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Goalie weathers new Air Force career

  • Published
  • By Benjamin Newell
  • 66th Air Base Group Public Affairs

HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, MASS. – Civilian developmental hire Jetta Rackleff will depart for Italy in about a week to participate in the inline hockey world championships, representing the United States as goalie.

As an Air Force Materiel Command developmental hire at Hanscom Air Force Base, Massachusetts, Rackleff’s day job involves putting herself in front of risk management efforts for the Battle Management Directorate’s weather division. Her supervisors have placed her in leadership roles, organizing meetings where acquisition personnel attempt to manage risk by making moves early in a system’s life cycle to minimize exposure, a dance Rackleff is familiar with in the rink.

“When you’re a goalie, you have to be fearless,” said Dr. Frank Ruggiero, Rackleff’s mentor and numerical weather modeling’s lead engineer here. “She is certainly fearless. Within a month of bringing her on, we’ve given her the lead on meetings that can impact the outcome of entire programs, and she jumps right in.”

Rackleff started her Air Force career in April. Prior, she studied chemical engineering at Rochester Institute of Technology, New York, where she played ice hockey. Rochester recruited her to their NCAA Division 1 women’s hockey team from a junior league in California, and she earned a full academic scholarship. Since then, she’s had success on inline and ice skates, playing on the 2017 World Champion U.S. inline skating team and for the Boston Blades, a local Canadian Women’s Hockey League team.

She started skating on the ice shortly after she could walk, and gravitated to the goalie position. Rackleff says she’d like to play for the U.S. national women’s hockey team, but is proud to represent the U.S. in any sport.

“I remember growing up, one of the early drills my mom would have me do is lie on my back with my feet up in the air, and stop tennis balls,” said Rackleff. “It was so fun! Things like that, plus seeing my older brother play, always made me want to be as competitive as I could in hockey.”

This year’s event is in Asiago, Italy. Rackleff’s officemates will be hosting a send-off early next week, and following the action online.