148th Fighter Wing Held Awards and Retirement Ceremony

DULUTH, Minn. —“The great thing about speaking to you bulldogs is that I don’t ever have to worry about having enough material for my speech,” opened keynote speaker and Assistant Adjutant General of the Minnesota Air National Guard Daniel E. Gabrielli.

The 148th Fighter Wing held its annual award and retirement ceremony. With awards ranging from Air Force Association Recognition, Pilot of the Year, Company Grade Officer of the Year, Honor Airmen of the Year, and recognizing those who graduated from the Community College of the Air Force, and those who retired. 

“You airmen of the 148th simply produce and produce such great efforts. Whenever it’s deployments, accomplishments, alert coverage, or to accomplish missions you never thought we would ask to be accomplished. You are truly, multi-capable air men to the core,” said Gabrielli.

The ceremony started off recognizing the Air National Guard’s 2022. Showing off the accomplishments of those brave 500 that parted ways with Duluth and were deployed to ten different countries. 

The Air Force Association then recognized those enlisted who inspire leadership, personal achievement, job performance, and community involvement.

“The 148th Fighter Wing, part of the Minnesota Air National Guard, we’re a professional organization so we’re striving to be better everyday, and part of that is education,” said Cornel Wing Commander of the 148 Fighter Wing Nathan Aysta. “We go through professional military education and we also try to encourage our members to get further degrees so that they can be better citizen airmen.”

The ceremony also recognized those who went on dual duty with serving in the Air National Guard while continuing their education. For many veterans at the event, they recognized that the newer

“How amazing our young airmen are. These airmen come to work, they’re excited to come to work, they’re excited to serve their state and country and it’s great just to highlight that. These airmen are willing to deploy for their nation when called upon. And that’s what we recognize for today,” said Aysta.

The retirement ceremony was equally joyous as it was somber. With these airmen putting in 20 plus years into serving. 

“Well obviously, I can’t say enough about our retirees. There were probably 3-400 years worth of experience on this stage,” said 1st Sergeant of the Maintenance Squadron Benjamin Riorban. “Some of those people were here for over 30 years, which is crazy to think of what 30 years of serving in the air guard consisted of and how much they contributed. I would say that was our main priority is to honor these people.”

38 members of the 148th Fighter Wing retired as of today, with a huge legacy for the younger generation to fill. But with the bond of the 148th Fighter Wing, keynote speaker Daniel Gabrielle isn’t worried about what the future holds for these airmen.

“What I really learned is that this generation of airmen are doing just fine. And I’ll actually say that they are doing amazing. I feel like I’ll leave this Airforce knowing we have a great foundation of young talent moving in to take my generation’s place,” said Gabrielle.

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