“What do you do, 5J0X1?”

We see them all the time – walking around the installation, wearing their digital-print camouflage uniforms. They go to the super market, collect mail, visit the bank, or grab their meals at the same establishments we do.

Each and every one of our U.S. Air Force Airmen serve a purpose in accomplishing the same mission, but do we really know what they specifically do? Can you confidently say that you know the job specifics of that one Airman you saw carrying one-too-many, heavy grocery bags for one trip from commissary to their car and then the bottom of the plastic bags gave out and the entire contents of their shopping tumbled to the wet pavement and they kind of spent two seconds looking at the mess around their feet before looking up at the sky and give up a huge sigh because: it’s raining, the bags are useless, how are they supposed to make spaghetti dinner now that the noodles are broken and the sauce jar broke, and they don’t have time for this because they just can’t literally even right now?

For those of you just as curious as me, welcome to the third entry in my blog series, “What do you do?” a series in which I, Airman 1st Class Timothy Kim, inform you of exactly what some of our Airmen do to ensure the success of our installation’s mission!

The series will be posted on a monthly basis, each entry identifying a specific Air Force Specialty Code and informing you, my readers, on:

-What they do

-How they do it

-Why they do it

So, without a further ado, a-let’s a-go ahead and dive into today’s highlighted AFSC!

The AFSC 5J0X1 (Paralegal)

What do you do 5J0X1?

Paralegals, by definition, are people trained in subsidiary legal matters but not fully qualified as a lawyer.

I don’t know about you, but studying law and the justice system of our country, let alone the U.S. Air Force’s, wasn’t exactly on the top of my to-do list, but it has been something that has tickled my curiosity. Why?

What do you do 5J0X1?

The legal system is a process developed by our government for interpreting and enforcing the law – which is a set of rules determined by our government as to what is right and wrong.

I’m sure that most of us know the rules, but I think it’s also fair to state that though we are aware of it, we aren’t highly trained in understanding every nook and cranny of our country’s laws. (At least, for me, I know that, according to the Fifth Amendment, I have the right to remain silent.)

It’s for these reasons that lawyers, attorneys and paralegals exist to help us – those that aren’t too familiar or professionally trained in the laws of our country – understand and to counsel us when we have issues that pertain to the legal system.

What do you do 5J0X1?What do you do 5J0X1?

In this issue, we’re going to be looking very closely at what our highlighted AFSC does: The Paralegals.

The What: The 5J0X1 Airmen, part of the Judge Advocate General’s Corps, work to deliver professional, candid, independent counsel and full-spectrum legal capabilities to command and the warfighter.

According to the JAG Corps’ mission statement:

The Air Force, like other Services, operates in an increasingly legalistic environment, which demands nothing less than the very best legal capability it can field. The Air Force JAG Corps supplies that demand with its talented and highly trained group of legal professionals.”

JAG and its staff of paralegals ensure that we’re well-counseled and assisted throughout any legal procedures that we need help with. However, according to U.S. Air Force Maj. Mark Golden, 52nd Judge Advocate deputy staff judge advocate, JAG does more than simply handle legal matters and offer counsel.

“They say JA stands for ‘just ask’ and it’s true,” Golden said. “We’re to assist on the whole legal spectrum from military justice to civil issues to legal assistance. We advise wing leadership, Airmen and dependents. If you have a question, just ask and we will provide you with an answer.”

With a policy that encourages clients to come in and ask any questions they have, how does JAG accomplish such a feat?

The How:

The Legal Office and its Paralegal Airmen work in three different departments:

  1. General Law
  2. Military Justice
  3. Area Defense Council

General Law

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The General Law section of JAG is one that caters more toward the base community more than anything else. Have a speeding ticket you need to settle? Filing for a divorce and trying to figure out the logistics and the various state laws that may or may not apply depending where you and your spouse are currently located or will be?

The Airmen located downstairs and normally the place you go to seek legal consultation are the ones that normally greet you with a patient smile that seems to let you know, “Hey, it’s going to be okay – we’re here to help you out.”

“We answer phone calls, answer questions, give power of attorney notaries and we also schedule clients with attorneys for legal assistance and wills,” said U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Catherine Westervelt, a 52nd Judge Advocate paralegal. “It’s important because we are giving the Airmen piece of mind. When they come in they have a personal issue that they’re stressed over and that’s why they come into the legal office. When you’re stressed about personal issues, are you really going to be focused on your job?”

Though they aren’t lawyers, paralegals are very knowledgeable with the Uniform Code of Military Justice and are more than capable of helping clients. However, when it comes to confidential counseling, paralegals can set up appointments with attorneys.

