Selfridge Civilian Deploys to Afghanistan

  • Published
  • By TSgt. Dan Heaton
  • 127th Wing Public Affairs
A Selfridge civilian has deployed to Afghanistan to aid in the rebuilding process of that nation.

Yvette Wolski, who has worked in the civilian personnel office at Selfridge Air National Guard Base for essentially her entire working career, was recently selected for the deployment and is working in the capital city of Afghanistan, utilizing her human resources skills there to assist in expanding the civilian workforce.

"I want to do something to impact the bigger picture," Wolski said. "This is a huge step outside of my comfort zone."

Wolski deployed to Kabul in Afghanistan this spring, for approximately one year. She is the first Selfridge civilian to deploy to that nation under the Civilian Expeditionary Workforce (CEWF) program, which was created about a half dozen years ago to create a system to bring in civilian specialists to aid in the transition of that nation.

U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta said the civilian employees will play a key role in the coming years in Afghanistan.

"Individuals with the right sill sets are needed to complement military efforts," Panetta said in a news release. The civilians will be "supporting not only military operations, but helping to develop an effective government infrastructure so that the Afghans can govern themselves effectively."

Wolski began working in the civilian personnel office at Selfridge as a college student in the 1970s. She's been working in the personnel office there ever since and is currently the director of personnel for all Title V (civilian employee) programs across the National Guard Bureau. Though based at Selfridge, she and her staff serve 40 National Guard locations across the country.

"There have been many times, many, many times I have been sitting in a meeting in my career and I am the only one in the meeting in civilian clothes. I am hopeful that this service in Afghanistan will not only help things there, but will help me to be a better personnelist when I get back," she said.

In addition to her own work as a civilian at Selfridge, Wolski is part of a military family. Her husband, Bob Wolski, retired as a senior master sergeant from the Air Force Reserve. He had worked at Selfridge for many years as an operator in the command post for the 927th Air Refueling Wing, which was formerly stationed at the base. He was the superintendent of the command post when he retired. Bob Wolski served in Desert Shield/Desert Storm in the early 1990s.

Yvette Wolski first learned of the CEWF program while attending a human resource training conference several months ago. Hearing a presentation about the program got her to thinking and asking a few questions. A while passed with little activity and then without warning she received a few frantic e-mails, asking if she was available for a posting with Joint Forces Afghanistan. She's been on a whirlwind pace to get ready and then to deploy ever since, leaning heavily on guidance and assistance from the uniform-wearing Air National Guardsmen at Selfridge that she has longed worked alongside.

"I'm excited about it," Wolski said in a break from her preparations prior to departing. "To be on the cusp of all this starting up, to be able to contribute on a larger scale. It will be the ultimate growing experience."

For more information on the CEWF program, visit http://www.cpms.osd.mil/expeditionary/cew-home.aspx.