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Networking the past to the present

Fran Kramer, former 944th Fighter Wing network administrator, poses for a photo, April 12. Kramer served as the wing's first and main network administrator for the past 21 years.

Fran Kramer, former 944th Fighter Wing network administrator, poses for a photo, April 12. Kramer served as the wing's first and main network administrator for the past 21 years. After 32 years with the 944th, Kramer is transitioning into a position with the 56th Fighter Wing Communications Squadron. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Chris Moore)

Fran Kramer (middle), poses with her first unit with the 944th Aircraft Maintenance squadron, August 1986. Kramer was the first woman hired to be a jet engine technician for the F-16s. (Courtesy photo)

Fran Kramer (middle), poses with her first unit with the 944th Aircraft Maintenance squadron, August 1986. Kramer was the first woman hired to be a jet engine technician for the F-16s. (Courtesy photo)

LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. -- Very few can claim the privilege of being somewhere from the beginning.

In the military environment of constant movement and regular relocations, lineage is a remote endeavor for many individuals involved in inaugural programs. Despite the military culture of fluidity, the 944th Fighter Wing has had the fortune of continuity from the beginning of integrated systems through the service of a specific individual.

Fran Kramer undertook what was initially just an interesting new field of resource management and in time, became the back bone of the wing’s network communications programs and infrastructure development. Kramer joined the 944th family as a traditional reservist in August of 1986 until January of 1987 when she was hired as an Air Reserve Technician. Kramer started her full-time carrier with the Air Force as the first female to be assigned as a jet engine technician for the F-16s with the 944 Maintenance Squadron.

“I watched the first new reserve F-16s roll onto the ramp in 1987,” said Kramer. “I then took an ART position in 1989 as a production controller in the engine shop, typically referred to as Engine Tracking. Around 1993 through 94, I took another ART position, as a Program Analyst, still in 944 MXS.”

As Kramer’s role expanded within the wing, so did her legacy with the wing. Kramer began undertaking programs to develop and implement new technology such as rolling out Windows NT throughout the wing as the Air Force infrastructure rapidly evolved to keep pace with the ever evolving technologies of the the global theater. Kramer assisted in the development of network systems that are still used by the wing Airmen today.

“In July of 1997, I was interviewed and hired as the first civilian Network Administrator for the wing,” said Kramer. “I continued to serve as a traditional reservist in the 944th Communication Flight until 2002, when I retired from the AF Reserve after serving 21 years. It has now been 21 years serving as the wing’ s network administrator.”

As Kramer continued to develop and maintain cutting edge technologies for communication within the wing, she also continued to develop and expand her own horizons as well. Education has been fundamental key in her successful career of technological evolution and implementation.

“Learning has been important to me in my career,” she said. “I ended up with two CCAF [Community College of the Air Force] degrees in Applied Science, one Associate of Arts from Glendale Community College, and one Associate of Science in Computer Science from Park University. I did get my Bachelors of Science in Management/ Computer Information Systems as well,” said Kramer .

After a total of 32 years of service to the wing, Kramer, has accepted a new position with the 56th Fighter Wing Communications Squadron.

“Thanks to Ms. Kramer’s endeavors and dedication, we are able to continue our mission to fly, fight, and win the ever present battle for air and space superiority. Fran will be sincerely missed, and her efforts have left a lasting legacy” said Maj. Jessica Takashige, 944th Force Support Squadron interim commander .

The 944 FW is left with not only the legacy of infrastructure created by Kramer but also her words of wisdom.

“Challenge the boundaries, ask questions, gain knowledge, but stay humble,” she said. “There’s always a stubby pencil and paper that will hold you over until your systems are back on line. I was born and raised in this wing and there are lots of opportunities and I hope to
see people doing what they want to do to positively impact the mission.”