“We constantly work with everyone – anywhere from service members and civilians who live on this base to first sergeants and commanders who have questions,” said U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Lezette Kennedy, another paralegal. “We’re constantly dealing with their personal lives, whether it’s buying their first new homes or selling their old one, getting married for the first time or getting a divorce. These things are things that are close to the heart and can affect a service member’s ability to perform well at their jobs.”

Though the General Law side is quite capable of handling legal matters for clients, it’s important to keep in mind that our paralegals are only well-versed in U.S. laws. So what happens if we have complications that involve the German law? After all, we are guests in our host nation.

What do you do 5J0X1? What do you do 5J0X1?

Luckily, the JAG employs the assistants of German paralegals, who work to ensure that the base’s population is covered when they happen to find themselves in legal situations and they don’t know what to do.

The key thing to remember about the legal system is that every country has a different one (seems fair, right?) It would only make sense that an American paralegal would be well-versed in the ways of the U.S. legal system, after all. With that in mind, USAF employs host national paralegals to perform the same functions as General Law does, but holding knowledge about their country’s laws.

Military Justice

What do you do 5J0X1? What do you do 5J0X1?

The paralegals working upstairs in Military Justice Department handle legal matters from a different perspective. Whereas the General Law section caters towards the base community, the Military Justice department consults leadership in regards to legal matter.

How so?

Say the commander of a squadron needed to write up legal paperwork or an article to distribute punitive actions or other administrative paper trails. To ensure that they were pulling correct citations from the Uniform Code of Military Justice, the squadron’s first sergeant would approach the Military Justice section and request consultation on a specific case that requires legal paper work to be filed.

Additionally, when legal matters are taken to a certain point that calls for a court martial, the paralegals of the MJD step up to assist the attorneys and lawyers that handle the case – backgrounds, articles from the UCMJ and notifying all the departments in order to set up a proper court martial? Yeah, these guys work hard behind draped curtains to ensure that the show must go on.

What do you do 5J0X1?

“There’s not a facet on this base we don’t touch, unlike any other office,” said U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Osby Watts, JA superintendent. “We have our hands, ears and eyes on every single thing that happens on this installation. Our staff’s skill set is so diverse in every area. We provide a top-notch service without a hitch, because I believe a lot of agencies, despite something being their program, still come to us and request counsel on a way ahead. It’s a great opportunity to be a JA professional on this installation.”

Oh, and the legal blotter stuff you see on the main web page that normally notifies you of ongoing cases and the sentences that have been ruled? Also these guys’ handiwork – they draft up the updates and ensure that it goes through the proper process to ensure that those that are invested or interested get a proper update of a specific court martial case.

Area Defense Counsel

The ADC works strictly as a counseling agency for the Airmen that need help when it comes to legal matters. When you’ve been handed legal papers or accused of something in legal terms, you have the right to be represented by counsel at the magistrate hearing when a determination is made regarding continued pretrial confinement, at the Article 32 investigation and during all court-martial sessions.

In plain English, this counsel exists to make sure that you are properly represented and defended, regardless of what comes your way. Got a Letter of Reprimand or an Article 15? The ADC exists to consult you on the gravity of your situation and how they can help you out. As the ADC provides confident counseling, Attorney-client privilege exists between you and your ADC representative.

The Why:

Ultimately, I used to think (as you may have as well, but are afraid to admit), JAG is one of the agencies that we know is important, but not sure exactly how or in what way; unless you have legal matters truly breathing down your neck, what paralegals and those in JAG do aren’t constantly thriving in your mind.

But according to Lt. Col. Christine Lamont, 52nd Fighter Wing JAG staff judge advocate, the agency provides more than just legal consultation or reprieve from judicial due process.

“We have a vast mission set here,” Lamont said. “Well beyond what the typical Airmen would see – which is Article 15s, court-martials and notaries at the front desk. We’re involved in almost every cornerstone of this wing’s mission in an advisory capacity. We also work with our Airmen on an individual basis through our legal assistance program and its preventive law nature. We provide preventive law information as well as working with our Airmen to make them better supervisors through information on how to enforce that good order and discipline well before a subject may receive a commander’s attention. We’re there for Airmen personally and professionally. We’re also there for commanders when an issue gets to that level.”

Honestly, my personal perspective on it changed after getting to know the staff that works tirelessly at JAG.

An Airman, despite his or her dedication to serve their country, is, at the end of the day, a person. A person who feels, stresses, worries, waits and ponders. Though we all hold noble intentions of ensuring that our country can continue to not only maintain, but also better our way of life, we – individually ourselves – cannot put aside all of our personal concerns and worries just to carry on as professionally as we can muster.

