Airmen of the Burgh: Tech. Sgt. Joseph Bridge

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Grace Thomson
  • 911th Airlift Wing Public Affairs


Tech. Sgt. Joseph Bridge, budget analyst with the 911th Financial Management Office, has been at the 911th Airlift Wing for seven years as a photojournalist and now as a budget analyst.


Bridge graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a dual bachelor’s degree in administration of justice and legal studies. He was planning to go to law school after graduation but instead chose to continue working full-time. Then, at 27, he decided joining the Air Force Reserve was the next step for him.


“I just felt like I needed a big change in my life at that time,” said Bridge, “I felt like my career was going to a dead end and wanted to really start something new and it seemed like a perfect fit for me.”


After enlisting, he was part of the very first Development and Training Flight at the 911th AW, a program designed to prepare Airmen for basic training and technical school.  The program also helps the trainees adjust to the military lifestyle while introducing them to their unit.


Upon graduation from basic training and tech school, Bridge spent the next five years working in the 911th Public Affairs Office before he chose to cross-train into a new field. With a background in accounting, finance seemed to be the next logical step.


His current position as a budget analyst combines the knowledge gained from college accounting courses, as well as the degree in administration of justice and legal studies. The position requires that he look at the legality of the funds and how they are used on the base.


While Bridge is a traditional reservist here, his full time job brings him to the base during the week as well.


“I work here as a normal civilian employee during the week and then I show up to the same desk in uniform on the weekends,” said Bridge.  


Bridge is known around his office as a “go-getter” and a reliable Airman for his out-of-the-box thinking, said Master Sgt. John Dingman, financial manager for the 911th Airlift Wing.


“We like to say ‘be the bridge,’” said Dingman. “It’s one of the leadership signs that we have around here.”


The professionalism and work ethic that Bridge has embodied during his time in the finance office showed best when situations arose quickly. During a chemical warfare exercise, where different chemical threat levels are simulated and members are expected to don the appropriate Mission Oriented Protective Posture gear at each threat level, Bridge and Dingman had to give a briefing to the Development and Training Flight program trainees.


“Bridge was giving the briefing, so he arrived in his chemical gear.  While briefing, the alarm sounded to go into MOPP level 4,” Dingman said. “He actually donned all his MOPP gear and proceeded with the presentation. That showed all these new Airmen what it’s really like working in those conditions,” he said.


Bridge could have chosen to be exempt from participating in the exercise due to the briefing. Instead, he decided to give the trainees a glimpse of the Air Force chemical warfare training program.


Bridge has one piece of advice for Airmen looking to make the most of their career; find or be a good mentor.  Mentorship is organic and cannot be manufactured. Finding someone who has been through the similar experiences can help an Airman feel comfortable in their new position.


In short, his advice is this: be the bridge.