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548th ISR Group opens doors to Airmen, families

Col. Jacob J. Holmgren, the 548th Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Group commander, briefs Airmen and their families about the day-to-day operations of the Distributed Ground Station-2 at an open house hosted by the 548th ISR Group at Beale Air Force Base, on April 13, 2016. The 548th ISR Group opened their doors, allowing family members to get an inside look at the work their Airmen do on a daily basis. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Taylor A. Workman)

Col. Jacob J. Holmgren, the 548th Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Group commander, briefs Airmen and their families about the day-to-day operations of the Distributed Ground Station-2 at an open house hosted by the 548th ISR Group at Beale Air Force Base, on April 13, 2016. The 548th ISR Group opened their doors, allowing family members to get an inside look at the work their Airmen do on a daily basis. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Taylor A. Workman)

Aaliayah raises her hand to indicate that it’s her birthday during an open house hosted by the 548th Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Group at Beale Air Force Base, April 13, 2016.  Members of the audience joined Col. Drew Taylor in singing “Happy Birthday” to Aaliayah and presented her with a cake. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Zachary Vucic)

Aaliayah raises her hand to indicate that it’s her birthday during an open house hosted by the 548th Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Group at Beale Air Force Base, April 13, 2016. Members of the audience joined Col. Drew Taylor in singing “Happy Birthday” to Aaliayah and presented her with a cake. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Zachary Vucic)

Senior Airman Christopher explains the importance if signals intelligence to Airmen and their families at an open house hosted by the 548th Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Group at Beale Air Force Base on April 13, 2016. The 548th ISR Group opened their doors, allowing family members to get an inside look at the work their Airmen do on a daily basis. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jessica B. Nelson)

Senior Airman Christopher explains the importance if signals intelligence to Airmen and their families at an open house hosted by the 548th Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Group at Beale Air Force Base on April 13, 2016. The 548th ISR Group opened their doors, allowing family members to get an inside look at the work their Airmen do on a daily basis. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jessica B. Nelson)

Master Sgt. Charles examines optical bar camera film with his children at an open house for the 548th Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Group at Beale Air Force Base, April 13, 2016. The 548th ISR Group opened their doors, allowing family members to get an inside look at the work their Airmen do on a daily basis. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jessica B.  Nelson/Released)

Master Sgt. Charles examines optical bar camera film with his children at an open house for the 548th Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Group at Beale Air Force Base, April 13, 2016. The 548th ISR Group opened their doors, allowing family members to get an inside look at the work their Airmen do on a daily basis. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jessica B. Nelson/Released)

Beale Air Force Base, Calif. --

Team Beale families had the opportunity to get an inside look at the day-to-day operations of “the eyes and ears of freedom” during an open house hosted by the 548th Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance Group on April 13, 2016, at Beale Air Force Base, California.

The open house featured introductions by the group commander, a tour of the facilities, and a breakout session into individual squadrons, after which family members were shown their Airman’s individual workspace.

“It’s all about the families and friends in our Airmen’s lives,” said Col. Jacob Holmgren, the 548th ISR Group commander. “Family is one of the key aspects of resiliency. I think we owe it to them to give them a peak under the tent. This open house helps bring it all together for them.”

Once the formal portion of the tour concluded, Airmen were given the opportunity to show their work spaces to family members and describe what they do. The explanation offered both clarity for families, and a feeling of transparency for the Airmen.

“When I worked as a medic my wife was able to visit regularly and she was well aware of what I did,” said TSgt Victor, 548th Operations Support Squadron section chief. “This is the one time of the year that she is able to see what I do here at Beale.”

The unique mission of the 548th ISR Group is to collect, exploit and disseminate information to combatant commanders in support of operations around the world.

“Our Airmen protect our forces downrange, we are their eyes in the sky,” said Lt. Col. Shawn Walrath, the commander of the 9th Intelligence Squadron. “They trust us with their lives. Our mission is truly remarkable in that it is  essential to the success of our operations and the safety of our troops.”

548th ISR Group Airmen often work long hours in low-light environments surrounded by hundreds of computer screens and miles of fiber optic cables. While working within this intelligence community, Airmen are often not able to discuss the various stressors they encounter at their job.

 “He comes home and I want to ask him how work was but he cannot talk about it,” said Kat, the wife of a 48th Intelligence Squadron employee. “Here at the open house I get to see what he does.”

With tours and formalities concluded, families left the 548ISR Group with a better understanding of how their Airmen spend their days. 

 “At the end of the day, we all do this for our families and our nation’s safety,” Holmgren said.