Commentary by Master Sgt. Matt McCoy, 184th IW Public Affairs
As a kid, I remember bringing my parent’s mail into the house and once a month, a Jayhawk Flyer would be part of the stack. Back then, a paper, magazine-style publication was mailed to all unit members and retirees. It contained articles about recent events, a commander’s section, news about upcoming events and information about the next drill weekend.
Today, the 184th IW Public Affairs office is excited to introduce the next generation of the Jayhawk Flyer. As we launch the web-based version, we invite our audience to check out the new and expanded features.
You’ll notice pages labelled The Observer, The Informer, History & Heritage, Join Our Team and About. The Observer contains news articles, photos and videos of events that occur throughout the month. The Informer keeps our audience up-to-date on upcoming events, new policies and drill schedules. The Join Our Team page offers potential recruits information about our unit and contains options to contact a recruiter.
The new platform empowers our commanders, superintendents and Airmen to tell the world about the incredible things happening in the 184th Intelligence Wing.
This is particularly exciting for me. When I was a boy, I liked to look through the Jayhawk Flyer for a couple of reasons. One, because the unit flew F-4 Phantoms and I thought those were the coolest fighters on Earth (still do). I loved to look at the pictures of airplanes, the pilots who flew them and the maintenance personnel who fixed them.
The second reason was because my dad, Mike McCoy, was the editor and a contributing photographer. He managed the team who did the layout and design, took the photos, drew the graphics and completed the printing process. In his day, they actually cut photos, articles and graphics and pasted them onto layout paper. It was an award-winning publication enjoyed by the 184th Tactical Fighter Group. The Jayhawk Flyer is part of what inspired me to join the Air National Guard.
By the time I joined the unit in 1997, Graphics Specialist Roy Baker was using computer software to complete the layout and design process. We still had to scan hard copy photographs, but inserting articles, graphics and photos was extremely easy compared to what they did in my dad’s days. The up-and-coming digital photography made it even easier.
The Air Force restricted the printing and distribution of all paper publications in 2010, making that year the last year the Jayhawk Flyer was printed. Due to that change, the 184th PA unveiled the electronic magazine in January 2012. In four out of the last five years, the Jayhawk Flyer has placed within the top three of the annual National Guard Media Contest, Electronic Publication Category.
As we move forward, the 184th PA remains committed to providing our audience interesting, relevant and informative products at the highest quality. Because of my personal connection to the publication, not only from my dad’s legacy, but also from my own 20-year dedication, my team and I will strive to improve upon the tradition of excellence that you’ve come to expect from the Jayhawk Flyer.