Airmen from Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass., salute during the national anthem prior to a Boston Red Sox playoff game in Boston at Fenway Park. Todd Maki/USAF
Photo Caption & Credits

Faces of the Force

Jan. 26, 2024

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Tech. Sgt. Christopher Massey, 535th Airlift Squadron loadmaster. Senior Airman Makensie Cooper

Tech. Sgt. Christopher Massey, a loadmaster with the 535th Airlift Squadron, demonstrated his lifesaving instincts not once but twice. During a family cruise off the coast of Waikiki, Hawaii, he noticed a person struggling in the water. Without hesitation, he jumped in to secure her and swam 50 yards to safety. Months before that, during a temporary duty assignment in Japan, Massey recognized a fellow Airman in distress in a hotel lobby. He offered help and soon discovered the individual was contemplating suicide. Massey united three wings from two major commands to aid the troubled member.

Robert Clark, 51st Fighter Wing historian. Staff Sgt. Kelsea Caballero

Historian Robert Clark of the 51st Fighter Wing was honored with the 2023 Department of the Air Force History and Heritage Excellence in History Program Award. When Clark first arrived at Osan AFB, Korea, in September 2022, he found a three-year vacancy in the history office with overdue command reports. Clark revitalized the program by filling a report and initiating an engagement plan to educate about the wing’s history and heritage, all within a four-month window. Clark collected, interpreted, and disseminated Air Force institutional memory to improve the wing’s combat capability.

Second Lt. Madison Marsh, at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev. William Lewis/USAF

Congratulations to Miss Colorado, Madison Marsh, a second lieutenant in a special Air Force partnership program at the Harvard Kennedy School, Mass., who is breaking barriers as the first Active-duty officer to win the Miss America pageant. Originally aspiring to be an astronaut during her undergraduate years at the Air Force Academy, Marsh found joy in pageants as a cadet. Alongside the competition, she advocates for pancreatic cancer research and education. Following her mother’s tragic death from pancreatic cancer in 2018, her family established the Whitney Marsh Foundation, raising over a quarter-million dollars.

A child sits with Mrs. Claus at the Youth and Family Services Child Development Center in Rapid City, S.D. Airman 1st Class Brittany Kenney

In the spirit of the holiday season, Santa and Mrs. Claus, joined by the 28th Operations Group from Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., delivered over 220 gifts to children at the Youth and Family Services Child Development Center on Dec. 11, 2023. Staff Sgt. Kayleigh Jacobs brought joy as Mrs. Claus, witnessing children’s excitement. The highlight included Santa, Mrs. Claus, and volunteers visiting classrooms, personally handing out gifts, followed by a countdown that signaled kids to open presents together. This 17-year-old annual Angel Tree program is a tradition reflecting Airmen’s commitment to community service and bringing joy to local children.

Members of the 20th Component Maintenance Squadron. Airman 1st Class Kyrii Richardson

The 20th Component Maintenance Squadron at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., introduced the branch’s first mobile testing and repair capability for the AN/ALQ-184 ECM pod, enhancing electronic defense for F-16 and A-10 aircraft. This innovation allows immediate on-site repairs in remote locations, supporting the Agile Combat Employment initiative. The mobile capability, led by Senior Master Sgt. Jerry Rosario, is a compact setup using two pallets of gear and aligns with the Multi-Capable Airmen concept. This accomplishment aims to inspire other Air Force Electronic Warfare units to adopt similar capabilities.

Senior Airman Sammi-Joy Severino, 374th Medical Group ultrasound technologist. Airman 1st Class Alexzandra Gracey

Senior Airman Sammi-Joy Severino, an ultrasound technologist with the 374th Medical Group, helped save lives during her mission in Pacific Partnership 24-1 aboard the hospital ship USNS Mercy from San Diego. Serving in Honiara, Solomon Islands, Severino and her team provided vital medical services, conducting 392 engagements and 94 surgeries over two weeks in November 2023. Despite encountering challenges, such as assisting patients without medical histories, she found the pathology practice rewarding. Severino focused on life-changing surgeries for residents lacking health care.

U.S. Space Force Capt. Dillon Duarte, chief of the Space Delta 9 Commander’s Action Group at Schriever Space Force Base, Colo. USAFA

After facing a setback to his dream of becoming a pilot due to eyesight issues, Space Force Capt. Dillon Duarte discovered a new passion inspired by a Geospatial Science satellite imagery course during his years at the Air Force Academy. Post-Academy, Duarte served in various roles before transitioning to the 50th Operational Support Squadron as an executive officer and GPS payload instructor. He then seized a unique opportunity to contribute to the establishment of Space Delta 9. Now as the Chief of the Commander’s Action Group, he coordinates strategic planning and executive communication for Delta 9.

U.S. Air Force Academy Cadet 1st Class Madelyn Letendre. Justin Pacheco/USAFA

Air Force Academy Cadets, 1st Class Madelyn Letendre and 1st Class Owen Graham, have won prestigious scholarships. Letendre, the 44th Rhodes Scholar from the Academy, secured full funding for postgraduate studies at the University of Oxford, pursuing a Master of Science in Therapeutic and Translational Neuroscience and a Master of Public Policy.

U.S. Air Force Academy Cadet 1st Class Owen Graham. Stephen Roughton/USAFA

Graham received the 24th Marshall Scholarship for a fully funded, two-year postgraduate education in the U.K., intending to specialize in quantitative climate and weather science at the University of Cambridge and Imperial College London. Both are set to commission as second lieutenants into the USAF in May 2024.