Air Force Major Katie Lunning Awarded “Airman of the Year” by Military Times Foundation

With More than 20 Years Service, Maj. Lunning Most Recently Received the Distinguished Flying Cross Medal for her Heroic Actions in Afghanistan

ARLINGTON, VA., March 22, 2023 – Military Times and the Military Times Foundation have announced that Air Force Major Katie Lunning has been recognized with the “Airman of the Year” award for her outstanding service to her country. This prestigious award has been presented for the past 22 years and honors one outstanding military member from each branch of service who has demonstrated exemplary military service going beyond the call of duty.  The non-profit organization returns all proceeds from the annual Military Times Service Members of the Year Award event to an array of veterans service organizations which help support the military community and their families.

Maj. Lunning, is currently stationed in St. Paul with the 133rd Airlift Wing (133 AW), a unit of the Minnesota Air National Guard, has over 20 years of service, most recently received the Distinguished Flying Cross Medal for her heroic actions in Afghanistan. She was deployed to Afghanistan in June 2021 as a Critical Care Air Transport Team (CCATT) Nurse and within a month was the only CCATT nurse in the region, meaning she was assigned to every medical flight. She flew six missions a day for two weeks to evacuate casualties from Afghanistan.

On August 26, a suicide bomber attacked the airport in Kabul, killing dozens and wounding dozens more. Maj. Lunning performed triage for 22 patients before they were flown for eight hours to Germany. On board the flight, Maj. Lunning continued to provide care, including establishing an IV for an 18-month-old patient without pediatric supplies and managing an in-flight blood resuscitation of a post-operative patient. All 22 patients survived. Maj. Lunning was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for her actions.

Maj. Lunning was nominated for the award by  Andrea Kostiuk, Public Affairs Officer with the 133rd Airlift Wing, who wrote: “Maj. Lunning excels at every role she is assigned. She puts the mission and her patients first, a fact confirmed by the recent award of the Distinguished Flying Cross Medal.”

“Maj. Katie Lunning exemplifies the very best of our nation’s military, demonstrating unwavering commitment to her duty and extraordinary courage in the face of danger,” said Michael Reinstein, Chairman of Military Times Foundation.  “Her service is an inspiration to us all, and we are privileged to recognize her with the ‘Airman of the Year’ award.”

The Military Times Foundation is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) established to recognize, salute and highlight the exemplary service of active duty personnel serving in each branch of the U.S. Armed Services.

The annual Military Times Service Members of the Year Award has grown into a much-anticipated event. The awards ceremony has become one of Washington D.C.’s A-list events attended by congressional, military and community leaders.  Since 2019 Military Times and the Military Times Foundation have donated over $15 million in cash and media value to support over 150 military and veteran service organizations, such as Fisher House, Children of Fallen Patriots, TAPS, Objective Zero and others.

The full story about Major Katie Lunning can be found on



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