Rising to the Challenge
By Staff Sgt. Kirsten Brandes, 86 Airlift Wing Public Affairs
/ Published June 04, 2020
RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany -- --
On an average day, the energy inside the Ramstein Passenger Terminal is a mix of nervous anticipation and excitement. However, on the day that the Secretary of Defense announced the initial force-wide Stop Movement order, it was just short of chaos.
Service members and their families - with houses packed, cars shipped, and goodbyes said - found their lives thrown into limbo. Desperate for answers, many reached out to the office that had guided them through their move: the 786th Force Support Squadron base relocation office.
Jasmine Holcey, a newly-promoted Staff Sergeant with five months experience working in base relocations, answered that call and immediately went to work. The incredible efforts that Holcey and her team put in from that moment forward would result in her being recognized May 28 as the Airlifter of the Week.
Earlier this year, Holcey transitioned out of a Commander’s Support Staff position with the 48th Rescue Squadron at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson, Ariz., and into the position of relocation’s supervisor for the 786th FSS.
Having never worked in a base relocations office before, she was excited for the challenge.
“Working outbound assignments at Ramstein Air Base? If you can do that, you can do anything.” Holcey said.
When guidance for the Department of Defense Stop Movement order showed up in her inbox on March 15, Holcey immediately understood that her position was about to get complicated.
“I was worried at the beginning,” Holcey said. “I thought, ‘How are we going to get these people out of here?’ Everything was just supposed to stop, but we had people scheduled to leave the day it was announced.”
Her job was complicated further by the assumption that the base relocations office receives advance notice of upcoming process changes. Holcey was often still on her first read-through of the new guidance when her phone started ringing with questions from concerned service members and their families.
“It was often like, ‘Give me five minutes, let me read it. I’ll call you right back.’”
When she wasn’t busy studying new guidance, Holcey led the effort to expedite Student Dependent travel procedures, ensuring 17 stateside college students were reunited with parents in Germany after universities closed dorms and campuses due to COVID-19.
“It was chaos for a while,” Holcey said. “We had to ask a lot of favors and call a lot of headquarters to make adjustments. It was tough, but it was rewarding - family hugs and everything.”
Holcey also worked 1,102 permanent change of station orders, 210 COVID-19 PCS exceptions to policy, 46 command sponsorship packages, 11 early return of dependent requests, and 10 exceptional family member and humanitarian exception to policy requests. Brig. Gen. Mark August, 86 Airlift Wing commander, shared his astonishment at the amount of work Holcey accomplished in her short time with the World’s Best Wing.
“It’s like reading a medal citation, and she’s only been here for five months,” August said, when describing Holcey’s Airlifter of the Week package.
In addition to her change in both location and position, Holcey also promoted to the rank of staff sergeant in March. While she might consider herself new to the role of a supervisor, her Airmen are grateful for her leadership.
“I think every supervisor should aspire to be just like Staff Sergeant Holcey,” said A1C Joshua Gilmore, 786th FSS relocation apprentice and one of Holcey’s four Airmen. “She makes you feel like family. If I had my way, she’d be my only supervisor in my career. She set the bar really high.”
Whether it’s a new position, a new rank, or a new process, it’s clear Holcey is unafraid of change and challenge.
The Airlifter of the Week program recognizes Airmen who, through hard work and dedication, make the 86th AW the World’s Best Wing.