George Alston is a lieutenant colonel with the 109th Airlift Wing in Scotia. He is the chief of air crew training and an LC-130 instructor pilot.
Lt. Col. Alston has been flying airplanes in the Air Force since 1989. He joined the 109th Airlift Wing in 1998.
Since he has been in the 109th, Alston has flown an LC-130 on skis to Antarctica and Greenland. The skis are over the wheels of the plane. They allow the plane to land on snow and ice.
He has also flown a C-130 all over the world, including Afghanistan. He has flown 67 combat sorties and more than 200 trips to the South Pole. A sortie is an airplane flight for a combat mission.
The purpose of Alston’s flights to and around Antarctica is to fly the scientists who are from the National Science Foundation and other scientific organization from place to place. The scientists that he flies research the cause and effect of global climate change.
“My job is interesting not just because of the exciting places I get to visit but also because of the interesting people I get to work with,” Alston says. “They make the job a lot of fun.”
As the chief of air crew training, Alston makes sure that people know how to do their jobs. That includes the pilots, navigators, flight engineers, loadmasters, flight nurses and aeromedical technicians of the 109th Airlift Wing.
Alston also does a lot of volunteer work. He is the chairman of the Schenectady Chamber Foundation, which focuses on business education and leadership development programs that support people from high school to adults. He is also a mentor at Yates Elementary School.
“I think it is important to volunteer. I enjoy the work, and what better way to pay back the community than to help develop the next generation?” he says.
In his spare time, Alston enjoys running and spending time with his wife and five children. He is also my father, and I am very proud of him.