88th Wing Staff Agencies take care of Wright-Patt one Airmen at a time

  • Published
  • By Caroline Clauson
  • 88th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio -- While the 88th Air Base Wing seeks to keep tenant units flying high by supporting installation operations and infrastructure, the Wing Staff Agencies bolsters the mission by equipping Airmen themselves, attending to administrative pipelines and people on the ground so every base mission the wing supports thrives.

Even in clean formations and perfect protocol, people are messy. Directly supporting and reporting to the wing commander but servicing the entire installation, each of the agencies “dominates the dirty work” in a different area of complexity to holistically care for Airmen and collectively sustain all the various missions around Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.

“We are the folks working behind the scenes to project a professional image to the public, protect employee and government rights, and we are ready to respond during times of need,” said Lt. Col. Amy Justus, 88 ABW director of staff and 88th Comptroller Squadron commander. “We have over 20 agencies comprised of more than 380 personnel with 33 civilian job series and 23 military Air Force specialty codes.”

Every agency advises up and plays the role of a tool in the commander’s toolbox according to its specific area of expertise.

“The Wing Staff Agencies are essential to Wright-Patterson as we help the commander with rapid decision making, maximizing responsiveness and streamlining the administrative process while providing key services to base personnel,” Justus said.

From processing legal documents and drug testing to solving housing disputes and being a wingman at the worst moment in an Airman’s life, WSA dominates some of the installation’s dirtiest work, removing barriers to mission success.

“We are the ones behind the scenes making the mission happen,” Justus said. “At times, it isn't glamorous, but it is the right thing to do to build a culture and climate that fosters success.”

Here’s a closer look at each agency:

Air Force Band of Flight

Tubas, trumpets and keyboards aren’t the instruments of war that come to mind first as far as military missions go. But the Air Force Band of Flight, stationed at Wright-Patterson AFB, uses the power of music to recruit Airmen in and unite them together toward commitment to the larger Air Force mission they serve and commemorate the history and emotion behind service.

The 15-member band presents more than 250 performances across Ohio and beyond each year and features two musical components: Flight One is a versatile and energetic popular music ensemble performing hits from throughout America’s history. Spirit of Freedom performs shows featuring New Orleans brass-band, jazz, blues and other popular styles and supports patriotic and ceremonial functions.

“The band’s job is to perform, but no one usually sees the hours of prep that go into one performance,” said Senior Airman James Nufer, a trumpeter for the band. “Each member might practice individually for one to two hours per day on their instrument, then rehearse for two to three hours with the rest of the group to get the music right. On top of that, I’ve spent hours working on a tour schedule spreadsheet while calling venues, loaded thousands of pounds of gear into a 23’ box truck and delivered messaging points to an audience of 700 people.

“Each of those aspects seem distant from a strategic Air Force mission by themselves, but they are necessary parts of the job to connect with the public, inspire trust and goodwill in the Air Force and present a professional image that honors American service members.”


Where the military is concerned, being fit to fight initially invokes priorities of physical strength and mental sharpness; when boots are on the ground or the mission in flight, spiritual concerns may not seem priority or down in the dirty work enough.

But the Chaplain Office knows that body and soul go to work and war together.

“Our specific goals are focused on warfighter readiness, which is achieved through the primary line of effort of ensuring that Airmen, Guardians and their families are spiritually prepared for personal and professional success,” said Lt. Col. Laserian Nwoga, 88 AWB deputy wing chaplain.

From providing for religious accommodation and advising leadership on religious and ethical matters to holding various faith services and being a confidential counselor for all Airmen, the Chaplain Office develops essential spiritual muscle in Airmen and the wing itself.

“Some may call it dirty work, but we find deep satisfaction in walking through the muck and mire of life's challenges with our Airmen and Guardians,” Nwoga said.

Combined Federal Campaign

Combined Federal Campaign gives federal employees and retirees the opportunity to donate their money and time toward participating charities, expanding WPAFB’s impact beyond defense concerns to local and global humanitarian care.