What do you do 5J0X1?

The Judge Advocacy doesn’t simply exist to ensure that all legal matters are taken care of with a cold, iron fist. Matter of fact, JAG has a customer service section in their office for a reason. They are here on every military installation, not only to make sure that legal matters are taken care of and proper proceedings are cleared regarding matters to the UCMJ, but they also exist to help you – my dear readers – take care of yourselves.

So, now that you know what Paralegals do, dear readers, could you please tell me:

What do you do?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Been There, Done That … Bitburg Haunted House

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Sabers beware, it’s time for a scare! In order to end this rhyme without reason, I’ll tell you a tale of my favorite season. A visit to an annual attraction, filled to the brim with Halloween action. Let me tell you the tale of a haunted house most horrible and end this rhyme before it gets more deplorable.

 This time on Been There, Done That we braved the annual Bitburg haunted house!

Someone cue the lightening! (Thunder sounds)

The Bitburg haunted house is an annual attraction going on its 13th year and is being put on with the help of over 350 volunteers. The best way I can describe it is an amalgamation of nightmare inspiration by various contributors from both on and off base, all with the aim of scaring your pants off.

Haunted House 2015

As an aficionado of horror video games, I will admit I went into this one thinking myself an unflappable pillar of desensitized awesomeness. In the video games, there is little that cannot be overcome with either a sneaky sneak method or a blind dash for glory bolstered by the battle cry Leeeeeeeeeerooooy Jenkins. This method did not work so well for me in real life (not too surprisingly).

My cool as a cucumber facade aside, I have to say there were parts of the house that were truly spectacular with the effort put in by the volunteers. Many of the scares are just people jumping out and loud noises, true, but there are several areas that are genuinely creepy. You can see the work put in by those who brought the haunted house together this year, and it pays off amazingly. I personally found myself laughing more often than screaming, but I heard more than enough other people to know that only my in-depth training spared me.

My final take away from the attraction is this: even if you aren’t the easily frightened type, the Bitburg haunted house is a blast. You can see the love put into it, the actors are obviously having a lot of fun trying to scare you, and chances are pretty high you’ll have fun too.

 So if you’re a fan of horror just trying your skill or a Halloween goer just craving a thrill, why not head to Bitburg this year for your spine tingling chill! Happy Halloween, Sabers!

 

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Geilenkirchen Haunted House open Oct. 30-31

The scares are even better than last year; The Haunted House Team at Geilenkirchen NATO Air Base has done it again!

This year’s theme is The Evil Dead. The house is comprised of three closed school buildings, with over 19 rooms; more than 40 actors, a concession stand, and a green screen photo booth… there is surely a room to frighten the living daylights out of you.

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The team has been working on this project since Jun 2015, and everything has been well engineered with infrared sensors, automated heads, life like body parts, scary glow in the dark clowns, and zombiland. The sound, smells, and lighting are all there to infect the senses.

A children’s festival will be provided by Team 5/6 to entertain the young while giving parents the freedom to enjoy the Haunted House.

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The GK Haunted House Team is led by Tech. Sgt. Jed Abbot and his wife Heather, Teal Heart, Jake Dean and his wife Tech. Sgt. Neshanne Dean, Capt. Samory Adul-Raheem, Master Sgt. Chris Grube, and Master Sgt. Bryan Henry. The event was proudly funded by local MWA.

The locals say that this is the best Haunted House they have experienced and the price is only 5 Euros.

Event dates: Oct. 30, 5-11pm and Oct. 31, 4-11pm
Location: Geilenkirchen NATO Air Base, 100 Lilienthallee, 52511, Geilenkirchen Germany

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U.S., Portuguese airmen team up for helicopter unload

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Beja Air Base, Portugal, is abuzz with activity as nearly 3,000 service members and 40 aircraft from nine NATO and allied nations take part in Exercise Trident Juncture 2015.

It was hard to decide which unit to cover first, as each one is here to perform a specific mission that is critical to the overall success of this year’s exercise. However, one unit, the 41st Rescue Squadron assigned to the 347th Rescue Group at Moody Air Force Base, Georgia, is here to perform a very unique mission — search and rescue — with their primary airframe, the HH60G Pave Hawk helicopter. And according to our Portuguese counterparts, this was the first time this type of airframe was seen on the Beja Air Base flightline

Before the 41st RQS could get up and running here, they had to coordinate with several U.S. Air Force, Air National Guard and Portuguese air force transportation and logistics units, to deliver and unload the equipment and personnel needed to perform their mission.

