Master Sgt. Donald C. Branscum is the first sergeant for the 452d Civil Engineer Squadron at March Air Reserve Base, Calif. He enlisted in the United States Air Force, April 1986. His first duty station was Royal Air Force Bentwaters, United Kingdom, where he served as a Tactical Maintenance Aircraft Specialist assigned to A-10A aircraft. He was a member of the base boxing team, 119-pound bantamweight class, where he became the United States Air Forces in Europe’s runner up in 1987 and champion in 1988. After returning stateside, he was assigned to 71st Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, 1st Fighter Wing Langley AFB, Va. In August 1990, he deployed to Dhahran Air Base, Saudi Arabia, in support of Desert Shield/Storm for seven months. In 1991, Branscum went Palace Chase to the California Air National Guard’s, 163d Reconnaissance Wing, March ARB, Calif. In 1993 he decided to cross train into the security forces career field. He was selected has part of a 12-man security team to provide security for the F-16 alert facility Mach ARB. In October 2001, Sergeant Branscum was activated for 17 months in support of Iraqi Freedom. After 10 years with Security Forces, he cross-trained into supply management and was assigned to the Regional Training Site, 163d Civil Engineer Squadron, 163d RW. In 2005, Branscum transferred to the 144th Fighter Wing Fresno, Calif., where he returned to Security Forces. In June 2006, he was selected to become a first sergeant for the 144th Civil Engineer Squadron to fulfill his long-time goal. In March 2009, he transferred to the 452d Air Mobility Wing, March ARB, Calif., and was assigned to the 752d Medical Squadron. In January 2011, he was selected as first sergeant for the 452d Maintenance Operation Squadron. In 2011, he was appointed to represent Air Force Reserve Command as First Sergeant for the USAF Honor Guard, Washington, D.C. He has been nominated for First Sergeant of the Year three years running. He achieved Associate Degrees in Human Resources and Criminal Justice from the Community College of the Air Force. He attends Ashford University in Clinton, Iowa and is working toward a Bachelor’s Degree in Occupation Management. His hobbies are spending time with his five sons, boating and coaching high school football.
Senior Master Sergeant Cynthia Villa is a first sergeant assigned to the 752d Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, March Air Reserve Base, Calif. She joined the United States Air Force in 1993 and was trained as an Inventory Management Specialist assigned, to the 93rd Supply Squadron, Castle Air Force Base, Calif. Villa joined the Reserve in 1999, and was trained as a Health Services administrator. She was assigned to the 452d Aeromedical Staging Squadron for more than 11 years. In March 2011, she was selected by the 452d Communications Squadron as their first sergeant. In June 2012, she was assigned as first sergeant to the 752d Aircraft Maintenance Squadron. She is a veteran of Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom. In addition to her duties in the Air Force Reserve, Villa holds a program administrator position in aerospace at Edwards AFB, Calif. She recently earned a Master’s in Business from the University of Phoenix and has a Bachelor’s degree in Social Sciences. She continues to expand her leadership and management skills by attending various civilian and military seminars. Villa enjoys traveling with her civilian job, spending time with family, attending various sporting events, going to the firing range and catching up with great friends.
Senior Master Sgt. Eric J.C. Griffin, Sr. is the first sergeant for the 452d Security Forces Squadron, March Air Reserve Base, Calif. He provides the commander with a mission-ready enlisted force to execute the unit mission. He advises the commander on a wide range of topics including the health, esprit de corps, discipline, mentoring, well-being, career progression, professional development and recognition of all assigned enlisted members. Griffin was born in Philadelphia, Pa. In 1982, he entered the Air Force Reserve program as an Aerospace Ground Equipment technician. He volunteered to support Operations Desert Shield/Desert Storm in 1990. Answering a desire to contribute more to the Air Force, he became a first sergeant. His first assignment was with the 514th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron, followed by the 514th Aerospace Medicine Squadron, then the 714th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, all at then McGuire Air Force Base, N.J. He later served on three deployments, with the last tour in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, Baghdad International Airport, Iraq. Griffin served with various Honor Guard units such as the 86th Aerospace Expeditionary Wing, Ramstein Air Base, Germany; 380th Aerospace Expeditionary Wing, Southwest Asia; 447th Air Expeditionary Group, Baghdad International Airport, Iraq and currently with March’s Blue Eagle Total Force Honor Guard. In addition, he served in an active duty billet as assistant superintendent, 87th Air Mobility Wing Elite Honor Guard, McGuire AFB, N.J. During his tenure at the First Sergeant Academy, Griffin held numerous positions, serving as the Air Forces Reserve Command instructor, AFRC Course Director, Director of Education and Director of Operations. He maintains academic accreditation at the First Sergeant Academy as an adjunct instructor.
Senior Master Sgt. William Ray is the first sergeant for the 50th Aerial Port Squadron, March Air Reserve Base, Calif. He serves as the commander’s representative on councils, boards and selected military events. He is the liaison and spokesperson between the unit enlisted force and commander. He communicates and advises the commander and staff on matters of health, morale, welfare, training, professional development and utilization of enlisted personnel. Ray began his military career in the United States Air Force in 1996, as a Vietnamese Linguist, where he was responsible for transcribing, translating, and analyzing critical information for national-level intelligence managers. He also served as the unit deployment manager, manpower manager and unit fitness program manager. Ray left active duty and joined the Reserve in 2004, after which, he cross trained into the Information Management career field, performing daily network management, control and administration of information flow in Network Management. Ray’s assignments include bases in Hawaii and California. He also served in Korea and deployed multiple times in support of operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom.