HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. – As the Air Force responds to COVID-19 and adheres to physical distancing guidelines, conferences and staff meetings are not the only pieces of business that have gone virtual.
Promotions, retirements, reenlistments and awards continue to mark the accomplishments of Airmen across the force, who are finding innovative ways to keep the traditions around these milestones alive.
Maj. Gen. Michael Schmidt, program executive officer for Command, Control, Communications, Intelligence, and Networks here, hosted a virtual promotion ceremony for three C3I&N members stationed in Texas. Family members and colleagues were able to attend the ceremony via video teleconference.
“As a service, we have fought and lived through many adverse situations, and today is no different,” said Schmidt.
The event was Schmidt’s first time promoting personnel virtually.
While traveling for face-to-face interactions is not an option, another Airman got creative for her swearing in.
Staff Sgt. Jennifer Rogers, a cryptologic language analyst finishing her education at Harvard University as part of the Career Intermission Program, reenlisted into the active duty force at Hanscom last month, taking the oath from her hotel room off base via a FaceTime call.
“The ceremony was starkly different from previous enlistments I’ve been a part of, but I appreciate the dedication of Airmen at all levels working to make the mission happen no matter what,” said Rogers.
Maj. Yaira Nevarez, 66th Force Support Squadron deputy director, presided over the enlistment and said she’d only ever seen a similar situation while deployed overseas.
“This reenlistment was very unique,” said Nevarez. “It’s exciting for me to know that we can continue to take care of Airmen during these challenging times.”
Schmidt said that overcoming the unprecedented roadblocks of COVID-19 is about much more than an individual or unit; it’s about the Air Force culture as a whole.
“In spite of today’s unique and historical conditions, we fight on,” said Schmidt. “We’ll honor these Airmen, their careers, and our Air Force traditions and heritage.”