Coon Rapids graduate retires from the U.S. Air Force

A Coon Rapids High School graduate has retired from the U.S. Air Force after more than 22 years of service.

Master Sgt. Julie Hatto, Coon Rapids, has retired from the U.S. Air Force after 22 years of service. Photo submitted

Master Sgt. Julie Hatto, Coon Rapids, has retired from the U.S. Air Force after 22 years of service. Photo submitted

A retirement ceremony for Master Sgt. Julie (Josephes) Hatto, daughter of Richard and the late Joyce Josephes of Coon Rapids, took place May 4 at Ellsworth Air Force Base, Rapid City, S.D.

Hatto and her husband USAF Master Sgt. Michael Hatto have been based at Ellsworth since May 2011.

Born in Minneapolis, Hatto grew up in Coon Rapids, where the family has lived since 1966, and graduated from Coon Rapids High School in 1984.

She attended college and worked before enlisting in the USAF in March 1990.

Following basic training at Lackland AFB in Texas, Hatto attended the Air Force Satellite Communications Systems course at Keesler AFB in Mississippi.

Her Air Force career was spent in satellite communications and she headed up a group at Ellsworth tracking satellite communications as a member of the 28th Communications Squadron, according to her father Richard Josephes.

In her 22 years of service, Hatto has been assigned to nine different bases in the United States, Europe and Asia as well as being deployed on temporary assignments in South America, Europe and Asia.

Her tours of duty abroad included five years at Royal Air Force (RAF) bases in England, a year stationed in South Korea and most recently, from April 2008 to May 2011 at Spangdahlem Air Base in Germany.

Temporary duty assignments have included Kuwait and Ecuador, Hatto’s father said.

According to the retirement program, Hatto has performed duties as a satellite communications technician; quality assurance evaluator; non-commissioned officer in charge of maintenance control, maintenance support and satellite communications work centers; technical training instructor and instructor supervisor; and flight superintendent.

Hatto has earned a raft of awards and decorations during her Air Force career, including the meritorious service medal, commendation medal with four oak leaf clusters, achievement medals from both the Army and Air Force, outstanding unit award with eight oak leaf clusters, overseas ribbons, expedition service ribbon and longevity service ribbon.

In addition, Hatto has received the National Defense Service Medal with bronze star, the Global War on Terrorism expeditionary and service medals and the Korean Defense Service Medal.

According to Josephes, his daughter and her husband Michael and four children, Robert Rybicky, 20; Harmony Hatto, 16; William Hatto, 14; and Alyssa Hatto, 9, plan to continue to live in Rapid City.

But her husband left this month for deployment in Afghanistan, not the first time he has been in that country on a tour of duty, Josephes said.

Hatto plans to take the summer off to spend more time with her children, including returning to Minnesota to see family and go fishing.

Then in the fall, she anticipates looking for a job and possibly go back to school.

Hatto is not the only member of her family to serve in the military. Her father is a U.S. Army veteran, while her sister, Stacy, served 10 years in the Air Force.

Peter Bodley is at peter.bodley@ecm-inc.com

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