chilean Navy on its tall ship learning how to sail and visiting different countries in Latin America in 2018.

Serving in the Navy is a continuing tradition of military service for LaBuda, who has family members who have previously served. Her father was a Navy pilot.

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M.A. Wingler February 21, 2019

U.S. Air Force Airman Marcus A. Wingler graduated from basic military training at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, San Antonio, Texas.

Wingler is the son of Tracy Wingler of Quarryville and Deanna Holbein of Lancaster. He is a 2018 graduate of Solanco High School.

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Bender Serves On Navy Ship February 20, 2019

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M.E. Glover February 18, 2019

U.S. Air Force Airman Marielle E. Glover graduated from basic military training at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, San Antonio, Texas. Airmen who complete basic training also earn four credits toward an associate in applied science degree through the Community College of the Air Force.

Glover is the daughter of Carol Glover of Christiana. She is a 2018 graduate of a homeschool program in Lancaster.

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Sheely Receives Medal February 8, 2019

Dr. Scott Sheely of Lancaster received the Pennsylvania Commendation Medal from Maj. Gen. Tony Carrelli, Pennsylvania's adjutant general and head of the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs (DMVA). The medal was presented to Sheely, who works for the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, under the direction of Gov. Tom Wolf, during Military, Veterans and Their Families Day at the 103rd Pennsylvania Farm Show on Jan. 10.

Sheely, a member of the Governor's Advisory Council for Veterans Services, has raised awareness of programs and has helped veterans transition from the military to a career in agriculture. According to the award citation, Sheely, who serves as the Special Assistant for Workforce Development with the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, "has distinguished himself through meritorious service as an instrumental partner and advocate for veterans on behalf of the Secretary of Agriculture. His experience and guidance have been invaluable assets in developing interest and fielding programs that are focused on assisting service members, veterans and their families explore careers in agriculture and related fields."

The citation specifically notes that Sheely's leadership brought together DMVA, Department of Agriculture, Department of Education, Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture, Northeast Equipment Dealers Association and Rodale University so the commonwealth could compete for a grant focused on enhancing agricultural opportunities for veterans.

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O.M. West January 25, 2019

U.S. Air Force Airman Olivia M. West has graduated from basic military training at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, San Antonio, Texas.

She is a 2018 graduate of Manheim Central High School.

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M. Dissinger January 25, 2019

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Meghan Dissinger graduated from basic military training at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, San Antonio, Texas.

The airman completed an intensive, eight-week program that included training in military discipline and studies, Air Force core values, physical fitness, and basic warfare principles and skills. Airmen who complete basic training also earn four credits toward an associate degree in applied science through the Community College of the Air Force.

Dissinger is the daughter of Ruth Ann and Wade Dissinger of Boiling Springs. She is the sister of Amanda Dissinger of Boiling Springs; Amy Beasley of Evans, Ga.; and Jason Most of Newport News, Va. The airman is a 2008 graduate of Hempfield High School.

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T. White January 24, 2019

Sgt. Timothy White from Narvon re-enlisted to continue service with Company C, 1-171st Aviation Regiment.

White is a member of the New York Army National Guard.

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Fort Indiantown Gap Active In 2018 January 24, 2019

For the third year, Fort Indiantown Gap, run by the Pennsylvania National Guard and Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, finished first out of 48 National Guard training centers located throughout the continental U.S. and Puerto Rico with the most training mandays for fiscal year 2018. In the year, the installation trained a total of more than 150,000 service members and federal, state, local, and international personnel, and it had more than 860,000 mandays. A manday is equal to one person training for one day.

At the core of the training installation's function is its range operations, including the simulations and range complex. In 2018, new initiatives to better train service members included adding an Operator Driving Simulator, breaking ground on the new Training Support Center Building, and hosting the Pennsylvania Best Warrior Competition and the Army National Guard Best Warrior Competition. The training and range operations section also participated in a range exchange program with the Pennsylvania National Guard's partner, Lithuania.

The logistics section, which manages the post warehouse, ammunition supply point, billeting, and supply and services, as well as the installation property book, supported the training. Tasks included a large inventory of equipment as well as providing barracks to training units and providing more than 56,000 transient quarters during the year. The ammunition supply point welcomed new supervisor Warrant Officer 1 Kaitlyn Beck and assisted in recycling more than 75,000 pounds of brass.

Morale, welfare, and recreation programs were provided. Fort Indiantown Gap hosted trial camps for men's volleyball and women's softball, and both teams won silver medals at the Armed Forces Tournaments.

