NCOA gives Airmen barbecue and a voice

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Wesley Carter
  • 30th Space Wing Public Affairs
Anyone who has been around Vandenberg very long is familiar with the smell of Santa Maria style barbecue. What you might not be aware of is a lot of that barbecue on base is prepared by the Noncommissioned Officer Association.

Not only does the NCOA spend many hours barbecuing, they do it to raise money for Vandenberg Airmen.

"We don't keep any of the money for administrative or any other reasons," said Tech. Sgt. Molly Dzitko, chairman of the Vandenberg NCOA. "We raise money and give it all back to Vandenberg."

Barbecuing may be the NCOA's most noticeable and common way to raise money, but it's not the only way or the most unique.

"We also chop wood, eucalyptus to be exact," Sergeant Dzitko said. "The wood is then bundled up and sold in cords around the community."

The NCOA's approximately 280 active members don't just donate money, they also donate their time. Each event the NCOA puts on is run and operated by the NCOA.

"When it is time to get volunteers for an event, a mass e-mail is sent out to all members," Sergeant Dzitko said. "And normally, within a matter of minutes we have our volunteers."

The money these volunteers raise contributes to different projects on base. The Fourth of July barbecue for junior Airmen, Breakfast with Santa, security for the Special Olympics and Operation Kids Christmas are examples of events that the NCOA supports with funding and/or volunteers.

Economic circumstances make an organization like the NCOA more important to the base than ever.

"When it comes to awards banquets or the Air Force Ball," Sergeant Dzitko said, "people are donating less, so the NCOA, along with some other organizations on base, step in to support these morale-lifting events."

Base events aside, the most important contribution the NCOA makes to Vandenberg Airmen and the rest of the military is the lobbying that they do in Washington D.C.
"The NCOA is much bigger than Vandenberg," Sergeant Dzitko said. "NCOA representatives are in Washington trying to pass laws that help military members and their families."

These laws range anywhere from military-pay raises to improvements on the G.I. Bill. The NCOA is the military's voice in Washington, according to the NCOA Web site.

Anyone interested in joining the NCOA should talk to a member or be at the membership drive 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Feb. 26 at the BX.