A space built by Airmen, for Airmen

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Christian Soto
  • 71st Flying Training Wing Public Affairs

VANCE AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. – The Airman’s Lounge, a space built by and for Airmen, opened Feb. 8 at Vance Air Force Base.

The Lounge will provide the 350 enlisted Airmen, many of whom live in the dormitories, a place to get together, socialize, and enjoy a variety of activities and games.

The proposal for the Airman’s Lounge was launched last November when Master Sgt. Aguedo Mendez, the senior enlisted leader of the 71st Force Support Squadron, was named the project leader. 

“The role I played in the project was mainly admin type things,” said Mendez. “Things like gathering the funds for the project, especially for all the materials needed to make it happen.”

Mendez gives high praise to the Airmen who dedicated their time to creating the Airman’s Lounge. Senior Airman Caitlin Ortiz, 71st FSS, was one of the three Airmen who volunteered for the project. 

“A lot of sweat equity went in to putting the lounge together,” said Ortiz. “We tried to make it a special place for Airmen, a place outside of the dorms. Constantly working in a high tempo environment can mentally drain anyone. That is why we wanted a place to decompress and socialize.”

The other two project volunteers were Airman 1st Class Sarah McNeil, 71st Comptroller Squadron, and Airman 1st Class Kathy Duran, 71st Flying Training Wing Public Affairs. 

Chief Master Sgt. Brandon Smith, the 71st FTW command chief, believes it is vitally important for enlisted Airmen to have a place of their own.

“I hope it adds to our sense of community,” said Smith. “Anytime you can provide an opportunity for the enlisted force to get together and socialize, learn about what their peers do for the mission and share what they do, or just hang out and have a good time, I feel that it leads to a stronger overall culture.” 

The Airman’s Lounge is open 24-hours a day and is in the Community Chapel Activity Center. Activities available include ping-pong, video games, board games and a karaoke machine.