Hill AFB Airmen creating organic online/offline communities

  • Published
  • By Micah Garbarino
  • 388th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah – Uprooting and moving every few years, living behind gates, being away from home for the first time, unfamiliar cultures – all can be isolating experiences for Airmen at any stage in their careers.

Hill AFB leaders initiated Project ONE last year, with the goal of linking Airmen and the northern Utah community more closely together. For example, Airmen are encouraged to join positive, community-minded affinity groups or clubs in the local community. Weber State University recently hosted a summit to invite Airmen to learn more about groups on campus.

Part of the project is also growing organic community within the ranks of Airmen at Hill. A unique initiative at Hill aims to use technology to bring Airmen together online and “IRL” using Discord, an app made popular for communication and connection in the gaming world.

“We want to meet Airmen where they are at,” said Senior Master Sgt. Theodore Nichols, 388th OSS senior enlisted leader. “This initiative is meant to be ‘by the people, for the people’ we don’t want to dictate how they connect. We just want to create a centralized connection point where people can meet, ask questions, and share ideas. It’s a jumping off point.”

While the app is mostly known for linking gamers, Nichols says it can be used in a variety of ways to quickly communicate and share information. He hopes Airmen use it to create a Hill AFB communities where people can quickly connect over any interest – hiking, camping, fly-fishing, skiing, golfing, music, events, parenting, etc.

“We’re sort of in the Alpha or Beta phase of this launch,” Nichols said. “We want this to grow organically and for people to create groups that they want to be a part of.”

If Airmen are interested in creating or joining a Discord affinity group, they can contact Senior Master Sgt. Theodore Nichols, 801-586-0400; Sarangely Chalkley, 388th OSS, 586-6468; or Staff Sgt. Alan Mendez, 75th Security Forces, 777-6669.