News: Air Force services NCO exudes 'selfless' mantra
SOUTHWEST ASIA -- Particularly when deployed, service members are expected to work long hours and six or even seven days a week. In their spare time and throughout the workday, military members across the U.S. Central Command area of operations rely on services professionals to meet their basic needs and provide avenues to 'blow off steam'.
One such services member is Air Force Tech. Sgt. Jason Brandy, the NCO in charge of services at the 387th Expeditionary Support Squadron at an air base here.
"My job is to keep morale at the base at a high level by providing food, fitness and recreation support to those who are supporting the mission every day," said the Pittsburgh native, deployed from Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla. "We offer numerous programs such as bingo, Texas Hold'em, March Madness tourneys and cooking demonstrations to provide much-needed relief from everyday stresses in the deployed environment."
Keeping troop morale up is critical to mission success, particularly in the deployed environment, he said. But, the NCO isn't content with the status quo; he's continually looking for new ways to improve services for his customers.
"Here in the AOR, our impact is immediate when we implement improvements or changes," said Brandy. "Every day I'm brainstorming; constantly thinking of how I can make the time here better for those who are supporting the very important mission we have."
The sergeant added that communicating with his customers is the key to learning their needs. Brandy makes time to interact with Airmen and sister-service military members, Department of Defense civilians and contract professionals at his location each day.
"I interact with customers daily and try to take a little stress off their shoulders by providing excellent morale-building services," said Brandy. "Morale can be under appreciated sometimes but we all need our delicious food, fitness well-being and recreation downtime to get through the day."
The NCO said he finds helping people get through the long days and weeks both rewarding and demanding, but he finds time to unwind with friends when he isn't taking care of others.
"Taking care of people is the aspect of my job that I enjoy the most," he said. "But trying to take care of everyone is also the most challenging. However, if I can do something extra to make the day for someone, I do it."
The NCO said his favorite recreational activity downrange has been playing cards. "I spend my downtime with a few of my peers playing Spades at the Flex [recreation center]; we're currently 9-2," he said.
With 11 and a half years of service in the Air Force behind him, the veteran knows a thing or two about putting others first and he has a lot of deployed experience in this region of the world to share. But, like other servicemembers who leave families behind when they deploy, Sergeant Brandy said deployments can be tough but his leadership team here makes the experience more fun.
"I love deploying but I hate leaving my wife and kids behind," he said. "This is my fifth deployment, third in four years and they've all been to [the 386th Air Expeditionary Wing's air base] and now here [at the 387th Air Expeditionary Group's location]. I have to say this is the most enjoyable deployment because I have awesome and supportive leadership."