Senior Airman Kevin Dunn, 52nd Logistics Readiness Squadron, Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, was key to ensuring the 41st RQS was operational within five hours of landing on the flightline.

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It was all hands on deck when the first C-17 Globemaster III touched down on the flightline Wednesday morning carrying two Pave Hawk helicopters, equipment and personnel. This was also a unique opportunity for Spangdahlem Airmen to learn procedures of loading and unloading cargo aircraft from their Portuguese counterparts.

This is the first of many opportunities for Spangdahlem Airmen to work with NATO and allied partners during Trident Juncture 2015. The exercise takes place over the next few weeks facilitating training opportunities ranging from fighter and rescue missions to exchanging best practices among the nine nations.

Trident Juncture 2015 is a multiservice, multinational exercise to demonstrate NATO’s resolve, capability and capacity to meet present and future security challenges. It consists of more than 36,000 troops from 30 Nations and takes place in Italy, Portugal, Spain, the Mediterranean Sea and Atlantic Ocean.

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To see more photos of Exercise Trident Juncture visit the Spangdahlem Flickr page by following this link: http://bit.ly/1LN0YFk

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When Sabers Sleep: The Night Shift (726th Air Mobility Squadron)

As the sun touches the edges of our land, the sky turns from a vivacious shade of cerulean to a drowsy tint of purple and pink. Weary feet shuffle toward homes, minds occupied with the inviting arms of families and the soft embrace of pillows.

But if you were to take a moment to glimpse to your left and your right, you may notice something quite interesting –a select few walking in the opposite direction.

Their lives, unknown to us – separated by the intangible line demarcated by the sun and the moon –seem to exist in a surreal realm of twilight, one that seems to escape the confines of our world and awareness.

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to “When Sabers Sleep: The Night Shift,” where we unveil the mysteries behind the story of those who work when the sun hides its face.

Tonight, we dive into the mysteries behind the nightly activities of:

The 726th Air Mobility Squadron (The A-Shift)

HEADLINE

Their mission: Serving as a passenger terminal and a pit stop for passing military air crafts, the 726th Air Mobility Squadron and its Airmen work hard to ensure that passing aircraft are well-maintained and taken care of before they leave Spangdahlem Air Base.

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You may have seen their nightly tale here, but you can learn far more about their story by visiting our Flickr page.

 

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“What do you do, 6F0X1?”

We see them all the time – walking around the installation, wearing their digital-print camouflage uniforms. They go to the super market, collect mail, visit the bank, or grab their meals at the same establishments we do.

Each and every one of our U.S. Air Force Airmen serve a purpose in accomplishing the same mission, but do we really know what they specifically do? Can you confidently say that you know the job specifics of that one Airman you saw this morning running at the base track – sweating, panting and producing a bizarre and unnatural whistling noise from their throat every time they take a breath?

For those of you just as curious as me, welcome to the second entry in my blog series, “What do you do?” a series in which I, Airman 1st Class Timothy Kim, inform you of exactly what some of our Airmen do to ensure the success of our installation’s mission!

The series will be posted on a monthly basis, each entry identifying a specific Air Force Specialty Code and informing you, my readers, on:

-What they do

-How they do it

-Why they do it

So, without further ado, let’s go ahead and dive into today’s highlighted AFSC!

The AFSC 6F0X1 (The Financial Management and Comptroller Airman)

HEADLINE

I knew them colloquially as “Finance” and there was only one thing that I knew about their job and what they do:

People handling money.

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Okay, to be fair, I was mildly aware of what it is they do before I fully immersed myself in this project.

Here’s what I used to know:

The What: The 6F0X1 Airmen’s responsibility is mainly concerned with handling the budget of the installation and its people.

Here’s what I know now:

Members of the 52nd Comptroller Squadron (which is where our Finance management and Comptroller Airmen work) handles all financial and budget cases within the Air Force at the installation level. I know it sounds pretty simple, but it became quite clear to me during some of my interviews that – like everything in life – there’s a lot more to it than meets the eye.

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Much like the way a car seems to run effortlessly down the road or the way a plane takes off and stays afloat thousands of feet in the air or the way your smart phone takes forever to update its operating system– just because it thought that now would be a great time to connect to a WiFi hotspot at the café where you’re supposed to be meeting your cute date – the 52nd CPTS seems to run a “simple” operation of handling its clientele’s cases, but there’s always so much going on behind the curtains. Looking at you, Oz. You ain’t fooling no one, little man.

