Airman 1st Class Rachel Jones: focused for the fight


All Airmen have their own individual character traits and work ethics, but sometimes there are those individuals who clearly exceed others because of their passion for the job. One such Airmen is found in the 81st Range Control Squadron.

Airman 1st Class Rachel Jones, 81st RCS live technician, was selected by her leadership as an outstanding performer for her tireless dedication to her duties and contributions to the mission. With only a little over a year in the military, she lives and breathes her job as a live technician.

“I’m originally from Huntington, Indiana,” Jones said, who graduated from Huntington North High School with a graduating class of approximately 350 people.

Coming from a small farm town, the Panama City, Florida area is a new experience for her. Jones uses her new environment to calm her from the struggles of work.

“When I lived back home I ran with the cross country team in high school and enjoyed camping,” Jones said. “Since being stationed at Tyndall, I have become a real water person. I really enjoy the fresh water springs around the area, they are gorgeous. I feel that being out on the water on a paddle board or a kayak helps me find balance between work and home life.”

Although Jones has family in the military, it did not impact her decision to join the Air Force. She came upon the idea while with a friend.

“I have a cousin in the military, that’s not what drew me to the Air Force,” Jones said. “I kind of joined on a whim. I went to a delayed enlisted program all-call with a friend and decided then that the Air Force was for me.”

She is responsible for coordinating with several agencies to ensure all aircraft enter into and out of the Tyndall airspace safely. She works directly with air traffic control on Tyndall and both at the local and national level.

“I wouldn’t call anything in my daily duties a difficulty, but one thing I try to focus on is working with different types of people in the most constructive and productive ways,” Jones said. “The most rewarding thing in my day is seeing firsthand how a job is actually finished. We do a lot of stuff here and it’s not just one office doing everything – its many offices working together.”

Relatively new to the military, Jones has shown her potential for learning and performing at higher levels. Her dedication and drive led her to be selected to attend the Weapons Director School.

“One of my biggest goals is to be prepared and get through Weapons Director School, which I will be starting next year,” Jones said. “In that school I will be controlling the pilots while they do missions by giving them targeting calls and communicating with them.”

Members of her leadership spoke very highly of Jones and explained further why she was given this opportunity.

“She does such a phenomenal job,” said Maj. Derrick Iwanenko, 81st RCS director of operations. “That is why she is being given the opportunity to go and become a Weapons Director. The schooling that she is about to go through is highly competitive, and they don’t just take anybody. All are welcome to apply but not everyone gets selected.”

In the short amount of time that she has been here, Airman 1st Class Jones demonstrated an ability to take on that responsibility. She is passionate about what she does – she just cares. And you can see that in everything she does. When you have a self-starter, you can give her tasks and she will do it to the best of her abilities. She will ask all the right questions, and she is driven by her see that out of a young Airman is motivating.”