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
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Faces of the Force

Aug. 31, 2023

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U.S. Space Force Lt. Col. Garrett Duff, 45th Comptroller Squadron commander, sits in on a finance brief at Patrick Space Force Base, Fla. Senior Airman Dakota Raub/USSF

When Space Force Lt. Col. Garrett Duff became 45th Comptroller Squadron commander at Patrick Space Force Base, Fla., on June 23, he was the first and only Guardian commander of a comptroller squadron. Before arriving at the base, Duff was chosen for the Financial Management Leadership Program while also choosing between staying in the Air Force or switching to the Space Force. “I could not resist the chance to start a whole new service,” Duff said. “You really feel like you can make a big impact on a small organization when it is just getting started. It is something you can leave a fingerprint on.”

Staff Sgt. Jonathan Tillmon, 3rd Airlift Squadron, Dover Air Force Base, Del. Airman 1st Class Dieondiere Jefferies

Staff Sgt. Jonathan Tillmon, a 3rd Airlift Squadron C-17 Globemaster III loadmaster at Dover Air Force Base, Del., recently became the first enlisted member from Dover to graduate from Air Force Weapons School. The school trains system experts, weapons instructors, and leaders to exploit air, space and cyberspace on behalf of the joint force. Most enlisted graduates are from bases that conduct airdrop missions, but Tillmon was an exception. “The first few months in the course I felt like I was out of my league,” Tillmon said. “Everyone is capable of doing things that they thought they couldn’t.”

Tech. Sgt. Haleigh Irby, 25th Aerial Port Squadron training manager. USAF

Since November 2022, Tech. Sgt. Haleigh Irby, Air Force Reserve’s 908th Airlift Wing’s (Ala.) 25th Aerial Port Squadron training manager, has been writing curriculum for Space Force’s Basic Military Training. On temporary duty with the 1st Delta Operations Squadron, JBSA-Lackland, Texas, Irby works with the squadron’s contracting personnel on requests for proposals to vendors to create a learning management system—one useful for BMT, but also one that captures Guardian training records for the duration of their career. “They know what they want a Guardian to be,” Irby said, “and it’s my job to put it on paper.”

Members of the Oklahoma National Guard cybersecurity team defend networks during Cyber Shield 2023. Master Sgt. Mireille Merilice-Roberts/ONG

For the second straight year, Oklahoma National Guard members, including three 137th Special Operations Communications Squadron Airmen, won first place at the two-week Cyber Shield 2023 cyber defense exercise held June 2 to 16. Focused on industrial control and protection, the exercise included a virtual capture the flag competition to test each team’s ability to capture key information regarding enemy activity on a network. “Cyberspace dominance is paramount to effectively projecting global air and space power,” said Maj. Tyler Davis, 137th SOCS commander. “The Airmen of the 137th Special Operations Communications Squadron are at the leading edge.”

Airman 1st Class Aaron Escoto, left, and U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Jorge Capistran, 49th Civil Engineer Squadron, inspect a repair at Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico. Airman 1st Class Michelle Ferrari

The 49th Civil Engineering Squadron “Dirt Boyz,” Holloman Air Force Base, N.M.,use a unique approach to environmental stewardship, showcasing their potential for creativity, sustainability, and community-building through innovative projects. Key responsibilities include airfield damage repair and constructing and maintaining expeditionary air bases.“We do a lot of groundwork, from setting up for asphalt, concrete pads, trenching, excavation, digging down, flattening, leveling,” said Airman 1st Class Joshua Feagin, a pavements and construction equipment apprentice with the 49th. By involving local communities in the construction process, the Dirt Boyz have empowered individuals, fostering a sense of ownership and pride in their surroundings.

U.S. Space Force Brig. Gen. Timothy Sejba. Ethan Johnson/USSF

Space Force Brig. Gen. Timothy Sejba assumed leadership of Space Training and Readiness Command (STARCOM) at Peterson Space Force Base, Colo., on July 20. A former Program Executive Officer for Battle Management and Command, Control, and Communications at Los Angeles Air Force Base, Calif., Sejba’s program strategies expertise makes him well-suited for the role. “We must push forward to increase our capacity and capability to field combat-ready forces,” Sejba said. “We must foster the Guardian spirit in our institutional training and role-model it.”

Airman First Class Reynaldy Reynoso-Peralta at AFA’s CyperPatriot Summer Camp in San Antonio. Sharon Singleton/USAF

Airman First Class Reynaldy Reynoso-Peralta was one of five 16th Air Force cyber Airmen to teach at AFA’s CyperPatriot Summer Camp in San Antonio this July. The discussions covered cyber safety, setting career goals, and interests of the local middle and high school students. He and the other instructors also emphasized cyber ethics, computer functions, and online safety. Reynosa-Peralta said, “It is essential the military supports programs like this because this is the next generation to serve this country. We want to invest in the future.” 

Airman 1st Class Theja R. Ranasingha Randhunu Mudhiyanselage. Courtesy photo

After growing up in Sri Lanka, Airman 1st Class Theja R. Ranasingha Randhunu Mudhiyanselage, never thought she would be where she is now. A finance customer service specialist with the 78th Comptroller Squadron at Robins Air Force Base, Ga., Mudhiyanselage moved to the United States in 2017 joining the Air Force in 2022.  “I was really nervous when I first got here because I didn’t know anyone,” she said. She shared her struggle in technical school, as English is not her first language, but her third. Still, she persevered and became a distinguished technical school graduate in March.