NEWS | Oct. 23, 2019

Rivals Turned Wingmen Take Flight

By Capt. Veronica Perez 15th Wing Public Affairs

JOINT BASE PEARL-HARBOR, Hawaii -- The skies aligned for two pilots and former college football players who were able to support their alma maters in a once-in-a-lifetime way on game day. Maj. Britton Komine, 204th Airlift Squadron, and Capt. Nathaniel Dreslinski, 535th Airlift Squadron, flew the C-17 Globemaster III over Aloha Stadium Saturday, Oct. 19, to demonstrate the power of the Air Force’s most flexible cargo aircraft at the U.S. Air Force Academy versus the University of Hawaii football game.

It has been 15 years since Komine played as wide receiver for the Rainbow Warriors and four years since Dreslinski played for the Falcons as a tight end. As former players, the pilots appreciate the significance of their time on the field and the duties they perform around the globe.

“I took a lot of lessons learned from playing at the University of Hawaii, went through a lot of trials and tribulations and was able to get here and have a good career so far flying this awesome aircraft,” said Komine. “Part of our mission is empowering whoever we can fit in the back of our aircraft—whether it’s for humanitarian relief or airborne troops from the Army, Navy Seals, or cargo and personnel, we can deliver them anywhere in the world.”

Komine is assigned to the Hawaii Air National Guard 154th Wing, while Dreslinski is active-duty in the 15th Wing. The units seamlessly and routinely work together to accomplish the global airlift mission in the Indo-Pacific theater. Leveraging capabilities and honing interoperability to fully integrate Guard and Reserve personnel strengthens mission sets across the Air Force.

Dreslinski called it when asked who he thought would win the game before taking off for the flight, modestly choosing his USAFA Falcons. For him, flying over the game was an accomplishment for the entire TFI aircrew that shows how the Guard and active duty are on one team.

“It was truly an incredible experience to be fortunate enough to fly this line with such an incredible team,” he said. “The total force integration we have as airlift squadrons is a key part in the success of our mission.”

The Falcons defeated the Rainbow Warriors with a final score of 56-26, but for Dreslinski and Kommine, the real victory is being able to fly along with Airmen in the world’s greatest Air Force.