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John K.
Republican NY 24

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  • Tribute to Senior Master Sergeant Ronald Carl Houghtalen

    by Representative John Katko

    Posted on 2015-02-10

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    KATKO of new york in the house of representatives Tuesday, February 10, 2015 Mr. KATKO. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to honor the career of Senior Master Sergeant Ronald Carl Houghtalen. A native of Binghamton, New York and currently a resident of Clay, New York, who subsequently has more than 34 years of military service with the United States Air Force and New York Air National Guard. Sergeant Houghtalen has been decorated with numerous medals, awards, and service distinctions and will retire from military service on 1 December 2014. It is my honor to recognize such a distinguished citizen and airman.

    Sergeant Houghtalen began his military career in the United States Air Force, in September of 1981. On completion of basic training at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, in October 1981, Sergeant Houghtalen began technical school training as an Electronic Warfare Systems Specialist at Keesler Air Force Base, Biloxi, Mississippi. In September 1982, he was assigned to the 416th Bombardment Wing, Strategic Air Command as an Electronic Warfare Systems Specialist, at Griffiss Air Force Base, New York. He began on-the-job training for his five-skill level on the B-52G ``Buff'' aircraft and remained in that position until November 1984.

    In November 1984, Sergeant Houghtalen was reassigned to the 81st Tactical Fighter Wing, Tactical Air Command, Flight-line Branch, Royal Air Force Bentwaters-Woodbridge, England, in support of United States Air Forces in Europe operations. While assigned with the 81st Component Repair Squadron, he performed duties as Electronic Warfare Systems Technician and Phase Dock Supervisor on the A-10A ``Warthog'' aircraft, which provided Offensive-Defensive Electronic Counter-measures and Close Air Support of ground forces and battlefield air interdiction in support of NATO ground forces.

    After completion of his tour in November 1986, Sergeant Houghtalen was reassigned to the 379th Bombardment Wing, Strategic Air Command, Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, Wurtsmith Air Force Base, Michigan. He was assigned as an Electronic Warfare Systems Technician Supervisor performing integrated jamming systems maintenance and supervision of B- 52H advanced Electronic Warfare systems troubleshooting and repair. He was also selected to assist with the research and development of a new automated Electronic Warfare system and automatic and Semi-Automatic Support Equipment that would enhance Electronic Warfare maintenance and aircraft protection systems for the B-52H aircraft. Upon completion of his second active duty tour in March of 1990, Sergeant Houghtalen transferred to the 174th Tactical Fighter Wing, Aircraft Maintenance Branch, Avionics Maintenance Squadron, New York Air National Guard, Hancock Field in Syracuse, New York, and was assigned as an Electronic Warfare Technician and Integrated Avionics Maintenance Technician on the F-16A/B ``Falcon'' aircraft.

    On 17 August 2006, as the Logistics Readiness Flight Superintendent, Sergeant Houghtalen volunteered for an Air Expeditionary Force deployment in support of the Global War on Terrorism and was tasked to assemble, organize and deploy the first Redeployment Action Team to Ali Al Salem Air Base, Kuwait. Assigned to the 386th Expeditionary Mission Support Group, he coordinated the arrival and off-load of cargo from three Air National Guard Wings transported by Sealift Command to Ali Al Salem AB and the on-load of cargo to C-130 aircraft for intra-theater airlift, in support of combat operations throughout Iraq and Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. On 19 February 2007, Sergeant Houghtalen returned to active duty to redeploy with his Team to Ali Al Salem AB for his ninth overseas tour where he successfully redeployed all cargo used down range, in support of combat operations, and returned it to the respective Air National Guard Wings throughout the United States.

    Sergeant Houghtalen was employed as a 174th Fighter Wing Air National Guard Technician from May 1990 to January 2010. He held positions in the 174th Maintenance Squadron as an Integrated Avionics Maintenance Technician, 174th Maintenance Group as the Maintenance Operations Center Superintendent, 174th Fighter Wing as the Wing Plans Superintendent and the 174th Logistics Readiness Squadron as the Logistics Readiness Flight Superintendent for F-16 and MQ-9 aircraft. On 2 January 2010 he transferred from his full-time technician position to the Department of Defense, Defense Contract Management Agency and remained a member of the 174th Fighter Wing as a Traditional Guardsman. In March 2011, Sergeant Houghtalen transferred assignment to Joint Forces Headquarters (JFHQ), Latham, New York.

    His last military assignment was with Joint Forces Headquarters-New York as the Domestic Operations Services Superintendent, Joint Task Force-5/FEMA Region II. While assigned, he performed duties with the Joint Exercise Control Group to plan, conduct, educate and train Joint Task Force-5 and supporting state, county and local emergency agency managers. He functioned as part of the Services Command and Control Headquarters Staff that responds to Homeland Defense and Civil Support within and outside the Continental United States contingency operations. Between 13 and 20 May 2012, Sergeant Houghtalen led New York Air National Guard Services members to provide lodging and feeding support for over 400 support personnel during a Homeland Response Force Exercise conducted in Oriskany, New York. He was ordered to State Active Duty between 29 October and 14 November by the Governor, in response to Hurricane Sandy at Joint Forces Headquarters, New York, and assigned to Joint Operations Center J1 Staff responsible for Manpower status and reporting in support of relief operations.