The How:

Essentially, the 52nd CPTS and its 6F0X1 Airmen are split into two flights:

  1. The Financial Management Flight – Customer Service
  2. The Financial Management Assessment – Budget Analysis

These two sections handle different aspects of their responsibilities, but both work together to work toward the same mission. How? So you find yourself in the office of:

Financial Management Flight (FMF) Customer Service

What happens?

Chances are if you’re at the FMF customer service office, you’re looking for several things: you’re either in-processing, got married, about to travel, about to deploy, out-processing or you got underpaid in this month’s paycheck and came here to get some answers.

HEADLINE

According to U.S. Air Force TSgt Lloyd Mayberry, a 52nd CPTS financial management craftsman, the FMF is split into four sections that handle various aspects of your concerns listed above (and more).

  • Military Pay
  • Travel
  • Special Action
  • Disbursement

Military Pay handles things such as your financial records and statuses that would affect how much you’re getting paid. They look at your Leave & Earning Statement (LES) and can help explain to you why you ended up receiving a total of $400 as opposed to the usual $850 for this month. Because I worked real hard to make sure that I earned that money, and you have got to be kidding me how am I supposed to pay off the credit card bill I used to purchase my next-gen consol – erm, textbooks and classes and stuff.

Communicating with the Defense Finance Accounting System (DFAS), your finance Airmen working at Military Pay ensure they can correct any mistakes that may have ended up on your records.

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If you’re going to be leaving the area, or want to discuss traveling in which you consume your leave, you’d be talking to Airmen from Travel.

The Travel Airmen (not an official duty title, btw) handles all client’s cases pertaining to changes made on a person’s records regarding their current whereabouts, as it directly affects the individual’s financial status.

If you’re in-processing or out-processing, you’d be changing your physical whereabouts, which needs to be recorded in order to determine how much Cost of Living Allowance (COLA) you receive – if you’re still not aware of how that factors in (which is fine, because it took at least an hours’ worth of interviewing for me to grasp the concept – sorry, guys!) your current duty station is still part of a living area which has a dictated cost of living. If you happen to live in an area that’s expensive to live in, you’d be receiving more COLA in your paycheck. Smashing! So in order to ensure that you’re receiving the proper COLA, Travel needs to know if you’re leaving, where you’re going, etc. Capiche? Good!

Special Actions, located on the floor above Military Pay and Travel, deals with the similar issues but deals with specific cases, namely: debts, remission waivers, separations, retirements and even pay reductions dictated by Uniform Code of Military Justice articles.

Disbursement is a small, armored cage that handles cash (the cold, hard kind, yadadamean?) but is also mainly responsible for receiving payments from people who owe the Air Force money, giving money to people the Air Force owes money to and also issuing payment vouchers to units assigned to contingency operations. Though they collect all those green stacks in their vault, they are required to turn the cash into the bank within 24 hours.

Chances are, most of you are keenly aware of Military Pay and Travel, perhaps even Special Actions, as some of us are may face financial concerns, and perhaps there are even fewer who visits the indestructible cages of the disbursement office, but there’s a side to the 6F0X1 Airman’s job that not many of us may know.

Behold:

Financial Management Analysis (FMA) Budget Analysis

The FMA is more or less, as I perceive it, the sort of back side to the CPTS that not everyone sees or knows it exists. As I’ve stated earlier, the FMF is the side that everyone interacts with, but the FMA deals with more of the analytics and assessments of the installation’s finances.

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OK, hold the phone… what does that even mean? I know it seems like I ask a lot of clarifying questions, and true, it may take me awhile to grasp advanced concepts such as “financial stability” and “budget plans” (whatever those are), but at least my thirst for answers will help you help me help you understand the delicate intricacies of this job. Anything for my dear, favorite readers (hi, Mom)!

In plain old English and according to U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Jon Candelario, a 52nd CPTS financial management craftsman, FMA functions similarly to accountants. They plan, advise, counsel and help develop budget plans. For whom? The installation, of course.

Congress allots certain amount of money for us, and the FMA Airmen ensure pretty darn-tootin’ that we don’t exceed past the amount that Congress has authorized the U.S. Air Force to use. Cascading down from the top through the proper chain of commands down to our installation like a refreshing waterfall of flowing chocolate running down those wine glass things that are set up to look like pyramids (Mmmmm, chocolate), we receive funds which are then split amongst groups and eventually squadrons.

The budgeting process normally involves the squadron and group advisors, as well as their respective resource advisors, but the FMA budget analysts don’t just counsel – they also help plan the squadron or group’s budget for contingencies.

Say, though all this was accomplished, the squadron still requires more funds because they want to conduct training or need more equipment essential to the mission. Their respective resource advisor speaks with their FMA representative, who then speaks to the requesting squadron’s functional area manager to determine if the request falls within the parameters of their job requirement. Then they go ahead and send the request up the proper chain of command to see if they can get those funds.

