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Airman 1st Class Caroline Karaverdian, 9th Medical Group outpatient technician, files a folder in the patient health record department at the clinic at Beale Air Force Base, California, Feb. 4, 2020. On June 20 the 9th MDG will be going all-digital by transitioning to a new electronic health record called Military Health System GENESIS. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Valentina Viglianco)
Department of Defense Military Health System GENESIS logo (Courtesy Graphic)
Senior Airman Jennifer Carrier, assigned to the 319th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, Detachment 1 as the unit deployment manager, stands in front of a Globalhawk on Beale Air Force Base, Calif., Jan. 31, 2020. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Airman Jason W. Cochran)
Airman 1st Class Joshua Chatman, 9th Operations Support Squadron aircrew flight equipment specialist, places a strain relief cord back into an oxygen mask hose after cleaning it out, Jan. 22, 2020 at Beale Air Force Base, California. To ensure oxygen masks are properly functioning, aircrew flight equipment specialists inspect them every 30 days. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Luis A. Ruiz-Vazquez)
Airman 1st Class Maggie Breedlove, 9th Operations Support aircrew flight equipment specialist, measures and cuts Velcro pieces that will be placed in the inside of a flyers lightweight helmet, Jan. 22, 2020 at Beale Air Force Base, California. These pieces of Velcro will attach an energy absorbing liner to the helmet. The purpose of an energy absorbing liner is to reduce impact energy to the head of a pilot. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Luis A. Ruiz-Vazquez)
Wrenches lie in an aircraft mechanic’s toolbox at Beale Air Force Base, California, Jan. 27, 2020. Mechanics are vital to ensuring the readiness of the 9th Reconnaissance Wing’s intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance flying operations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Valentina Viglianco)
Wesley Dietrich, 9th Maintenance Operation Squadron aircraft mechanic, runs an air speed test on a T-38 Talon at Beale Air Force Base, California, Jan. 27, 2020. A group of civilian contractors prepare T-38s for their daily flying schedules by refueling and inspecting the aircraft. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Valentina Viglianco)
Wesley Dietrich, 9th Maintenance Operation Squadron aircraft mechanic, looks into a T-38 Talon cockpit during an air speed test at Beale Air Force Base, California, Jan. 27, 2020. This test measures the aircraft’s speed with a static tube system, which can determine the speed of the air flowing around the aircraft. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Valentina Viglianco)
Wesley Dietrich, 9th Maintenance Operation Squadron aircraft mechanic, clicks a switch on a pressure-temperature test device at Beale Air Force Base, California, Jan. 27, 2020. The T-38s are part of the Companion Trainer Program for U-2 Dragon Lady pilots. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Valentina Viglianco)
Wesley Dietrich, 9th Maintenance Operation Squadron aircraft mechanic, looks into a T-38 Talon cockpit at Beale Air Force Base, California, Jan. 27, 2020. The T-38 is a twin-engine, high-altitude, supersonic jet trainer used in a variety of roles because of its ease of maintenance, elevated performance, and exceptional safety record. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Valentina Viglianco)

Chief's Corner

I am an American Airman

Too often I hear the statement, “The Air Force has no tradition…certainly not like the other services.” Or there’s the comment, “The Air Force changes everything all the time.  New uniforms, AFI’s, etc….how can we expect to maintain any heritage or tradition?”
I submit there is one decisive, deliberate, and motivating action each of us can take.  No matter the position you hold, the grade you wear, or if you are active duty, guard, reserve, retired, every single one of us can implement this small, yet powerful change today.  The change refers to a facet of our current culture.
Malcolm Gladwell speaks about culture change in his book, ‘Tipping Point’.  In his book, the author posits that even the smallest adjustments to habits, routines, or attitudes can have a significant impact on the culture or perception of an organization, population, or product.
Therefore, I challenge everyone to stop referring to members of our Air Force as ‘TROOPS’. 
According to Merriam-Webster, the primary definition of the word troop is:
a. A group of soldiers
b. A cavalry unit corresponding to an infantry company
c. A flock of mammals or birds
I understand a definition is literal, however, there are two problems with the way we throw this term around to refer to our Airmen.  First, the word troop is actually plural…referring to a group of soldiers.  Lastly, and most poignantly, the word troop is actually rooted in a tradition and heritage of another service.  And before we start the “But Chief, we were born out of the Army” conversation, I would ask you to consider a few points. 
We were born out of the Army for a reason.  We fulfill several needs that no other organization can: to keep up with advancing technology and to take warfighting to an entirely different level, both geographically and mentally.  The Army and Navy were long-time competitors for military leadership and neither service thought that the other should take on the new tasks of strategic deterrence missions associated with the advent of the atomic bomb.  This, along with many other great reasons, is why our Air Force, and our AIRMEN were created.
Think about it.  The United States Air Force was created for some of the most sophisticated warfare challenges of the time. 
So, let’s continue the tradition born in 1947 and call each other what we truly are.  Please, call me Airman.

