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Air Force Tech. Sgt. Oswald Steley, left, talks with Air Force Staff Sgt. Gavin Ramos at a base in Southwest Asia, April 8, 2010. Steley is deployed from the 60th Force Support Squadron at Travis Air Force Base, Calif. U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Scott Sturkol[/caption] SOUTHWEST ASIA- Air Force Tech. Sgt. Oswald Steley does everything he can to provide servicemembers deployed here with morale, welfare, recreation and education support.
Steley is the manager of the 380th Expeditionary Force Support Squadron's learning resources center here, where servicemembers can check out movies, educational material, music and language CDs and fictional, biography and reference books. He works six-days-a-week, 12-hours-a-day."The [learning resource center] is a morale-booster for all our deployed troops," said Steley, who is deployed from the 60th Force Support Squadron at Travis Air Force Base, Calif. "It helps improve the quality of life for people who are far from home by providing movies for entertainment, educational material for college work, training resources for learning a new language and a whole lot more."Steley not only maintains a hefty volume of material for the center, but also provides on-the-spot customer service."I have a lot of customers who come in and tell me it makes them feel a little more at home by having the LRC available to them," Steley said. "I'll usually help them find what they need, tell them a little about what we have available, and make sure their visit was a successful one." As a services craftsman, Steley supports more than 1,900 deployed servicemembers for the 380th Air Expeditionary Wing. Support programs cover a variety of areas, and Steley has to be ready to support any one of them in addition to managing the center. Services airmen manage and direct programs, operations and retail sales. They also supervise and work in appropriated-fund food service and lodging activities, recreation, fitness and sports programs, linen-exchange operations, mortuary affairs programs, honor guard teams and services readiness programs. They also identify facility requirements and conduct surveys to determine renovation, construction and modernization needs, the job description states. In deployed locations, they establish and supervise bare-base facilities that provide food, fitness, lodging, sports management, recreation, laundry, mortuary services and field exchange operations. In all the services functions, Steley has to maintain mandatory job knowledge in areas such as accounting procedures, management principles, merchandising, marketing, automated information systems, food service facility operations, subsistence management, requisition and issue procedures, menu planning and lodging operations. "I've done a lot of different jobs in my more than 15 years in this career field," Steley said. "In services, we work in many different places, and I know all of them. I think the most rewarding for me though was working for eight years as a fitness trainer." Steley said he wanted to see the world when he left his hometown of Metter, Ga., to join the military. "Being deployed applies to my original goals to see the world," Steley said. "I've been able to see different cultures and experience the diversity. I've been able to see a lot and have enjoyed every bit of it. I'm glad I joined." The technical sergeant added that he always has been proud to serve and will proudly continue to do so. "I serve now so my son doesn't have to," Steley said, expressing the importance of defending America's freedoms, to include freedom of choice. "It will be a choice for him like it was for me." April 29, 2010: By Air Force Master Sgt. Scott Sturkol- 380th Air Expeditionary Wing ***SOT***
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Air Force Lt. Col. Lisa Pike, right, contributed to standing up the first army officer candidate course for Afghan women during her recent deployment to Afghanistan. Courtesy photo[/caption] RANDOLPH AIR FORCE BASE, Texas, Recent efforts by airmen and their coalition partners have led to opportunities for women in Afghanistan to serve as commissioned officers in the Afghan army.
Pike served as the chief of staff for the Combined Training Advisory Group Army, a subordinate command of NATO Training Mission Afghanistan and the U.S. militaryâ€™s Combined Security Transition Command Afghanistan. Her mission focused on helping to train, advise, coach and monitor the Afghanistan National Army Training Center in establishing a doctrine and education and training system capable of supporting the Afghan armyâ€™s development.Creating the first womenâ€™s officer candidate course included working with potential students to discuss the course and outline the commitments theyâ€™d have to make to participate."I counseled our Afghan counterparts on the program and met with women currently in the [Afghan army]," Pike said. "I discussed with them the fact that they are the first for all of these initiatives, and their success is very important not only to women in Afghanistan, but to the future of their country and its army." In addition to opportunities available through the officer candidate course, National Military Academy of Afghanistan officials noted that the academy admits 10 women per year. Women attending the academy make long-term commitments that involve studying at the academy for one year, attending medical school for six years and committing to the army for 20 years. "I am very proud of all these women for stepping forward and taking a chance on making a difference," Pike said. "I think it is important to have representation of an entire nation when building for the future, and it is essential for all people of a nation to be educated. Education is the key to success." Pike said she used these opportunities not only to tell Afghan women about the education and training programs available to them, but also to serve as a role model and to provide mentorship. "I, along with other coalition women, have provided a positive example of what women can contribute, when given the chance, to the leaders of the training center and army," she said. Pike's dedication and professionalism played a critical role in the Afghan armyâ€™s development, said British Brig. Gen. Simon Levey, Combined Training Advisory Group Armyâ€™s commanding general. "I have no doubt that it was due to her endeavors as a female role model that the commander of [the training center] decided to run the first female officer candidate course," Levey said. "She was his inspiration, as she was for the coalition staff." The creation of regional military training centers has doubled the training center's capacity, Pike said. During the majority of her tour, she added, the focus was on growing the army. That focus recently changed to developing the army. "With that comes the creation and implementation of branch-specific schools in order to train and educate a more balanced force for the future," she said. Pike said she learned a lot during her deployment and developed many relationships with her coalition co-workers and Afghan counterparts that were mutually beneficial to the success of their training mission and to the future of the Afghan people. "The relationships we have built with our Afghan counterparts and the work they and our team have done to increase both the quantity and quality of training for the Afghan National Army has been exceptional," she said. "I think I contributed to the senior [training center] leadership's ability to see that women can be professional and competent officers, and that women can participate in their army and in the development of their country." April 28, 2010: By Air Force Staff Sgt. Steve Grever- Air Force Personnel Center ***SOT***