Welcome to Offutt: Connecting with USAFA Cadets

By Col. Kristen Thompson ’01
Commander, 55th Wing, Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska

It was an honor as a soccer letterwinner to host the Air Force Academy women’s soccer team before their match against the University of Nebraska-Omaha on 18 September.

They arrived on Friday afternoon before the Sunday match to visit Offutt Air Force Base and immerse themselves in the mission here. The 55th Wing team welcomed them to the base and took them to the Dougherty Conference Center for a mission briefing.

It was great to draw parallels between the wing and the soccer program and then tie in with one of the soccer team’s former captains who was able to dial in via zoom from Kadena Air Base, Japan to further inspire the team. It was a really special moment for the team and me personally as her husband is a 55th Wing squadron commander.

Next, we took them to the wing headquarters to discuss flying with graduates assigned to the wing. We also had the opportunity to show them the various aircraft we fly here at Offutt and around the world.

Next, we visited the terrific Offutt Fire House. For an hour we toured the fire department campus, shot the water gun, checked out the multitude of fire and response trucks, used the jaws of life and took a team photograph near the flight line.

At the end of the day, we took the bus across the base to my house (built in the late 1890s and part of the Fort Crook Historical District listed in the National Register of Historic Places) for a team dinner. We had several graduates attend the dinner to meet and talk with the team. It was definitely the highlight of the day. It was awesome to see the team’s enthusiasm for representing the Air Force and the Academy.

The game was played on Sept. 18 — the Air Force’s 75th birthday — and the team brought home a 1-0 win.

Raine Komata scored the only goal of the game for the Falcons at 46:49, with the assist by Alexa Ramthun. Sydney Davis was perfect in the goal, including three saves. Air Force had an 8-3 advantage in shots at halftime and a 16-11 advantage at the end of the match while also leading in time of possession 55%-45%.

After the game, the team remained on the field to sing the Alma Mater in recognition of the 75th birthday of the Air Force. Col. Beth Makros ’98 from the Commandant’s office led an a cappella rendition of the song.

Then the team, graduates and Air Force fans from as far away as Arizona posed for a picture around the Heartland-Lemay Chapter’s distinguished chapter flag.

Hosting the women’s soccer team is definitely one of the highlights of my time in command at Offutt Air Force Base. I am extremely proud of the team, their wonderful coach and the coaching staff. These young ladies will ensure the continued bright future of the Long Blue Line.


The team celebrating the victory with grads and fans on Air Force's 75th Anniversary.

Special thanks on this article to
Roy Kessell ‘70, president of the Heartland-Lemay Chapter.           


Air Force women's soccer team tour Offutt AFB with
Col. Thompson '01, 55th Wing Commander.

The team in front of Col. Thompson's historic Ft. Crook quarters.

The team in 55th Wing Headquarters conference room with Col. Thompson '01.