Every Airman a part of the fight, a look at a few 3rd Air Force knowledge operators

  • Published
  • By Chief Master Sgt. Jack Johnson Jr.
  • 3rd Air Force command chief
My goal is to ensure every 3rd Air Force Airman understands the important role he or she plays in executing the Air Force's overall mission.

Without the daily contributions of all 36,000 members assigned to 3rd Air Force throughout Europe, the Air Force would fail.

It's imperative to highlight this truth because it's the amazing thing about what you do for our nation day in and day out -- it makes you the most critical "weapon system" we have.

One of Air Force Chief of Staff General Norton Schwartz's most important messages is directed to you, the individual Airmen of the Air Force - "the value of your contribution to the fight is not measured by your proximity to the target."

Lt. Gen. Phil Breedlove, commander of 3rd Air Force, and I share the belief that the contributions of each individual Airman will be the determining factor between mission failure or mission success.

For that reason, we will continue to highlight a number of skilled communities that are invaluable to taking the fight to the adversary, but that may not always be recognized.

This month, let's take a look at the major contributions our 3rd Air Force knowledge operators routinely make in support of U.S. European Command's mission.

Let's consider their contributions from a slightly different angle.

What wouldn't get done without them?

Without knowledge operators like Senior Airman Janell Smith with the 39th Mission Support Group at Incirlik AB, Turkey, no one would maintain situational awareness of the massive emissions security and communications security programs in the largest group on Incirlik AB. Senior Airman Smith ensures 100% compliance on all emission security and communications security requirements. In addition, she maintains constant management of Air Force Portal information and ensures compliance with all applicable directives.

Without knowledge management operation division superintendents like Master Sgt. Norma Chism with the 3rd Air Force Knowledge Operations Directorate at Ramstein, 3rd Air Force records custodians would not receive Air Force records disposition guidance, and valuable information would not be properly handled - this could mean numerous security violations involving sensitive information.

Knowledge operation superintendents are the Air Force appointed overseers of the entire unit's records program. In addition, they provide outstanding customer service, systems diagnostics, and configuration management, and they perform liaison or network control duties. They are our last line of defense in the global cyber war and are invaluable players in the overall mission of U.S. Air Forces in Europe.

And without knowledge operations non-commissioned officers in-charge, like Tech. Sgt. Latricia Palmer with the 65th Communications Squadron at Lajes Field, Azores, the 65th CS would not be able to provide global communication to the war fighter. Without her and her team's daily efforts, the entire 65th Air Base Wing's network and publication management system would be at grave risk. Her team effectively manages all aspects of knowledge operations management for the 65th Air Base Wing.

Through diplomacy, Tech. Sgt. Palmer enhanced bi-lateral relations by training Portuguese national employees in records management duties. She actively supports moving iron to and from the fight by ensuring 136 Lajes Field publications were up-to-date and readily available to the entire base population. She has ensured all 13 Lajes knowledge operations management personnel are trained for base support and ready for their expeditionary taskings.

And don't think for a minute these knowledge operators aren't going down range to join in support of the Global War on Terror - they are no exception in this Air Force.

Knowledge operators like Staff Sgt. Donica Thornton with the 31st Operations Group at Aviano AB, Italy, recently deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. During her deployment, she managed the unit's information systems security program and ensured the network's safety from unauthorized network intrusions. In addition, she was the NCOIC of the Personnel Reliability Program and ensured only the most trustworthy personnel were granted access to the right level of information.

Finally, let's not forget the officers who serve as knowledge operators like Capt. David Abel who currently leads as a knowledge operations branch chief within the 3rd Air Force Knowledge Operations Directorate at Ramstein AB, Germany. He recently returned from deployment to Camp Bucca, Iraq where he appropriated funding for 13 biometric automated toolset system kits which enabled retinal scanning for 100% positive ID of high-risk detainees. In addition, he delivered over $245,000 worth of command, control, communications and computer solutions for detainee interrogations. His efforts ensured positive control of all detainees.

Just think, without the roughly 243 knowledge operators assigned to various locations throughout 3rd Air Force, we would not be able to perform our operational mission. That's why it's imperative each Airman in these specialties apply themselves each day to the job at hand, whether at home station or deployed, so we can fight successfully today and tomorrow.

I'm proud of what you do - and you should be too. In fact, I'm motivated to serve because you serve too.

Remember, the value of your contribution to the fight is not measured by your proximity to the target - no matter where we serve; we are all critical parts of a command at war.