The 175th Wing would like to present Tech.Sgt. Ilir Kojtari, who is a munitions systems specialist with 175th Maintenance Squadron, as this month's Spotlight Airman.
Name: Ilir "Lee" Kojtari
Rank: Tech. Sgt.
Unit: 175 MXS
Job Description: Munitions Systems Specialist
Fulltime job: Graduate student pursuing a doctorate of pharmacy degree
Hometown: Yonkers, NY
Joined the MDANG: January 2006
Total Service years: 14 years
Family: Wife, son & daughter, 2 sisters and a brother.
Favorite Movie: Gladiator/Cool Hand Luke
Last book read: Under the Dome by Stephen King
Favorite food: NY-style pizza
Favorite Sports Team: Admittedly not much of a sports fan, but I cheer on the local teams.
Tell us your brief life story? I was born in Hackensack, New Jersey, and moved around a bit, from New Jersey to Florida and later on New York. The high school system in Yonkers was a magnet program, so I ended up studying chemistry for my last three years. I went to college for a year before entering active duty.
Tell us about your military career? I entered the Air Force after a year of college. I was in ROTC, so I decided to make the leap to active duty, where I was working on AGM-86 B/C/D and AGM-129 cruise missiles. Currently I'm a munitions system craftsman (AMMO). We inspect, store and supply the base with all the requirements to meet the mission, from ammunition for Security Forces to loading out the A-10C for daily flying requirements, exercises and missions. My most memorable experience isn't really related to the job, but about the people in AMMO. When tragedy struck my family, AMMO really came through for me, provided the support you wouldn't think you needed, but when they were there, I realized how much it really meant to be in the AMMO family.
What brought you to the MDANG? How have you enjoyed your time here? I moved down from the New York ANG for employment opportunities and education, such as a temporary full-time support on base, a position at Aberdeen Proving Grounds and now as a pharmacy student. What has made my time here enjoyable is that I've learned quite a bit in the past eight years with the A-10s, and the support and understanding I've received while in school has helped immensely.
What is your favorite Air Force or military memory or story? It is hard to pick something after so many years in the Air Force, but I would have to say my time as a member of the Honor Guard on Andersen AFB, Guam is the most memorable. From providing veterans' families with military honors for their deceased loved ones to repatriation ceremonies for the remains of POW/MIA from the Vietnam War and Korean conflict, my time with the Honor Guard was my fondest. Working with people as passionate as I was a great experience, and with that service culminating in Honor Guard Airman of the Year was just icing on the cake.
What are you passionate about? It would be a dream to travel and just see the world when I have the urge to. I've been to a few places, and there's quite a bit more for the bucket list. Hopefully I will have more time once I'm finished with graduate school. Soon I can take the family on a vacation to a new place. When I have time, I mostly enjoy snow boarding, reading a good book and watching movies with my kids.