Public service week honors civilian contributions to AF

  • Published
  • By Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs Command Information
Public Service Recognition Week, which runs from May 1-7, provides an opportunity to recognize more than 2 million public employees who protect the nation through service in the armed forces. More than 176,000 of them are Air Force civilian full-time, part-time, term, temporary and non-appropriated fund Airmen.

In today’s Air Force, civilians contribute to every facet of the mission alongside their active-duty, Reserve and Guard service members. The Air Force civilian workforce comprises an incredibly diverse number of Airmen in various missions located in all 50 states and multiple overseas locations. Below are a couple of ways the critical component of the total force continuously serves the Air Force and nation.

Herb Mason, an Air Force Special Operations Command historian, spent more than 50 years preserving the Air Force’s story for generations to come. As the longest-serving historian, he chronicled his first Air Force history in 1965 and then spent the next 50 years providing hindsight to leaders for years to come. Mason retired in 2015 at Hurlburt Field, Florida. Click here to read the full story.

Meanwhile across the Atlantic Ocean, civilians work 24/7 as switchboard operators at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, providing service not only to the base and U.S. Air Forces in Europe, but also to Air Force, Army, Navy, Marines, and State Department personnel all over the world. Click here to see how they facilitate approximately 1.5 million calls per year.

Back in the States, Pat Lee, a multiservice execution team office lead engineer, works with his team on the Distributed Common Ground/Surface System’s Integration Backbone. The DCGS will provide a common set of services and standards to facilitate the sharing of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance information with the warfighter. Click here to see how this team enables warfighters to get intelligence information quicker and easier.

While the Civil Air Patrol may not have been part of the traditional mindset of civilian Air Force members, that old paradigm shifted in August 2015 when the Air Force updated Doctrine Volume 2, “Leadership,” expanding the Air Force’s descriptions of the total force to include active-duty, Guard, Reserve, civilian, and auxiliary members. Click here to see why Air Force leaders should consider each part of the total force, including the auxiliary, when determining the most effective and efficient ways to complete the mission.

Saving money is always of importance when considering any new acquisition, reconstruction or taking care of Airmen. Therefore, when engineers from the 92nd Civil Engineer Squadron at Fairchild Air Force Base, Washington, were able to ensure today’s readiness with tomorrow's modernization and saved $8 million along the way, they deserve a little recognition. Click here to see how teams of military and civilian personnel enabled the Air Force to invest those dollars in other areas across the service's wide gamut of operations.

Erik Straus began his Air Force career in 1987 as a security forces member then cross-trained into the space field where he joined 4th Space Operations Squadron in 2000. He led the launch teams for the final two Milstar satellites, before returning to the 4th SOPS as a civilian. To read more about Straus, click here.

This week, take time to thank all the civilians whose work contributes to the Air Force mission -- Global Reach, Global Power and Global Vigilance.