U.S. Air Force Academy cadets salute during a Cadet Wing Change of Command ceremony transferring power from Cadet 1st Class Isaac Bates to Cadet 1st Class Abigail Worley Jan. 4, 2024 at the U.S. Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, Colo. A change of command is a military tradition that represents a formal transfer of authority and responsibility for a unit from one commanding or flag officer to another. Rayna Grace/USAF
Photo Caption & Credits

Faces of the Force

March 28, 2024

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

Cadet 1st Class Jabari Bowen. Trevor Cokley/USAF

USAFA Cadet 1st Class Jabari Bowen was awarded the Student Leadership Undergraduate Level Award at the 2024 Black Engineers of the Year STEM Conference in February. Bowen consistently demonstrated a passion for leadership. Overcoming stiff competition, he was selected as part of the Cadet Summer Research Program at the NRO, earning recognition in the engineering division and also being recognized at NSA’s annual Cyber competition. Bowen said, “I am extremely grateful to the BEYA conference for this award and all my mentors and peers at USAFA who helped make me who I am today.”

U.S. Air National Guard Staff Sgt. Brooke Parks. Staff Sgt. Julian Kemper/ANG

While driving in Baltimore last Thanksgiving, Maryland ANG Staff Sgt. Brook Parks, a recruiter assigned to the 185th Force Support Squadron, noticed a man passed out in the median. She called 911 and surveyed the area, realizing the man had most likely overdosed. Parks administered Narcan from her first-aid kit—no results. Recalling her Tactical Combat Casualty Training, she said, “let me try the sternum rub they talked about.” The man came to. “The actions taken by Staff Sgt. Parks that day are a testament to the person she is and the ultimate example of being a Citizen-Airman,” said Col. Richard Hunt, 175th wing commander.

Senior Airman Joelle Fialkowski. Courtesy photo

Senior Airman Joelle Fialkowski, a signals intelligence analyst with the 51st Intelligence Squadron, was named the 363rd Wing’s 2023 Female Athlete of the Year. Fialkowski, from out of Shaw AFB, S.C., has been playing volleyball for eight years. She said when joining the military, she “didn’t realize that participating in sports would be so widely available.” Winning the 2023 CONUS Women’s Volleyball Championship was one of the biggest sports accomplishments. She said, “To my unit I bring a goal-driven education and passion to become an expert on the tasks at hand.”

First Lt. Jacob Geil. William Lewis/USAF

First Lt. Jacob Geil set out to create a cost-efficient, quickly made in-flight camera pod for the A-10C Thunderbolt, and came up with OTTER Cam (Operational Test & Training Exterior Recording Camera). With the help of leadership and the A-10 Systems Program Office, Geil, a flight engineer assigned to the 59th Test & Evaluation Squadron, created a $700 fix, while saving millions and solving the problem. OTTER Cam can record any of the 11 pylons in flight, ultimately ensuring safe separation when testing new stores. “This is a perfect case of empowering … Airmen to cut through existing inefficiencies, shorten mission critical timelines, and reduce … cost,” said Benjamin Bauman, 59th TES A-10C Test Director.

U.S. Space Force Sgt. Anastacia Lange. Senior Airman Elizabeth Davis

Sgt. Anastacia Lange, 333rd Training Squadron, Cyber Warfare Operator Course instructor, became the first Guardian, and also the first female instructor, in the course’s history. Seeking to incorporate Space Force needs into the existing technical training courses, one “Rock Star” student stood out as a possible new instructor, Lange—who came from the Air Force to the Space Force. She is intelligent, motivated, and well-spoken according to her peers. Airmen and Guardians must be able to change as rapidly as the cyber field changes. “I’ve had some fantastic instructors and teachers in my life. The ones who stuck out to me the most, I’ve tried to emulate,” she said.

Senior Master Sgt. Charles Johnson, left, and Master Sgt. Erin Chitwood. Senior Master Sgt. Ted Daigle; Courtesy photo

307th Bomb Wing Medical Airmen Senior Master. Sgt. Charles Johnson, medical squadron senior enlisted leader, and Master Sgt. Erin Chitwood, superintendent for the 489th Aeromedical Flight, became the first medical personnel to earn Air Force Reserve Command awards in the same year. Johnson earned outstanding Air Reserve Technical SNCO of the Year and oversees the Personnel Reliability Program of AFRC’s only nuclear-capable squadron. Chitwood earned outstanding SNCO assigned to a medical unit. Despite being at different bases, Johnson at Barksdale Air Force Base, La., and Chitwood at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, the two Airmen work closely together.

Tech. Sgt. Erik Johannes. Staff Sgt. Michael Bowman

Tech. Sgt. Erik Johannes, 1st Fighter Wing, a weapons safety representative, became the first Airman to graduate from the Marine Corps Designated Marksman Course. The training focused on the M110 Semi-Automatic Sniper System, which will be useful in garrison and deployed areas. The course included classroom academics, weapons familiarization, observation, and marksmanship exercises. The training can be used for base security and Bird/Wildlife Aircraft Strike Hazards. Johannes said, “This incredible opportunity gave me a glimpse of the power of joint warfighting. … To sharpen our competitive edge we must learn and grow from each other’s best practices.”