Career field exchange offers day in neighbor’s boots

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Daronda Marsh, right, a customer support technician with the 35th Force Support Squadron, straps on and checks the seal of her self-contained breathing apparatus, or SCBA, as Airman 1st Class Thomas Ulrich, left, a firefighter with the 35th Civil Engineer Squadron, walks her through the process at Misawa Air Base, Japan, Jan. 26, 2017. Marsh jumped at the opportunity to join five other Airmen who took part in Misawa’s first-ever career field exchange and shadow program. The initiative affords service members of all ranks from across the installation an opportunity to live a day in another’s boots. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Benjamin W. Stratton)

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Daronda Marsh, right, a customer support technician with the 35th Force Support Squadron, straps on and checks the seal of her self-contained breathing apparatus, or SCBA, as Airman 1st Class Thomas Ulrich, left, a firefighter with the 35th Civil Engineer Squadron, walks her through the process at Misawa Air Base, Japan, Jan. 26, 2017. Marsh jumped at the opportunity to join five other Airmen who took part in Misawa’s first-ever career field exchange and shadow program. The initiative affords service members of all ranks from across the installation an opportunity to live a day in another’s boots. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Benjamin W. Stratton)

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Shaquille Montague, left, a firefighter with the 35th Civil Engineer Squadron, watches as Senior Airman Kelci Vo, an aerospace ground equipment journeyman with the 35th Maintenance Squadron, charges a diode for a M32A-60A gas turbine generator during Misawa’s first-ever career field exchange and shadow program at Misawa Air Base, Japan, Jan. 26, 2017. The generator is a 35th MXS AGE flight asset used to troubleshoot F-16 Fighting Falcons prior to takeoff. Montague joined five other Airmen who took part in Misawa’s first-ever career field exchange and shadow program. The initiative affords service members of all ranks from across the installation an opportunity to live a day in another’s boots. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Benjamin W. Stratton)

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Shaquille Montague, left, a firefighter with the 35th Civil Engineer Squadron, watches as Senior Airman Kelci Vo, an aerospace ground equipment journeyman with the 35th Maintenance Squadron, charges a diode for a M32A-60A gas turbine generator during Misawa’s first-ever career field exchange and shadow program at Misawa Air Base, Japan, Jan. 26, 2017. The generator is a 35th MXS AGE flight asset used to troubleshoot F-16 Fighting Falcons prior to takeoff. Montague joined five other Airmen who took part in Misawa’s first-ever career field exchange and shadow program. The initiative affords service members of all ranks from across the installation an opportunity to live a day in another’s boots. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Benjamin W. Stratton)

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Shaquille Montague, a firefighter with the 35th Civil Engineer Squadron, charges a diode for a M32A-60A gas turbine generator during Misawa’s first-ever career field exchange and shadow program at Misawa Air Base, Japan, Jan. 26, 2017. The generator is a 35th Maintenance Squadron aerospace ground equipment flight asset used to troubleshoot F-16 Fighting Falcons prior to takeoff. Montague joined five other Airmen who took part in Misawa’s first-ever career field exchange and shadow program. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Benjamin W. Stratton)

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Shaquille Montague, a firefighter with the 35th Civil Engineer Squadron, charges a diode for a M32A-60A gas turbine generator during Misawa’s first-ever career field exchange and shadow program at Misawa Air Base, Japan, Jan. 26, 2017. The generator is a 35th Maintenance Squadron aerospace ground equipment flight asset used to troubleshoot F-16 Fighting Falcons prior to takeoff. Montague joined five other Airmen who took part in Misawa’s first-ever career field exchange and shadow program. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Benjamin W. Stratton)

MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan --

We’re always learning. All of us. It’s a fact of life. But have you ever wondered what it would be like to live your neighbor’s job for a day?

I’m excited to introduce Misawa’s first-ever career field exchange and shadow program, which provides service members from career fields across the installation an opportunity to experience another’s day-to-day mission and duty expectations.

The goal is for participants to walk away with a broader understanding of how every Team Misawa career field funnels into the overall strategic mission of U.S. Pacific Command and the Department of Defense.

While working together alongside our allies and bilateral partners, we’re enabling our leaders’ vision for the future and are part of a worldwide movement set to rebalance power throughout the Indo-Asia Pacific region and the globe.

Every month, public affairs coordinates with six host units, including sections from all United States’ Air Force and Army organizations with the hope we’ll be able to add the U.S. Navy and the Japan Air Self-Defense Force in the future. These units host six program participants selected by their section leadership and are paired with a host unit by preference and availability.

We all may work on the same base, but when it comes to day-to-day operations, how much do we really know about our neighbor’s job? You may talk with your friends about your day, but this program affords you an opportunity to actually walk a day in their boots.

Perhaps you walk away with a desire to cross-train, but our hope is that you’ll realize there’s more to the mission than your daily J.O.B.

As a public affairs photojournalist with nearly 10 years of experience highlighting career fields from nearly every corner of the wing, I have a much broader viewpoint of what it takes to launch aircraft and make the mission happen. But for some of you, perhaps, you’ve been so focused on getting your mission done, that you haven’t had time to wonder where the planes get their fuel or the pilots their dinner or where the funding comes from that keeps the heat humming throughout the winter.

Every job on this base is just as important as the next and with this new exchange and shadow program, our hope is that you’ll find new meaning in not only your neighbor’s J.O.B., but in yours and the entirety of Team Misawa. We’re a “one-team, one-fight” focused wing and no one’s mission is any less significant than the next.

You’re all essential; so here’s a chance to see what makes us the greatest fighting force the world has ever seen.

Join me every month as we walk a day in our neighbor’s boots.

If you’re interested in serving as a host unit, please contact the 35th Fighter Wing public affairs office at 35fw.pa@us.af.mil. For interested participants, let your leadership know so they can put your name in for next month.