News>Barksdale Airmen selected for Presidential Support Team
Senior Airman Demarious Beard, 2nd Aircraft Maintenance Group, was recently selected for the Presidential Support Team and will be stationed at Andrews Air Force Base, Md. (U.S. Air Force official photo)(RELEASED)
Staff Sgt. Porsha Cook, 2nd Force Support Squadron, was recently selected for the Presidential Support Team and will be stationed at Andrews Air Force Base, Md. (U.S. Air Force official photo)(RELEASED)
by Staff Sgt. Amber Ashcraft
2nd Bomb Wing Public Affairs
10/11/2012 - BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La. -- Two Barksdale Airmen were recently selected to become the newest members of the Presidential Support Team that not only travels with Air Force One but with other VIP planes flying hundreds of missions per year.
Air Force One is a Boeing 747 with 4,000 square feet of interior floor space. The "flying Oval Office" transports the president, vice president, first lady, secretary of state, secretary of defense and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, amongst other American military, government and world leaders.
Staff Sgt. Porsha Cook, 2nd Force Support Squadron, and Senior Airman Demarious Beard, 2nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, will be the newest flight attendants.
"When I was notified I was selected, I was nervous and excited," said Cook. "I know it will be a challenge and a change of scenery, but it's a challenge I'm willing to accept. I love talking to people and in FSS, customer service is our specialty, so I feel I'm already set up for success."
According to the career field education and training plan of the flight attendant career field, the Airmen provide passenger safety during aircraft operations and perform the following duties: preflight, through-flight, and post-flight inspections of aircraft emergency, cabin and galley equipment. They also ensure passenger comfort during aircraft operations and plan all menus and coordinate meal requirements.
With the possibility of working with our Commander in Chief and presidential staff, the flight attendants are trained to cater to distinguished leaders with world-class professionalism and service.
The training to become a special air mission flight attendant not only involves Flight Attendant Culinary and Egress Training school and the Enlisted Aircrew Undergraduate Course, but also both the combat and water survival schools--the same ones survival, evasion, resistance and escape instructors attend and teach.
"We've yet to leave for training and we already know the most important part of our job will be safety," said Beard, an aircraft electrical and environmental systems journeyman and staff sergeant select. "In case of an emergency, we're going to need to be the level-headed ones and take control of the situation to ensure the safety of the passengers and other crew members on board."
Beard and applied for the position several months ago, both having significant interest in the high visibility and world-traveling career field.
"I wanted to see other aspects of the Air Force besides maintenance," said Beard. "Flight attendant was on the critically manned list and it caught my eye because I didn't even know it was an air force specialty code. As I do with other things I don't know much about, I researched everything I could about it and it sparked my interest greatly."
The process for submitting a package to become a flight attendant was no easy task according to Cook, who ascertains her great customer service experience to working in services for four years both overseas and stateside.
"We needed several letters of recommendations, one specifically from our commander, had to submit a class three physical, pictures of myself and all my enlisted performance reports and also have an extensive background and security clearance check," she said. "I also had to submit a resume of my military experience thus far. It was a lot to put together and I was actually relieved when the package was finally sent in."
Now that the two Barksdale Airmen have been selected and set for their training dates, both are excited for their new duty station. Both Cook and Beard applied for Joint Base Andrews, Md., on their base of preference listing and were accepted.
"Being stationed at Andrews will be a nice homecoming since I was born and raised in Maryland and it'll also be quite a change from the mission here at Barksdale," said Beard. "In maintenance there's a lot of change, so I'm used to rolling with the punches. You honestly have to grow thick skin and be adaptable, so I truly believe this will help me in my new job."
Cook and Beard will be leaving mid-October to begin their training and are wished the very best by their coworkers, leadership and Team Barksdale.