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News > Feature - The different sides of an enlisted aide
The different sides of an enlisted aide

Posted 12/5/2012   Updated 12/5/2012 Email story   Print story


by Tech. Sgt. Jennifer Foster
66 Air Base Group Public Affairs

12/5/2012 - HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass.  -- Flexibility and organizational skills are highly desirable in almost any job, but in one particular job within the Air Force, it is vital.

Enlisted aides are allotted for all three and four star generals in the Air Force. Depending on the general's position, between one and four enlisted aides are authorized. Some designated one and two star generals are also allowed enlisted aides due to the representational responsibilities inherent to their positions. Maj. Gen. Craig Olson, C3I and Networks program executive officer, is one of those two star generals and that is where Staff Sgt. Angeline Brown comes in.

As Brown decorated Gen. Olson's house for the holidays Dec. 3, she explained that she became an enlisted aide this September and elected to take on the special duty assignment to have a change from her previous job in security forces.

"I wanted to enhance my career and demonstrate my cooking abilities," said Brown. "I thought it would be challenging to work for a general and see what was out there besides patrolling and working on the gate and flightline."

Enlisted aides are responsible for various tasks, including administrative duties, property and grounds maintenance, entertainment, uniform care and supporting the general on temporary duty assignments. One of the most well-known duties of an enlisted aide is that of chef.

Brown is able to prepare a small meal for the general and his wife or feed a crowd with a five course meal, if necessary. Enlisted aides are sent to culinary school once selected for the job and are given all the skills necessary to be successful in the kitchen.

"I used to cook meals for my family and have people over for Thanksgiving and Christmas, but I never cooked three or four course meals like I've learned to do now," said Brown. "I will get to cook those types of dishes that I've always wanted to cook...and try them on different people."

The process to become an enlisted aide starts when an Airman contacts the enlisted aide special duty manager and requests their functional manager release them from their career field. Once approved, they send in an application package and the match-up begins.

"They send you a list of generals that you can apply for, and General Olson was the first one I chose," said Brown. "After a month I was notified of being one of his top three choices and one week after a phone interview, I was told that I got the job. At that point everything moves really quickly and it was about 30 to 45 days until I PCSd."

For Brown, the experience so far has been a positive one and although she has not been an enlisted aide for long, she enjoys the fast-paced environment and the ever changing schedule.

"My favorite thing is planning an event--just starting something from the beginning and seeing it all the way through," Brown said. "I discuss with the general who is going to be at the event and then we'll figure out what we want to serve and whether it's formal or informal. Then I'll come up with a menu and his wife and I will go through that together. I also serve the meal and ensure the house is back in order after the event."

Anyone interested in applying should be aware that it is more than just sending out invitations and learning how to cook gourmet meals.

"You definitely have to be a people person and lenient with your schedule because it's constantly changing," said Brown. "People should definitely shadow a current enlisted aide so they can make sure it's something they really want to do. It's not only cooking, but sometimes working outside shoveling snow, raking the yards or gardening."

Brown also added the experience has been incredibly rewarding so far and she is looking forward to the challenges the new year brings.

For more information on Air Force enlisted aide programs, visit www.my.af.mil/gcss-af/USAF/ep/globalTab.do?channelPageId=s6925EC13369F0FB5E044080020E329A9.

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