News: A virtual re-enlistment
Story by Senior Master Sgt. Eric Peterson
UNDISCLOSED LOCATION - Air Force Staff Sgt. Michael Newsom Jr. raised his right hand, repeated the oath of enlistment administered by a commissioned officer and then began his next term of service with the U.S. Air Force, June 27, 2014.
Newsom’s re-enlistment ceremony took place in a maintenance group conference room while deployed with the 380th Air Expeditionary Wing at an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia.
This important milestone in the life of the crew chief deployed from Grand Forks Air Force Base, N.D., was made even more special as his father, Air Force Lt. Col. Michael Newsom Sr., was able to view the re-enlistment ceremony through the use of video teleconferencing technology.
Lt. Col. Newsom, commander of the 379th Expeditionary Communications Squadron, is also deployed to Southwest Asia but in a different area.
The Air Force was a serious career choice for the younger Newsom. He joined the military out of a sense of duty and to carry on a family tradition. Many of his family members have served or are presently serving.
“I joined the Air Force primarily to continue on our family lineage that we have,” he said. “I idolized my dad growing up and wanted to follow in his footsteps. Hopefully, I’m doing a good job and making him proud.”
Lt. Col. Newsom spoke to his son following the ceremony through the monitor screen of the video teleconference system.
“It’s an institution that we value very much,” said Lt. Col. Newsom of his family’s tradition of military service. “I appreciate you having me be a part of your reenlistment. Every day you make me proud, and that’s truly a great pleasure for a father.”
The younger Newsom has been associated with a variety of Air Force aircraft during his seven years of military service.
He began his career as a crew chief working with A-10 Thunderbolt fighter aircraft while stationed at Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea. He then worked with F-15 Eagles while serving a tour of duty at Kadena Air Base, Japan. He is now a crew chief with the RQ-4 Global Hawk.
His father’s leadership role as an officer in the U.S. Air Force has proven to be an inspiration to him.
“I see a lot of lives that he’s affected over the years as far as people’s careers,” said Sgt. Newsom. “His having the ability to change a person’s life is amazing to me.”
Sgt. Newsom has participated in five deployments during his career and his current deployment to Southwest Asia has lasted for nearly 10 months.
He takes the daily challenges of working in a deployed environment in stride.
“Being able to adapt and exercise different managerial skills to try and manage everything that’s going on is always a constant battle,” said Sgt. Newsom. “I only think it helps you build as a person and it builds you as a leader.”
His future career goals include either pursuing an Air Force commission or working his way through the senior enlisted ranks to chief master sergeant. Regardless of the promotion path, he said he would like to continue sharing his career knowledge and experience as a mentor to younger Airmen.
“As long as I can contribute I’ll stay in as long as the Air Force allows me to,” said Sgt. Newsom.