The Airmen behind the cameras

By 2nd Lt. Adam Miller | 139th Airlift Wing | Oct. 22, 2020

During the COVID-19 pandemic in Missouri, the 139th Airlift Wing held true to their motto “Always Ready, Ever Willing.” Airmen all across the base stepped up to help communities around the state.

These Airmen left their families, friends and jobs behind to answer the call for the oath they took when they enlisted, “To protect and defend the state of Missouri and the United State of America.”

Oftentimes when a unit at the 139th mobilizes, the Public Affairs team is there. Through thick and thin, this team is there to document and tell the Wing’s story.

When the Missouri National Guard helped open and operate an alternate care site in St. Louis, Staff Sgt. Audrey Chappell, a Public Affairs Specialist, mobilized with the 139th’s medics. She was able to document and tell the story of how the Missouri National Guard was ready to respond and tackle any mission.

“I got to see our medics problem-solve in an uncertain environment and care for our citizens who were in need. I saw our base volunteers packing and handing out food and the smiles from the people who needed a little help,” said Chappell. “I am grateful that I had the opportunity to capture these efforts.”

Within two weeks of graduating from the public affairs technical course at the Defense Information School, Fort Meade, Md., Senior Airman Andy Rivera mobilized to capture and document imagery of Missouri National Guard COVID testing sites all around western Missouri.

“It’s fascinating to see the relationship Missourians and the Guard have. The civilian response has been overwhelmingly positive, they’re thankful and super appreciative of all we’ve been doing,” said Rivera. “I’m thankful to be a part of an entity that is there for the safety and well-being of its citizens.”

The 139th AW Public Affairs team covered more than 40 different missions, led by two different task forces, covering the western region of Missouri. These missions included COVID testing, food bank and school lunch distribution over a four-month period.

“The 139th Public Affairs team had a tall order to fill with the missions running concurrently around Missouri,” said Maj. Rhonda Brown, the 139th AW Chief of Public Affairs. “The team stepped up and completed all tasks without fail. As always, we were ready to answer the call when the state and our commanders needed us.”