Face of Defense: Brothers Manage Fitness Operations
By Air Force Master Sgt. Scott Sturkol
380th Air Expeditionary Wing
SOUTHWEST ASIA, June 28, 2010 If you walk into one of the fitness buildings for the 380th Expeditionary Force Support Squadron at an air base here and yell, "Sergeant Ramos," you'll probably get more than one person answering.
Air Force Master Sgt. Greg Ramos, left, and Air Force Staff Sgt. Gavin Ramos work in the fitness center at an air base in Southwest Asia. Both sergeants are brothers who are deployed from the 154th Force Support Squadron of the Hawaii Air National Guard. U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Scott Sturkol
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
First along might be Air Force Master Sgt. Greg Ramos, who is the fitness center’s superintendent. Or Air Force Staff Sgt. Gavin Ramos, Greg's younger brother, might come to help.
Either way, the Ramos brothers are fairly well known around the 380th Air Expeditionary Wing as the "Hawaiian brothers at the fitness center." They have a "can-do" spirit, Greg said, partly because of their culture but also because they are two brothers who get along splendidly.
"It's nice to have someone who you know so well to work with," Greg said. "Gavin is a hard worker, and we know each other's capabilities, so we can often get a lot of work done quickly. Plus, to be deployed with my brother is especially an honor."
Gavin agreed. "We have a great relationship,” he said. “I used to be in security forces until just over a year ago, when I cross-trained over to the services career field. Since then, we've been working together fairly consistently -- including on this deployment."
The brothers deployed from the Hawaii Air National Guard's 154th Force Support Squadron at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii. Their hometown is Kapolei, Hawaii. They deployed as a part of nine-person Hawaii Guard contingent to support whatever they were called on to do, and they’ve managed fitness center operations for the majority of their deployment.
"The fitness center buildings are open 24 hours a day," Greg said. "Besides Gavin and I, we have other force support airmen help us keep the fitness operations going all the time. Being fit to fight is important, and it's good for us to do all we can to keep this place ready for our customers."
Greg has been in the Air National Guard for more than 15 years, while Gavin has been in for eight years. As the oldest sibling in his family, Greg said, he always has believed he's had an obligation to his younger siblings to "pave a path and set the example."
"When I was young and joined the Guard, there were a lot of circumstances going on, and joining the Guard helped me to get on a path of success," Greg said. "The last 15 years supporting the Air Force and the Air National Guard has been good for me and my family."
Greg's service in the Guard influenced Gavin to join. "He played big brother and helped me along the same road," Gavin said. "He's always been a great mentor."
Managing troop services operations requires a great deal of behind-the-scenes administrative work, but the brothers agree that the bottom line is taking care of people. "We like what we do in services, because we are helping people and contributing to improving their morale in so many ways - especially with our fitness programs," Greg said.
"I'm here to help ensure that deployed servicemembers have an optimum facility to assist members in achieving their fitness goals," Gavin said. "It's just one of the many things we do in services that are critical to the well-being of our airmen."
The brothers soon will return to Hawaii from their deployment, and Greg said the Ramos family’s footprint in the Hawaii Air National Guard may continue to grow.
"We've been trying to get another brother to join the Guard, and we have a nephew who recently graduated from high school who we think would do well in the Guard," Greg said. "In our family, it started with me, but I think more of us will go the way of the Air National Guard."
Meanwhile, Gavin said, he is content to continue working with his brother in any part of the world.
"Whether we are here or at home, I am proud to serve with my brother Greg," Gavin said. "He's a great man. He leads the way, and makes me proud to call him my brother."