All posts by mmarch

A day in the Air Force

by Tech. Sgt. Mareshah Haynes, Air Force News Service

Air Force Week kicks off in New York City

There are many things that go into a day in the life in the Air Force. Airmen from hundreds of job specialties contribute to making the U.S. Air Force the greatest airpower in the world.

Check out this slideshow we compiled from photos taken by Airmen from around the Air Force to see just some of the things that go into an Air Force day.


Adventures of a military child

by Meredith March, Defense Media Activity Air Force Production

In their own way, military children serve our country along with their parents. For many of them, life is constantly in flux, requiring unique sacrifices and resilience.

Military Child

Master Sgt. Scott Vermeire, his wife, Sara, and their children, have moved three times in recent memory, and are set to change stations again soon. While the transitions have not been easy, the family has learned that telling friends and loved ones “see you later,” instead of “goodbye,” makes things easier.

According to the Vermeires’ middle daughter, Jordan, so does looking at new experiences as adventures, rather than permanent changes. In an email to Air Force Live, she writes:

“Living as a military child can be challenging, especially when moving. There’s the packing and moving into a hotel, and all the goodbyes to take care of. Then you’ve got the long plane rides from place to place until you get to your new home.

“You’ve got the new languages, cultures, lifestyles, foods and people to experience and meet. Everything is new and foreign to you, making it hard to adjust and make friends.

“Once you acclimate, though, it’s all a blast! All the traveling and sightseeing is unbelievable and the art and foods are incredible! It’s really fun experiencing everything with my family and friends, but soon enough it’s got to end and I’ve got to move again. A new adventure begins …”

Read more about Jordan and other military children on the Airman website.

Through her eyes: Afghanistan

by Meredith March, Defense Media Activity Air Force Production

Adjusting to different cultures is often part of the job during deployments. For Staff Sgt. Elizabeth Rosato, these adjustments include learning to navigate a foreign culture in which women are not always treated as their male counterparts’ equals.

Staff Sgt Rosato

Rosato, a truck commander for the 755th Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron Reaper Team 1 at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, is the only female on a team that conducts counter-insurgency missions “outside the wire” and frequently interacts with the local population.

While she has encountered some gender-based barriers while building a rapport with the villagers, Rosato is grateful for the opportunity to serve the people of Afghanistan.

Read more about Staff Sgt. Elizabeth Rosato’s experience in Afghanistan.

Combat couple: a perfect match

by Marine Sgt. Aaron Hostutler and Staff Sgt. Shaun Hostutler
edited by Meredith March, Defense Media Activity Air Force Production

(Editor’s note: Staff Sgt. Shaun Hostutler is a broadcaster and her husband, Marine Sgt. Aaron Hostutler, is a photojournalist. Shaun is on her first tour in Afghanistan as a combat correspondent. While the couple and their children have been separated by prior deployments, this is the first time Shaun has deployed while Aaron remained stateside. Shaun and Aaron have agreed to share their unique military experience with Air Force Live. In this installment, the couple discusses getting married and starting a family in a he-said/she-said format.)

If it were left to the wife, it would take forever for us to get to the present. She has a knack for nostalgia, always asking if I remember when this or that happened. So, I’ll be taking the lead on this one.

Okinawa was my first duty station. Working the grind of a weekly Marine Corps newspaper wasn’t always great, but life was still pretty good–partying like there was no tomorrow, making mistakes and a lot of juvenile decisions. That’s life as a young Marine, right?

Time passed and women came and went, but there was one that somehow always stuck in my mind–Shaun, the Airman from Defense Information School. There was something there that I couldn’t ignore, despite moving our separate ways after DINFOS–her to Texas, me to Oki. Sitting in my room one night, I decided to send her a Myspace message. Yeah, you read that right. Myspace was cool back then.

hey i know this is gonna sound off the wall but just listen.
i know we both got our own things going on right now but while i was at dinfos i kinda fell for ya which is stupid cause  we didn’t get a chance to spend much time with each other.
anyway u do mean a lot to me and for the life of me, i don’t know why but u do.
so check it out. It’s not gonna be for a long while but whenever it is i wanna be able to look u up. it might be 2, 3 or even more years down the line, and who knows where we will be then. but ive known alot of really good people who ive lost touch with and never really gotta chance to get back in touch.
so i know this all sounds crazy and honestly im not even sure what im tryin to say, but just keep the door open i guess. and a couple years from now i wanna look u up and see where ur at.
this prolly all sounds crazy 2 u it does to me but i just wanted to say it. so there it is.

Well, she got back to me; I got back to her, and we stayed close.

Shortly after a visit to Texas, we decided to seriously do the long-distance dating thing. In the midst of all this, I received an email from the C.W. Bill Young Department of Defense Bone Marrow Foundation.

The cotton swab.

They were writing to me to let me know I was a potential match for one of their patients. A few blood tests later, it was confirmed. I was the best match.

Wait. I can’t let him leave out all the sappy stuff, although the Myspace message is a good touch. I love reading that thing; it makes me tear up a little every time. Growing up in a Hispanic-Catholic household, I started to believe that things which would otherwise seem like minor coincidences are signs from above. If it weren’t for his attempt at impressing me at DINFOS, we wouldn’t be where we were, and he never would have popped up as a match for bone marrow donation. To me, the message, the cotton swab and being the perfect match–they were all signs that we were always meant to be together. Call me crazy, but what were the odds really?

