Two Randolph Airmen earn AETC "Enlisted Aide of Year" awards

  • Published
  • By Thomas Warner
  • 12th Flying Training Wing Public Affairs
Responsibilities vary for the 2008 Air Education and Training Command Enlisted Aides of the Year, both of whom are stationed here. Senior Enlisted aide, Master Sgt. Greg Krems, and Junior Enlisted aide, Tech. Sgt. Jason Barbour, keep constantly busy at the residences of two of Randolph's top-ranking officers.

The awards for top senior and junior enlisted aides cover all the accomplishments that the member did in their specific career field during the fiscal year. Each command has a similar award and the award winners compete for the overall Air Force Junior and Senior Enlisted Aide of the Year Award.

"The number one goal of the enlisted aide is to alleviate problems and concerns at the residence so the general can concentrate on the mission," said Sergeant Krems. "There are five bedrooms in the house and I have an office in one of them. I'm always working on the fly."

Sergeant Barbour aides 19th Air Force Commander Gen. Gregory Feest, while Sergeant Krems works to make life easier for AETC Commander Gen. Stephen Lorenz, a man he also served under while both were stationed at Keesler Air Force Base, Miss.

General Lorenz is frequently away from Randolph, making site visits at any of the 13 AETC bases, meeting with area civic leaders or tackling other matters away from home as many as three weeks each month. Trips are meticulously planned, with packing assistance and finalization of schedules just two of the tasks taken on by Sergeant Krems.

"He might need mess dress, service dress, civilian clothes or ABUs, and I make sure it's all there," Sergeant Krems said. "When he and Mrs. Lorenz are away, there are landscapers, plumbers, electricians and other people that perform work here. The family has given me a lot of responsibility and all it means is that they don't have to worry about what's happening here while they are away."

Sergeant Barbour said he and General Feest routinely sit down together and discuss upcoming time frames. If an event is coming up, they go over what needs to be bought, when things need to be prepared and if anything can be done in advance. Details can be as thorough as ensuring there are no allergy restrictions for any guests while preparing food.

"Some of it might seem trivial, but when you add up the hours of me doing things for him that he would otherwise have to do himself, it allows him to give total focus to his mission as a commander," said Sergeant Barbour, who previously worked in Washington, D.C., as an aide to the Inspector General of the Air Force.

Aides must be accomplished chefs, with a knack for whipping up a quick snack or a multi-course meal. Sergeant Krems was at Air Force Village in west San Antonio recently staging an exhibition on Crème Brulee dessert recipes for 80 visiting spouses of AETC officers. He even constructed a cookbook which he gave to the visitors.

"A lot of the culinary education I've gotten has been right here at Randolph and at a school in San Antonio," Sergeant Krems said. "When there is a dinner party here at the house, I am allowed to create meals and choose specific dishes. After a while you sort of know what they like and what they don't like, so I've got a lot of liberty to pretty much do what I want."

The aides interface with similarly-tasked aides from other bases who accompany officers here on visits, and are among a group of six AETC enlisted aides at Randolph. They interact with around 25-50 people in offices like base housing, Pinnacle/Hunt, the commissary, base exchange and headquarters protocol.

"A lot of what we do is working with the housing office on various issues, ranging from periodic maintenance to emergency issues such as water breaks, pest problems, etcetera," Sergeant Barbour said. "If there are any deliveries that need to be made, we work those issues and coordinate with outside agencies."

Sergeant Krems said the relationship an aide has with his superior involves many aspects but above all, an element of transparency.

"When a general officer has someone in the house with them, at all times, it means I'm going to see them on their best days and on their worst days, so that's part of an element of loyalty," Sergeant Krems said. "Communication is huge, too, because if I don't understand what it is they want, I can feel comfortable asking them to clarify. And then there's integrity -- when they are away they can be sure that everything is in order."