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Fairchild turns 75

In wartime and peace, the crews of Fairchild Air Force Base have manned missile silos across Eastern Washington during the Cuban Missile Crisis, flown nuclear-armed B-52s at the height of the Cold War, and refueled aircraft for wars ranging from Kuwait in 1990-91 to Iraq and Afghanistan in recent years. Here’s a look back at the first 75 years of Fairchild Air Force Base’s storied history.

Faces of Fairchild: Airman 1st Class Christina Opfar

Opfar works in a room stuffed with medical records in Fairchild’s clinic for service members and veterans. A native of Las Vegas, Nevada, she’s tasked with helping patients navigate the health care system, often coordinating with outside providers to send and acquire records.

Faces of Fairchild: Staff Sgt. Stephon Sharief

It takes steady hands and intense focus to do Sharief’s job. Lying on his chest in the back of a Boeing KC-135 Stratotanker, he controls the boom that injects fuel into another airborne plane – while both aircraft are traveling at 350 mph. One mistake can be costly. If the boom touches anything but the intended fuel port, it can scratch a plane’s multimillion-dollar stealth paint job.

Faces of Fairchild: 1st Lt. Shanell Guardo

As the group practice manager at Fairchild’s medical clinic, Guardo handles the business side of health care. “I’m a numbers person,” said Guardo, who holds degrees in economics and business administration from East Carolina University. “My job is to match the patient with what they’re trying to buy.”

Faces of Fairchild: Capt. Cody Hoylman

Hoylman, a native of St. Petersburg, Florida, has wanted to fly planes since he was child. His grandfather served in three branches of the military and regularly brought him to air shows at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa. “It’s pretty much the reason I went to college,” said Hoylman, 28, who served in the ROTC at the University of South Florida.

Faces of Fairchild: Senior Airman Sable McCampbell

McCampbell is an analyst in the 92nd Maintenance Group, tasked with scheduling repairs for Fairchild’s fleet of Boeing KC-135 Stratotankers, which were built in the 1950s and ’60s. “These planes are old,” said McCampbell, who grew up in San Antonio, Texas.

Faces of Fairchild: 2nd Lt. Michael Brittan

Brittan’s job title – cyberspace maintenance officer for the 92nd Communication Squadron – sounds like something out of a science fiction movie. But he plays it down. “The comm squadron here is kind of like the IT department at any business,” said Brittan, a 25-year-old from Mattawan, Michigan, who became a commissioned officer in 2015.

Faces of Fairchild: Staff Sgt. Windham McSwain

As a specialist in Fairchild’s Equal Opportunity Office, McSwain said his goal is “to eradicate unlawful discrimination.” To do that, he coordinates human resources training, counseling and other services for Air Force employees.