Space detachment warriors take pride in community service
By Capt. Johnny Rea, Air Force Space Command Public Affairs
/ Published May 23, 2006
KAPAUN AIR STATION, Germany --
Community spirit is alive and well for members of a small space detachment here as every person volunteers off-duty time to foster positive relations within the German community.
“I think it’s important to get involved in the community and promote activities that give our troops opportunities to see things they can only experience while in Europe,” said Master Sgt. Chuck Drake, NCO in charge of Civil Engineer Operations for Detachment 1, 460th Space Communications Squadron.
Sergeant Drake donates construction material and uses his CE background to build classrooms for the off-base church he attends.
Two detachment senior NCOs are employing their musical abilities to strengthen relations.
“This is the third band I’ve been with on this tour,” said Senior Master Sgt. Steven DeHaven, detachment superintendent who doubles as the additional duty first sergeant for the 30-member detachment. “Getting involved with projects like this helps change any negative perceptions of Americans that may be out there.”
Sergeant DeHaven plays rhythm guitar and harmonica, and is one of two singers in the band.
Master Sgt. Jeffrey Casper, NCOIC of space communication operations and maintenance, plays saxophone in a local village orchestra, performing at village festivals and church events.
“I think it’s important for military members to get involved in the community – especially overseas – because it shows that we are here to serve and that we’re here to make a positive difference,” said Airman 1st Class Daniel DeGraff, a satellite communications journeyman.
The former honor graduate from Rampart High School in Colorado Springs, Colo., volunteers about 30 hours a month at Kaiserslautern Junior High School as a math tutor and assistant coach for the math team. He also volunteers with Special Olympics, Airmen Against Drunk Driving and the Civil Air Patrol.
“People need to have a sense of belonging, so they need a community that will accept them,” said Tech. Sgt. Craig Gregory, assistant NCOIC of space system. “We can foster this type of extended family to others, and we usually benefit from it just as much ourselves.”
Sergeant Gregory is actively involved in an off-base church, teaching Sunday school, and serving as the head usher, on the church welcoming committee and as game director for a children’s club.
Two contract employees with the detachment are also doing their part to build relationships in the Kaiserslautern Military Community.
Dan Webb moved to Germany 15 years ago with six children and has been heavily involved with area youth programs. Three of his sons are Eagle Scout award recipients and Mr. Webb has voluntarily taken several Scout troops to camps throughout Germany, France, Belgium and Luxembourg.
Hector Camacho is a deacon and chairperson of the audiovisual committee at a local church.
“It’s important to become involved because you can identify needs and find resources to meet them,” said Mr. Camacho. “To go the extra mile and serve people makes the time spent as a volunteer all worthwhile.”
A satellite communications work center crew chief for the detachment donates about 25 hours per week carrying out ministerial affairs for the off-base church he attends.
Staff Sgt. Jason Mommaerts volunteers as the finance secretary, Sunday school superintendent and adjutant for the church. He is also involved with Special Olympics.
“It has been a real blessing to be attached to this unit,” Sergeant Mommaerts said. “It’s a place where you can have great fellowship, and fosters an environment to grow as both a well-rounded leader and technician.”
He said it’s important to learn the language and customs while overseas, as “the locals see us as respectful and decent neighbors. I’ve taken the time to establish life-long friendships during my tour here. And I’m confident when I leave I will have left a positive impact of our presence in the area.”