Traditional Airman tackles new role during COVID-19

  • Published
  • By TSgt. Andrea F. Rhode
  • 115th Fighter Wing

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Airmen across the base have been utilized in capacities different from their typical work environments.

Traditional Airmen, Airmen who typically only come to base for drill or annual training days, have also stepped up to the plate and taken on new full-time roles. Airman 1st Class Alyssa Meyers, 115th Fighter Wing emergency manager, is one of those Airmen.

“Like many others responding to the pandemic, I am doing something I have never done before,” Meyers said. “Several weeks ago, I began working in the Joint Operations Center.”

The JOC is the focal point for coordinating missions across the state. Meyers’ work as a battle non-commissioned officer in the JOC has allowed her to build on her emergency management skills.

“A1C Alyssa Meyers approaches every task with an unstoppable attitude, and when asked to support COVID-19 response as an emergency manager in the Wisconsin Joint Operations Center, she jumped at the opportunity to do anything she could to support the residents of Wisconsin,” said Chief Master Sgt. Jeremy Bethke, 115th installation emergency manager.

In addition to her new role, Meyers also had to balance changes to her school schedule.

“Meyers has always done a great job of balancing the needs of the Wisconsin Air National Guard and her college classes, and when the call for COVID-19 support went out she, without hesitation, dropped everything to help,” Bethke said.

According to Meyers, being a full-time student and working in the JOC has not been easy. 

“It has definitely been an adjustment, balancing the transition to online classes with work,” she said. “Fortunately, all of my professors have been incredibly understanding and flexible, making balancing the two doable.”

Even with the challenges that COVID-19 brought on, Meyers would not have it any other way.

“All I have ever wanted was to be a part of something bigger than myself,” Meyers said.  “Growing up, I always knew I wanted to be in the military. Being in the Air National Guard gives me a sense of purpose. When I went to enlist, and found out what EM was about, I knew I had to be a part of it. Emergency management seemed like the perfect fit for me, and I honestly couldn’t imagine doing anything else.”

She is constantly driven to make improvements to the installation’s emergency management program, from the Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Defense Course to enhancing response capabilities using lessons learned from COVID-19 response. 

“I want to feel I did everything I could as an emergency manager to deter the worst-possible outcome,” Meyers said.

The passion this Airman has for her job has increased since the beginning of this pandemic.

“There are so many things I love about working in EM,” she said. “I love that I get to be an instructor, planner, and responder, and I enjoy knowing that I’ll never be bored as we’re always involved in multiple projects. My favorite thing about working in EM is the people that I get to work with. I’m so grateful for the mentorship I have received from my leadership and peers.”

Since the beginning of this pandemic, more than 1,400 Airmen and Soldiers have been placed on state active duty orders to serve Wisconsin communities.