Major John M. Mirtich (1976 – )
US Air Force, Air Mobility Command, War on Terror, KC-10 Pilot, Air Medal
Honoring – Major John M. Mirtich – MZHS “Hero of Air Power”
As the MZHS began its search for its “Heroes of Air Power”, we did not anticipate having any active duty service men or women identified. However, we came across a Valley serviceman who we felt should be recognized at this time. He is an excellent example for our young men and women who are interested in serving their country in the military. John M. Mirtich, son of Mike and Vanessa Brown Mirtich of Gardner Hill in Weedville, was born in May, 1976, graduated from St Marys High School in 1994, and graduated from the US Air Force Academy with a degree in Civil Engineering in 1998, thus earning a commission as a 2nd Lieutenant.
After completing pilot training, 2Lt John Mirtich became an USAF pilot assigned to the 2d Air Refueling Squadron, 305th Air Mobility Wing, McGuire AFB, NJ, flying the tanker -KC-10A Extender. The KC-10A provides airlift and aerial refueling for all of America’s and allied nations’ armed forces creating the “air bridge” that enables American forces and relief supplies to reach any corner of the world in only a few hours. As part of Operations Southern Watch, Enduring Freedom, and Iraqi Freedom, John has been forward deployed to the United Arab Emirates and Qatar, where he has logged over 700 combat flight hours on hundreds of refueling missions over Iraq and Afghanistan in direct support of our men and women on the ground. Additionally, Major Mirtich has logged over 4500 flight hours flying worldwide missions in the KC-10A and training missions in the T-1A, resulting in the awards of the Meritorious Service Medal with 1 Oak Leaf Cluster, and the Air Medal with 5 Oak Leaf Clusters, for his contributions to our nation’s efforts.
Major Mirtich was stationed with the 86th Flying Training Squadron, Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas as a T-1A instructor pilot from May, 2005, to March, 2008. This squadron flies the T-1A Jayhawk, conducting the specialized pilot training phase for airlift-tanker-bomber pilots. While there John and team won the “Best T-1 Aircrew” in their USAF T-1A Jayhawk at the 2007 Air Mobility Command Rodeo, an international air mobility competition. Also an avid runner, John and his relay team won its category at the Air Force Marathon held at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, on September 15, 2007.
Currently in 2011, Major Mirtich is assigned to the USAF Expeditionary Center, located at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J., where he is enrolled in the Advanced Studies of Air Mobility, where he will earn a Master’s of Science degree in Logistics. As with all service time, temporary duty (TDY) assignments across the globe can occur at any time as John has experienced. John is married to Natalie Wacaser of Del Rio, Texas, and has two children, Carter and Chloe.
It is with pride and anticipation that the Mt Zion Historical Society honors Major John Mirtich as one of its “Heroes of Air Power”.
Lest We Forget…