    In January 2013, Sergeant Houghtalen deployed to Washington DC where he provided mission support for the 57th Presidential Inauguration as a key member of the Joint Task Force-J4, playing a pivotal role in the logistics operation, providing critical transportation and sustainment contingency planning for the movement of over 6000 personnel and several tons of cargo. From 22 April to 3 May 2014, Sergeant Houghtalen provided direct support [[Page E182]] during the Headquarters Reserve Forces Exercise conducted in Oriskany, NY. Where he planned, organized, and executed operations, providing leadership and logistical coordination for twelve Services Support personnel from five New York Air National Guard Wings, successfully demonstrating contingency support capabilities in a Domestic Operations environment utilizing the Disaster Response Mobile Kitchen Trailer and their ability to respond to a Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear event for Federal Emergency Management Agency Region II HRF, Joint Task-5, Joint Forces Headquarters, New York. He completed his military career and retired on 1 December 2014 after more than 34 years combined service, with nearly 10 years of Federal Active Duty and the remainder with the New York Air National Guard.

    Sergeant Houghtalen holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Management, Cum Laude, Columbia College, Associate of Arts Degree in Management, Columbia College, Associate Degree in Business Administration and Logistics Management, Community College of the Air Force, Associates Degree in Applied Science, Avionics Systems Technology, Community College of the Air Force. He is a graduate of the United States Air Force Senior Air Force Noncommissioned Officer Academy, Air Force Noncommissioned Officer Academy, and the Air Force Noncommissioned Officer Leadership School where he received the Commandant's Award.

    Sergeant Houghtalen's military decorations include the Meritorious Service Medal with one oak leaf cluster; the Air Force Commendation Medal, with one oak leaf cluster; the Air Force Achievement Medal; and the Army Achievement Medal. His military unit and achievement awards include the Joint Meritorious Unit Award, one oak leaf cluster; the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with Combat ``V'' device and six oak leaf clusters; the Air Force Good Conduct Medal, with two oak leaf clusters; and the Air Reserve Forces Meritorious Service Medal, with seven oak leaf clusters. His military campaign and service awards include the National Defense Service Medal, with one bronze service star; the Armed Forces Expeditionary Service Medal; the Southwest Asia Service Medal, with three bronze campaign stars; the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal; the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal; the Air Force Overseas Long Service-Long Tour Ribbon, the Air Force Longevity Service Ribbon, with seven oak leaf clusters; the Armed Forces Reserve Medal with silver hourglass device, mobilization ``M'' device, and numeral ``9''; the Noncommissioned Officer Professional Military Education Ribbon with three oak leaf clusters; the Small Arms Expert Marksmanship Ribbon with one service star device; and the Air Force Training Ribbon. Sergeant Houghtalen's Foreign Service awards include the Kuwait Liberation Medal from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia with Palm device and the Kuwait Liberation Medal from the Government of Kuwait.

    Sergeant Houghtalen also holds the following New York State awards and decorations: the New York State Long and Faithful Service Award, with one gold shield device; the New York State Desert Storm Service Medal; New York State Operation Iraqi Freedom Ribbon; New York State Operation Enduring Freedom Ribbon; the New York State Defense of Liberty Medal; New York State Conspicuous Service Cross; the Medal for Humane Service to New York State. He also holds service awards from other states that include the Mississippi Emergency Service Medal for Operation Vigilant Guard Relief, Hurricane Katrina; the District of Columbia National Guard Community Service Ribbon in support of the 57th Presidential Inauguration.

    His effective dates of promotion are: Airman--17 October 1981; Airman First Class--30 August 1982; Senior Airman--1 September 1984; Sergeant--1 September 1985; Staff Sergeant--1 January 1987; Technical Sergeant--1 June 1995; Master Sergeant--1 January 2000; Senior Master Sergeant--27 February 2002.

    He is also the recipient of the following recognition awards: the Onondaga Community College Veteran of the Month 1994; the Red Flag Superior Performer in 1999; the Presidential Support Secret Service Augmentee award in 1999; the American Red Cross Veterans Award in 2000; the Air Combat Command Inspector General Superior Performance Award in 2000 and 2003; the Phase II Operational Readiness Inspection Superior Performer in 2000; 174th Fighter Wing Base Honor Guard Team Superior Performer Award in 2003, Air Combat Command Inspector General Deployment Support Organization Superior Performance Award in 2003; and the 174th Fighter Wing Phase 1 Operational Readiness Exercise Superior Performer award in 2004.

    Sergeant Houghtalen is a past member of the Air National Guard Noncommissioned Officer Academy Graduate Association, the Association of the Old Crows, and the Air Force Association; he is still an active member of the 174th Attack Wing Base Honor Guard.

    Senior Master Sergeant Ronald Houghtalen resides in the Town of Clay with his wife Sharon Houghtalen. He has one daughter and one son, Staff Sergeant Briana Houghtalen, 174 Attack Wing and Senior Airman Ryan Houghtalen, 152 Air Operations Group. He is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Richard and Thelma Houghtalen of Binghamton, New York (Deceased).


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