‘A huge honor’: Lt. Col. Andrew Hazelton is ‘military guest of honor’ at today’s Armed Forces Day Celebration
Lt. Col. Andrew Hazelton, a Grass Valley resident stationed at Beale Air Force Base, has been chosen as the military guest of honor for today’s Armed Forces Day Celebration in downtown Grass Valley.
Today, at the age of 41, his worldwide military experience includes 11 deployments and more than 3,000 combat hours in support of Operations Iraqi Freedom, Enduring Freedom (the Global War on Terrorism) and Inherent Resolve (the international military intervention against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL).
“This is a huge honor — I am totally humbled. Active duty originally brought me to Beale, but once I went into the Air Force Reserve, I had the option to live elsewhere. My wife and I chose Grass Valley — we love it — we’ve lived here for nine years,” said Hazelton. “We’re raising four kids and are currently moving into a new home.”
Hazelton is commander of the 314 Air Refueling Squadron at Beale Air Force Base. While he is now in the Air Force Reserve, he is currently on full-time status. He oversees daily operations of 55 personnel and eight KC-135 refueling aircraft and executes Secretary of Defense, Joint Chiefs of Staff, and U.S. Transportation command-directed tanker tasks worldwide.
Hazelton was a self-proclaimed “farm kid” who grew up on a 700-acre dairy farm in rural Pennsylvania, which included tending to 300 head of cattle. He woke up at 3 a.m. every morning to finish his chores in time for school. By the time he hit his teens, he dreamed of getting off the farm and seeing the world. When he found out he had been admitted to Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Dayton Beach, Florida, he jumped at the chance. While he worked hard to earn a bachelor’s degree in engineering physics, “doing the nerd thing,” he said he became increasingly intrigued with flying.
“I caught the bug — all my friends were in the flying program and my wife also became a pilot,” Hazelton said. “It seemed like a lot more fun than physics. I’ve been flying my whole career.”
TRUSTED TEAM MEMBER
He went on to become a commissioned U.S. Air Force ROTC distinguished graduate and entered 12 years of active duty service. He took on a broad spectrum of roles, including overseeing training and standards, as well as serving as an executive officer, flight commander, assistant director of operations, chief pilot and Combined Air Operations Center liaison officer. He was also an instructor and was deployed in KC-135 and MC-12 aircraft.
“I chose Lieutenant Colonel Hazelton (as guest speaker) because he is one of the most trusted members of my team of commanders and I know he will do an outstanding job representing the amazing men and women of the 940th Air Refueling Wing,” said Col. Erik L. Aufderheide, 940th Air Refueling Wing Commander at Beale Air Force Base. “Whenever I need something, I call on Lieutenant Colonel Hazelton to get it done. He will accomplish the mission with professionalism and expertise, the first time, every time.”
Beale’s Public Affairs Chief, Maj. Denise Hauser, echoed Aufderheide’s sentiments.
“There is a well known truth here at Beale that if you want something done, you go to Lieutenant Colonel Hazelton,” she said. “He’s a natural leader. I’ve never seen him in a bad mood. He’s always willing to help out. He’ll step in when he’s needed, but also knows when to step back and let others be in charge. He’s been a real mentor to the airmen.”
Accompanying Hazelton today will be Chief Master Sgt. Dan McCarthy, a seven-year Grass Valley resident. He is the 940th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron superintendent at Beale. When a military commander or officer goes out to an event such as today’s Armed Forces Day, it’s customary to bring a senior enlisted member. While Hazelton is representing the officer force for the 940th, McCarthy is representing the enlisted force.
After today’s festivities, Hazelton and his wife, Laura, will continue moving boxes into their new home near the Nevada County Fairgrounds. In tow will be their four children, ages 13, 11, 8 and 4.
“Whenever I drive my kids to the dentist, I pass by the Gold Star Memorial Bridge, the Grass Valley Veterans Memorial Building, and just down the road is Memorial Park,” said Hazelton. “It means a lot to live in a town that honors those of us who have served. We don’t have any extended family here, but we’re definitely staying. I plan to retire here.”
To contact Staff Writer Cory Fisher, email her at email@example.com
11 a.m.: Opening colors
11:20 a.m.: Beale Air Force Base flyover
11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.: Air Force Band
11:30 to noon: Army showcase
Noon to 12:30 p.m.: USMC showcase
Noon to 2 p.m.: Lunch
1 p.m.: USCG flyover
1 to 1:30 p.m.: USCG showcase
2 to 2:15 p.m.: Swearing-in ceremony
2:15 to 2:30 p.m.: Leadership award
2:30 to 3:30 p.m.: Air Force Band
2:30 p.m.: USSF showcase
3 to 3:30 p.m.: USN showcase
3:30 to 4 p.m.: U.S. Army showcase
3:55 p.m.: Closing colors ceremony
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