LAUGHLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Texas --
1st Lt. Kimberly Bray, 434th Flying Training Squadron T-6A instructor pilot and flight scheduler, was chosen by wing leadership to be the “XLer” of the week, for the week of April 8, 2019, at Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas.
The “XLer” award, presented by Col. Lee Gentile, 47th Flying Training Wing commander, is given to those who consistently make outstanding contributions to their unit and the Laughlin mission.
Bray boosted morale for more than 70 instructor pilots and their families by taking on the role of her squadron’s military wellness and recreation officer. Upon taking the position, she managed a $12,000 budget, added $1,200 more to the pot, and earned the “volunteer of the quarter” award for quarter one of 2019
“I want to be the person in charge making sure everyone [inbound to the squadron] has their name tags, Friday patches, T-shirts, and knows what the squadron is like,” she said. “It seems like such a little thing, but I think it’s so important that when they show up it’s like ‘hey man, we have been waiting for you, so we got everything ready for you, good-to-go, to be a part of the 434th.’”
She also coached more than 50 high school students during the high school swim season, not only helping students reach their physical fitness goals but also helping some of those teens who were at high risk.
“For me, I don’t know if I would have had the same drive I had if I hadn’t participated in sports, so being able to give that back is amazing.” she said. “It’s also important that we show the community that there’s more to us than just driving back and forth between bases. They don’t see us and interact with us on base, so it’s important we maintain a good report with the local community.”
Bray helped schedule 63 events, 20 of which she instructed. She also flew more than 27 hours and ensured on-track training for eight student pilots.
Being a first assignment instructor pilot, she was excited to be able to teach inbound students in the specialized undergraduate pilot training program how to fly the T-6 Texan II. Bray is also the second in her family to be a FAIP, following in the footsteps of her father.
“It’s awesome because we see a huge learning curve—going from first starting the engine to flying ten feet away from each other,” she said. “Phase II is all about building confidence and Airmanship in the aircraft.”
For her work in keeping spirits high, making inbound Airmen to the 434th feel welcome, volunteering in the local community, and going above-and-beyond in her daily tasks, Bray has earned this week’s XLer.