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A camaraderie fostered by the night

BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- As the clock strikes 4:30 p.m., most members of Buckley gather their belongings and return home for the evening. However, there are others just beginning to start their day. As the sun drops below the mountains, these nocturnal Airmen have the responsibility of maintaining base integrity while most others get their 8 hours.

Airmen who work nights find a sense of camaraderie in working when a majority of base is asleep and feel connected to the mission in a way that just isn't there during the day, they say.

"There is a sense of pride for us to be able to go into work and have a closeness to the mission," said Airman 1st Class Caleb, 460th Space Communications Squadron cyber-transport technician, referring to working night shift.

Many Airmen who work during the night have jobs that are critical to the base mission, which is why their positions need to be manned 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Working nights drives home the importance of their jobs.

"I think when you get people together in a situation that is less than ideal, you foster a camaraderie," Caleb said. "People who work nights feel like they have more of a connection to being mission oriented to what they do. You're part of a group of people who are taking care of things while everyone is asleep. There is that feeling of 'this is cool; I am making sure things are happening.' I think people who only work during the day lose sight of that."

Caleb isn't the only person who feels there are benefits with the night shift. Master Sgt. Jason, 460th Security Forces Squadron plans and programs superintendent, also believes working nights provides a closer feeling to the mission.

"I think at night, (Airmen) have an opportunity to get trained and learn more because it's not as busy," Jason said. "I get more hands on time to train with my guys, whereas, the day shift guys don't get that time with their guys because their guys are always busy constantly moving."

Both Caleb and Jason believe that the night shift provides opportunities that the day doesn't. Airmen, in their opinion, feel a sense of teamwork working during the night that is unlike working during the day.

"In my opinion I think there is (a bond)," Jason said. "We spend so much time training (at night) that it reminds you why you're here and why you're doing the thing you're doing. Whereas day shift, they just don't have that."

Working nights seems to foster a pride and camaraderie in Airmen. Caleb explains that the night shift isn't always something that invokes negative attitudes from Airmen, like many people believe.

"I do think there is this perception by folks that work during the day that people who work nights are wish they could be working during the day," Caleb said. "There's not always reluctance to work nights. There's a sense of pride for us to be able to go in and understand we are the ones watching out for the base while everyone is asleep."

When asked, Caleb used four words to sum up his experience and feelings towards working the night shift.

"Camaraderie, duty, pride and demanding," Caleb said. "Those all play together into how the overall idea of night shift has played into my life."
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