Air Force service is a family affair for 113th Wing Master Sergeant

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Andrew Enriquez
  • District of Columbia Air National Guard

Air Force Master Sgt. Zenvi Boykin is true “blue,” having served 16 total years, nine as an active duty airman. She currently serves in the D.C. Air National Guard’s 113th Wing Commander's Support Staff, a position that she says is consistently busy and reliant on personal interactions.

“We do a lot in the background that people don’t really see,” Boykin says.

With her husband Marcus serving as first sergeant in the wing’s Operations Group, her family life is immediately linked to her service family.

“I feel like they are my second family,” Boykin said. “I definitely feel that type of community within the Air Force itself. And it’s not just here, it’s every place I’ve been.”

As a Filipina American, Boykin further notices some similarities between her heritage and the culture she’s observed throughout her career.

“What I love about my culture is we’re very family-oriented, and we take care of our family. It doesn’t have to be immediate family; it could be second cousins who would ping us if they ever needed help and we would lend a helping hand. I feel like that’s how it is with the Air Force wingman concept. I really like that we’re a very family-oriented culture. We also value having a good time, so it could be over parties, always around eating. There always has to be food. So I do love that, and I try to incorporate it when I’m at work.”

Boykin moved from the Philippines to the continental U.S. at age nine and still has family in the Philippines and Guam. To her, observing heritage months can be a good way not only to reconnect with her heritage, but also to get to know coworkers and share their backgrounds, which in turn improves workplace culture.

“It’s not only interesting, but it’s also getting to know your people, so you want to build and foster those relationships,” Boykin said. “The workplace becomes a place you want to come to. And that starts with getting to know your people. Culture definitely plays into that, getting to know your people’s backgrounds and why they are the way they are.”

She says this acceptance of diversity is one of the U.S. military’s unique strengths:

“We are very open-minded and we accept everyone in the military,” Boykin said. “We don’t alienate anyone by race, by their color, or their differences and we embrace that, more so now than ever. We accept everyone in our Air Force, and I think that’s pretty cool.”