U.S. Air Force Staff Sergeant Michael McRae, communications non-commissioned officer in the C4 Systems directorate, hails from Daingerfield, Texas, and has served in the military for 5 years, 2 months.
Q: How does your job support USSTRATCOM and our missions?
A: As a communications officer, or “CommO”, it is my job to provide communications support directly to the commander and deputy commander of USSTRATCOM while they are traveling. This ranges from on aircraft, moving in motorcades, to the lodging. I provide classified and unclassified voice, video, and data at a moment’s notice. Wherever the commander or deputy commander may be in the world, I am one of five individuals that will ensure they can react to the rapidly changing environment.
Q: What do you find most rewarding about your work at USSTRATCOM?
A: The most rewarding part of my job is my job. I absolutely love it! Every mission I am on is completely different from the previous. I have to operate in new environments, with different requirements, and with different problem sets. This year alone I have traveled roughly 120 days and visited nine countries and eleven states. I really enjoy problem solving and being able to visit new locations.
Q: What has been a challenge for you regarding your work at USSTRATCOM and how have you overcome that challenge?
A: The most challenging part of my job is not the technical aspect. The most difficult part is having to be prepared for anything. The commander and deputy commander have a huge role in our national defense and need to have access to what I offer at a moment’s notice. This means I have to run through scenarios ahead of time and ensure that no matter where we are, I can connect them appropriately. Couple that with factors out of my control like bad cell signal or key piece of equipment malfunctioning, things can become challenging real quick. Luckily, we have a great team of five that are constantly coming up with new ways to operate or redundant measures. We practice these scenarios and we are willing to learn from the experiences of the other team members. No matter what, this challenge will always be one we have to face, but by working together, we are more prepared to overcome it.
Q: What has been your most memorable experience in the military?
A: My most memorable experience in the military has to be touring Kwajalein atoll. With about three hours of sleep, we spent a day taking helos from island to island touring radar sites. I was able to see live demonstrations of what these radars could really do.
Q: What is the one piece of information or advice about working at USSTRATCOM that you'd pass on to new members of the USSTRATCOM team?
A: No matter what your grade is or what directorate you serve under you are a value-added member of this command.