Maintenance window scheduled to begin at February 14th 2200 est. until 0400 est. February 15th


Forgot Password?

    Or login with Facebook
    Defense Visual Information Distribution Service Logo

    Alpena airfield manager duals as subject matter expert in Michigan-Latvia partnership

    Airfield Manager at Alpena CRTC during Northern Strike 18

    Photo By Staff Sgt. Bethany Rizor | Chief Master Sgt. Jerome Torres, Airfield Manager, Alpena Combat Readiness Training...... read more read more



    Story by Staff Sgt. Bethany Rizor 

    110th Wing

    ALPENA, Mich. – For members of the Air National Guard, their stories all begin somewhere. For Chief Master Sgt. Jerome Torres, airfield manager at the Alpena Combat Readiness Training Center, Mich., it was a late-night chat with his friend about whether or not they should join the military. His friend’s father, a former officer, encouraged Torres to finish his degree and join the officer corps later. Despite his recommendation, Torres and his friend started the process to join anyway. Torres took the oath of enlistment Feb.15, 1995.

    Torres’s knowledge comes from years of experience in his career field. He has had five active duty stations, including a remote location in Honduras, two deployments, and spent time in Central America in 1998 in support of Hurricane Mitch relief. He left active duty in 2006 and took a full-time position in Battle Creek, Mich., at the 110th Attack Wing, which led him to his current position in Alpena, Mich., as the airfield manager.

    Torres oversees everything that goes on at the Alpena airfield. This year, the robust aircraft participation in Northern Strike 18 has put his job into full-force action. From inspections, to assisting the Maintenance Operations Center (MOC), he is the subject matter expert in airfield operations. His expertise opened the door to perform dual duties in the State Partnership Program (SPP).

    The State Partnership Program (SPP) is a joint program of the United States Department of Defense (DoD) and the individual states, territories, and District of Columbia. The program pairs the state’s National Guard with a country to aid in building personal relationships, and assisting in foreign policy goals.

    In 2012, Torres was approached about assisting Latvia, Michigan’s state partner, in building their airfield in Lielvārde, Latvia. Since then, he has been traveling back and forth with a team of subject matter experts to aid his counterpart, Lt. Kaspars Višņekovs, in identifying what they need to create a fully-functional airfield like Alpena. He was awarded the Commemorative Medal for Merits Third Class by the Base Commander, Col. Armands Saltrups, for his invaluable insight.

    Torres expressed the rewards of his involvement in the SPP, such as the growth of the people he has worked with over the years, in and out uniform.

    “With any mission there are challenges,” said Torres. “The language barrier is one of them, not in a sense that they don’t understand English, but more so the comfort level of speaking English and finding the words to explain their point of view.”

    That is why human relations are so important in the State Partnership Program, so that effective communications can happen on a deeper level.

    A project of this scale takes years to develop, but time has been well spent and the results are unfolding. Throughout the process, Torres has created some unforgettable memories and has built relationships with the Latvian Air Force under the State Partnership Program, a program that has become paramount in the Michigan Air National Guard’s global impact.

    “I try to step back and put myself in their shoes,” said Torres. “I try to understand what course we need to take to guide them through the obstacles.”



    Date Taken: 08.16.2018
    Date Posted: 08.17.2018 11:08
    Story ID: 289087
    Location: ALPENA, MI, US 

    Web Views: 255
    Downloads: 1