Ramstein barber reflects on working with Airmen for over 30 years

Claudia Gomez, barber, poses for a portrait in her barber shop Sept. 20, 2016, at Ramstein Air Base, Germany. She has been cutting hair at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, since 1981. She is a quiet worker who enjoys working “in the background” and welcoming Airmen and their families to a relaxed environment where they can decompress. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Lane T. Plummer)

Claudia Gomez, barber, poses for a portrait in her barber shop Sept. 20, 2016, at Ramstein Air Base, Germany. She has been cutting hair at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, since 1981. She is a quiet worker who enjoys working “in the background” and welcoming Airmen and their families to a relaxed environment where they can decompress. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Lane T. Plummer)

Claudia Gomez, barber, cuts Airman 1st Class Hector Montoya’s hair, 721st Aerial Port Squadron passenger service agent, Sept. 20, 2016, at Ramstein Air Base, Germany. Gomez has cut hair for thousands of Airmen and families over the 35 years she’s worked on base. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Lane T. Plummer)

Claudia Gomez, barber, cuts Airman 1st Class Hector Montoya’s hair, 721st Aerial Port Squadron passenger service agent, Sept. 20, 2016, at Ramstein Air Base, Germany. Gomez has cut hair for thousands of Airmen and families over the 35 years she’s worked on base. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Lane T. Plummer)

Claudia Gomez, barber, reaches for her array of barber tools as she cuts a customer’s hair Sept. 20, 2016, at Ramstein Air Base, Germany. After working on Ramstein for 20 years and gaining confidence in her abilities, she became the owner of the barber shop in 2001. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Lane T. Plummer)

Claudia Gomez, barber, reaches for her array of barber tools as she cuts a customer’s hair Sept. 20, 2016, at Ramstein Air Base, Germany. After working on Ramstein for 20 years and gaining confidence in her abilities, she became the owner of the barber shop in 2001. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Lane T. Plummer)

Claudia Gomez, barber, shares a conversation with her customer, Airman 1st Class Hector Montoya, 721st Aerial Port Squadron passenger service agent, Sept. 20, 2016, at Ramstein Air Base, Germany. Gomez believes in recreating a “close to home” atmosphere with her shop, and enjoys getting to know the people that come in and helping them feel comfortable. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Lane T. Plummer)

Claudia Gomez, barber, shares a conversation with her customer, Airman 1st Class Hector Montoya, 721st Aerial Port Squadron passenger service agent, Sept. 20, 2016, at Ramstein Air Base, Germany. Gomez believes in recreating a “close to home” atmosphere with her shop, and enjoys getting to know the people that come in and helping them feel comfortable. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Lane T. Plummer)

Claudia Gomez, barber, poses for a portrait in her barber shop Sept. 20, 2016, at Ramstein Air Base, Germany. She has been cutting hair at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, since 1981. She is a quiet worker who enjoys working “in the background” and welcoming Airmen and their families to a relaxed environment where they can decompress. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Lane T. Plummer)

Claudia Gomez, barber, poses for a portrait in her barber shop Sept. 20, 2016, at Ramstein Air Base, Germany. She has been cutting hair at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, since 1981. She is a quiet worker who enjoys working “in the background” and welcoming Airmen and their families to a relaxed environment where they can decompress. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Lane T. Plummer)

RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany --

RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany—Airmen have long held a standard of dress and appearance that reflects how much pride they take in being in the military.

 

Perhaps there’s no one on Ramstein that understands the Air Force’s passion for maintaining standards better than one of longest-working barbers on base, Claudia Gomez.

 

“I’ve been cutting hair for so long on Ramstein, but I’ve always had the goal to provide a comfortable experience for my customers,” said Gomez. “I want them to come in here and feel they have a place to relax and enjoy a nice haircut, one that I try to make so it reflects who they are.”

 

She began her career as a barber at Ramstein 35 years ago. When she started, Gomez was nervous with some of the customers she welcomed in and served.

 

“I remember very early in my time here, I started cutting the hair of some generals; I was very nervous,” she said. “But over time, I became fine with it. They’re just like any other customer; I love talking with them and seeing their smile after they see the finished product—it is very satisfying. It’s why I love what I do.”

 

The more hair she trimmed, the more confidence she gained. Over many years, she’s accumulated a massive list of visitors. She left enough of an impact for them to leave her with something that lasts longer than a haircut can.

 

Hanging from the walls are portraits of generals, each one with a message of appreciation etched in on it. The earliest of which, dates back to 1983.

 

For Gomez, the wall of photos is a constant reminder of her impact on the Airmen that have paid her a visit.

 

“I’ve met thousands of people and even made a few friends through this job,” Gomez said. “I enjoy making relationships with people.”

 

One of the Airmen who received a hair cut from Gomez is Airman 1st Class Hector Montoya, 721st Aerial Port Squadron passenger service agent.

 

“I sort of just found her barber shop as I was looking around, and the first thing I thought was that it reminded me of my hometown shop,” said Montoya. “Gomez was very nice and very detailed about the haircut. You can tell she is passionate about what she does.”

 

The Air Force was 33 years old when Gomez began working on Ramstein in 1981. Now, celebrating its 69th birthday this year, the Air Force and its Airmen couldn’t take pride in such a high standard of dress and appearance without her and the hundreds of dedicated barbers around the Air Force.