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America's Airman: Staff Sgt. Anastasia Norris

By Airman 1st Class Spencer Slocum 11th Wing Public Affairs

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What's your full name, job title and unit? 

Staff Sgt Anastasia Jane Norris, temporary duty assigned to Joint Base Andrews Honor Guard as a Ceremonial Guardsman, 11th Force Support Squadron, home unit assigned as a Special Air Missions Flight Attendant/ Assistant NCOIC Awards and Decorations, 99th Airlift Squadron.

 

What's your hometown city and state (and country, if not U.S.)?

Grand Prairie, Texas

 

What has being in the military allowed you to do that you wouldn’t have otherwise done?

The list of opportunities the military has provided me is endless.  I’m most thankful for the amount of mentorship I have received that has lead me down a successful path.

 

What's the coolest thing you’ve done in the military?

I feel fortunate to have many wonderful experiences in the military, but by far the best was deploying to Bagram, Afghanistan as an Intelligence Analyst.  Never in my life would I have thought I’d work 12-16 hour shifts for 180 days straight and be happy about it.  The contributions my team made in support of Operation Enduring Freedom were nothing short of amazing.  

 

What hobbies do you have/what do you do in your spare time?

I am a huge fan of hiking.  The hiking options are endless in this area!

 

What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced in your life?

My younger cousin tragically passed away upon my arrival to JBA.  Having to financially organize a funeral, deal with investigations of the tragedy, and grieving is not an easy task. The challenges were compounded, because I had just moved to a new duty station and was crosstraining into a new career field.       

 

What are two interesting facts about yourself?

I earned a black belt in Tae Kwon Do and I am the first in my family to graduate high school.

 

How has the outbreak effected your job?

I usually rotate monthly between my squadron and the Base Honor Guard (BHG), but I became assigned to BHG indefinitely when social distancing was initiated.  Fortunately, teleworking has allowed me to remain present and engaged with both units.

 

What are you doing to stay active during all of this?

INSANITY!  My best friend and I started the INSANITY challenge and we are virtually holding each other accountable.

 

How have you stayed resilient during the COVID epidemic?

Being aware of the tragedy at hand and focusing on the silver linings.  I feel blessed every day to have a sense of security during this crisis.  

 

Why is it important for Airmen to stay connected even during times of social distancing?

As we always say, “One team, one fight”.  We need to continue to make sure our wingmen feel valued and most importantly that everyone is okay.

 

If you are teleworking, what are some things teleworking has helped with in your mission?

While my main mission is ceremonial honors at this time, teleworking has allowed me to be present at my squadron without the commute.

 

Why is it important to always be mission ready in the Honor Guard?

One particular mission that really reminds me I need to be ready at all times was an Air Force retiree memorial service in January 2020.  I was not originally tasked for the mission, but another Ceremonial Guardsman was not able to make it in due to a snowstorm.  I received notice only one hour prior to mission departure that I was needed to fill in as a flag folder.  Upon completion of the memorial service, I heard someone call my first name to grab my attention.  It happened to be a pilot that I worked with and the memorial service was for his uncle.  The odds are remarkable that I not only needed to fill in for this particular memorial service, but the service was for a colleague’s family member.  He and his family were sincerely grateful for the Ceremonial Honors provided by my team, and I will be forever honored that I could be part of his uncle’s memorial service.