…..

Though this article doesn’t encompass the vast and detailed specifics of what our 6F0X1 Airmen do, it is my hope to ensure that you understand at a basic level that the FMF and FMA Airmen don’t just tap away on their keyboard, give you a toothy grin and say, “We’ll take care of your finances for you.”

Perhaps, my dear readers, this article has served its purpose in enlightening you on some of the gears that run behind the clock that allow the 52nd CPTS to continue to function and work hard for our installation. Without our Financial Management and Comptroller Airmen, our base would lose an important function.

Don’t believe me? Read it for yourselves from the 52nd CPTS!

The Why

According to U.S. Air Force Maj. Neil Harris, the 52nd CPTS commander, the Finance Airmen aid the adhesion that binds the base and its community together, promoting teamwork, efficiency and support.

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“The Airmen at the 52nd CPTS work hard to get stuff right the first time,” Harris said. “They’re resourcing all units in the 52nd Fighter Wing, because without the money, the Air Force will experience great difficulty in being able to function and operate. It’s a team effort, and they’ve worked hard to get the job done.”

HEADLINE

So, now that you know what Finance Airmen do, dear readers, could you please tell me:

What do you do?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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When Sabers Sleep: The Night Shift (52nd FSS Spangdahlem Fitness Center)

As the sun touches the edges of our land, the sky turns from a vivacious shade of cerulean to a drowsy tint of purple and pink. Weary feet shuffle toward homes, minds occupied with the inviting arms of families and the soft embrace of pillows.

But if you were to take a moment to glimpse to your left and your right, you may notice something quite interesting –a select few walking in the opposite direction.

Their lives, unknown to us – separated by the intangible line demarcated by the sun and the moon –seem to exist in a surreal realm of twilight, one that seems to escape the confines of our world and awareness.

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to “When Sabers Sleep: The Night Shift,” where we unveil the mysteries behind the story of those who work when the sun hides its face.

Tonight, we dive into the mysteries behind the nightly activities of:

The 52nd Force Support Squadron’s Spangdahlem Fitness Center

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Their mission: To support the men and women of 52nd Fighter Wing and their families, as well as geographically separated units. The squadron provides administrative, personnel, contingency response, force sustainment, family/child care and quality of life support to over 13.5K people.

The Spangdahlem Fitness Center serves to enhance the physical and mental fitness of the base community.

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You may have seen their nightly tale here, but you can learn far more about their story by visiting our Flickr page.

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When Sabers Sleep: The Night Shift (52nd CMS)

As the sun touches the edges of our land, the sky turns from a vivacious shade of cerulean to a drowsy tint of purple and pink. Weary feet shuffle toward homes, minds occupied with the inviting arms of families and the soft embrace of pillows.

But if you were to take a moment to glimpse to your left and your right, you may notice something quite interesting –a select few walking in the opposite direction.

Their lives, unknown to us – separated by the intangible line demarcated by the sun and the moon –seem to exist in a surreal realm of twilight, one that seems to escape the confines of our world and awareness.

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to “When Sabers Sleep: The Night Shift,” where we unveil the mysteries behind the story of those who work when the sun hides its face.

Tonight, we dive into the mysteries behind the nightly activities of:

The 52nd Component Maintenance Squadron

Their mission: To provide safe and reliable aircraft engines, components and combat avionics systems for the 52nd Fighter Wing, enabling unique forward-based airpower capabilities in support of United States Air Forces in Europe and Air Force Africa, U.S. Central Command and NATO objectives.

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You may have seen their nightly tale here, but you can learn far more about their story by visiting our Flickr page.

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“What do you do, 3D1X1?”

We see them all the time – walking around the installation, wearing their digital-print camouflage uniforms. They go to the super market, collect mail, visit the bank, or grab their meals at the same establishments we do.

Each and every one of our U.S. Air Force Airmen serve a purpose in accomplishing the same mission, but do we really know what they specifically do? Can you confidently say that you know the job specifics of that one Airman you saw this afternoon walking down the street or the one you bumped into at the post office and gave you an awkward, half-smile of a greeting?

For those of you just as curious as me, welcome to the first entry in my blog series, “What do you do?”, a series in which I, Airman 1st Class Timothy Kim, inform you of just what exactly some of our Airmen do to ensure the success of our installation’s mission!

The series will be posted on a monthly basis, each entry identifying a specific Air Force Specialty Code and informing you, my readers, on:

-What they do
-How they do it
-Why they do it

So, without a further ado, let’s go ahead and dive into today’s AFSC highlight!

