During the last 14 years of studying and doing PR, it has become abundantly clear that agency and corporate communications are by far the most talked about and popular PR career paths. There are numerous reasons for this, which I may write about in a future post, but for now, I want to recognize another group of professional communicators – the Public Affairs team of the U.S. Air Force.
Since 2003, this group has been like family. From Tennessee to Ohio back to Tennessee and now in Washington D.C., I’ve had the privilege to work with hundreds of members of this family at multiple units and bases. They’ve served as peers, mentors and leaders, and in addition to teams I’ve led, are responsible for any success I’ve had to date.
I’ve been looking for the right opportunity to write about them, and it struck me on the last evening of America’s 234th birthday that July 4th was the perfect opportunity. Rather than go on about their qualifications, current jobs and so on, I simply want to show you their faces and share with you what they did to celebrate America’s 235th birthday. It’s of course impossible for me to include all of them in a single post, as there are hundreds of officers, enlisted and civilians who make up the team that spans the globe.
But, nevertheless, this is my way of bridging the gap between the communities of PR families and highlighting some premier Air Force Public Affairs professionals who serve our country on a daily basis.
Jim Brewer, former military and current AF civilian
“We enjoyed the great DC fireworks from the Pentagon’s River Terrace. Great view and well done! Only fly in the ointment was when the sprinkler system went off with everyone sitting on their blankets at about 8 p.m. Quite the laugh-er.”
“If I had to sum up this year’s holiday in one word, it would be transient. Just a day before I arrived in the town that will be my home for the next few years. We escaped our hotel room for a morning hike and wrapped up the evening watching fireworks from a mountainside vantage point. I wish I had something deep and profound to say about our country’s birthday, that I recollected on our forefathers’ struggles and the words they chose when crafting our founding documents, but I didn’t. Am I the only one? How many other people really think about what Independence Day means? It may be jaded, but I think for most of us it’s a day off to hang out and grill with friends and family, which is not necessarily a bad thing. What else do we have if not the moment? I appreciate the fact that our forefathers gave us the opportunity to express as much.”
“Kim, the kids and I traveled to South Carolina to spend time with our families. Nothing too exciting but it is always nice to see family when you have a chance.”
“I spent the afternoon with really good friends. Let off some smoke bombs while waiting for the sun to go down (usually 11pm), played cornhole, had some BBQ chicken, corn on the cob, patriotic trifle, and mojitos!”
Tynisha Jones-Vincent, AF reservist and civilian
“I spent the 4th with family in MD….fireworks and BBQ.”
Vince King, former military and current AF civilian
“I spent the 4th weekend with friends in Ohio. Played cornhole, had a BBQ and continued to fix up the house.”
David Ward, retired military and current AF civilian
“I spent the 4th at home with the family. We had several Skype sessions with family and friends, Sherry made a great holiday lunch, and I viewed—yet again—several episodes of the HBO series on John Adams. Currently, there are fireworks going off in close proximity to our house—no damage, apart from Jaco (our barking corgi).”
Alan Black, retired military and current AF civilian
“Shrimp and grits for dinner followed by a bucket of ice-cold beers while watching the neighborhood fireworks. Wishing I was at patriots point in Charleston, SC still!”