Always interrupting me mid-story–that’s marriage isn’t it?

I guess I bought into the magic a little. I loved the girl. I didn’t want to lose her and didn’t want the military to keep us apart–and she was coming up on orders soon.

I popped the question.

He asked on the phone, which was not the most romantic setting. It still made my heart melt.

Texas is one of the few states where you can get married by proxy. Within a few weeks, we received Aaron’s paperwork from Okinawa naming one of my friends, an Airman I worked with, as his proxy. You can’t imagine the laughter and shock that ensued when our supervisor found out that our lunch break had turned into a courthouse visit, where Sauce stood in for my husband.

I got ready to donate bone marrow shortly after the wedding. I was told I would need to choose an escort to help me after the procedure, because I’d be weak.

“I’d like it to be my wife with me,” I said in a serious, business-like tone. It had been maybe two weeks since we technically tied the knot, so it still felt cool to say “my wife.”

A few weeks later, both of us flew to California. It was the first time we had seen each other since becoming husband and wife, and we had two weeks alone together.

After the docs finished the marrow procedure, we visited Shaun’s family in Texas. At this point, our marriage was still a secret. She had some crazy idea that it would be best to keep it a secret until we could have a real wedding for her family.

Four weeks into our trip, on the day we were supposed to drive up to see her mom, I woke up to a pregnancy test being waved in front of my face.
We were pregnant.

According to the math, it took us no time at all to add a new Hostutler to the mix. There was no way we’d be able to keep this a secret any longer. Now Shaun would not only have to surprise her family with the news of our marriage, but also that we were expecting.

Word travels fast in a Mexican and Italian family. One of her sisters let the cat out of the bag. Before we could drive up to Austin from San Antonio, the phone was ringing off the hook. It was her mother, Patricia Cano. I say it like that because this is a woman whose full name must be used, a woman not to be reckoned with. I mustered up the courage to answer the phone.


“You got something you wanna tell me?” she responded.

I was ill-equipped to handle this conversation.

“I think you should talk to Shaun,” I said, trying to save myself.

“Oh no! You’re man enough to get my daughter pregnant, then you can talk to me!”

Let’s just say the initial impact didn’t go over so well, but by the time we made it up to Austin, Patricia couldn’t be happier for her daughter and was already asking to be called “Nana Pat.”

Fast-forward a little–three years, to be exact. You really don’t want to read every detail.

Even though we had a fairy-tale start, every marriage will have its set of problems and bumps in the road.

And being a not-so-typical dual military couple–it was rocky. It was tough. There have been nights spent sleeping separately, doors slammed, tears shed (hers, not mine, of course), and the “D” word dropped. When we were good, we were great. When we were bad, it got rough. But we’re making it. We aren’t going to lie and say every step has been easy.

But when you find “the one,” there’s no one you’d rather fight, no one else you love more. When it’s all said and done, there’s no one else you’d rather face the world with.

Three years and two sons …

Through all of it, Shaun was always a great wife. But she was meant to be a mother. I don’t know how she does it. I love being a dad, but I’m pretty much clueless and not afraid to admit it.

Which brings me to where we are now, the deployment. I was originally scheduled to deploy and she was going to stay home with the kids.

Originally is the key word.

Life has a funny way of mixing things up when you least expect it.

Read the second “Combat couple” entry.

Read the first “Combat couple” entry.

Energy strategic plan: a conservation road map

by Meredith March, Defense Media Activity Air Force Production

Air Force Week kicks off in New York City

Air Force operations demand more fuel and energy than they have in the past, but in a struggling economy, leaders are obligated to stretch tax dollars as far as they will go. So, how does the Air Force resolve the two necessities without compromising training, force sustainment, humanitarian relief efforts, intelligence gathering and combat missions?

A recent Pentagon roundtable answered that question by announcing energy efficiency initiatives under the new Air Force Energy Strategic Plan. The plan is a road map for future energy consumption reductions.

“We will not accept the notion that one has to choose between energy efficiency and mission accomplishment,” said Dr. Jamie Morin, acting under secretary of the Air Force, during the meeting. “They can be complementary and reinforce the goals.”

Simplified, the four fuel-related goals mapped out in the Air Force Energy Strategic Plan include:

  • Improving resiliency: identify energy and water sources that might be vulnerable to disruptions, physical or cyber attacks, or price volatility, and ensure the Air Force can recover them and sustain the mission
  • Reducing demand: build more efficient platforms, more effectively utilize resources, and improve the range and endurance of Air Force platforms without sacrificing capability
  • Assuring supply: diversify the types of energy used for aviation and facility operations, ground vehicles and equipment, as well as secure the quantities necessary to perform Air Force missions
  • Fostering an energy aware culture: ensure Airmen value energy as a mission critical resource and make it a consideration in every action, whether in permanent or deployed environments

Airmen can read the entire Air Force Energy Strategic Plan and submit energy saving ideas on the Air Force Energy website.