Military News

Friday, August 14, 2015

Team Minot honors heritage, legacy of Chief Binnicker

by Staff Sgt. Malia Jenkins
Minot Air Force Base Public Affairs

8/14/2015 - MINOT AIR FORCE BASE, N.D. -- B-52H Stratofortress aircrew demonstrated Team Minot's respect and gratitude for 33 years of selfless service to the Ninth Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force, James C. Binnicker, during a flyover at his funeral at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia, today.

Binnicker served in the Air Force's top enlisted position from July 1, 1986, to July 31, 1990. During his tenure, he led the transformation from the Airman Performance Report to the Enlisted Performance Report and developed the performance feedback system. He also worked to have master sergeants admitted to the Senior NCO Academy and to increase the opportunities for minorities and women throughout the Air Force.

Binnicker retired Aug. 1, 1990, but his heart never left the Air Force, Senior Master Sgt. Lee E. Hoover Jr. said in a remembrance article. He continued traveling around the world to speak with Airmen in different forums, including professional military education courses. In 2000, he was selected as the CEO and President of the Air Force Enlisted Village in Shalimar, Florida, and spent the next 15 years working tirelessly to provide more than 400 residents a loving, secure place to call home, he added.

To honor Binnicker and his multitude of accomplishments to better the Air Force and its Airmen, Team Minot plans to name one of their dormitories after him. They also flew a lithograph from the 5th Bomb Wing command chief's office in one of the aircraft to eventually hang in the Binnicker Dorm.

"Flying the lithograph is a unique circumstance that presented itself as if by magic. Several months ago, I arrived at the office to see the litho leaning against the couch with no notes or indication where it came from, and I haven't found out yet," said Chief Geoff Weimer, 5th Bomb Wing command chief. "So, I proudly hung it on the wall without much more thought. More recently, our local Air Force Sergeants Association Chapter expressed interest in memorializing one of our two remaining unnamed dorms in honor of Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force Binnicker. I put some thought into flying different items over the funeral to eventually be unveiled at a dedication ceremony, but didn't have a solid plan."

As if by magic once again, Col. Jason Armagost, 5th Bomb Wing commander, walked into his office one morning and within seconds said, "So, he was the sitting Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force at the time this litho was produced and signed?"

Weimer said the proverbial light came on and the next priority became clear -- get the circa 1990 lithograph, signed by the surviving eight of the nine Chief Master Sergeants of the Air Force, on that flight!

"Signed by Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force Binnicker during his tenure, flown over his funeral ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery and eventually placed on the wall of a building named in his honor, what more solemn significance could you ask for?" Weimer said.

Showing the dedication of bomber Airmen once again, three of Minot's dedicated professionals and leaders flew the lithograph from Weimer's office during the flyover: Senior Airman Taylor Lancaster, 5th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron crew chief, Staff Sgt. Brandon Spencer, 5th AMXS crew chief and Senior Airman Jason Frunzi, 5th Civil Engineer Squadron structural apprentice.

Frunzi was hand-picked as an additional member to fly in the aircraft because of his hard work, dedication and selflessness.

"Senior Airman Frunzi is a strong and selfless representation of the 24/7 professional ethic we strive to achieve as Airmen. He is a tireless technician, leader of fellow Airmen and community servant," Weimer said.

"Bomber Airmen put their blood, sweat and tears into the mission at home and abroad every day. They do it with the knowledge that so much of what we enjoy as Airmen today is the result of passionate advocacy from iconic leaders before us like Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force Binnicker," Weimer said. "The Warbirds are giving a huge vitamin shot to our understanding of how heritage complements and propels our mission, vision and priorities. Putting our tail flash in the skies over Arlington bridged the gap between our hard-working Airmen and the giants whose shoulders we stand on."

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