The Air Force District of Washington encompasses more than 30,000 Airmen in 1,758 units stationed at 500 locations in 108 countries. AFDW Airmen execute varied missions around the world alongside service members and civilians from different Air Force major commands, joint units and international organizations. AFDW will highlight Airmen in these unique missions in an “AFDW Around the World” series.
Meet Tech. Sgt. Benjamin Noyes:
The Airman: Sergeant Noyes is an Evaluator Senior Surveillance Technician and the G Flight NCO in Charge at the Aircrew Training Squadron on Geilenkirchen Air Base, Germany. He has been assigned to this position for nearly five years flying the NATO E-3A AWACS mission in support of North Atlantic Council taskings.
The job: As a senior surveillance technician and tactical data link manager, Sergeant Noyes detects and identifies air and surface tracks of interest providing a recognized air and surface picture to the combatant commanders. He also instructs and evaluates NATO flying personnel from 16 different nations in the surveillance position, ensuring crew members are current and qualified for the NATO flying mission. As the NCOIC of G Flight, he mentors and provides guidance to newly assigned Airmen going through initial flight training at the Aircrew Training Squadron.
The highlights: Sergeant Noyes says what makes this job so unique is being able to work alongside the different personnel within the E3-A component and getting the NATO job done on a daily basis.
The challenges: It can be a challenge learning how to work alongside and communicate effectively with people from different countries, considering the differences in cultures and languages. He overcomes this by building connections with fellow NATO personnel, and showing an interest in learning differences in language and culture. While it may be challenging, he says it has been great working among and making friends with the amazing individuals from such different backgrounds and cultures as they execute the NATO mission together.
One of the biggest career challenges he faced, though, was being away from his family for more than a year when stationed at Osan Air Base, Korea. However, with family support and a positive attitude, they were able to overcome this challenge.
The lessons: Having been in for 15 years, Sergeant Noyes says one of the greatest things the U.S. Air Force has taught him is how to be flexible and adapt to any kind of situation thrown in his direction.
The hobbies: Playing guitar, running, listening to music while driving, school, physics, learning something new, 4DX movies, traveling, and discovering great restaurants