From mission to mayor; citizen Airman serves community in, out of uniform

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Breanna Klemm
  • 97th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs

U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Douglas Jeffrey, the 730th Air Mobility Training Squadron commander at Altus Air Force Base, Oklahoma, has always aimed to leave things better than he found it. Jeffrey has carried this philosophy not only throughout his Air Force career, but also while serving as the Mayor of Vernon, Texas, from 2018 to 2020.

Jeffrey was born and raised in Vernon, a small town just south of the Oklahoma border. After attending law school for a year, Jeffrey decided to join the Air Force to become a pilot. Upon completing pilot training, Jeffrey was soon flying mobility aircraft around the world.

“I started my career off flying the C-5 Galaxy out of Dover Air Force Base and had literally flown around the world during that time,” said Jeffreys. “After a few years of flying the C-5, I went to Fairchild Air Force Base and started flying the KC-135 Stratotanker. I flew the 135 to lots of places, but one of my favorites was flying over Afghanistan. It was such an eye-opening experience knowing that the people on the ground were being impacted by the Airmen that train here today.”

After flying active duty for 14 years, Jeffrey decided to transition to the Air Force Reserve in July 2014 and moved back to his hometown, Vernon, with his wife and four children. Jeffrey was then assigned to the 730th AMTS at Altus AFB as the squadron commander.

“Our job at the 730th is to help train students going through the flying training unit (at Altus AFB), facilitate other squadrons, and give them help or manpower when they need it,” said Jeffrey. “We are here to act as the continuity for the FTU, and the only reason we are able to accomplish our mission, and the only way I can do my job, is because I have an amazing support team that I work with.”

During the spring of 2018, Jeffrey decided to run for mayor in Vernon. Using lessons learned throughout his Air Force career, Jeffrey helped foster Air Force core values throughout the local community while serving as mayor.

“Being a squadron commander and a mayor are actually very similar because it’s all about your service to others and recognizing people,” said Jeffrey. “While I was Mayor of Vernon, I was determined to make it better than I found it, and my goals during that time are almost the same as they are here. In the end, it is really about taking care of the people around you.”

Jeffrey served the community of Vernon as mayor from 2018 to 2020 and spent his time helping citizens of Vernon build relationships and bonds through a community of trust. Similarly as commander, Jeffrey aims to help his Airmen succeed and build strong leaders within the squadron.

“My main goal in life is to leave things better than I found them; not just as mayor or as squadron commander, but with everything I do,” said Jeffrey. “I wanted to make Vernon a place that people wanted to come to, live in, have a family, grow old in and to call home. This is something really important to me because it’s where I'm from and it's my home, too.”