Local family continues legacy at 944th

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Courtesy photo

It’s not unusual for people to follow in the footsteps of their parents when choosing a career. One family has taken that notion a step further by having three generations serve in the 944th Fighter Wing.

Senior Airman Ashlynd Vaughn, 944th Aeromedical Staging Squadron medical technician, is the daughter of Tech. Sgt. Jeff Fine, an Air Force Reserve individual mobilization augmentee based in California. Fine, who previously served with the 944th FW as a recruiter and unit historian, encouraged his daughter to join the Air Force Reserve Command in 2012.

“At first I looked at joining the Air National Guard but switched to AFRC, and I’ve been with the 944th since,” Vaughn said.

Vaughn’s mother, Sherri Kohls, served with the 944th Tactical Fighter Group for four years as Staff Sgt. Sherri Fine and was an intelligence operations specialist. Kohls’ mother, Capt. Louise Stanco, was a Medical Service Corps officer with the 944th Medical Squadron from 1990 to 2004. Stanco was officer-in-charge of admin before moving on to medical readiness then mobility.

Today, Vaughn is a traditional reservist saving lives with the 944th ASTS. She’s proud of her family legacy and the high standard set for her by the family name.

“I was always ‘Jeff’s daughter,’ before I got married,” Vaughn said. “Everyone seemed to know my dad. People really liked him, so they were excited I was there.

“It set the bar high for me, too, because everyone knew who I was, so I couldn’t mess up. I had to live up to the name,” she said, laughing.

For Vaughn, having a parent still serving in the Air Force has its advantages.

“My dad still mentors me because he’s still in the military,” Vaughn said. “He mentors me especially during events that come up in my military life, like re-enlistments, opportunities we have in our unit, etc. If I don’t know what to do, I’ll call him.”

Sometimes the mentoring roles are reversed for father and daughter.

“It’s funny because he’ll do the same thing with me (call for advice) since everything in the military changes all the time,” she said. “I helped him navigate the Defense Travel System and with his orders.”

These days, Vaughn says people see her more as an ASTS Airman with a professional attitude rather than simply “Jeff’s daughter.” And no one could be any prouder than her own father.

“She (Vaughn) has come into her own through her efforts, and I am extremely proud of her,” Fine said. “As a father and fellow Airman I love being part of her life. I love seeing the great work she is doing in support of her community and country.

“In all my years of service both public and through the military, I have seen few individuals who are as passionate, dedicated and hard working as Ashlynd in the service of others,” he said. “She is amazing. I’m probably biased being her father, but I can’t say how many people come up to me and tell me the same. A proud father I am.”