Safety Officer of the Year: Capt Hunter Shirley
22d Air Refueling Wing, McConnell Air Force Base, KS


Capt Hunter Shirey is the Chief of Flight Safety for the 22d Air Refueling Wing (ARW), McConnell Air Force Base (AFB), KS. In this capacity, he oversees the KC-135 Stratotanker and KC-46 Pegasus Flight Safety programs and serves as an advisor to the 22 ARW Commander on safety matters concerning more than 2,900 Active Duty and Reserve Airmen. He also maintains his proficiency and readiness as a KC-135 Instructor Navigator, flying with the 22 ARW.

As Chief of Wing Flight Safety, Shirey led the delivery of and founded the safety program for the KC-46A, working with maintenance, operations, Public Information Officer, and Boeing Aerospace Company to instill safety policies and practices for Air Mobility Command’s number one acquisition priority. In addition, he was selected to work with AMC Safety as a Flight Safety Officer for Mobility Guardian at Fairchild AFB, WA. While flying on multiple aircraft with Joint and International aircrew, he shared best practices for the safety of flight and ensured 388 mishap-free missions for more than 1,500 personnel from 26 international allies and partners.

Shirey also led the 22 ARW into federal compliance by partnering with the United States Department of Agriculture for wildlife management practices. Creating a Bird/Wildlife Aircraft Strike Hazard program that focused on habitat management and partnership with the local community, he worked with county commissioners to secure funding and support for an expansive airfield drainage solution. These efforts proved to be successful, resulting in a 28 percent reduction in bird strikes in 2019.

A native of Kentucky, Shirey attended East Carolina University and earned a bachelor’s degree in history. Upon completion of Undergraduate Combat Systems Officer training at Pensacola Naval Air Station, FL, he was selected to fly the C-130H and assigned to the 50th Airman Leadership School, Little Rock AFB, AR. Next, he was chosen to fly the world’s number one air refueling platform, the KC-135 Stratotanker, and assigned to the 349th Air Refueling Squadron, McConnell AFB, KS