The Bohnstedts in Georgia
by Thomas Allen Bohnstedt, California USA
(the text of this page is my intellectual property. Please do not copy and repost without my written permission)
Lieutenant Colonel William "Bill" Bohnstedt Georgia Air National Guard / U.S. Air Force
Lieutenant Colonel William Bohnstedt
In 1992 William "Bill" Bohnstedt, a son of Ronald Lewis Bohnstedt and a grandson of Leroy "Pete" Bohnstedt, enlisted in the Arizona Air National Guard. This one action start lead to a chain of events that would create an entirely new Bohnstedt family branch in Georgia.
Early on, Bill had decided on a career in aviation and aerospace, and enrolled at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Prescott Arizona, majoring in Aviation Business Administration. He also enlisted in the Arizona Air National Guard in 1992 at the age of 21. He was assigned to the 162nd Fighter Wing, based at Tucson. There he met Carla Lopez, also in the Air National Guard, and two years later they were married.
Bill began his career in aviation by enlisting with the Arizona Air National Guard. He was assigned to the 162nd Fighter Wing, based at the Tucson Air National Guard base.
Carla recently told me a "Small World For Bohnstedts" story that occurred in 1996. She said that one day she and Bill were talking in one of the offices when a pilot wearing a flight suit walked into the office and sat down on one of the couches in the waiting area. Bill noticed that the pilot was wearing U.S. Navy insignia. He also noticed the name tag on his flight suit: "Bohnstedt", and quietly pointed it out to Carla. The 162nd Fighter Wing flies the very fast and maneuverable F-16 "Falcon" fighters, and for that reason is frequently used for Dissimilar Air Combat Training (DACT), in which Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps fighter squadrons are sent to the Arizona ANG for combat training. They engage in mock air battles and "kills" are scored electronically. Bill walked over to the pilot sitting in the waiting area and introduced himself. It turned out that naval aviator sitting in the waiting room was Lieutenant Commander Kevin D. Bohnstedt. At the time he was with U.S. Navy strike-fighter squadron VFA-137 "Kestrels", which had been sent to Tucson for air combat training, and had just flown in.
1. After transferring to the Georgia Air National Guard, Bill was assigned to the 116th Bomb Wing, based at Robins Air Force Base (near Warner Robins, Georgia). He was sent for officer training, and then trained as a flight navigator. In 2000 Bill trained as a Weapons Systems Officer (WSO) in the B-1B "Lancer" strategic bomber.
2. In 2002 Bill retrained as a pilot for the E-8 JSTARS command and control aircraft.
In 1998 Bill was selected by the 116th Bomb Wing of the Georgia Air National Guard for officer training and he attended the Air National Guard Academy of Military Science. He then attended Flight Navigator training at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida in 1998 and Electronic Warfare Training at Randolph Air Force Base in Texas in 1999. In 2000 he trained as Weapons Systems Officer (WSO) in the B-1B bomber at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas after which he returned to the 116th Bomb Wing of the Georgia Air National Guard.
1. Captain William "Bill" Bohnstedt in the cockpit of his JSTARS aircraft, before his promotion to Major
2. Emblem: 129th Combat Training Squadron
In 2002 the 116th lost its B-1B bombers and merged with the Air Force 93rd Air Control Wing to become the first "blended" wing, incorporating both Air National Guard and U.S. Air Force elements in one unit. That year Bill began pilot training at Columbus Air Force Base in Mississippi. In 2004 he was trained at Robins Air Force Base, Georgia, to fly the E-8C JSTARS aircraft. The E-8C JSTARS ("Joint Surveillance and Target Attack Radar System"), is a:
"United States Air Force Airborne ground surveillance, battle management and command and control aircraft. It tracks ground vehicles and some aircraft, collects imagery, and relays tactical pictures to ground and air theater commanders. The aircraft is operated by both active duty Air Force and Air National Guard units and also carries specially trained U.S. Army personnel as additional flight crew."
1. Lieutenant Colonel William Bohnstedt with Carla (left), and his family (right) at Robins Air Force Base. The occasion was Lt. Colonel Bohnstedt's installation as commander of the 129th Combat Training Squadron in 2016. The boys are Alexandr Fredrick (left) and John Carlos (right).
2. Bill and Carla Bohnstedt on the anniversary of their first date, 2017
In 2006 Bill and his wife Carla started their family with a son, John Carlos Bohnstedt, born in Warner Robins Georgia, where Bill was stationed. The next year another son was born, also in Warner Robins; Alexandr Fredrick Bohnstedt. In 2016 Bill was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel and given command of the 129th Combat Training Squadron based at Robins Air Force Base.