“The CFC supports 57 local charities and hundreds more globally,” said Lt. Col. Olga Brandt, 2023 Dayton District CFC chair. “Your contributions, whether through money or volunteer time, support charitable causes from finding cures for diseases to supporting military families to promoting equality to making a positive difference in the world.”

The program, overseen by the Office of Personnel Management and organized into local chapters, allows personnel to give through payroll deduction or other means and encourages Airmen to use fun events and stories to work together toward supporting positive causes beyond their areas of employment.

Every year, a local CFC committee challenges the base to get involved and give within the solicitation period of early October through mid-January.

Commander’s Action Group

Although not always flashy, administrative work bedrocks the success of any organization, especially one as outer- and interconnected, large and multi-layered as the wing. The Commander’s Action Group rises to the task of timetables, meetings, processing and coordination for wing Top 4 leaders.

“We work directly for the Top 4 and ensure their requirements are met, but we also get into the weeds and work closely with our groups and squadrons to get the mission done,” CAG chief Louis Edwards said. “We sit down the hallway from the Top 4, but we are the cog in between the wing leaders and the groups that strive to keep everyone on the same page to the best of our ability.”

Examples of CAG’s specific duties include processing evaluations and decorations, managing the wing SharePoint site, maintaining conference room calendars and advising the commander on all special projects, awards and correspondence.

“The CAG uses strategic communication with base organizations, directorates and mission partners to relay the wing commander's administrative standards, policies, and expectations in a timely and effective manner to the entire installation,” Edwards said.

Integrated Prevention and Resilience Office

The Integrated Prevention and Response Office at Wright-Patterson AFB knows the collective mission only thrives if the individual Airmen in their cubicles, at the gate, and after hours are physically, spiritually, mentally and emotionally safe and ready to bounce back when personal hardships hit.

The team supports the holistic well-being of Airmen and families to ensure they reach their full potential by providing nonclinical and primary prevention policies, practices, programs and processes focused on building resilience and preventing interpersonal violence and suicide.

“We make change one Airmen at a time,” said Thomas Tirey, violence prevention integrator.

Tactics like safeTalk and other trainings, free gunlocks, referrals and Employee Assistance Program services from one-on-one counseling to home care give feet to the office’s vital goal.

The team also strives to foster a general environment of resiliency, teaching supervisors to listen and personally care for their Airmen, earning their trust and reciprocal care that in the end propels them to pour into the shared mission.

“When we talk about resilience skills, people often think of terrible, tragic situations, but it’s also about having the tools to cope with your day-to-day adversity without spiraling either too high or too low,” said LeAnn Throlson, Integrated Prevention and Resilience Office director. “If your focus is things that aren’t quite right in your personal life, you’re not able to give 100% to the mission.”

The team hopes their services end at preventative training and resources, connecting Airmen to the resource or helping agency that can stop challenges from escalating to crises. But the team is also equipped to aid after the worst of circumstances.

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, And Accessibility

Established in 2021, the Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility Directorate on base grounds the idea that differences unify and strengthen the entire team.

“I am a sincere believer that the most powerful organizations are made up of a diverse force in which every Airmen is included, trusted and empowered to contribute their unique talents and perspectives to the team,” said Col. Christopher Meeker, 88 ABW and installation commander in his DEIA policy statement.

The DEIA directorate’s mission is to create a workplace based on merit, dignity and respect, and it takes in-the-weeds work to make it happen.

Within the office, the Affirmative Employment Program ensures that employees receive equal opportunities throughout the entire process, from recruiting to awards to separation. Working groups analyze barriers to this priority, and special emphasis groups see that specific protected and underrepresented groups receive opportunities to reach their full potential.

The Disability Program serves as a resource for individuals with disabilities and supervisors regarding reasonable accommodations, Schedule A hiring, the Workforce Recruitment Program and disability retirement.  The program promotes equal benefits, access and opportunities for individuals with disabilities. 

