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315 AW paper airplanes take flight at JB Charleston

Capt. Alex Arntz, standard and evaluation program manager with the 315th Operational Support Squadron here, at left, Cadet Oliver Smith with Air Force ROTC at Clemson University, middle, and Senior Airman Justin Lacefield, aerospace propulsion specialist with the 437th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, right, earned the top three awards in the Paper Wings airtime competition sponsored by Red Bull April 13, 2019 at Joint Base Charleston, S.C. The winner, Smith, built a plane that had a hang time of 5.69 seconds. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class William Brugge)

Chief Master Sgt. Matt Proietti, superintendent of the 4th Combat Camera Squadron, throws a paper airplane at the Red Bull Paper Plane competition April 13, 2019 at Joint Base Charleston, S.C. Proietti competed in the distance portion of the competition. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class William Brugge)

Aerospace ground equipment maintainers with the 315th Maintenance Squadron build paper airplanes for the Paper Wings competition at Joint Base Charleston, S.C., April 13, 2019. The airman said they enjoyed the morale event. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class William Brugge)

Cadets from Air Force ROTC Detachment 770 at Clemson University were able to participate in the Paper Wings competition April 13, 2019. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class William Brugge)

JOINT BASE CHARLESTON, S.C. --

The 315th Airlift Wing and Red Bull hosted the Red Bull Paper Wings competition, a qualifier for the world paper airplane championships in Austria, April 13 here.

"Events like this gets everyone out of the office to really be able to laugh with one another and enjoy the company of your wingman, or in this case, laugh at them," said Tech. Sgt. Andrew Trotter, a maintainer with the 315th Maintenance Squadron here.

The competition ran deep, as many Joint Base Charleston Airmen came out to show their skills for a chance of winning a spot to compete as a professional paper-airplane engineer in the Red Bull Paper Wings World Final at Salzburg, Austria, in May.

Senior Airman Justin Lacefield, aerospace propulsion specialist with the 437th Maintenance Squadron here and Paper Wings participant, said, "It's a great feeling to have an uneventful day and then show up to win a competition!"

Airmen and leadership alike tried their skills in the competition and were able to flex their paper-airplane design talents. It was an excellent opportunity for Joint Base Charleston to enjoy team building, comradery and one another's company.

"My chief came out to support us in a unique and fun way, that was a huge morale boost," said Staff Sgt. Danny Beckwith, a crew chief with the 476th Maintenance Squadron, Moody Air Force Base, Georgia. Beckwith drills with the 315th Aircraft Mantenance Squadron here.

While in line to try their odds, Airmen spoke of similar on-base events that drew them out to the event.

"This event reminds me of old times when we used to do team-building activities all the time," said Tech. Sgt. Mike Bouis, a fuels specialist with the 315th Logistics Readiness Squadron here and Paper Wings participant. Bouis has been a part of the Charleston team for over 25 years.

With the help of the staff members, who had folded their fair share of paper airplanes, there were two categories of distance and aerobatics for participants to enter. Most staff members had never interacted with the military community and were excited to see the event come together.
One sponsor staff member said, "From someone who isn't familiar with the military, this event shows what a big family it is here."

After a C-17 Globemaster III orientation flight and  base tour, visiting Clemson University ROTC Cadets joined the festivities to show off the future of the Air Force.

"This event makes me very excited to commission into the Air Force," said Vince Szczepanik, participant and ROTC cadet from Clemson University.

All in all, the competition brought future Airmen and seasoned veterans together for a fun-filled evening.

"On-base events like these bring us together," said Staff Sgt. Edward Mims, fuels journeyman with the 315th LRS. "To show that what we do here is more than just work, we're an Air Force family."

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