It's a Small World
About 20 years ago (the parties involved think it was about 1996) there was a chance encounter at the Arizona Air National Guard (ANG) station in Tucson Arizona. William R. "Bill" Bohnstedt and his wife, Carla Lopez-Bohnstedt, were non-commissioned enlisted personnel with the Arizona ANG at the time, and Bill and Carla had been married about two years.
One day Bill was in one of the offices, talking to Carla, when a pilot wearing a flight suit walked in and sat down on one of the couches on the waiting room. Bill noticed the pilot's name tag, which said "Bohnstedt", and silently motioned Carla to direct her attention there. Bill then walked over and introduced himself, and started a conversation.
Commander Kevin D. Bohnstedt, USN
It turned out that the pilot was a naval aviator; Kevin D. Bohnstedt, who had flown in with his squadron, VFA-137 "Kestrels", to participate in Dissimilar Air Combat Training. The Tucson ANG station is home to the 162nd Fighter Wing. Because the 162nd flies the very fast and maneuverable F-16 jet fighters, they are often used to train Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps fighter squadrons in air combat techniques using mock dogfights, in which "kills" are scored electronically.
Although you might expect that a new family line would be started in a new place when a young man leaves his parents, moves to the new place, and starts a family. But in many cases, what actually happens is that a young man moves somewhere, and is then followed by his siblings, and then finally his parents. Bill calls this a "Reverse Migration". This has happened many times in the history of the Bohnstedt family, as well as other families.
In 2009 Bill's younger brother, Tim, moved to Georgia with his wife, Leah, and settled in Macon, just a few miles north of Warner Robins. Tim is a middle school math teacher in Warner Robins, and Leah is a labor and delivery nurse. In 2010 Tim and Leah began their own family when their first child, Brody Thomas, was born in Macon Georgia. Brody's middle name was given for Tim's twin brother, Thomas Anthony, who was stillborn. Four years later a charming daughter, Camille Hope, was born to Tim and Leah.
1. Easter, 2017; Tim and Leah Bohnstedt, with children Brody and Camille
2. The Shiloh Confederate Civil War cemetery was found behind Ron Bohnstedt's property when he moved to Byron, Georgia
3. Ron Bohnstedt with a group of his maintenance volunteers at the Shiloh Confederate Civil War cemetery
The next in this family to move to Georgia were the parents; Ronald "Ron" and Nadja Bohnstedt, in 2011. They moved to Byron, Georgia, a couple of miles west-northwest of Warner Robins. Once they had settled in they discovered an old Confederate Civil War Cemetery in the back of their property. This cemetery; the "Shiloh Cemetery" was overgrown and had not had any kind of maintenance for a very long time. Ron and Nadja took it upon themselves to look after the cemetery and began clearing away the brush. But Ron and Nadja are over 70 years old, and clearing, restoring and maintaining the cemetery takes a lot of work. Fortunately there is now an organization made up of volunteers that help Ron and Nadja with their work.
1. Mark and Jenn Bohnstedt with their daughters; Bryn Claire (left) and Brooke Jordan
2. Nola Brantly Memorial Library, Warner Robins, Georgia.
In 2012 Mark Bohnstedt, the youngest of Bill Bohnstedt's siblings, became the latest of this family to migrate to Georgia. After earning his bachelor's degree in history from Occidental College in Eagle Rock California, Mark went on to earn his Master's degree in Library Science from the University of Arizona. He then accepted a position as manager of the "Nola Brantly" branch of the Houston County Public Library system, in Warner Robins, Georgia. In 2015 Mark married Jennifer "Jenn" Peterson in Perry, Georgia. After managing a drug treatment facility for women, Jenn became a Crime Victims Advocate with the Houston County Court system. Mark and Jenn have two daughters; Byn Claire, born in Warner Robins, and Brooke Jordan, both born in Warner Robins, Georgia.
Ronald Lewis "Ron" Bohnstedt passed away in May of 2018 in Byron, Georgia. His ashes were interred in the Shiloh Civil War cemtery, which Ron had discovered, restored, and had become the caretaker.
3-24 / The Descendants of Verner Bohnstedt in Washington, Oregon, California and Arizona
3-38 / Genealogy 3-3-10: America; Washington, Oregon, California and Arizona
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