The Equal Opportunity Program monitors equal opportunity compliance, provides proactive human relations services and champions Air Force policy of zero tolerance for unlawful discrimination and sexual harassment for all agency employees, Air Force members and tenants.

The Resource Advocacy Program seeks to educate on and highlight inclusion to encourage its application throughout every corner of the base at the individual, organizational and operational levels. The program assists employees and leadership in taking the appropriate steps to mitigate and eliminate all forms of harassment and workplace bullying at the lowest level possible. 

Drug Demand Reduction Program

The Drug Demand Reduction Program does much of the dirty work that leads to clean screenings among Airmen, making the Air Force values of integrity and excellent performance realities at Wright-Patterson AFB.

“The Drug Demand Reduction Program enhance mission readiness and foster a drug-free environment through comprehensive program of education, prevention, deterrence, and community outreach in support of the President's National Drug Control Strategy and the DOD,” said Bernadette Worsham, program director.

Although the program’s primary goal is deterrence, in partnership with commanders, directors and supervisors, the office identifies Airmen who use or abuse illegal, prohibited or controlled drugs or other substances.

They also provide a basis for action against personnel who test positive for illicit drug use by ensuring that urine specimens collected as part of the drug abuse testing program are supported by a legally defensible chain of custody throughout the collection, transport and testing process.

Information Protection

Knowledge is power; in military terms, information is both a critical mission asset and a weapon. Truer than ever in our virtual environment, the Information Protection Office at the base level fights a crucial line of defense against information warfare.

Managing the information protection program on behalf of the installation commander, the office regularly teaches security assistants in each unit to monitor and manage their respective commander’s or director’s information security, operational security, physical security, industrial security and personnel security program elements that enable each units mission essential task.

The team also provides advice and guidance to all unit leaders under the installation commander’s cognizance, ranging from submitting incident reports for national security clearance holders to overseeing security incident investigations.

Sometimes the team even gets their hands dirty literally, shredding documents, breaking disks, pulverizing papers and degaussing classified hard drives.

“Information protection ensures that classified and sometimes sensitive information stays out of the hands of the adversary,” said Daniel Knox, director of Information Protection.

Information protection isn’t aimlessly tight-fisted with the facts or seeking to stifle free speech. In fact, the office painstakingly protects information to ultimately safeguard our free nation, fortifying not only physical safety or the military’s reputation but free speech and discourse for all by ensuring only information that is authorized to be protected is kept from public dissemination.

“There’s a reason we keep some information in a close hold,” Knox said. “We think bad guys can do bad things to our people--not just our Airmen but our nation--if they steal, destroy or use it.”

Inspector General

Despite the formidable title, the Inspector General is a critical resource to support commanders and all personnel achieve operational excellence.

Its history traces back to the American Army of 1777, where it served as the “eyes and ears” of senior military leaders. The Inspector General function was officially established in 1948. The responsibilities evolved over the years, although its general essence remains.

“The Inspector General Office has two primary responsibilities,” said Wendy Larson, Wright-Patterson inspector general. “IGQ--you’ll hear us say the ’Q’ side--is the Complaints Resolution Program. The Inspector General is specifically charged with receiving complaints against reprisal, restriction and/or fraud/waste and abuse. The second area, Exercises and Inspections, or IGI, manages the installation level exercises and oversees the Commander’s Inspection Program.”

As a special staff function, the Inspector General is an advisor, providing tools and insight for operational excellence and good order and discipline.

We really are ‘here to help!” Larson said.

Judge Advocate

The Judge Advocate meets some of the messiest situations at Team Wright-Patt with both justice and care.

They might be most prominent in the courtroom serving as prosecutors, defense counsels or special-victims’ counsels, but the judge advocate also ensures personnel and families are legally supported and above board, advising everyone from airmen basics to commanders on matters of civil, contract, labor and environmental law.