The Fort Indiantown Gap Police Force provided support, security, and law enforcement for more than 3,800 incidents in the last year. The police force patrols approximately 50 square miles, 724 buildings, 61 miles of paved roads, and 121 miles of trails. The police remind community members that the officers use in-car camera systems and wear body cameras in order to protect the officers and those with whom they interact. The officers have noted there was a decrease in traffic violations in 2018, due to employees' and community members' increased awareness of speed limits and traffic control devices.

During fiscal year 2018, Fort Indiantown Gap Fire and Emergency Services responded to 518 incidents, including airfield, structural, wildland, hazardous materials, and emergency medical incidents. The organization participated in the state Voluntary Fire Fighter Certification Program, with 100 percent of personnel certified. Also, through Lebanon County EMA, Fort Indiantown Gap Fire and Emergency Services now carries naloxone on all apparatus that are licensed through the Pennsylvania Bureau of EMS.

Deputy Base Operations Manager David Weisnicht continued to spearhead the installation's Army Compatible Use Buffer program, which facilitated a large conservation easement.

The public affairs office launched a new community resource using the AlertPA platform to better inform the installation's neighbors of upcoming events that may affect them. The office continued to maintain a Facebook page, a community information line, a Flickr page, and the DVIDS news service, as well as responding to more than 100 public inquiries.

Fort Indiantown Gap continues to host or allow facilities to be used for a variety of events for local and civic organizations. Events included the Lebanon Valley Chamber of Commerce's annual breakfast and the rededication of a World War II monument.

The installation continues to offer environmental programs run by state employees with the Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs as well as members of the Pennsylvania National Guard. In addition to assisting with the Army Compatible Use Buffer Program, the employees won the 2018 Secretary of the Army Natural Resources Conservation Team Award. The forestry department also assisted in organizing a spotted lanternfly education event.

The Eastern Army National Guard Aviation Training Center supported multiple joint training events, such as water bucket training and hosting an aviator from the Royal Jordanian Air Force. Soldiers assigned to the Aviation Training Center took top honors in the Adjutant General's Combined Arms Match. The flight facility received a prestigious safety certification.

The installation hosted a variety of visitors, including National Guard Bureau Chief U.S. Air Force Gen. Joseph Lengyel, Lithuania's vice minister of defense, and the commander of the American Legion.

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Licklider Promoted To Colonel January 10, 2019

U.S. Marine Devin Licklider was recently promoted to colonel by Marine Corps Brig. Gen. Arthur Pasagian at the National Museum of the Marine Corps in Quantico, Va.

Licklider was a CH-46 pilot with 91 combat missions in Kosovo and Afghanistan. He also earned a Naval Commendation Medal for valor due to his actions while serving in Iraq with the 2nd Tank Battalion as a forward air controller.

Licklider is a graduat of Kutztown High School, Wilkes University, and the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, Calif. He is currently stationed at Headquarters Marine Corps in Quantico. He is married to Jade Meyer Licklider of Kutztown, and they have two children, Keely and Ireland.

Licklider is a third-generation Marine, with his father, Daniel, serving during the Vietnam War and his grandfather, Donald, having seen action on Okinawa during World War II and being recalled for the Korean War.

Present to congratulate his older brother during the promotion was U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Zachary Licklider. He is assigned to Air Defense Artillery (Patriot Missiles) and has been deployed to Qatar and Bahrain. He is presently stationed at Fort Bragg, N.C. He and his wife, Courtney Looks Licklider, graduated from Dallastown Area High School and have a son, Charlie.

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Carrelli, Weller Receive Awards November 21, 2018

On Nov. 5, the Pennsylvania Department of Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) presented Pennsylvania Adjutant General Anthony Carrelli and Deputy Adjutant General of Veterans Affairs Eric G. Weller with honorary VFW Eagle Awards for their outstanding leadership accomplishments. Major Gen. Carrelli and retired Major Gen. Weller were recognized by the state VFW for dedicating their lives to both serving in the military and managing how Pennsylvania supports its service members and veterans.

The presentation took place inside the Pennsylvania National Guard's Joint Forces Headquarters building in Annville, which also houses the administrative offices of the state Department of Military and Veterans Affairs (DMVA). The event was attended by command and support staff of the Pennsylvania National Guard as well as the state DMVA administrative team.

Carrelli was confirmed by the Senate of Pennsylvania as the 53rd adjutant general of Pennsylvania on June 29, 2016. In this cabinet-level position with the Pennsylvania DMVA, headquartered at Fort Indiantown Gap, Annville, Carrelli is responsible for the command, control and supervision of National Guard units - Army and Air - allocated to Pennsylvania, six state-owned veterans' homes and programs for Pennsylvania's nearly 800,000 veterans.

