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Face of Defense: Deployed Senior NCO Works to Foster Trust

By Air Force Tech. Sgt. James Hodgman 379th Air Expeditionary Wing

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Feb. 09, 2016 — Every airman has a story, and a master sergeant assigned here is determined to learn as many of those stories as she can.

Air Force Master Sgt. Janine Obando, the director for the 379th Air Expeditionary Wing’s Equal Opportunity Office, is responsible for assisting people with complaints of unlawful discrimination and ensuring airmen here work in professional environments.

“My job is to get a pulse of what is happening in units and inform commanders of any concerns or issues that need to be addressed,” said Obando, who hails from Ewa, Hawaii.

Obando said she strives to learn about the members in her unit. Everyone is unique, she said.

“It is important to take time … to learn what matters to them. The more you get to know someone, the better you are able to communicate and hopefully build some rapport,” Obando said.

Serving Fellow Airmen

“Everyone has a story, and I am fascinated learning about each airman’s journey,” she added. “The more I learn about one’s background and life experiences, the better person and leader I become. These interactions enable me to think about how I can affect change and serve every airman better.”

Obando said she has met many service members during her time here, including Air Force Staff Sgt. Yolanda Jackson, noncommissioned officer in charge of 379th AEW protocol.

“She was really interested in my job and seemed very genuine,” said Jackson, who's from Chicago. “Since then, we’ve met on several occasions and she’s always quick to ask how I’m doing and how everything is going.”

Jackson joined the Air Force in June 2009. She said she enlisted because of the education benefits the service offered.

“I knew I wanted to go to college since the eighth grade,” Jackson said. “My mother always stressed the importance of education. She was a factory worker and worked hard for my brothers and sisters to have a good life. She wanted the best for us.”

Since joining the Air Force, Jackson used tuition assistance to pursue a Community College of the Air Force degree in restaurant, hotel and fitness management. She said she will soon complete her degree and plans on pursuing a bachelor’s degree in hospitality management.

Fostering Trust

Jackson said she appreciates Obando’s efforts.

“I kind of have an automatic trust in certain offices and the EO office is one of them. I know what the EO office is meant to do,” Jackson said. “I would definitely bring my concerns to that office, but that trust is more solidified by the personal interaction by Obando, and I’m more likely to report something to EO because of it.”

Jackson added, “Meeting people who are approachable and genuinely interested in your views makes it easier to open up to them later.”