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54th AS flight attendants: Providing superior service to our nation’s leaders

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Sabrina Foster
  • 375th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
Who has the best job in the Air Force? If you talk to the flight attendants with the 54th Airlift Squadron, they'll say they do because of the places they go and the people they serve. 

Flight attendants, such as Staff Sgt. Jimmie Williamson, a former Airborne Battle Management technician, have flown to New Zealand, Australia, Rome and South America transporting the nation's senior leaders to various engagements. 

As a previous flyer, he said he spent most of his time supporting operations in remote locations, but this job has afforded him the opportunity to see the world on an entirely different level. 

"Our missions are dictated by global international affairs and domestic relations within the country," he said. "We support our nation's leaders and transport them to their conferences and meetings, which assists in their ability to forge new relations and maintain existing ones with our allies." 

The 54th AS was activated about two years ago and is the first Air Mobility Command/Air Force Reserve Command active associate squadron. The 932nd (Reserve) Airlift Wing owns and operates the C-40C aircraft, and both active-duty members from the 375th Airlift Wing (54th AS) and the 932nd AW (73rd AS) serve as flight attendants. 

The squadron is composed of 10 pilots and 12 flight attendants, who were selectively assigned. The Air Force has 220 Special Air Mission, or SAM, flight attendants who fly the Executive Branch, Congressional Delegations and Heads of State. 

Tech Sgt. Jon Jackson, 54th AS instructor flight attendant said that while they are technically two separate units, they have one mission. 

"We each have our own culture, but we work together to accomplish the mission."
Those SAMs are directed from the Assistant Vice Chief of Staff of the Air Force, Special Air Missions Division, a planning office located at the Pentagon. In addition, the 54th AS also flies Joint Operational Support Airlift Center missions, which specializes in the airlift of senior defense officials within the Continental United States, and movement of personnel for the Air Force Reserves. 

Flight attendants provide the same services to their customers that other attendants on commercial airlines provide, except that they do cook all of their meals onboard the craft. They attend flight attendant culinary course, where they learn to cook and prepare meals. In a couple instances, they were able to go into the local markets of various countries to acquire the items needed for the meal service. 

Flight attendants from the 54th AS have flown numerous dignitaries, to include the Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, and Senator John McCain to name a few. 

The level of professionalism and ability to adapt to diverse customer requirements are why they are selected for these assignments. 

They received initial training from the experts at the 89th AW at Andrews Air Force Base, Md. That unit specializes in DV airlift, and that's where Sergeant Jackson was cultured. He now mentors new flight attendants using the best practices from this unit's successful methods. 

"Our passengers receive an outstanding level of support, and they continually praise us for our professionalism and distinct service," said Sergeant Jackson. "Our squadron is young within the DV airlift community so we are still making a name for ourselves. I take great pride in seeing how it continues to evolve as a result of the commitment to service from our flight attendants."