Active Airman's Council gives Airmen opportunity to take charge

  • Published
  • By Airman Ashley J. Woolridge
  • 28th Bomb Wing Public Affairs
Understanding the vital role played by those in the junior airman tier - airmen basic through senior airmen - the base's Active Airman's Council provides them opportunities to have their voices heard and help shape the Air Force.

The AAC ensures that the approximately 1,541 Ellsworth Airmen that fall into the junior Airmen category have the ability to develop their leadership skills and participate in a professional organization geared toward their specific needs.

"The AAC is here to increase quality of life, provide volunteer opportunities and help Airmen with their professional development," said Airman 1st Class Austin Payne, 28th Force Support Squadron fitness specialist, and AAC vice president. "We are the voice for junior Airmen."

Payne is part of the AAC executive committee, which facilitates meetings the second Friday of every month at the Dakota's Club to discuss ideas and plans for fundraisers and other activities, and also coordinates any events sponsored by the council.

"The meetings are pretty much an open forum," Payne said. "Airmen generate the ideas, and we take it from there. We're there to listen, not to influence anyone's decision."

Airman 1st Class Adrianna Colburn, 432nd Attack Squadron aviation resource management technician, said being on the council gives Airmen an opportunity to be proactive about things that affect their work and lives.

"Airmen should get involved because it allows them to participate in a professional group that can influence decisions that are important to them," Colburn said.

Volunteering is an important component of military service, and the AAC helps to ensure that Airmen have ample opportunities to help others, and in turn, help themselves. By increasing their base and community involvement, Airmen can not only make a difference in the lives of others but they can also discover and cultivate valuable qualities in themselves.

"The AAC and the Dorm Council help out with Habitat for Humanity on the second Saturday of every month," Airman 1st Class Melissa Valencia, 28th Operations Support Squadron aviation resource management technician, and AAC secretary said. "We also hold the awards recognition program."

The council isn't limited to serious matters, though. Airmen from the AAC also sponsor recreational outings and other activities designed to be creative outlets. The group usually hosts an annual winter skiing and snowboarding trip, and is currently working on compiling an AAC cookbook.

All junior Ellsworth Airmen are eligible to be part of the AAC. The executive committee encourages these Airmen to participate in AAC meetings and to spread the word about AAC events.

"Anyone who is an E-1 to an E-4 can come to the meetings," Valencia said. "It doesn't matter if you're married or single, or if you live on base or off base. We're always looking for new people."

For more information about the AAC or the next meeting, Airmen can send an e-mail to the AAC executive committee at