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

March 26, 2021

Tell us who you think we should highlight here. Write to afmag@afa.org.

@NVNationalGuard/Twitter

Lt. Col. Justin Galli will be the only ANG member to take part in the Harvard Kennedy School’s National Security Fellows Program in 2021. The program, open to lieutenant colonels, colonels, and some Intelligence Community civilians, aims to ready participants “for executive-level service in security and intelligence fields,” the 152nd Airlift Wing wrote. Galli hopes to leverage his experience in a future posting in the nation’s capital, and to also use it to enrich Nevada ANG personnel back home.

Keith Keel/USAF

505th Test and Training Group Superintendent Chief Master Sgt. Jacinta Migo on Feb. 1 became the first-ever woman who was born and raised in the South Pacific U.S. territory to rise to that rank. Migo, who was born in Pago Pago, America Samoa, enlisted in 1998, and is currently based out of Hurlburt Field, Fla. During the promotion ceremony, two of her children put her new insignia on her uniform, while a third gave her a traditional lei to commemorate the moment.

Airman 1st Class Jackson Manske

1st Lt. Saleha Jabeen on Feb. 5 became the first-ever Muslim to graduate from Air Force Basic Chaplain Course, which is hosted at Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala. The Indian native—who commissioned into the Air Force in December 2019 and received her Ecclesiastical Endorsement from the Islamic Society of North America—said the course never forced her to waver on her faith or convictions. “I am surrounded with people who respect me and are willing to receive what I bring to the table as a woman, a faith leader, and an immigrant,” she said. “I am provided with numerous opportunities to learn and develop skills that best equip me to be a successful officer and a chaplain in a pluralistic environment. I get to provide spiritual care to all service members, Guardians, and families, and advise the commanders on religious and moral matters regardless of my faith, ethnicity, or gender. Like our boss says, it has never been a better time to serve as a chaplain in the U.S. Air Force Chaplain Corps.”

Airman 1st Class Mariam Springs

714th Training Squadron Flight Chief Master Sgt. Kyle Harris won the 2021 Noncommissioned Officer Association’s Vanguard Award at the AETC level in recognition of his quick response to a car accident in October 2020. After coming across a four-car accident on his way home from work, the Little Rock Air Force Base, Ark., Airman left his car, hurried to the scene, evacuated two people from their vehicles, called for help, and then performed first aid on a man who’d been trapped in his vehicle.

Master Sgt. Nancy Goldberger

A crew of 33 E-8C Joint STARS aviators made history Feb. 19 when the first all-African American flight crew in JSTARS history flew from Robins Air Force Base, Ga., on a training mission. The flight crew used the training to also commemorate Black History Month. For Capt. Andrea Lewis, the first African American female pilot in Georgia Air National Guard history, this flight was a dream come true. The flight was historic on many levels: the first all-African American E-8C Joint STARS flight crew, piloted by the first female African American pilot in Georgia Air National Guard history, with the first African American former wing commander in Georgia Air National Guard history, and the first female African American state command chief in Georgia Air National Guard history, all executing a mission from the sole location of the E-8C Joint STARS mission at Robins Air Force Base.

Jim Martinez/USAF

An idea for a smart locker mail system in base dorms won the 2021 Air Force Installation and Mission Support Center (AFIMSC) Innovation Rodeo Feb. 5. Airman 1st Class Ricardo Morales, a JSTARS journeyman at Robins Air Force Base, Ga., will receive funding from AFIMSC to develop his idea for potential implementation across USAF and DOD. Morales came up with the idea after realizing the service lacked package pickup and delivery options for Airmen living in base dorms. 

USAFA

Second Lt. Jeff Gerlica, is the 2020 USAFA Cadet of the Year. Gerlica was the Cadet Wing’s vice wing commander during summer 2019, when he led operations for 4,000 cadets. He served on advisory boards for former Academy Superintendent Lt. Gen. Jay B. Silveria and Commandant of Cadets Maj. Gen. Michele C. Edmondson, and served as an ambassador to Congress members, SECAF, and other VIPs. He was also team captain of the 2020 baseball team, and had a 3.90 fall/4.0 spring GPA.

Senior Airman Javier Cruz Jr.

Paula Taylor stepped down as the director of the F.E. Warren Air Force Base museum in Wyoming after a nearly 30-year career leading the institution and as an ambassador for the 90th Missile Wing. During her tenure, Taylor took care of over 2,000 artifacts and pioneered and oversaw the base’s open house for a quarter of a century. “Paula’s actions as the museum director went far beyond the norm. … Her preservation expertise … aided Air Force ICBM operations after the service reclaimed certain historical artifacts,” said wing historian Kyle Brislan.