The 970 Airborne Air Control Squadron hosted an Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) “Boss Flight” on November 16, allowing employers and bosses of Airmen in the Reserves to fly on the E-3 Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) jet. Mount Pleasant High School Principal, Craig Bailey, accompanied Technical Sergeant, Jessie McDowell, an MPHS Business teacher, on an Air Force E-3 surveillance flight. Bailey toured the pilot’s cockpit, observed the weapons and surveillance systems on board, and attended a Mission Planning briefing. After landing, he officially completed 4.2 flight hours on a classified military aircraft. He also earned an E-3 military coin, a military tradition honoring outstanding achievement or effort.

Bailey has continuously supported TSgt McDowell, making sure she was able to complete her monthly military drill and annual Active Training requirements. Because of his motivated efforts and his voluntary E-3 flight, Bailey was nominated for the ESGR Patriot Award by TSgt McDowell. The Patriot Award reflects the efforts made to support citizen warriors through a wide-range of measures including flexible schedules, time off prior to and after deployment, caring for families, and granting leaves of absence if needed.

On November 20, 2019, retired Lieutenant Colonel Ronnie Clayton officially presented Bailey with the ESGR Patriot award. Clayton spent 28 years in the Army National Guard and has volunteered with the ESGR for twelve years. Bailey signed an Employer Statement of Support and received an official ESGR lapel pin from TSgt McDowell. McDowell stated, “The continued support from employers like Mr. Bailey make it possible for Airmen to succeed both professionally and in military missions conjointly.”

TSgt McDowell’s 7-year career in active duty includes 3 deployments overseas, 3 Air Medals, 2 Commendation Medals, several Squadron, Wing and Group level awards, as well as the highly competitive John L. Levitow Leadership Award. In 2018, TSgt McDowell transitioned to the Air Force Reserves. She started teaching at Mount Pleasant High School in the fall of 2018 while maintaining flight training currency, actively flying with her squadron at least once a month and traveling on cross-country training exercises. As of 2019, TSgt McDowell is undergoing Evaluator upgrade training, which is the highest experience level for her career field. She has over 2,000 flight hours in her aircraft and a total of 9 years in the service. USAF Reserve duties require her to travel to Oklahoma monthly, as well as 2 weeks of active time flying. TSgt McDowell teaches Principles of Business, Marketing, and Finance, Business Information Management, and Animation in the Career and Technology Department at Mount Pleasant High School.

Photo 1: TSgt Jessie McDowell and MPHS Principal Craig Bailey prepare for flight.

Photo 2: retired Lieutenant Colonel Ronnie Clayton and TSgt McDowell present Bailey with the ESGR Patriot award.

Photo 3: Bailey receives his lapel pin from McDowell