SOUTHWEST ASIA — There is a period of time at the end of one’s deployment typically called a ’change-over,’ where service members exiting the deployed area of responsibility spend time to train their replacements on day-to-day operations.
During this time, it is not uncommon to reunite with old friends, classmates, and even former co-workers. However, in this instance, Staff Sgt. Gregory Johnson, 386th Expeditionary Medical Group dental services non-commissioned officer in charge, has to impart his wisdom to his younger sister.
“This is a truly unique and rare opportunity,” he said. “It is rare to have a family member in the same career as you. It is even rarer for active-duty family members to be in the same duty location, let alone a deployed one. To have her serve as my replacement here is something I never thought I would ever see.”
Johnson, deployed from the 78th Aeromedical Medical-Dental Squadron at Robins Air Force Base, Georgia, said he has ‘all of the confidence in the world’ his sister, Staff Sgt. Torii Olivieri, will prove herself as a quality successor.
“The change-over has been incredibly smooth,” he said. “Our job in a deployed environment is similar to back at our home stations. There are a couple minor changes to the way we do things here, including administration and some additional duties, but she is adapting fast.”
Beyond providing his sister a base tour, the main item they covered during their change-over was covering functions of the central instrument processing center – which allows technicians to sterilize equipment including gloves, picks and needles. He did say he tried to make recommendations based upon his time here.
“If I could stress one piece of advice to my sister, it would be to remain uncomfortable,” he said. “Do things you wouldn’t do back at home station. Go out on an aeromedical-evacuation mission, get certified in administering IVs, finish those classes you’ve been putting off, or join a professional organization. It will help you become a better NCO and a better Airman – maybe even the best version of yourself.”
This isn’t the first time Olivieri, who hails from the 75th Aerospace Medicine Squadron at Hill AFB, Utah, has followed in her family’s footsteps, as her brother joined the Air Force four years prior to her enlistment.
“My brother told me he enjoyed his career as a dental technician,” said the new dental services NCOIC. “I requested it and was lucky enough to have it secured prior to attending basic training. I love my job and learning every aspect of it.”
One of the aspects she is looking forward to the most is working with the military working dogs here, as she has not had many opportunities to do so at her home station. Olivieri said she also has plans on finishing her Community College of the Air Force degree in addition to studying for technical sergeant.
“I am very excited for to see what this deployment holds,” she said. “I’m excited to see what I can learn and how I can contribute to the mission. I come from a large military family, and I am excited to continue their legacy.”