Hickam reservists support air show

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Phyllis E. Keith
  • 624th Regional Support Group Public Affairs
Fourteen reservists with the 624th Regional Support Group got a behind-the-scenes look at the "Wings Over the Pacific" air show here, Sept. 25-28, 2014, when they volunteered to support active duty public affairs in hosting the U.S. Navy Blue Angels F/A-18 Hornets and the U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptor demonstration team at the first open house held since Hickam Air Force Base and Pearl Harbor Naval Station became a joint base.

The reservists escorted local and international media, wounded warriors, and community members during the Thursday and Friday before the show.

"When I heard a volunteer team was being formed, I jumped at the opportunity to get involved," said Emily Sprout, a medical administration troop with the 624th Aeromedical Staging Squadron, who recently joined the unit.

Working with the Navy and active duty Air Force public affairs officials gave the reservists a chance to use skills such as flight line driving and security forces to help public affairs with media escort and community relations.

"It was fun to help out with the event," said Master Sgt. Glenn Park, an air transportation craftsman with the 48th Aerial Port Squadron, who volunteered for all four days. Park drove local media onto the flight line and got an insider's view of the key incentive flights given to a television reporter and two high school counselors.

Master Sgt. Elizabeth Andreas Feeney, an air transportation specialist with the 48th Aerial Port Squadron, provided community relations escort to a wounded warrior and his family. U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Brian Davis was treated to a flight in a Pacific Warbird on the Friday before the air show and Andreas Feeney photographed the event for the family.

"I'm happy to see our citizen airmen step up to the plate and get involved with the first open house here in five years. It's a great opportunity to be a part of the bigger picture and contribute to a joint effort to gain and maintain public support of our military operations." said Col. Maynard "Max" Mendoza, commander of the 624th RSG.

Once the weekend hit, the team donned the newest Air Force Reserve Command's T-shirts to man a media tent that was set up next to the announcer's booth here at Hickam Field. Their duties included checking media credentials and assisting the media with special requests.

"I had a blast being right there in the middle of all the action and activities," said Master Sgt. Cris Ildefonso, program analyst with the 624th Civil Engineering Squadron, who checked media credentials at the media tent for two days during the show.

Tech. Sgt. Cris Vida, a security forces member with the 624th RSG, stayed flexible, providing media escort at 0430 one morning, as well as manning the media parking lot and the media tent during the show. He said, "This was probably my last time on active duty wearing the security forces beret." Vida's security forces squadron is slated to be deactivated next year.

In spite of record high temperatures that the island of Oahu experienced during air show week, the reservists stayed calm and cool, focused on the job at hand and taking the opportunity to snap cell phone photos when they could.

"I can't wait until the next air show," said Senior Airman Demi Bowers, a knowledge operations management craftsman with the 624th RSG. Bowers said she hope to meet the Air Force Thunderbirds who slated to perform at Hickam Field in 2016.

Although the Blue Angels performance was the headliner that brought out the crowds, the Air Force F-22 Raptor was in its own right a showstopper that wowed the crowd with its ability to turn tightly and perform the Herbst maneuver (J-turn). The Air Force also showcased the C-17 Globemaster, a transport aircraft and KC-135 Stratotanker, an aerial refueling aircraft.