The office provides an array of legal services for the Wright-Patterson community, military members, retirees and family members include assistance with wills, notaries, powers of attorney, taxes, adoption, lord-tenant issues and other issues.  

Plans and Programs Division

From the outside, the Plans and Programs Division may appear up in the clouds rather than down in the dirty work--until the unexpected happens. Watching and observing world events closely, the team anticipates and responds to very real situations with practical counsel to the commander to keep base missions flying smoothly during turbulence.

When wartime, contingency or natural disaster hits or a new mission is slated to join the base short- or long-term, for example, plans and programs not only gives functional input on the base’s resources, manpower, capabilities and alignment with higher DOD guidance but also brings the perspectives of key base stakeholders together to build well-balanced, detailed plans of action.

“Our primary effort, or mission essential function, is to make sure we have good command and control and communication with the over 115 mission partners, multiple chains of command and over 32,000 personnel here at Wright-Patt,” said Daniel France, director of the Plans and Programs Division.

One of the largest manifestations of this role is hosting and managing the Crisis Action Team when the commander determines that an unforeseen incident requires augmented or extended collaboration and response.

“As an example, the CAT Operations Team provided command and control oversight and extensive communications resulting in delivery of over 450 installation commander directives during the COVID-19 pandemic and other real-world events, often involving virtual operations from off-station locations,” France said. “The capability exists, and the team is ready to respond!”

The office also helps other organizations and offices develop continuity of operation planning so that each can continue supporting the mission if resources are compromised by factors like power outages or infrastructure failures.

These key functional elements plus strategic planning, support planning, critical asset risk management and assurance of dedicated support to multiple classified missions provide the underlying basis for on-going and futuristic developments on one of the Air Force’s most complex and critical installations.  

“A common motto with this team is that XP is not just our office symbol; it also stands for Xtra Production!” France said.

Privatized Housing Advocate

Especially mobile, military personnel work hard to make a home of every new duty location for as long as they remain there, and the Privatized Housing Advocate takes the practice seriously.

“The resident advisor serves as the point of contact to assist military members and their families residing in privatized housing who seeks solutions to unresolved problems, concerns, and needs,” said Wendy Johnson, base privatized housing advocate.

“We work closely with military members, wing leadership, the Military Housing Office and the property owner, The Properties at Wright Field, for resolution and satisfactory solutions when problems arise. We also discuss issues at a quarterly resident council meeting involving wing leadership, base agencies such as 88th Civil Engineering and Security Force Squadron, and neighborhood representatives.”

Supporting personnel’s basic human housing needs to ultimately empower the mission, the office ensures privatized base neighborhoods and living situations are up to standard.


From hulling flags and adjusting chairs on stage by mere centimeters to writing ceremony scripts and defining appropriate dress, the Protocol Office manages events and visits down to the smallest of details that other Airmen may overlook.

But even as protocol meticulously sets and enforces etiquette for base events, they ultimately create a concrete and consistent image of respect for the force and country.

“I think that if we only say ‘protocol,’ we leave out a big part of our job, which is diplomacy,” said Omar Alvarez-Camacho, chief of 88 ABW Protocol. “Our work helps senior leaders set the table for high-level conversations and decisions.”

At Air Force balls, retirement and change of command ceremonies, visits from distinguished guests, meetings, memorial services, dinners and award ceremonies, protocol controls the impression leadership and therefore the Air Force gives within the gates.

“We stay within the Air Force guidance that we have, but our goal is always for the customer, host and everyone attending to have the best experience possible,” said Jay Berry, director of WPAFB Installation Protocol.

Public Affairs

Hidden behind the scenes and behind the camera, the 88 ABW Public Affairs Office spreads the word, preserves, and puts color, ink and audio to the wing, from Airmen’s everyday operations to the mission’s biggest moments.

The team also builds the wing’s internal and external relationships through various communication channels and advises wing leadership as they represent the base on the record and in the community.  

