Vandenberg Highlight; more than a Barista

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Clayton Wear
  • 30th Space Wing Public Affairs

Every Airman, including our civil service and government service teammates, have all played a role in making Vandenberg Air Force Base not just the safest and most efficient launch port for polar orbiting satellites, but also one big family.

Many amazing people contribute to Vandenberg’s Whole Airman Concept; for example the teachers at Crestview Elementary school, the caretakers who watch Team V children during the workday, the butcher who cuts lunch meat at the commissary, the civilians who balance our paychecks, and the Pacific Coast Club baristas who brew our morning coffee.

For this Vandenberg Highlight, Ms. Brenda Smith, 30th Force Support Squadron barista has put 20 years of service into the Vandenberg family.

“I started working here in 1999 at Foggio’s Pizzeria,” said Smith while describing the restaurant in the back of the Pacific Coast Club at that time. With a laugh she continued, “Back then I wasn’t wearing glasses, and hadn’t been through two surgeries for my hand. A lot can happen in twenty years. It is funny though, because people still remember me from those days.”

Smith provided unintentional proof to that statement before answering the next question of, ‘Who was the base commander back then?’ After naming one or two names, she asked a friend who had just walked in and also worked at the base in 1999. “That’s right!” said Smith. “It was Col. Lanning the first two years I worked here,” she said referring to Brig. Gen. Stephen L. Lanning when he was the 30th Space Wing commander.

With many Airmen obtaining assignments through the years something kept Smith at Vandenberg Air Force Base all of this time.

“What keeps me here is the overall excitement I get from the people,” said Smith. “I cater to everyone because I want them to have a great experience. I hope they remember me the next time they come back, whether that is tomorrow or in a few years. It’s all about the people.”

Smith’s influence has not only been on customers, but also on those who are in similar positions that she was in 1999.

“I met Brenda the first day I started working here, almost two years ago,” said Madysyn Coleman, 30th Force Support Squadron barista. “She was a bit intimidating at first because she was a very fast worker, and knew everything here. She is great at building relationships, and knows almost all the customers. She really puts a good name on the Pacific Coast Club.”

Smith is just one of many faces who has shaped the Vandenberg story and family the last two decades.