The AFSC
3D1X1 (aka. The Client Systems Technician)

What do you do? 3D1X1

It was kind of interesting to see what we would identify as the USAF’s version of Information Technology, or the Geek Squad, actually does in our very own Saber Nation (the 52nd Fighter Wing for those of you who aren’t familiar with the lingo).

Generally – but not always – assigned to the 52nd Communications Squadron, our CST specialists have one purpose to fulfill on our installation: to sustain and operate systems through effective troubleshooting, repair, and system performance analysis.

If you’re anything like me, you probably said, out loud,  something around the lines of:

“What?”

The What:
Essentially, they ensure all electronics used for official purposes on our installation properly function. Pretty simple, right?

Boom! Mic drop.
Audio feedback. “Ow, my ears.”

What do you do? 3D1X1

But, how do they go about doing that?

The How:
The way CST Airmen go about completing their mission can be seen by envisioning three gears working together. (Do you have those three gears pictured in your head? Good!) The hypothetical gears are as follows:

The Back Shop
The Lab
The Asset Management Office

(Disclaimer: these “hypothetical gears” the author mentioned are in fact three different sections on the installation that handle CST work. They are not gears and are, in fact, very real.)

The Scenario
Let’s say you have a problem with an electronic device at work. This could range from problems with your projector or your computer not functioning the way it should or even possibly your work phone just isn’t doing its job! Who do you call – err, email – um, report the problem to?

As long as you put a ticket in for it – now made possible at your convenience with the new Virtual Enterprise Service Desk – the 52nd CS will log your problem. When tickets are first logged, they are categorized into one of the three different priority levels: Low, Medium and High.

All tickets are generally logged as low unless the client’s request to elevate the priority level is justified by the situation. If the issue involves the request from the installation commander, group commander or involves a base-wide outage, the priority will be classified as high.

The Back Shop
Let’s say your problem requires a certified CST professional to come by and handle your problem because it’s related to the hardware (external machine stuff that you can actually touch, like the monitor screen, keyboard, cables, phones, blackberries, tablets, etc.) The back shop usually handles these issues by sending out a technician to investigate, assess and fix the issue at hand.

To help you understand what they do, I concocted a little rhyme that might help you digest the information:

Packing their handy-bags of knick-knacks and tools,
The CST Airmen go off to fix
All the gizmos and gadgets, gears and spools
That got jumbled-up, fizzled out, or got in a mix

What do you do? 3D1X1What do you do? 3D1X1 What do you do? 3D1X1

Off in a car they drive away
To a building in the distance that called for help
Like a great hero they save the day
They cure all machines with a mighty, sound skelp!

What do you do? 3D1X1

But fear not, O Airman, for there’s always a way
The CST back shop shall save your day!

Something like that! By the way, is it just me, or did you guys hear Dr. Seuss groan just now?

The Lab
The lab takes care of two responsibilities: resolving software issues by remoting in and reimaging computer towers.

“Huh?” I can hear us simultaneously say, but mine’s really more of an echo because I tried to anticipate when you were going to talk, but I also wanted to speak at the same time as you for some kind of weird effect and it didn’t work out as I’d hoped. (Well, the idea sounded much better in my head… but now all I’ve got is an awkward problem…)

Speaking of problems:

If your computer has a problem or software issue, the 52nd CS lab can “remote in” to your computer. What does that mean? It means they have the ability to control your computer from their lab without having to touch your computer physically. Far out!!!

They also take computers that need to be wiped clean and “reimage” them – which is essentially what I just said. Wiped clean. Returned to default state. Pretty nifty, huh?

Both the back shop and the lab accomplish their work through processed tickets and work orders; they decide who takes what job depending on the nature of the request: is it hardware or software? (On a very specific scale, this isn’t the exact standard on which they determine their ruling, but for the simplicity of this blog, we’ll just go with that for now.)

The Asset Management Office

If your problem requires a complete replacement, or even a “Tech Refresh” (in which an installation replaces electronics around base for upgrading purposes), this office orders new equipment, tracks existing hardware and helps units get rid of old ones. So if your computer broke and can’t be fixed by the back shop or the lab, the asset management office may help you get a new one.

This, ladies and gentlemen, is what that one Airman does you saw timidly waving back at you when, really, you were waving at your friend, Stephanie, who was standing behind him – and then it got real awkward because he suddenly realized who you were really waving at and tried to play it off by motioning and talking to the empty space behind you.