Chief Hall

 

 

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ArticleCS

Beale instructor gives back life changing mentorship to young Airmen

An official photo of Staff Sgt. Johnson.

Staff Sgt. Justin Johnson, 9th Force Support Squadron first term Airmen course instructor, official photo on Beale Air Force Base, California, Nov. 27, 2019. (U.S. Air Force Photo)

BEALE AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. --

In the U.S. Air Force, personal and professional development is something that many Airmen strive for. To obtain this self-improvement, some Airmen require mentorship.

Staff Sgt. Justin Johnson takes what he learned from a mentor years ago and passes that knowledge to Airmen at Recce Town.

Johnson, 9th Force Support Squadron first term Airmen course NCOIC, is regarded by his peers to be a highly motivated and reliable individual. 
Johnson was not born with this motivation to help others. Originally from Dallas, Texas, he didn’t see himself as someone who would join the military.

“I was a punk skater kid, always getting in trouble, just being a hooligan,” said Johnson. “I liked to break the rules and just be a pain in my parent’s butt.”

Around the time Johnson turned 18 he moved to Phoenix, Arizona, to try to make a living on his own. He did so for about a year, but began to look for avenues to achieve more. 

“I didn’t want to go to college. I was a C maybe D student at best,” said Johnson. “I was really sick of working part time jobs.”

Johnson eventually arrived at the decision to join the military. With prior family service in the Air Force and his father’s encouragement, he decided to try for the Air Force.

“I didn’t think I would get in,” said Johnson. “I took the test, barely scooted it and went open mechanical.”

After four years of service as an A-10 crew chief, Johnson attended a General Radio Operator License course. This was the first time since high school he had attempted anything academic.

“It was the first actual ‘school thing’ I had done,” said Johnson. “I really only did it because all of my friends were doing it.”

Disregarding his aversion to all things academic, Johnson pressed with the course and completed it. He did not know it at the time but he would gain more skills than what was taught in the classroom.

“Right before we left the course the instructor said, ‘Hey, if anyone wants to stay behind I also help people with finances.’ At the time I didn’t think I needed help with finances,” said Johnson. 

Johnson decided to take the instructor up on his offer. He was married just months before the course and wanted to be able to set up a secure future for his family.

“I called my wife and the instructor selflessly gave us three hours of his time breaking down our finances,” said Johnson. “Everything that he taught us was totally different from what I had learned. He showed me his bank account. It totally opened my mind because he was a crew chief, little punk kid, like me, and for him to be a literal millionaire that blew my mind.”

After completing this course Johnson received orders to go to Korea. He spent a year there and studied finance as much as he could, preparing to come back to the United States with everything he would need to secure his financial situation.

Some of the things he did to prepare were starting an online store, selling scooters and getting involved with the stock market and real estate. 

That singular encounter changed Johnson’s life. Now, he does exactly what his mentor did for him. After class Johnson will invite Airmen attending FTAC to learn about finances during off-duty time.

“I actually care about people,” said Johnson. “I just assumed I was going to be a crew chief for 20 years. But those three hours that my mentor gave to me changed the rest of my life. Now I hope that I can do the same thing for others.”

Sergeant Johnson’s story of mentorship and paying it forward to young Airmen, or anyone that needs it is a prime example of how influential a few hours of time can be.

 

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