Serena Hammond Honored for 20 Years in the Air Force
By Joe Morey News Editor
At a special ceremony on Friday, January 8, 2021, LCO Tribal Member, Serena Hammond, was honored upon her retirement after 20 years of service in the U.S. Air Force. She was presented with an eagle feather, a quilt, a basket of wild rice, an Air Force beaded medallion, and a cash gift.
Serena joined the U.S. Air Force on Dec. 6, 2000, following her high school graduation from Hayward where she graduated with honors with the Class of 2000. She joined the Air Force as an Avionics Systems Apprentice. After her Basic and Technical Training in San Antonio, Texas and Biloxi, Mississippi, she was stationed in Fayetteville, North Carolina.
While Serena was stationed in North Carolina, she began work on the A-10A Thunderbolt aircraft and earned her Journeyman skill level. She was also sent on her first two deployments during this time, one to Al Jabar Air Base in Kuwait and the other to Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan.
“While I was deployed to Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan we were supporting Operation Enduring Freedom,” Serena told the LCO News. “We regularly sent up our Warthogs fully loaded with munitions (bombs, rockets, missiles, and the 30mm gatling gun), and I remember how good everybody felt to see one come back slick (empty) after fighting the bad guys. There's definitely a sense of pride and accomplishment when you know that what you do and are a part of, is making such a huge impact for America.”
Serena earned her Craftsman skill level during her next assignment in Germany where she was stationed for four years.
“While in Germany, I had the luxury of being able to travel to many places throughout Europe. Some were for work and others were for leisure travel,” Serena shared. “I enjoyed the sightseeing and especially loved checking out the beautiful architecture, churches, and museums. I've experienced staying in Hostels (luckily it was nothing like the movie lol). I also had the pleasure of sharing some of our culture and language with my first German landlady. She owned a bar that was right below my house. The first night that we checked it out, we taught each other how to count to 10 in each of our languages.”
Serena proceeded on two more deployments to Bagram, Afghanistan as well as many temporary duties in Las Vegas; Bratislava, Slovakia; and Monte Real, Portugal. After Germany, she was assigned to Moody Air Force Base in Georgia for another four years. She was one of the most qualified Avionics Specialists and was entrusted with training 10 to 12 junior Airmen. She deployed two final times to Bagram Air Base and Kandahar Airfield in Afghanistan.
Serena’s final assignment was to Nellis Air Force Base in Las Vegas, Nevada where she finished her career as a Master Sergeant/E-7. She was transferred from the A-10 to the F-35.
Serena won several monthly, quarterly and annual awards throughout her career including Maintenance Professional of the Year in ’07 and Senior Non-Commissioned Officer of the Year in ’18. She finished her career working as a Specialist Section Chief where she was in charge of managing anywhere between 55 to 119 Airmen at once. Serena officially retired on Jan. 1, 2021 and is currently searching for a job where she can put her extensive leadership and technical skills to use. She notes that she hopes to find a job she will be good at and happy doing.
“After 20 years in the military, I hope to land a job that's not overly stressful but where I still get a sense of accomplishment from. I will be staying in Las Vegas for the meantime, but hope to make it closer to home within the year,” Serena stated. “Some of my goals are to go back to school, finish my Project Management Professional Certification, and work to be debt-free.”
Serena was raised at LCO. Her mother is Dianah Ton and her step-father is Erik Ton. Her father is Frank Moose.
“What I appreciate most after 20 years of service is all the great people and leaders that I've met and learned from along the way,” said Serena. “I have received tons of training and mentoring. I also love knowing that I've helped develop some excellent leaders that have/will do great things as they are the future of the Air Force.”
Here are some of the places Serena was fortunate to have visited throughout her career. In Paris, France she saw the Louvre, Notre Dame Cathedral, the Arc de Triomphe, the Love Lock Bridge, and the Eiffel Tower.
While in Berlin, Germany she saw the Berlin Wall, the Brandenburg Gate, Charlie Checkpoint, and the Holocaust Memorial.
While in Rome, Italy/Vatican City she visited the Colosseum, the Roman Forum, the Trevi Fountain, the Spanish Steps in Rome and St. Peter's Basilica and the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican City.
While in London, England she saw Big Ben/Parliament, the Buckingham Palace, the Tower Bridge, the London Eye, Westminster Abbey, and traveled via the Underground and while in Dublin, Ireland she saw the Temple Bar, St. Patrick's Day parade, Guinness Storehouse. She also visited the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, Spain and the Walled City of Obidos in Portugal.
And finally, while stationed in Bratislava, Slovakia she saw Michael's Gate and the Slovak National Theatre.