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Airman renames base paper with historic tie

Senior Airman Aaron Hatfield, 23rd Logistics Readiness Squadron, rides  his motorcycle that is custom-painted to resemble a B-17G aircraft. Airman Hatfield’s entry, The Volunteer, was selected as the new name for the base paper. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Leticia Hopkins)

Senior Airman Aaron Hatfield, 23rd Logistics Readiness Squadron, rides his motorcycle that is custom-painted to resemble a B-17G aircraft. Airman Hatfield’s entry, The Volunteer, was selected as the new name for the base paper. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Leticia Hopkins)

MOODY AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. -- For some it's all in the name. A recent base newspaper name search submission not only brought out a little Air Force tradition, but also some of the 23rd Wing's history. 

Senior Airman Aaron Hatfield, 23rd Logistics Readiness Squadron vehicle and equipment maintenance journeyman, submitted The Volunteer, as the new name for the base paper; replacing The Guardian today. 

"I was shocked," said Airman Hatfield. "I'm proud I was able to give a submission that was my choice and brings the history of the 23rd (Wing) back." 

The Volunteer was one of the four names Airman Hatfield suggested. Prior to submitting his entries, he researched Moody's new wing. One of the historical facets he found interesting was the fact everyone attached to the 23rd Wing was a volunteer - from its original members to the Airmen of today. 

"Being a (Valdosta State University) history major and a World War II buff, I thought looking into the new wing's lineage would be a great way to rename our base paper," said Airman Hatfield. "'The Flying Tigers' were comprised of Army, Army Air Forces, Navy and Marine Corps pilots. They volunteered to fly over China and Burma during World War II, and flew the P-40 Warhawk aircraft." 

As the first group to fight the Japanese after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, they were feared by their adversaries, said Airman Hatfield. 

"The trademark 'Shark Face' was painted on all aircraft and is continued today on the A-10 Thunderbolt II 'Warthog' aircraft flown in present-day missions," he added. "They were originally known as the American Volunteer Group but were commonly referred to as A.V.G." 

The term volunteer still fits today's Airmen, said Airman Hatfield. Many Airmen join for patriotic reasons - to serve their country and to receive training. 

Col. Joe Callahan, 23rd Wing commander, couldn't agree more. 

"The new name fits the wing to a 'T'," said Colonel Callahan. "The reason I liked it include: the AVG background of the wing, the fact the United States Air Force is an all-volunteer force and this wing is known for volunteering." 


Airman Hatfield, an Elgin, Ill., native, has served in the Air Force for eight years and has been stationed here for two of them. His grandfather and father both served in the Army, so he always knew he would join the military one day, he said. 

Along with history, Airman Hatfield is a motorcycle and car enthusiast. He is a part of the local Moody Enthusiasts Riders Group. At one point, he decided to combine two of his interests, motorcycles and history. 

Airman Hatfield researched the 100th Bomb Group, which is now the 100th Air Refueling Wing at Royal Air Force Mildenhall, England. The group piqued his interest because he found out they are the only active unit today still flying with its original World War II tail marking. 

After he completed his research he had his 2004 Harley-Davidson motorcycle custom-painted to honor the B-17G aircraft. 

Now, with his bike and the renaming of the base paper, Airman Hatfield is closer to bringing a little history to the present. 

"In researching the 23rd Wing, the World War II generation is known as the greatest generation on earth," said Airman Hatfield. "At the same time, we're also dubbed the world's greatest Air Force. 

"So, I don't think we need to focus on exceeding or doing better than they did, it's just a matter of carrying on the tradition," he added.