by Staff Sgt. Angelique N. Smythe
65th Air Base Wing Public Affairs
3/6/2013 - LAFES FIELD, Azores, Portugal -- A Lajes Field officer was recently awarded the 2012 Armed Forces Optometric Society Junior Officer of the Year.
Maj. Tara Jayne, 65th Medical Operations Squadron optometrist, was surprised with the news when Col. Lorn Heyne, 65th Medical Group commander, and his wife visited her home Feb. 17 with a congratulatory bottle of wine.
"I was ecstatic, of course," she said. "It's nice to be recognized."
Jayne's squadron commander, Lt. Col. Kenny Harryman, said, "I think it is awesome she won the award. She truly deserves it. She is a dedicated professional and Airman; I am honored to know and work with her."
The purpose of the award was to promote the progression of optometry and public health. Jayne's package consisted of ways in which she has helped others throughout the past 10 years within her career.
Jayne began her career as an optometrist at Vandenberg AFB, Calif. There she started a program called Opening Eyes for special needs children participating in the Special Olympics.
"Opening Eyes was a new program that was just starting in the U.S. at the time," Jayne said. "I took that to Santa Maria, Calif., and got together with a local lab. They donated all of their lenses, and I got a frame company to donate their safety specs. We did eye exams in a tent for all the participants in Santa Barbara County. We did eye exams on every kid that was competing and actually made their glasses as they waited."
Everyone who had eye problems with a need for prescription glasses received them. Swimmers received swim goggles. Basketball players received safety spectacles. Everyone received sunglasses.
"It was great," Jayne said.
Her next assignment was Osan AB, South Korea. There she worked with the local orphanage by providing eye screenings and participating in several other programs with the orphanage.
Hickam AFB, Hawaii, followed after. There she worked with the Joint Prisoners of War, Missing in Action Accounting Command whose members traveled throughout the world to recover missing Americans from past wars through remains and artifacts recovered from the sites of conflict.
One day the Hawaii State Police visited JPAC with a pair of glasses from a suspicious vehicle, the only item they found while searching for a missing young Japanese girl. Without enough evidence to get a subpoena to investigate the individual who owned the vehicle, they sought the assistance of the JPAC.
"He was driving a truck that had liquid fertilizer," said Jayne. "Apparently, her glasses had fallen under the seat and they couldn't get a DNA match because the chemicals from the truck had killed it all, so they went to JPAC to ask how they would identify someone based on a pair of glasses, and JPAC sent them over to me."
Because the missing girl had a very specific eye disease, Jayne was able to do a match that was much more significant than DNA.
"We were able to match those glasses to her with absolute certainty," Jayne said.
The Hawaii police was then able to get their subpoena, and the man confessed as soon as they arrived at his place. He now sits in jail for murder.
"I was an optometrist sitting there working as a forensic expert for Hawaii police," Jayne said. "It was so random but something that was just awesome - something that you normally couldn't do."
At Ramstein AB, Germany, Jayne worked two years in optometry and one year in the Exceptional Family Member Program before moving to Lajes Field, Azores, in August 2012.
Here she works along with her technician, Staff Sgt. Peck, in taking care of all the active duty, family members and retirees on Lajes.
"He's my right hand, so we work really well together," she said. "I don't think people can get awards or get the job done if they don't have a crew that they work well with."
Peck said he was not surprised to hear that Jayne had won at the Armed Forces level award.
"She is, by far, the most proficient optometrist I've worked with, and you can really tell she enjoys helping patients," Peck said.
Jayne has also served on a number of humanitarian missions to the Dominican Republic, Thailand, Philippines and Djibouti.
3/13/2013 6:13:06 AM ET TC you are wrong. AFI 36-2903 does not exist to engender good order and discipline. The UCMJ serves that purpose. Dress and Appearance standards exist to ensure a we project a professional military image which the Major in the story does not.
MSgt Wills, Kabuk
3/12/2013 6:50:33 AM ET Oh good. Another discussion that completely misses the point because of focus on appearance. Snorkle you miss the point of the story obviously. But you also miss the point of uniform and appearance AFIs ... which are designed to engender good order and discipline not the sniping of airmen by airmen.
3/8/2013 8:55:03 PM ET Note to Officers We enlisted folks do not write or certify AF regulations. Officers do that. We just enforce the insane rules and regulations that you think are good ideas.
MSgt Wills, Kabul
3/8/2013 9:33:58 AM ET Nonetheless a valid comment. If our officer corps doesn't set the example for grooming standards the it is up to NCOs to point our the discrepancy. Adherence to regulation is not an option dependent upon ones career field.
SRNCO Ret, Scott
3/8/2013 8:50:39 AM ET JohnSgt Snorkle and Gen Halftrack are characters in the Beatle Bailey comic strip...If the 65 ABW PA office would have taken a few minutes to ensure Maj Jayne was within grooming standards prior to taking her picture it wouldn't have distracted from an otherwise great story.That would have been a better representation of Maj Jayne her unit and the AFMS.
Gen Halftrack, USA
3/7/2013 2:21:51 PM ET I just knew some junior Enlisted member would make a comment like that...
3/7/2013 10:02:17 AM ET Super now all she needs to do is get her hair within grooming standards IAW AFI 36-2903 para 3.1.3. Bangs will not touch either eyebrow to include an invisible line drawn across eyebrows and parallel to the ground.Not sure if her eyeshadow color is extreme as described in para 3.3.A great story ruined by out of reg pictures.