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New AF Connect App provides communication tool in deployed location

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Jefferson Thompson
  • 332nd Air Expeditionary Wing

Communication in the deployed environment takes on new significance as commanders react to threats, explain their vision to all levels of the command and constantly integrate new Airmen.

Although information and knowledge flow at an unprecedented rate in today’s ultra-modern environment, the second a person sets foot on foreign soil many streams no longer flow or are totally different.

It presents a perplexing problem—the front line is by definition far removed from the normal ways of doing business.

One way the 332nd AEW is working to facilitate agile communication is through the use of a new Air Force Application called AF Connect. Through it Airmen receive up to the minute updates and in conjunction with robust WiFi it is helping information flow to all levels—even at deployed locations in the Middle East.

“We’re in such a unique situation being away from the continental U.S. and in a deployed location—we have to get creative with how we’re reaching our Airmen,” said Capt. Eve Derfelt, the wing public affairs officer.

"Even in the last decade, communication has evolved ten-fold. People are using a vast array of mediums to get information that they want – and that’s the key to this communication evolution.”

At the 332nd communication professionals have leveraged the new app and created a podcast.

“Having an open-source platform like a podcast is a great way to make our foundation as Red Tails even stronger,” she said.

The first podcast featured a conversation between Chief Master Sgt. Dennis Fuselier, the 332nd AEW Command Chief and Senior Airman Kristen Lyons.

“I’m a crew chief,” she said, smile on her face during the initial “Spit Fire” podcase. “They always talk about having pride in your own jet, which is cool to me to have my own jet with my name on it.”

“That pride on how well you maintain that aircraft translates into combat power doesn’t it?”Fuselier said in response, who himself rose through the ranks of maintainers to become a command chief.

This conversation is the first of several and the following podcast was dedicated to Black History during February.

“Having conversations about topics that are relevant, even difficult ones, with multiple views points is critical to building relationships and most importantly, opens an avenue for communication,” said Derfelt.