Services NCO: Airmen are the key

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Dan Heaton
  • 127th Wing Public Affairs
Set aside all the recipes, the inventory forms and the work schedules. In the end, says the master sergeant, it is the people that matter.

"It is the Services people. The Airmen. They are the magic that make it happen," said Master Sgt. Alan Levada, a member of the 143rd Force Support Squadron, Rhode Island Air National Guard.

Levada is the on-site Services supervisor for a 12-week Innovative Readiness Training mission in Raymond, Maine, where teams of Air National Guard Airmen, Marine Corps Reservists and Army Reserve Soldiers are rotating in to serve for two week periods at a construction project at Camp Hinds Boy Scout Camp. The IRT program allows military construction crews to work in their assigned military skill specialties while a nonprofit organization, in this case the Boy Scouts, reap the benefits of the work. The Scouts pay for the building materials. The IRT program is managed by the Dept. of Defense.

While the Airmen, Marines and Soldiers are working on the site, Levada's team of five Airmen, supplemented by Services Airmen brought in by the rotating units, are providing three hot meals a day.

"We provide the fuel to keep people working," said Senior Master Sgt. James Alves, 127th Force Support Squadron, Michigan Air National Guard.

Alves and three other Services Airmen from Selfridge Air National Guard Base, Mich., -- Master Sgt. Benjamin Mason, Technical Sgt. Ken Palmeri and Staff Sgt. Raymond Stier - are spending two weeks at the camp, in conjunction with a visiting team of about three dozen members of the 127th Civil Engneer Squadron from Selfridge, who are providing the construction services at the camp.

Alves said advance planning allowed the Services team from Selfridge and the "duration" team from Rhode Island to quickly mesh together.

"Master Sgt. Levada and I talked before we even got out here," Alves said. "Looking at what skills his people have, what skills we were bringing and how we could best work together to get the job done.

"Once we got here, I think the two units were able to come together very well," Alves said. "If we were to be deployed again in the future, we'd be very happy if see the 143rd there with us."

A benefit of mixing the two teams together, said Levada, is the ability to match up the junior Airmen and the senior NCOs, to allow them to learn from each other. A case in point: Rhode Island Senior Airman Audry Rodas is learning how to use the Air Force food service inventory management program. On a recent morning between breakfast and lunch, she was joined at the computer by Selfridge's Mason, an experienced hand with the program.

"Working with these young Airmen, watching them embrace their job - and it's a never-ending job - I love working with them. They bridge the generation gap and they make it work," Levada said.