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307th Bomb Wing’s first full-time first sergeant prepared to go the extra mile

Airman stands in front of a display of her race medals.

U.S. Air Force MSgt. Kaitlin Shaeffer, 307th Bomb Wing first sergeant, poses for a picture in her office at Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana, June 2, 2021. She has completed seven half-marathons as well as many other races. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kate Bragg)

Photo of smiling Airman.

U.S. Air Force MSgt. Kaitlin Shaeffer, 307th Bomb Wing first sergeant, poses for a picture in her office at Barksdale AirForce Base, Louisiana, June 2, 2021. Schaeffer is the first person to fill the role on a full time basis. The decision to bring in a full time first sergeant for the reserve wing is part of a broader Air Force Reserve Command movement to provide more support for full-time Reserve Citizen Airmen. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kate Bragg)

BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La. --

A half-marathon is 13.1 miles. Those miles could cover steep inclines, long flats and even rolling hills. U.S. Air Force MSgt. Kaitlin Schaeffer has completed seven half-marathons covering over 91 miles.

Now she has decided to go the extra mile for the Reserve Citizen Airmen of the 307th Bomb Wing here as the unit’s first ever full-time first sergeant.

Schaeffer enlisted in to the Ohio Air National Guard in 2008, staying there for three years until she transferred into the Air Reserve Technician (ART) program as an electrician and then a production superintendent for the 707th Maintenance Squadron until 2018.

In March of 2020, Schaeffer was selected to be a part of the first sergeant family.

Her new role as a full-time first sergeant has been converted in to an Active Guard Reserve position by Air Force Reserve Command in an effort to boost resiliency.

Like many Airmen, Schaeffer said she originally joined the military for the education benefits, but she had no long term plans. Once she got in she found much more than money for college.

“Being with the 707th really felt like family and they really took care of people,” she said. “I always had this feeling of belonging and so that’s why I stayed.”

Schaeffer said she really enjoyed aircraft maintenance and tinkering with things, but she also really enjoys people and getting to know their story. That is what motivated her to become a first sergeant.

According to Schaeffer, as the first sergeant, she can advise the commander on anything and everything including how the discipline, health and morale of the squadron is currently.

Not only does she advise the commander but she is also there to provide advice to other Airmen.

“I am an approachable person that you can absolutely trust to come in and have a cup of coffee, sit down, and be able to just talk about pretty much anything and I’ll get you through it,” Schaeffer said.

When asked about her leadership style, Schaeffer said she has a transformational style of getting people from point A to point B by challenging them to think outside the box and become more resilient.

“I think that is the best way to help people learn and grow and I want to celebrate those wins with them,” she said.

Now that the 307th has its first full-time first sergeant, someone can be reached at all times. She emphasized her availability for full-timers and traditional reservists.

“My abilities are extended to the wing during the month,” Schaeffer said. “I have a 24/7 phone you can call or text. That’s really what I am here for.”

Although, she is technically for enlisted members, Schaeffer stressed that civilians and officers should not hesitate if they would like to talk to her.

“I would never turn away someone in need or turn down a conversation,” she said.

Schaeffer said she want to help continue to create an inclusive environment for all members and to recognize that they are all individuals.

“I want to be able to take you as a whole Airman and be able to let you fly, little birdie, fly and help you figure out where you want to go,” she said.

307th BW Airmen can reach the first sergeant through email at kaitlin.schaeffer@us.af.mil or her cell at 318-773-3399.