Carrelli is a 1985 graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy and a command pilot with more than 4,500 flying hours. During his 33-year career, Carrelli deployed in numerous operations, including Desert Storm, Southern Watch, Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom, and he served as commander of the 111th Fighter Wing in Horsham and the 171st Air Refueling Wing in Pittsburgh, as well as deputy adjutant general - air.

Weller was appointed deputy adjutant general for Veterans Affairs on Nov. 21, 2016. He supervises the administration of state veterans programs, outreach and reintegration and veteran initiatives for nearly 800,000 veterans and their dependents. Weller also oversees the operation of Pennsylvania's six veterans' homes.

Weller retired in August 2016 after more than 35 years of military service. Prior to retirement, he served as the deputy commander for mobilization and reserve affairs, United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM), MacDill Air Force Base, Florida. He has also commanded Air Force units at the Squadron, Group and Wing levels.

Weller's career includes participation in numerous operations in Grenada, Panama, Iraq, Haiti, Bosnia, Kosovo and Afghanistan.

The Pennsylvaniatate VFW also presents VFW Eagle Awards to Pennsylvania Guardians twice a year during the organization's State Convention and Mid-Winter Conference. Nominations for the award are routed through the adjutant general's office. Seventeen members of the Keystone State's Army and Air National Guard have received VFW Eagle Awards through these nominations. Additionally, the Pennsylvania VFW has chosen seven Guard officers or state agency officials to receive honorary VFW Eagle Awards.

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National Guard Unit Completes Mission November 15, 2018

The 28th Infantry Division's headquarters and headquarters battalion passed responsibility of Task Force Spartan (TFS) to the 34th Infantry Division during a transfer of authority (TOA) ceremony held on Nov. 12 at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait. As the 28th wraps up its nine-month deployment, the 34th begins serving as a division headquarters for roughly 10,000 soldiers conducting theater security operations in the Middle East.

Several hundred soldiers from both units observed as division leaders cased the 28th's colors, while the colors of the 34th were unfurled. Every command in the Army is represented by a distinctive flag, and the TOA ceremony signifies assumption of command and the continuity of the mission. According to the Pennsylvania Army National Guard, the 28th is its largest unit. The 34th consists primarily of soldiers from the Iowa and Minnesota National Guard.

Maj. Gen. Andrew Schafer, the 28th's commanding general, told the audience that as he and Command Sgt. Maj. John Jones of the 28th traveled around the TFS area of operations they were consistently impressed by the professional and dedicated soldiers they met at each location.

TFS represents the army component of Operation Spartan Shield (OSS), which is designed to maintain a U.S. military posture sufficient to strengthen U.S. defense relationships, build partner capacity and execute CENTCOM contingency plans if necessary. OSS is in its seventh year.

Lt. Gen. Michael Garrett, U.S. Army Central commander, said the division headquarters at the helm of TFS plays an important role in the security of a dynamic region. Garrett said the complex security environment of the region makes partnership and cooperation with regional militaries and members of the Gulf Cooperation Council ever more important. He acknowledged a group of military leaders from Kuwait and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in the ranks of those observing the ceremony.

TFS is a unique, multi-component organization made up of active Army and National Guard units and rounded out by U.S. Army Reserve support units.

Garrett thanked the Guard and Reserve soldiers for their selfless service and the personal time dedicated to being mission-ready. He asked the citizen-soldiers to pass along his thanks to families and employers.

The 28th's soldiers have begun the redeployment process this week and will process out of active service through Fort Hood, Texas. Most soldiers will return to their families sometime around the Thanksgiving holiday.

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C.D. Bailey October 22, 2018

Seaman recruit Cole D. Bailey graduated from basic training in the U.S. Navy on Sept. 21 in Great Lakes, Ill.

Bailey is the son of David II and Kristen Bailey of York. He is a 2018 graduate of Central York High School, where he participated in varsity cross-country and earned three varsity letters. He was also involved in the Air Force JROTC program, where he participated in Raider Team military competitions. His Raider Team earned numerous awards and traveled to Florida to participate in the National Fitness Challenge, where team members brought home three trophies and a certificate of excellence.

Bailey is now in Virginia for his "A" schooling.

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J.E. Thompson October 18, 2018

James E. Thompson graduated from Navy boot camp at Recruit Training Command, Great Lakes, Ill., on Oct. 12. James is the son of John Thompson and Heidi Thompson. He graduated from Oxford High School in 2018.