The 3D1X1 client systems technicians play an important role in ensuring all of our devices, normally for communication purposes, remain functional. Without them, we would no longer have the means to continue any operation that requires electronics and communication. Without them…

How would we make phone calls?
What do you do? 3D1X1

How would we answer emails?
What do you do? 3D1X1

How else are we supposed to share our favorite YouTube videos and Imgur posts about the Kardash – uhh, about the Air Force and flying aircrafts and mission stuff… yeah! Mission stuff!
Real talk, though:

The Why:
Why do the CST Airmen do what they do?

Without client system technicians, it would become increasingly difficult to perform our daily functions and duties required of us, the 52nd Fighter Wing, to perform our part in fulfilling our installation’s mission which, ultimately, affects the Air Force’s mission.

Without their contribution, we would not be able to communicate with one another, something necessary in performing official duties and mission tasks.

So, now that you know what one of our Airmen do, dear readers, could you please tell me:

What do you do?

 

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Dinosaur Search-O-Rama 2015

UPDATE: Congratulations to Michael Tischer and Staff Sgt. Alyson Gaines for correctly naming the 10 Dinosaurs in our contest!

SABERS!!! Seek… Attack… MEOW!!!

DinoPark and Castle Vianden Tour - 5 July 2015

Well… it’s not exactly the 52nd Fighter Wing’s motto. But how cool would it be if we WERE the Sabertooth Tiger Nation?  (In fact, there IS a tiger in our base’s history– the 53rd Fighter Squadron, which flew the F-15Cs and was inactivated in 1999.)

We already know YOU know everything about Saber Nation history (Thanks, Google!) But what if we did a contest on something almost as cool as Spangdahlem? In fact, this subject is so cool… that an Ice Age was the only thing that could stop them. (Or a meteor. Or Darwinism. Or Jeff Goldblum and Chris Pratt in a couple of movies. Take your pick.)

Of course, we’re talkin’ about— DINOSAURS!

And what cooler way to make this post than with a Dinosaur Search? But not just a normal search… this is the SPANGDAHLEM BLOG SEARCH-O-RAMA!!!

Your mission: name these 10 Dinosaurs as they are labeled at Dinosaurier Park Teufelsschlucht. The 52nd FW Community Relations office sponsored a tour there July 5 for Explore the Eifel. You can see all the photos from that tour here.

Your prize: A 52nd FW coin AND all exclusive braggin’ rights that come with it.

To win, you’ve got to be the FIRST one to email 52fw.panews@us.af.mil with the 10 correct names. Until then, happy huntin’!

1.) “If you actually saw me from this perspective, you’d be dead. But now, I’m pleased to smile for you as the first dinosaur in this contest!”

Answer: Velociraptor

DinoPark and Castle Vianden Tour - 5 July 2015

2.) “When people first see me, there’s often a case of mistaken identity with a certain OTHER type of dinosaur. Thank goodness for this little horn on my head to settle that!”

Answer: Ceratosaurus

DinoPark and Castle Vianden Tour - 5 July 2015

3.) “Oh, hello. I’m ______________. You might remember me from such timeless classics as “The Land Before Time LXVII: Insert Title Here” and that one episode of “The Flintstones” I was in.”   

Answer: Triceratops

DinoPark and Castle Vianden Tour - 5 July 2015

4.) “I’m named after the continent… or I should say the continent is named after ME.”

Answer: Europasaurus

DinoPark and Castle Vianden Tour - 5 July 2015

5.) “Although I’m small in size and fairly easy prey for many predators, my name has a lot of syllables and remains hard to pronounce long after my extinction. Revenge is sweet.”

Answer: Archaeopteryx

DinoPark and Castle Vianden Tour - 5 July 2015

6.) “It turns out I have a lot of names. But when I hear one of those names, I can easily turn to them. That’s the nice thing about having a neck like this.” 

Answer: Apatosaurus

DinoPark and Castle Vianden Tour - 5 July 2015

7.) “The writer of this blog only put me in because I’m his favorite dinosaur. I guess it IS who you know.”

Answer: Dimetrodon

DinoPark and Castle Vianden Tour - 5 July 2015

8.) “I don’t like photos of me when I’m eating…”

Answer: Liopleurodon or Mosasaurus

DinoPark and Castle Vianden Tour - 5 July 2015

9.) “Hey… you can’t have a dinosaur contest without The KING!!!”

Answer: Tyrannosaurus Rex

DinoPark and Castle Vianden Tour - 5 July 2015

10.) “BONUS— I’m not a lizard…. but you can’t win this contest without me!”

Answer: Gastornis or Phorusrhacos

DinoPark and Castle Vianden Tour - 5 July 2015

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