Eleonore Jessie Lawson served as a Senior Master Sergeant in the Air National Guard. She joined the California Air National Guard towards the end of the Vietnam War in April of 1974. Upon completion of basic training, she returned to Van Nuys, CA, and her Aerial Port unit as an Air Cargo Specialist then later became an Air Delivery Parachute Rigger. She was told she was the first female rigger from the Air National Guard to attend Air Delivery school at Ft Lee, VA in 1976. That career led her to Alaska and the Alaska Air National Guard in 1977 when she went there TDY to rig chutes for the new C130 unit.

 In 1979 she changed career fields to maintenance and became a C130 maintainer. This career lasted until her retirement in 2006, after 32 years in 3 Air Guard Units. Four of these years (1985-1989) were spent in the Hawaii Air Guard crewing an old C-130 A and H Support aircraft to Hawaii’s F15 unit. Eleonore returned to Alaska in January 1990 to the newly formed 210th Rescue Sq and started a Civilian Technician position. Over the next 16 years, she worked towards her goal of becoming a “named” Crew Chief of her own aircraft and was fortunate enough to have crewed both a C130 H2 Rescue and Airlift aircraft.

 In her retirement (2006) she organized a Kulis Retiree Community that brings together hundreds of retirees and former members of the Alaska Air Guard that worked on the Old Kulis Base at Ted Stevens International Airport. She says, “This sense of community has brought about the mission to save the memories and facilities on Kulis, namely Hangar 1, which led to getting it put on the National Register for Historic Buildings. I have also been part of the group wanting to start an Alaska Military Museum and the Viper program.”

 Eleonore is a VIPER Partner and believes, “The Viper program is pretty awesome, and I hope it expands to include several career fields training programs to help service members enter the civilian workforce. Giving hope and purpose for a successful future may save lives and End 22.”