Selfridge Airman Provides Air Refueling Communication Needs

  • Published
  • By TSgt. Rachel Barton
  • 127th Wing Public Affairs
For some, you could say a military career begins when they are young. For one Michigan Airman this was the case.

Senior Airman Desiree Jones grew up in a military family. Her father retired after twenty years of active duty in the Air Force. She says she loved the military culture growing up but didn't love moving around. When her father retired, Jones' family settled close to her mother's family in southeastern Michigan.

"I will probably stay here forever," said Jones. When asked about the Michigan winters she replied, "I love the snow!"

Jones is assigned to the 191st Operations Support Squadron, Combat Crew Communications,  and is a COMSEC Responsible Officer (CRO) for the air crews of the 171st Air Refueling Squadron at Selfridge. This long job title is fitting given her responsibility for supporting the communication needs of the flyers. She does this through the use of the Aviation Research Management System or ARMS, ensuring that the crews flying the KC-135 Stratotankers have current publications and documents necessary for safe passage on their missions.

Jones began her military career in May 2010 with the Michigan Air National Guard as an Airman with the 107th Fighter Squadron's airfield operations unit at Selfridge. About two years ago, she made a switch to her current job with the 191st OSS.

When one of her supervisors recently retired and another moved on to a new position, Jones stepped up to take on the full time responsibilities as a CRO.

"It's been a challenge: setting up the shop, writing operating instructions, standard operating procedures and support agreements," she said. "I coordinate with Command Post and other units for my job."

She mused that she used to think she knew everything when she was a younger Airman, but she has learned even more since taking on her current role.

"My supervisors have really set me up for success," Jones said. "Everyone helps each other out and I have a great support system in the squadron."

Chief Master Sgt. Thelma Daniel, 191st Air Operations supervisor, says she is very impressed with Jones' work ethic and attitude towards success.

"She will do whatever it takes to get the job done," said Daniel. "This is (an Airman) you don't have to run behind. She understands responsibility."

"It's the best of both worlds," Jones said about serving in the Michigan Air National Guard. She gets to serve her country and do a job she enjoys while keeping her roots in Michigan.

Jones said she enjoys the travel opportunities that serving in the Michigan Air National Guard has given her. She has taken temporary duty assignments to Guam and to the Central Command region during her time with the 127th Wing.

"I never thought I'd be able to do that," she said of travel experiences with the Guard.

Jones has two associate degrees, one in General Studies, and one in Arts and Communications. She is working her way towards a Bachelor's Degree in Science Arts.

In her free time, Jones is a self-proclaimed "Crazy Animal Lady." She said she spends around 20 hours a week volunteering for a local animal rescue and fostering animals looking for their "forever homes." She recently placed a Labrador Retriever she had been fostering into a home, and expects to get a new foster dog in the coming weeks. She also has a dog, two cats, and some fish of her own.

Comprised of approximately 1,700 personnel and flying both the A-10 Thunderbolt II and the KC-135 Stratotanker, the 127th Wing supports Air Mobility Command, Air Combat Command and Air Force Special Operation Command by providing highly-skilled Airmen to missions domestically and overseas. The 127th Wing is the host unit at Selfridge Air National Guard Base, which marks its 97th year of continuous military air operations in 2014.