Wing Airman provides leadership on and off base

Senior Airman Jacob Bixler and Command Chief Master Sgt. Ronald Glazer place wreaths on the graves of veterans at the Winchester National Cemetary in Winchester, Va.,  as part of the Wreaths Across America event

Senior Airman Jacob Bixler and Command Chief Master Sgt. Ronald Glazer place wreaths on the graves of veterans at the Winchester National Cemetary in Winchester, Va., as part of the Wreaths Across America event

Martinsburg, W.Va. -- Many junior enlisted members are content with simply showing up to work, doing their job and going home, but for Senior Airman Jacob Bixler that isn't enough.
Bixler, a radio frequency transmission journeyman with the 167th Airlift Wing's Communication Flight, splits his time between school, military duty and being an active member of the Civil Air Patrol's (CAP) Virginia Wing.
Bixler, who was in the CAP before joining the United States Air Force, serves as the drug demand reduction administrator for the CAP's Virginia Wing.
"I am a senior member and I work with other drug demand reduction officers across the state and provide assistance with coordinating events, ordering required items from the national headquarters and providing educational opportunities to share with their communities," Bixler said.
Adding: "We provide education both internally and externally, encouraging our nation's youth to live a drug-free lifestyle through awareness and activities."
According to its website, the CAP was formed during World War II and became the official auxiliary to the United States Air Force in 1948.
"The Civil Air Patrol has three main missions: the running of cadet programs, aerospace education and emergency services," Bixler said.
"I personally like being able to mentor our nation's youth, especially the ones who commit their time to the Civil Air Patrol, learning about core values, military customs and courtesies and being kept to a high physical and mental standard," Bixler said.
"I certainly want these cadets to consider joining our nation's military as they serve so wonderfully as volunteers," he noted.
In addition to his military duties and his responsibilities as the drug demand reduction administrator for the CAP's Virginia Wing, Bixler is a senior at West Virginia University majoring in management information systems and works for the West Virginia University Office of Information Technology.
Bixler also serves as the information technology officer for the Winchester Composite Squadron and manages the group's website and other online assists.
Looking for ways to integrate his military and civilian organizations, Bixler looked no further than the 167th when the Winchester squadron was seeking volunteers for a ceremony.
"My squadron is in charge of the Wreaths Across America event that takes place every year at the Winchester National Cemetery," Bixler said. "Companies sponsor wreaths and in the morning we lay the wreaths on the graves of veterans and then we hold a ceremony where each branch of the military has a wreath that is presented by a member of that branch."
According to Bixler, the ceremony that took place on Dec. 15 was synchronized with other ceremonies across the country, a practice that happens every year.
This year, Chief Master Sgt. Ronald Glazer, the command chief of the 167th Airlift Wing, presented the Air Force ceremonial wreath and Col. Richard Robichaud, the commander of the 167th Operations Group and a member of the Winchester Composite Squadron of the Civil Air Patrol, delivered the guest speech for the event.
"It was really rewarding to have the Air Force and the Civil Air Patrol working so closely together," Bixler said. "The cadets of the Civil Air Patrol are some of the most dedicated and disciplined individuals you may meet and certainly respect any time shared from the military. I know I was very honored and grateful that Chief Glazer and Col. Robichaud gave their time to support this event."
According to Glazer, it is important for the Wing to participate in events of this nature.
"This event was my first community event as our Wing command chief," Glazer said. "I cannot tell you enough how much it meant to me to walk through the Winchester National Cemetery to pay respects to the heroes who have gone before us while laying Christmas wreaths and saluting each grave. As the Wing command chief I feel it fitting to set an example for our Airmen. By getting involved in community events like this I hope I can inspire more airmen to serve outside our base gates."
Adding: "We live in a free land because of the many sacrifices of American men and women who gave all they could give."
Glazer said he was impressed by Bixler's initiative and the leadership he shows, on base and off.
"I am very proud of Senior Airman Bixler and am glad he allowed me to be a part of the Wreaths Across America event," he said. "He is a leader with the CAP and in the Communications Flight within the transmissions section."
Adding with a smile: "He inspires his chief."