NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. --
For Citizen Airmen, being mission essential during a pandemic reaches beyond their military duties.
The cities where they are stationed are the same communities in which they work and live for years. It is the people they serve day-in and day-out in their civilian capacity that lean on them for their leadership during difficult times.
For Senior Airman Brett Clashman, 926th Wing public affairs specialist, being a Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Officer has given him an opportunity to serve his community in a different uniform.
“Playing a critical role in community relations and public safety is important to me,” he said. “Ever since joining the Air Force Reserves, I'm glad to share myself in the workplace of both capacities as it provides me the skill set to be successful.”
Clashman has been a commissioned peace officer with the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department since 2015. In his current role as an intelligence officer, he observes and analyzes crime trends, allowing him to utilize that information to help better direct resources and manpower.
As Las Vegas has taken unprecedented measures to combat the rise of COVID-19, Clashman and his fellow officers have been working non-stop to protect and inform the community.
“When all of this was unfolding, no one knew what to expect, and it was our job to ensure that the community remained safe,” he said.
One of the noticeable changes in Las Vegas was the closure of local casino properties. For Clashman, assisting with these closures and seeing the usually vibrant entertainment town close down was a difficult moment for him.
“Seeing this city go dark to me, personally, is heartbreaking,” he said. “We're known as the "Entertainment Capital of the World" and to see our city come to a screeching halt, really leaves some emptiness inside.”
However, the comradery he has witnessed over the past few weeks while working in the community has been heartwarming.
While Las Vegas remains under a stay-at-home order to combat the spread of the virus, Clashman said he has been witness to an overwhelming generosity amongst citizens similar to what followed after the Route 91 Harvest Festival shooting on Oct. 1, 2017.
“Blood donors were through the roof, citizens were checking on their neighbors and the support for the city was unparalleled,” he said. “I've been observing similarities today with ensuring the elderly are getting necessary supplies and having dedicated shopping hours available to them.”
Clashman has also been volunteering with a local church, providing security and traffic control while food and supplies are being disturbed to those in need. He said he hopes the local community will see everyone working together and realize there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
As the world continues to fight COVID-19, Reserve Citizen Airmen, like Clashman, will continue to step forward where they live and take care of Americans.