86 AW SARC bridges German, and military communities

  • Published
  • 86th Airlift Wing

RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany – If you worked where you grew up, what impact could you have? How could family and familiarity influence the work you do?

When reflecting on her childhood, one member of Team Ramstein uses ties to the local community to serve as a guiding light, influencing her perspective and enhancing her ability to connect with others and clients.

U.S. Air Force Capt. Regina Panting, intelligence officer by trade and now the 86th Airlift Wing’s deputy sexual assault response coordinator, draws strength from her upbringing in the local community.

“I think growing up in a cultural melting pot was honestly one of the most amazing things I could ever ask for,” said Panting. “My father is an Italian American and my mother is German. Growing up speaking German and being around so many people with differences made it easier to understand the perspectives of others.”

Panting spent much of her childhood here in the Kaiserslautern community. She always knew she wanted to join the military and, more specifically, be an officer in the Air Force. She began her career as an enlisted member before being accepted into Officer Training School as a technical sergeant.

"As an intel officer, we get to dip our hands into various pots and learn a little bit of everything,” said Panting. “What drew me to this career was the opportunity to balance mission demands with leadership and personnel care. In the Air Force, the demand for intelligence is high, and it's crucial to maintain that balance of taking care of people. For me, it's about spreading my wings, delving into different kinds of intelligence beyond just imagery analysis, all while improving my leadership skills."

After years of perfecting this balance, Panting felt ready to fill a larger leadership position as her career continued. She wanted to find ways to diversify her skill set, help her community, and truly step out of her comfort zone. She found a way to answer that calling as the 86th AW deputy SARC.

Panting started her SARC journey as a volunteer victim advocate in 2020. Ever since taking on the job, she has taken steps to improve resiliency programs and SAPR programs over the last few years. Recognizing the importance of establishing trust and comfort with her clients, Panting often opts to wear civilian attire during her interactions. This choice allows her to create a more relaxed atmosphere, easing the unease of those she assists.

“I've really stepped out of my shell here in this office," said Panting. “I’ve gotten opportunities to work with other programs and apply new information to our training to make it more engaging.”

Since arriving at Ramstein in September 2021, Panting has been pivotal in helping numerous victims with translation at medical appointments, facilitating individuals' access to mental health services off the installation, securing legal representation off base and helping them gain an understanding of German laws.

Regina's journey stemming from a diverse upbringing to her role as the wing’s SARC, showcases her unwavering commitment to service and compassion. Her ability to bridge communities, lead in various professions and make a tangible difference in the lives of others not only embodies the core values of the Air Force but also serves as an inspiration for other service members.