Members of the 27th Special Operations Medical Group salute the flag at a redesignation ceremony at Cannon Air Force Base, N.M., August 29, 2019. The ceremony redesignated two squadrons with the intention of providing care in a more specialized manner. Senior Airman Vernon Walter III
Photo Caption & Credits

Faces of the Force

Jan. 25, 2021

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Andrew Park/USAF

Two 700th Airlift Squadron Reservists got married in the back of a C-130 Hercules on the Dobbins Air Reserve Base, Ga., flight line on Nov. 10. Pilot Capt. Will Jones married navigator 1st Lt. Lyndsy Harrison in the AvGeek-worthy nuptials. “I think when he brought up the idea of us getting married in the back of the plane, he threw it out there as a joke,” Harrison said in a 94th Airlift Wing release. “But when I approved and was just as stoked about it as he was, we didn’t want to do it anywhere else.” The unconventional setting came with some unique logistical challenges, but the ceremony was a success. “After a crew chief marshaled in the plane, the aircrew lowered the ramp, revealing a U.S. flag hanging as a backdrop,” the wing recalled of the event. “The pilot and navigator—or in this case, the bride and groom—rushed off the back of the plane like a couple late to the chapel and got into position.” At the end of the ceremony, Jones lowered the topside of the Hercules’ ramp, upon which the words “Just Married” had been scrawled in chalk, the wing wrote.

Tech. Sgt. Rose Gudex

23rd Special Tactics Squadron Airmen from Hurlburt Field, Fla., recently deployed to Soto Cano Air Base, Honduras, to backup USSOUTHCOM and Joint Task Force-Bravo humanitarian assistance efforts in the wake of Hurricanes Eta and Iota. Efforts included providing air traffic control and assessing remote airfields to help Joint Task Force-Bravo commanders figure where to deliver aid to Honduran citizens. The Airmen were also equipped with gear to assist in personnel recovery.

Senior Airman Taylor Crul

For 2nd Lt. Brenna Larson, flying the T-1A Jayhawk is a family affair. Her dad, Bruce Mason, works as a Jayhawk simulator instructor at Vance Air Force Base, Okla., and her husband, Pilot Capt. Matthew Larson, is a former T-1A instructor pilot. “How many other student pilots going through training have their father just a few buildings over who can help if I don’t understand something, a husband on speed dial who was a prior T-1 instructor pilot, and a mom I can go home to and vent about my day,” she said.

USAF

On Nov. 24, 944th Fighter Wing Vice Commander Col. Sean “Double” Rassas became only the 296th F-16 pilot to exceed 3,000 flying hours in the F-16 Fighting Falcon. He accomplished the feat during a flight at Luke Air Force Base, Ariz., which marked his 2,024th sortie. “Even though we are making that gradual shift [to the F-35A Lightning II], we believe it is still extremely important for us to retain that high level of experience in the F-16,” said Wing Commander Col. Jim Greenwald.

Courtesy

2nd Lt. Jeff Martin, Defense News’ former associate editor for multi­media who hosted and produced the “Defense News Weekly” television show, recently traded in his camera for camouflage and graduated from Officer Training School at Maxwell AFB, Ala. He commissioned into USSF. “Became an officer in the Space Force today,” he tweeted on Dec. 10. “It’s been two years in the making, and I can’t believe it’s finally here.” Martin will now train as an intelligence officer at Goodfellow AFB, Texas.

Senior Airman Neil Mabini/ANG

Airmen from the California ANG’s 163rd Attack Wing Grizzly Resiliency Team collaborated with a church and VFW post near March Air Reserve Base, Calif., to distribute food boxes to Active-duty and Reserve-component troops, veterans, and civilians in December. “With the pandemic … going on, we’re trying to be something positive,” said Chaplain’s Assistant Tech. Sgt. Juan Marquez. “There was a time in my own life when I was really in need. … I feel this is a way of giving back.”

Airman 1st Class Mariam Springs

189th Airlift Wing Airman Sandy Smock was recently appointed as Little Rock Air Force Base, Ark.’s, inaugural privatized housing resident advocate. She serves as a bridge between residents and the base’s privatized housing partner to make sure Airmen are treated fairly, their residences are up to par, and their conflicts and concerns are addressed. “Empowering a voice if something seems not quite right to speak up is vital,” Smock said.

Staff Sgt. Orlando Corpuz/ANG

Airmen from the Hawaii ANG’s 154th Medical Group helped safeguard the Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam community by operating a flu-shot drive-through during their October and November drill weekends. The Airmen—including Medical Service Specialist Tech. Sgt. Alvin Turla—conducted pre-vaccine health assessments on visitors before administering the shots to medically cleared individuals through their car windows, which maximized the number of Airmen it could safely vaccinate.

Master Sgt. Ben Mota

434th Air Refueling Wing Paralegal Tech. Sgt. Lucille Reyna, wrote the children’s book “A Soldier’s Story” to help kids make sense of deployments. “My intent for this book is to provide children with something which would help them understand, in a kid-friendly way, why their parent may be gone,” Reyna said. “My kids did live it, and I can still remember how I felt to leave for the first time—I hope other parents who are service members can use this book as a resource.”