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Airlifter of the Week: Voice of Ramstein

U.S. Air Force Staff. Sgt. Kirsten Brandes, 86th Airlift Wing noncommissioned officer in charge of media, shows off her workstation, Ramstein Air Base, Germany, May 28, 2020.

U.S. Air Force Staff. Sgt. Kirsten Brandes, 86th Airlift Wing noncommissioned officer in charge of media, shows off her workstation, Ramstein Air Base, Germany, May 28, 2020. As the NCOIC of media, Brandes is responsible for crafting posts and creating communication plans to inform the general public and tell the Air Force story. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Kirby Turbak)

U.S. Air Force Staff. Sgt. Kirsten Brandes, 86th Airlift Wing noncommissioned officer in charge of media, looks over the base’s Facebook page at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, May 28, 2020.

U.S. Air Force Staff. Sgt. Kirsten Brandes, 86th Airlift Wing noncommissioned officer in charge of media, looks over the base’s Facebook page at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, May 28, 2020. Since the start of COVID-19, Brandes has played a vital part in informing members of the Kaiserslautern Military Community of changing health conditions and restrictions as well as routing local concerns to leadership. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Kirby Turbak)

.S. Air Force Staff. Sgt. Kirsten Brandes, 86th Airlift Wing noncommissioned officer in charge of media, (center) reacts to receiving a coin from Brig. Gen. Mark R. August, 86th AW commander at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, May 21, 2020.

U.S. Air Force Staff. Sgt. Kirsten Brandes, 86th Airlift Wing noncommissioned officer in charge of media, (center) reacts to receiving a coin from Brig. Gen. Mark R. August, 86th AW commander at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, May 21, 2020. Brandes was recognized as Airlifter of the Week, a program highlighting outstanding Airmen at the 86th Airlift Wing. (Courtesy photo)

RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany --

One of the most important parts of a community is communication, and in today’s age social media is one of the quickest and easiest ways to connect.

At Ramstein, the 86th Airlift Wing interacts with military members assigned to the Kaiserslautern Military Community through the official Ramstein Air Base, Germany Facebook page.

While some may believe there’s a whole team working day and night to answer and respond to every Facebook message and comment, that task relies mainly on one person, Staff Sgt. Kirsten Brandes, 86th AW Public Affairs noncommissioned officer in charge of media.

“My primary focus is social media, which involves crafting posts and coming up with communication plans for events and situations,” Brandes said. “With COVID-19, there has been a lot of information distribution among the community, correcting misinformation when we can, getting specific questions answered if we have the ability to answer them and making sure that the community stays informed.”

As the NCOIC of media, Brandes created a larger presence for the base online by identifying social media algorithms and creating processes for continuity.

“I reached out to different organizations who managed social media in the past and looked at how they engaged their audience,” Brandes said. “I found a balance between showcasing the mission and incredible achievements of our wing, and its tenant units, and relaying information to the community, like gate closures and street repairs.”

Her improvements have been vital in updating members of the KMC of the constant changes caused by COVID-19.

“We've received guidance from Germany officials, the Army and the Air Force, so Public Affairs has really had to take a step up in our information distribution process including setting up virtual town halls, directing people to our COVID-19 page and updating social media. We're trying to give people as many different avenues as possible to get the information that they need to keep living their lives or make their lives easier.”

For her crucial work, Brandes was recognized as the Airlifter of the Week, an 86th AW program highlighting outstanding Airmen in the 86th Airlift Wing.

To Brandes, helping out the community the best she can and keeping members informed is what she enjoys. Positive interactions with the KMC audience is her pay-off.

“People messaging the inbox who are sweet and patient really make my day. When people respond to you like you're a human, and not like you're a base, it goes a really long way.”