Kentucky Airmen honored for exceptional performance at officer training school

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Story by Maj. Shawn Dawley, 123rd Operations Group

2nd Lt. Nick Reinke (center), a pilot trainee in the Kentucky Air National Guard 165th Airlift Squadron, salutes the commandant of the Academy of Military Science during a graduation parade March 3, 2011, for newly commissioned Air Force officers at Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala. Lieutenant Reinke was named Distinguished Graduate of his class and was selected by his peers to serve as Officer Candidate Wing Commander. He is slated to begin Undergraduate Pilot Training at Columbus Air Force Base, Miss., in June. (Courtesy photo)

The two newest officers in the Kentucky Air National Guard’s 123rd Operations Group recently brought home top honors from the Academy of Military Science, the primary commissioning school for National Guard Airmen.

While earning his commission, 2nd Lt. Nick Reinke was selected by his peers and faculty members to serve as Officer Candidate Wing Commander for the 110-student training cadre, and he eventually went on to earn the title of Distinguished Graduate. During the same class, 2nd Lt. Kenneth Lukens achieved a perfect score on the AMS physical fitness test, maxing out each category of strength and stamina.

Both lieutenants were recognized for their accomplishments during an AMS graduation ceremony, held March 3 at Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala.

Prior to attending AMS, Lieutenant Lukens was an Air Force pararescueman assigned to the 23rd Special Tactics Squadron at Hurlburt Field, Fla. He later joined the Kentucky Air Guard’s 123rd Special Tactics Squadron and has deployed overseas numerous times in support of multiple contingency operations while completing a bachelor’s degree through American Military University.

In the coming months, Lieutenant Lukens will begin training as a special tactics officer, where his physical conditioning and leadership will once again be put to the test, said Lt. Col. Jeff Wilkinson, commander of the 123rd Special Tactics Squadron. Upon graduation from the intense training program, Lieutenant Lukens will return to the 123rd STS.

“Ken consistently performs at the top level and is off to a great start to meet our high expectations of him in becoming a Special Tactics Officer,” Colonel Wilkinson said.

Lieutenant Reinke entered military service in May 2003 when he enlisted in the Kentucky Air National Guard. Following Basic Military Training, he completed the Operations Intelligence Apprentice course at Goodfellow Air Force Base, Texas, where he was recognized as a Distinguished Graduate. Upon his return to the Kentucky Air Guard, he was assigned to the 123rd Operations Support Flight as an intelligence analyst. During his enlisted career, Lieutenant Reinke rose to the rank of technical sergeant and went on to become NCOIC of the intelligence section, deploying in support of Operations Joint Enterprise, Coronet Oak and Enduring Freedom.

Lieutenant Reinke will begin Undergraduate Pilot Training at Columbus Air Force Base, Miss., in June and will be assigned to the Kentucky Air Guard’s 165th Airlift Squadron after completing the 18-month course.

“Lieutenant Reinke was an outstanding NCO and did amazing things for the intelligence section,” said his former supervisor, Maj. Kevin Krauss. “I was not at all surprised to see him leading from the front because that is what he’s always done. I’m looking forward to seeing the great things he will do in his officer career.”

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