AAFB launches first civilian onboarding program

  • Published
  • By 1st Lt. Elisabeth Teitelman
  • 97th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs

Leaders from 97th Air Mobility Wing hosted Altus’ first civilian employee onboarding ceremony at Altus Air Force Base, Oklahoma, Dec. 19, 2022. Over 30 civilian employees who were hired throughout the last quarter were invited to attend the inaugural half-day program.

The program commenced with an official ceremony where new civilian employees took an oath to serve and protect the U.S. Constitution, similar to the one active duty, guard, and reserve service members take when they come into the military and renew their service commitments.

Following the ceremony, the newest members of the Altus AFB team had several sessions with other civilian employees around the base. One of those employees was Tony Bunch, 97th Operations Support Squadron Airfield Manager, who helped get this new program off the ground.

“To new employees, the oath signifies that this is more than just a job,” said Bunch. “It is a higher calling to serve, whether you wear a uniform or civilian clothes.”

There are more than 144,000 civilian service members in the United States Air Force compared to over 328,000 active duty Airmen. Here at Altus AFB, civilian service members and active duty service members, excluding students in training, both number around 1,200 members each.

“Our civilian service members are essential to the success of our military and this nation,” said 97th AMW commander, Col. Blaine Baker. “It takes all of us moving together to execute the Air Force mission.”

Though this was the first official civilian onboarding ceremony, it won’t be the last. The intention going forward is to have one onboarding event a month in 2023 to welcome all new civilian service members to the 97th AMW.