Enlisted heritage committee: sharing the forces story

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Scott Saldukas
  • 86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
In August 2008, the Enlisted Heritage Committee here was established with the intent of telling the story of Airmen who have served, are serving and will serve in U.S. Air Forces in Europe.

The 32-person committee collects and preserves the history and information earned from yesterday's and today's Airmen for the USAFE Airmen to come.

"The USAFE Enlisted Heritage Committee is an organization formed by Chief Master Sgt. Pamela Derrow to tell the story of every enlisted Airman in USAFE," said Tech Sgt. Jacob Peeterse, the enlisted heritage committee chairman. "The committee is made of up nine sub-committees, each in charge of a piece for our vision."

Telling the Air Force story involves all USAFE Airmen.

"The USAFE Enlisted Heritage Committee is a group dedicated to reach out to all current and past USAFE members in order to gather their enlisted stories," said Senior Airman Jennifer Rouleau, an EHC marketing representative. "All enlisted members are a part of USAFE's history, and we want to share their experiences with our fellow Airmen."

Getting enlisted USAFE Airmen involved in their history as it happens is the largest role in the vision of the members of the EHC.

"You see books and movies about officers, but not much about the enlisted members, those who are the backbone of the Air Force," the chairman said. "Now, those stories can be told, and we can all learn more about the enlisted force."

Airman Rouleau noted that it is important for all enlisted USAFE Airmen to know that regardless of rank, they are contributing to the enlisted history.

"Their contributions and sacrifices are appreciated, and people want to hear about their experiences," she said. "It's great that we have this initiative to gather as many stories as we can in order to preserve our proud moments here at USAFE."

To better the communication between EHC members and Airmen, a website has been created with the history of USAFE Airmen and their stories. Also, when visiting the website, Airmen can submit information so their own stories can be heard.

In addition to the website, committee members will be attending commander's calls, visiting the NCO academy, Airmen leadership school and the first term Airman center to spread their message.

"We are also constructing display cases to be displayed at different locations around base," Sergeant Peeterse said. "Our website is a big part of our committee because of its use as a vehicle to get information out. We are also working with points of contact from every base in USAFE to gather enlisted history from all of USAFE."

Gathering the stories of Airmen from the past and present doesn't just document the progression as an enlisted force, but it also pays homage to every Airman who helped accomplish USAFE's mission.

"This knowledge creates unity and a shared sense of mission amongst members of our service," said retired Master Sgt. Donald Wagers. "It also gives fellow Airmen the tools to better communicate the Air Force's legacy to our families and our civilian community who, in turn, will not only provide us with support, but will hopefully yield the future generation of Airmen."

To share your story or learn more information about USAFE's enlisted heritage, you can visit http://www.usafeenlistedheritage.org.