47th Security Forces Defender Shares Thoughts on Service

2/20/2015 – LAUGHLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Texas — “My greatest love and joy is watching young men and women make something of themselves and take advantage of opportunities they never would have had otherwise,” said Senior Master Sgt. Onre Talbert, 47th Security Forces Squadron Manager.

Sitting in Talbert’s office, it is clear to see he is a people person. He is welcoming and makes one feel like they are talking with an old friend.

The conversation revealed an individual with a true passion for Airmen and the Air Force.

As a young man from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Talbert enlisted in the Air Force in 1991. The idea came from a high school friend and after school he worked a year in construction before visiting his local recruiter to start his Air Force journey.

When asked why he stayed in the Air Force, Talbert explained as a young airman he stayed in the Air Force because of the security, but over time it became the people. Individuals like Staff Sgt. Dunn, his first supervisor, and his father-in-law Chief Master Sgt. (Ret.) Willie Sheely Jr. have made a lasting impact.

One of the most poignant events in Talbert’s career has been his 2009 deployment to Iraq where he worked with over 200 Airmen to train Iraqi law enforcement. During the deployment he was sent out on a convoy with 52 Airmen to a forward operating base with the Army.

“My experience in Iraq was full of a heightened sense of awareness,” Talbert said. “It opened my eyes to the immense amount of responsibility the Air Force is willing to give Airmen.”

It was during this deployment Talbert received a Bronze Star, one of many accomplishments he is proud of.

“As with any award, it includes a lot of people, people you trust in, and friendships you build. It is always about the people and speaking with Airmen,” Talbert said.

During his Air Force journey Talbert said he looked for the jobs other people didn’t always want to do, and made sure to always be present to mentor, lead, and provide a positive influence.

As we finished up our conversation Talbert commented he was continually amazed with the responsibilities the Air Force gives to people.

“The Air Force has given me the opportunity to do something I’ve never done,” said Talbert “and I owe the Air Force for that.”

by 2nd Lt. Aaron Redfield
47th Flying Training Wing Public Affairs

Senior Master Sgt. Onre Talbert, 47th Security Forces Squadron manager, center-left, poses with fellow security forces members here Feb. 18, 2015. Talbert has served 23 years in the Air Force and explained that his reason for serving in the Air Force is the people he has come to know and trust. (U.S. Air Force photo by 2nd Lt. Aaron Redfield) (Released)

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Jose J. Sanchez, Founder and Editor-in-Chief, Defender Magazine, USAF Honor Guard, Bolling AFB, Washington DC, 416th SFS, Griffiss AFB, NY, 89th SFS, Andrews AFB, MD