'Day in the Life' project showcases right Airman, right job, right time

  • Published
  • By 2nd Lt. Clay Lancaster
  • 86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany (AFNS) -- With 680,000 active-duty, Guard, Reserve and civilian Airmen on duty around the globe today delivering speed, range, flexibility, precision and payloads, effectively showing others what that looks like can be a challenge.

To deliver on this challenge, the 86th Airlift Wing at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, spent months of pre-planning, coordination and post-production efforts to create a multimedia project titled, "Day in the Life of the 86th Airlift Wing" showing how the wing supports multiple Air Force, joint and international missions daily.

For the project, more than 30 public affairs professionals captured over 7,000 pictures and nearly 700 minutes of video on June 18 in a midnight-to-midnight documentation effort to showcase what Airmen accomplish every day to make the Air Force the most dominant air, space and cyberspace force in the world.

"Our wing commander, Brig. Gen. (Patrick) Mordente, has a saying he uses and that is if he had one wish it would be that every American could stand in his shoes for 24 hours and see the great things Airmen accomplish every day," said Maj. Tony Wickman, the 86th Airlift Wing chief of public affairs. "That got me thinking of a way to deliver the wing commander's wish, while also fulfilling Air Force senior leaders' efforts to show what the right Airman, in the right job, at the right time can do to make us the finest Air Force in the world."

The 24-hour journey captured as many photos and as much video of the wing as possible to visually tell the story of the nearly 9,000 Airmen who do extraordinary things across the Kaiserslautern Military Community, as well as the wing's two geographically-separated units at Moron Air Base, Spain, and Chievres Air Base, Belgium, to support multiple missions and commands here and around the world.

"While the focus is on the 86th Airlift Wing, these Airmen are representative of the thousands of total-force Airmen on duty around the world who accomplish remarkable things for our nation," Wickman said. "It was one day that could represent any day at Ramstein (AB), or any other location where Airmen are doing their mission. After seeing these products, a viewer will come away with a greater understanding of what volunteer, professional Airmen bring to the fight ... rapid global mobility, command and control, air and space superiority, global strike and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance."

Capt. Paul Taggart, a 76th Airlift Squadron pilot currently working in wing plans and programs who was one of several hundred Airmen covered in the project, said viewers are exposed to what Airmen do daily that they might not otherwise know about. He said the project illustrates the investment in time, training and money the Air Force commits in developing professional Airmen who accomplish amazing things for the service.

"The book and videos showed me what else happens on this base daily that I don't normally think about," Taggart said. "We know how busy we are, but this let's everyone else see behind the scenes what professional Airmen do to accomplish our mission. These products might not cover every aspect of our mission, but you get enough to know what we do, or to want to ask questions to find out more."

Wickman said the multimedia project was all done at no additional cost to taxpayers while the public affairs Airmen continued their day-to-day duties.

"We established a goal to not expend funds to accomplish this project while staying true to making every dollar count in an austere budget environment, and continued to provide dedicated public affairs support to the approximately 12,000 customers here at Ramstein (AB) without missing a beat," Wickman said. "In the end, we used all the resources we had organically available to us and delivered on the leadership's desire to show people why we're the world's greatest Air Force powered by Airmen, fueled by innovation."

Wickman said that while the imagery shows the 86th Airlift Wing's role in the overall Air Force story, it is just one piece of what Airmen around the globe do every day.

"The goal is everyone who looks at these videos and digital book walks away with a greater awareness and appreciation of what Airmen do every day as part of the world's greatest Air Force to accomplish what the Department of Defense and nation asks of them," Wickman said.

For the full project, visit "Day in the Life of the 86th Airlift Wing."