James represents the fourth generation of Navy members in his father's family and the fifth generation in his mother's family. Both his parents are Navy veterans. James' father was an EN3 on the USS Cole DDG 67 when it was attacked in Aden, Yemen, on Oct. 12, 2000, and James graduated from boot camp on the 18th anniversary of that attack.

James is now enrolled at CTI A school in Monetary, Calif., where he will learn Russian.

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J.E. Kleckner September 25, 2018

U.S. Air Force Airman Jazmine E. Kleckner graduated from basic military training at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, San Antonio, Texas. Airmen who complete basic training also earn four credits toward an Associate in Applied Science through the Community College of the Air Force.

Kleckner is the daughter of Joshua and Rachel Kleckner and granddaughter of Delroy Kleckner, all of Ephrata. She is a 2017 graduate of Conestoga Valley High School, Lancaster.

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Ryan Reflects On Battle Of Mogadishu September 21, 2018

The Battle of Mogadishu took place 25 years ago, but the details remain fresh in the mind of retired United States Army Maj. Timothy Ryan. "Not a day goes by that I don't think about being over there with my guys or something that happened over there," said Ryan. "I remember it so vividly."

The Battle of Mogadishu was fought on Oct. 3 and 4 in 1993 as various United States military elite special operations units were in Mogadishu, Somalia, to destabilize the government and bring humanitarian aid, along with the support of UNOSOM II (United Nations Operation in Somalia). Ultimately the goal of the mission was accomplished, but things became deadly during the Battle of Mogadishu. Details of the events were later published in the 1999 book "Black Hawk Down: A Story of Modern War" by Mark Bowden and portrayed in the 2001 movie "Black Hawk Down."

As part of Second Platoon, Charlie Company, 2-14th Infantry Regiment, 10th Mountain Division, Ryan was a part of the rescue force for the Battle of Mogadishu.

Ryan recalled being in the mess hall, and while the food on that deployment had been notoriously terrible, on that particular day the cooks told everyone how excited they were to have gotten pork chops to serve. The mood quickly changed when Ryan looked out a window and saw thick black smoke rising from the area of the Bakaara Market, a dangerous zone where Somali military commander and political leader Mohamed Farrah Aidid resided. Shortly afterward, the battalion commander informed them that one United States Black Hawk helicopter had crashed in the city and another had crashed about 1 mile south, leaving 99 United States military personnel trapped in the city.

"I gathered the guys and said if it were you, you'd want someone to do everything they could to get you out of there, so that's what we're going to do," stated Ryan. "I also told them that night was going to define their lives - whether they fought bravely or not."

Halfway through the city, the Humvee line that Ryan was part of was ambushed, forcing the soldiers to get out and defend themselves. From there, Alpha Company headed to the site of the first helicopter crash while Charlie Company went to the second crash site. Ryan said that when they arrived they learned that all of the men had been killed, with the exception of Chief Warrant Officer Michael Durant, a pilot who had been taken hostage.

"It had changed from search-and-rescue to being on the defensive," Ryan said. Sporadic fighting continued through the night, but at daybreak Ryan's unit headed for cover, as most operations are carried out under nightfall to help ensure safety and success.

"We were fighting against an entire city, but there was just no question about it: We weren't going to leave anyone behind," said Ryan. "(The Battle of Mogadishu) is a real testament to the American soldier and their resolve to not leave anyone behind."

Ryan emphasized that American soldiers are trained not only to fight battles, but to value and recognize humanity even in war. He noted that in Somalia, enemy combatants would use women and children as shields, sending them into the front battle lines. "They used the fact that we were decent people to their advantage," remarked Ryan. "But it is a deep-seeded American value that we fight with honor."

According to Ryan, the battle ended with 18 Americans dead and 78 wounded. "It was a really defining period of my life," Ryan said.

Ryan, who grew up in Lebanon, currently resides in Manheim with his wife, Gayle, and their three children. He will travel to Fort Drum, N.Y., in early October to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Battle of Mogadishu.

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D. Stone September 20, 2018

U.S. Air Force Reserve Airman 1st Class Dorrian Stone graduated from basic military training at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, San Antonio, Texas.

The airman completed an intensive, eight-week program that included training in military discipline and studies, Air Force core values, physical fitness, and basic warfare principles and skills.

Airmen who complete basic training also earn four credits toward an associate in applied science degree through the Community College of the Air Force.

Stone, the son of Angela Stone of Mountville, is a 2015 graduate of Lebanon High School.

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