U.S. Air Force members salute during a Retreat Ceremony to honor Veterans Day at Yokota Air Base, Japan, Nov. 10, 2022. Machiko Arita/USAF
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Faces of the Force

Nov. 30, 2023

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

Staff Sgt. James Watson retrieves a piece of stock from the 127th Logistics Readiness Squadron warehouse. Senior Master Sgt. Dan Heaton/ANG

Staff Sgt. James Watson, a member of the Michigan Air National Guard’s 127th Logistics Readiness Squadron, appreciates the order and the organization of a warehouse. As a material management technician, his job—along with a small team of fellow Airmen—is to manage the inventory of parts, equipment, and gear that it takes to operate an air wing. “Everything is in its place. I appreciate the process,” said Watson, who has about 11 years of combined Active-duty and Air National Guard service. “When I can see the task list, and I know where everything is, I know that I can succeed,” he said.

Chief Master Sgt. Suzane M. Buttery speaks at her induction ceremony. Tech. Sgt. Lucas Weber

Chief Master Sgt. Suzane M. Buttery of the 911th Aeromedical Staging Squadron at Pittsburgh Air Reserve Station, was promoted during a ceremony Oct. 14. “I am devoted to my family, I am devoted to my country, and I am devoted to the men and women of the 911th ASTS,” Buttery said.  “I thank you so much for the honor and privilege of being able to serve you.” Prior to her current position, Buttery was stationed at bases in Germany, Texas, Ohio, Washington, D.C., New York, and New Mexico. She also deployed in support of operations Enduring Freedom, Inherent Resolve, Freedom’s Sentinel, and Allies Welcome.

Chief Master Sergeant Kelvin J. Hatcher is the Command Chief Master Sergeant, 33d Fighter Wing. USAF

Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., welcomed Chief Master Sgt. Kelvin Hatcher as the 33rd Fighter Wing command chief in June. An adviser to the wing commander, Hatcher is originally from Georgia and joined the Air Force in September 2000. “[W]hen I walked through the door, I saw the etched layout of the F-35 into the granite tile, and everything surrounding it. I look at how an organization presents itself, so what I saw was professionalism and pride,” Hatcher said. “I want to continue to grow that across all of our formations so people know they belong to a professional organization, and they can be proud of it.”

Airman 1st Class Chloe Morgan works as a health technician and a pharmacy technician. Senior Master Sgt. Dan Heaton/ANG

Airman 1st Class Chloe Morgan, a member of the 127th Medical Group at Selfridge Air National Guard Base, Mich., has her sights set on a medical career. A two-year member of the Air National Guard, she took a full-time position with the group as a health technician after her initial training as a pharmacy technician. “I joined initially for the education benefits,” Morgan said. “When I started working in the career field, I realized how much I was learning being a part of the organization. And it’s a good feeling too, knowing that I can play a role in helping others.”

Air Commandos took first place at the Western Regional Esports Invitational Tournament. Courtesy photo

Four Air Commandos from the 27th Special Operations Security Forces Squadron and the 27th Special Operations Civil Engineer Squadron took first place at the Western Regional Esports Invitational Tournament at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, in September. In the first-ever Air Force base-versus-base Esports tournament, approximately 40 Airmen and Guardians  competed to showcase their virtual gaming skills. Staff Sgt. Cameron Chaviers, 27th SOSFS quality control evaluator said, “It gets you out of your shell to talk to other individuals because in gaming there is no rank structure.”

Douglas Szczublewski accepts an award for his team’s win of the Air Force Materiel Command Spark Tank Integrated Capabilities Challenge. AFRL courtesy photo

A novel idea to revolutionize capability development through optimized digital engineering won the Air Force Materiel Command Spark Tank Integrated Capabilities challenge. Douglas Szczublewski, Next Gen Capabilities Lead and aerospace engineer, Aerospace Systems Directorate, Air Force Research Laboratory, presented his team’s winning concept for Digital Effectiveness Based Design during the AFMC Senior Leader Conference Oct. 19. The concept will now go on to receive support and funding for implementation to combine air vehicle design and mission analysis into one digital ecosystem.

Senior Airman Emily Sorrell poses with her ‘amigurumi’ creations. Tech. Sgt. Richard Mekkri

Senior Airman Emily Sorrell, a security forces defender with the Vermont Air National Guard’s 158th Fighter Wing, turned a knitting hobby into a rewarding business. It started when she was recovering from a tonsillectomy in high school and needed something to do. At a local craft store, she and her mother went through a variety of options before Sorrell decided to try her hand, literally, at fiber crafts. Today, her business, Red Mills Handmade Crochet, specializes in amigurumi, the Japanese art of knitting or crocheting small stuffed yarn creatures, gaining her thousands of social media followers.

Isaac “Axe-man” Salinas, Luke Air Force Base pilot for a day. Airman 1st Class Mason Hargrove

The 56th Fighter Wing welcomed Isaac “Axe-Man” Salinas from Make-A-Wish Arizona to become a pilot for a day Oct. 13 at Luke Air Force Base, Ariz. He received a guided tour of the 61st Fighter Squadron including an up-close F-35A Lightning II tour, and he even sat in the cockpit. Salinas also visited the air traffic control tower, enjoyed an F-16 Fighting Falcon training simulator immersion, and completed a tour of aircrew flight equipment, showcasing the technical aspects of a pilot’s gear and safety equipment. He  ended the day meeting Col. Keagan McLeese, 56th Fighter Wing deputy commander.

Space Force Master Sgt. Gary Meiman pilots an airboat at Homosassa Springs, Fla. Courtesy photo

Space Force Master Sgt. Gary Meiman, Space Launch Delta 45 Intelligence flight chief, became part of Hurricane Idalia relief efforts in August. Meiman went to secure his family in Citrus County on Florida’s central west coast as the storm approached. “We organized a small group that could get in there and assist people out of homes that were flooded,” said Meiman, whose family has air boats that can access places where other vehicles can’t go. “We were able to go in and get them out of their homes, and then move them back up to dry land or get them in touch with support agencies,” he said.

Airman 1st Class Daniel Michalski poses for a photo with his two children. Courtesy photo

While some have anxiety about Air Force fitness standards, Olympic hopeful Airman 1st Class Daniel Michalski thrives in this environment. A member of the Air Force’s World Class Athlete Program, Michalski competes nationally and abroad in the 3,000-meter steeplechase, a track and field event consisting of 7.5 laps and 35 barrier hurdles, seven of which include a 12-by-12-foot water pit. Inspired by his disabled grandfather, “a kind, insightful and spiritual man,” Michalski’s ultimate goal is qualifying for the 2024 Olympics in Paris.