“Day in and day out, public affairs supports the ‘dirty work’ done by the wing with timely communication strategies to help ensure command alignment,” said Bob Purtiman, chief of 88 ABW public affairs. “Through our various communication platforms, we also tell the story of the wing and its support to our Wright-Patt mission partners."

Specific tools like the base website, video production crew, graphic designers the digital Skywrighter newspaper, social media, weekly bulletin, photo studio, security and policy reviews, tours, collaborations with local media and community engagements help keep the wing’s story straight and the base’s organizations connected outward and within.

Retiree Affairs

While retirees are formally separated from service, they continue to represent and receive care from the Air Force.

The Retiree Affairs Office connects about 56,000 retirees and veterans within a 70-mile radius to the services they need around and outside base, whether WPAFB’s Casualty Affairs Office, Defense Finance Accounting Service, Wright-Patterson Medical Center, Dayton Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base Legal Office, Customer Support Center-ID cards or Ohio Department of Veterans Services.

The office makes sure that members who served are thanked in turn with timely, accurate information and high-quality help.


Parking lot potholes, heater hazards and basement mold are enough to keep any organization watchful. But at a large military installation, the Safety Office manages not only these threats multiplied by more than 600 buildings and 30,000 personnel but also the additional risks that come with an active force, flight, science, technology, engineering and math activities, aging infrastructure and all the challenges of a small city.

“The Safety Office works to minimize the loss of Air Force resources and protect Air Force personnel from death, injuries, or occupational illnesses by managing risks on and off-duty,” said William Neitzke, director of 88 ABW Safety. “We do this through safety education, mishap investigations, safety program evaluations and facility inspections.”

While the team tackles some of the dirtiest work within 88 WSA, it directly aids the mission by fostering a ready force to fly, flight and win within and beyond the installation gates.

SAPR Coordinator

One of the most sensitive but crucial agencies, the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office at Wright-Patterson strives to gain all Airmen the respect that prevents sexual assault and harassment and stands beside victims when that respect falters.

“SAPR accomplishes the ‘dirty work’ by assisting the community and leadership in a variety of avenues,” said Lydia Leasher, lead sexual assault response coordinator. “We offer 24/7 response and availability, ensure personnel at WPAFB are supported and have a subject matter expert to navigate sexual assault and sexual harassment and advise leadership.”

SAPR knows that for the Air Force to win wars, Airmen must first prevail in battles for human dignity at home.

“If you dig deep into the ‘dirty work,’ you'll see that SAPR not only supports the mission but the people who actually do the mission.”

Strategic Initiatives

Employing both a big-picture and practical eye to problem-solving, strategic initiatives turns various installation challenges into long-term projects and ultimately win-win solutions. The team currently has three mission focuses: data analytics and visualization, community partnerships and integrating cross-cutting issues.

“Strategic initiatives works with all wing agencies and some larger mission partners to develop mutually-beneficial partnerships with community organizations,” said David Perkins, director of strategic initiatives.

For example, the office heads planning for Enhanced Use Lease, a program that would allow private organizations to lease unused land at Wright-Patterson for commercial purposes.

“We also provide data analytic capabilities and visualizations that enable strategic decision-making while facilitating the resource corporate board and leading the annual manpower health assessment,” Perkins said.

“We are primarily a force multiplier and integrator for those efforts that are cross-functionally focused.”

Dirty jobs, helping hands ground mission success

It’s no mistake that Airmen know many of the 88 WSA offices by the name “helping agencies.” All the offices in 88 WSA empower Airmen at the most fundamental level, equipping them to serve their missions well.

“Our agencies work hard every day to protect freedoms, information and protocols, ensure personnel are prepared to respond during a crisis, be a sounding board and help those in need, provide a strategic outlook for the wing, showcase Airmen and safely make the mission happen day in and day out,” Justus said.

“My goal is to bring us together as a team because we are capable of so much more when we work together and help each other out.”