Military News

Friday, April 17, 2015

Lakenheath Airman named top Air Force communicator

by Senior Airman Erin O'Shea
48th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

4/15/2015 - ROYAL AIR FORCE LAKENHEATH, England  -- Every Airman has a role, and those in Air Force Public Affairs serve to communicate the Air Force message worldwide by capturing and sharing U.S. armed forces' capabilities on a daily basis, through journalism, photography, video, graphics, web design and social media.

Demonstrating his mastery of abilities, Senior Airman Trevor McBride, 48th Fighter Wing Public Affairs photojournalist, won the 2014 Outstanding Communication Airman Award.

This award is meant to recognize the top PA airman who excels in telling the Air Force story through a variety of mediums.

"Airman McBride is continuously looking for avenues to share the Air Force mission with new audiences," said Tech. Sgt. Thomas Trower, 48th FW Public Affairs Community Engagement NCO in charge and McBride's supervisor. "He's created multiple competitions and programs for social media that encourage public participation and two-way communication with people outside the fence. This alone brought in a huge following, and feedback increased 196 percent."

For overseas bases, like Lakenheath, it's also crucial to foster and maintain strong ties with the host nation.

"Enhancing the relationship with our host nation is a lot more to me than just a job," McBride said. "I'm given this great opportunity to live, travel, and be part of an entirely new culture, and I realize that communicating the U.S. Air Force mission over here gives the U.K. that same feeling of togetherness. For them to understand why we are here and what role we play as allies, is what keeps the relationship thriving each and every day."

During a three-day temporary duty in Norway, McBride promoted a NATO tri-country Nordic Defense Cooperation exercise and produced two publications, both of which were used by Headquarters, Air Force, along with a photo published in Air Force week in photos.

As part of his community engagement core tasks, McBride was responsible for guiding numerous aviation groups through the base. He preserved host nation community partnerships by leading 15 base tours and introducing 532 U.K. visitors to the Air Force mission.

"My favorite part of the job is the ability to interact with different types of people every day," McBride said. "One day I can be flying on a helicopter documenting a combat search and rescue exercise, and the next I could be escorting media outlets to capture their own documentation of what we do as an Air Force base overseas."

To learn every function of his office, McBride took part working in the community engagement, media operations and command information sections.

"It's great to have someone with hands-on knowledge about every service our unit provides," Trower said. "For this being McBride's first duty assignment, he has definitely excelled, and his practical experience and creativity have helped us build strong products. Just recently, RAF Lakenheath was named runner-up for the best installation in the Air Force, and I'm confident McBride's motivation helped make that possible."

McBride also actively engages with the Airmen in his office to provide feedback and suggestions to the newer photographers.

PA provides photographic services in support of security forces, Air Force Office of Special Investigations, and other emergency response agencies. In order to provide quality images, McBride took on the task as a one of the primary alert photography trainers to ensure 10 office personnel could proficiently perform their jobs at a moment's notice.

Because of his broad knowledge of alert photography, McBride was called upon as a first responder during the January 2014 crash of an HH-60G Pave Hawk assigned to the 56th Rescue Squadron. He provided more than 50 hours of on-scene documentation to the investigation board which proved critical to determine the cause of the incident.

"An important aspect in Public Affairs is communicating our wing commander's objective," McBride said. "To have a base commander like Col. Novotny, one that's so invested in what you do and gets to know you as a person, is what really motivates me to ensure his objectives are met through every possible communication outlet I can think of."

Although Public Affairs is a small career field, there remains a high level of competition among the Airmen. Dedicating extra hours and having a strong desire to learn as much as possible about the craft, can make competitors stand out amongst their professional peers.

"I'm honored to have been given this award," McBride stated. "I couldn't have done this without the help of my mentors from around the Air Force and my leadership and peers at RAF Lakenheath."

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