SMSgt. Joe Fournier, 337th Airlift Squadron

“In August 1986 I was faced with a choice,” said SMSgt. Joe Fournier. “Either go to college or join the military. I opted for the opportunity to travel and enlisted into the Air Force.” Shortly after his active-duty commitment was up, serving as a crew chief on the C-5 Galaxy at Dover Air Force Base, Del., he was called back. “I was heading home to Maine when they told me I’d been activated for Operation Desert Shield,” he said. “I remained active for Operation Desert Storm as well, deploying multiple times.” Soon after the conclusion of Operation Desert Storm/Desert Shield, SMSgt. Fournier decided to continue his Air Force career in the reserve and submitted his resume at Westover. At the time, the C-5 Galaxy was just arriving here, so his background as a crew chief on the C-5 made him a stand-out. He was selected for the position. Since that time, SMSgt. Fournier has flown about 5,000 hours in the C-5, which has involved him in nearly every contingency and humanitarian aid mission since 1992. From 2003 to 2007, he left the engineer section to work in the safety office where he garnered the nickname “Safety Joe.” “Being in the safety office opened my eyes to the ‘bigger picture,’ he said. “We get so focused on our own careers that we forget there is much more involved in making them a success.” Having the opportunity to work on an aircraft he loves, being part of a base he enjoys and being surrounded by people who inspire him is irreplaceable, he said. “A 20-plus year military career has given me a better understanding of how everybody fits into the puzzle,” he said. “We’re called Team Westover because we are exactly that -- a team.” -- SSgt. Kelly Goonan

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