Feature | Oct. 29, 2007

Behind the scenes Airmen accomplish major mission

By Airman 1st Class Chase Skylar DeMayo 1st Fighter Wing Public Affairs

As the Air Force slowly moves its news information to the web, national and local media companies circle Langley to find the most interesting and relevant stories to broadcast to their audiences. 

Good Morning America, The Today Show, Men's Vogue, Best Life, Lou Dobbs, Tech and Cosmopolitan Magazine recently covered 1st Fighter Wing Airmen in their publications, which resulted in positive coverage for the wing, its mission and the Air Force as a whole. 

"It really is great to see national media companies coming all the way down to Hampton Roads to tell everyone what Langley is doing," said Command Chief Master Sgt. James MacKinley, 1st Fighter Wing Command Chief. "It gives us that extra edge to say, 'The Air Force is in the fight too...check us out.'" 

Best Life Magazine, a branch of well-known Men's Health Magazine, aims for an audience of fitness-conscious men in their 30s. In the October issue, readers across the globe were treated to an article and photo spread that featured the rigorous workout routine and fitness demands of Langley's F-22 pilots. 

As stated in Best Life Magazine by Maj. Max Moga, 27th Fighter Squadron pilot: "I want to simulate the conditions in the cockpit," says Moga. "There's no separation of cardio and strength, so my training combines both. If you give up in the gym, you're failing yourself. If you give up in the jet, you're gonna die." 

Cosmopolitan Magazine alongside The Today Show featured the 71st Fighter Squadron's own Capt. Dustin Ripley as Virginia's bachelor for the magazine's 2007 Bachelor of the Year contest. The Eagle pilot was interviewed on live television with the other 49 bachelors Oct. 19. 

"As the military's most elite fighter squadron makes superfly moves to Van McCoy's 1975 classic "The Hustle" at the Bayside Enlisted Club on Langley Air Force Base, Virginia, it's clear that staying in formation at Mach 2 is nothing compared to the difficulty of staying in sync for a line dance," said Hudson Morgan, Men's Vogue assistant editor. 

November's issue of Men's Vogue includes pictures and interviews with Brig. Gen. Mark Barrett, 1st FW Commander and Command Chief Master Sgt. MacKinley along with F-22 Raptor pilots and maintainers at the Air Force 60th Anniversary Ball. 

"It was awesome to see outside news reporters showing interest in us," said Airman 1st Class Jade Pina, 1st Comptroller Squadron finance specialist (and also pictured in Men's Vogue). "Sometimes it doesn't seem like they care about the positive stories - and these guys did." 

Tech Magazine featured F-22 Raptor maintainers in a 3-page-layout for the Winter 2007 publication. The article focused on the high-tech capabilities of the Raptor and the hard work and expertise F-22 maintainers must have. 

But what are these stories really about? 

The Airmen behind the scenes. 

From working in the control towers, visitor centers, to working in the Eagle Dining Facility, 1st FW Airmen are proving their dedication through personal sacrifice and a commitment to the mission, resulting in greater awareness and support for the Air Force. 

For example, during a recent visit from ABC's "Good Morning America," Airmen of the 1st Security Forces Squadron ensured the guests were cleared on base in a timely fashion and that all security aspects of the visit were met. Mr. Weir's coverage of the F-22 and F-15C is scheduled to be on ABC's Good Morning America Nov. 3. 

Additionally, the 1st Services Squadron worked on last minutes notice to cook up a meal for Good Morning America reporter Bill Weir and his camera crew during a power outage lasting more than an hour. Tech. Sgt. James Cargile, Staff Sgt. Natalie Parker and their Airmen kept what would have been an obstacle in the mission, a smooth job well done. 

"We knew we needed to get the job done, and we did," said Airman 1st Class Leandre Inness, 1st Services Squadron Chef. "It showed the little people were just as important as the ones in front of the camera." 

Months ago, Lou Dobbs Tonight featured Langley's very own Senior Airman Nicole O'Hara, 1st Security Forces Squadron. The segment was titled 'Heroes' and is a weekly salute to men and women serving the country. Airman O'Hara represented the thousands of Airmen deployed across the globe. 

"Airmen should keep their eyes and ears open for media opportunities," said Chief MacKinley. "Positive coverage on Langley Air Force Base or the Air Force helps tell the Air Force story to our community, future Airmen, and local and national government representatives."