When it comes to saving the world, sometimes one uniform just isn't enough. At least, that's what seems to motivate Tech. Sgt. Sean Neri, who, in between coordinating vehicles for security forces at Malmstrom Air Force Base, Mont., dresses up as a Star Wars bounty hunter and volunteers at community fundraisers.
"One of my coworkers introduced me to costuming and showed me there are organizations out there who use it for charity work," said Neri in a Jan. 21 article by Devin Doskey, public affairs specialist for the 341st Missile Wing.
"As a cop, I love being able to help people, but upon discovering I could do it while being a character for Star Wars, I was hooked," said Neri, who is the NCO in charge of vehicle readiness for the 341st Security Forces Support Squadron.
Tech. Sgt. Sean Neri, 341st Security Forces Support Squadron vehicle readiness center NCO-in charge, poses in his custom-made Mandalorian suit Jan. 15, 2020, at Malmstrom Air Force Base (Air Force photo by Devin Doskey)
Neri first heard of the costuming community while at his first duty station at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, Doskey reported. A lifelong Star Wars fan, the airman started working on the costume of his favorite character, the green-armored bounty hunter Boba Fett. Neri completed his first build in 2015, but it was only the first of many.
"[T]o this day, I've built five full kits, including one for each of my kids for Halloween," Neri said.
Upon arriving at his second duty station, Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi, Neri discovered and joined the Mandalorian Mercs Costuming Club, which emphasizes community service just as much as painted armor and kit-bashed blasters.
Tech. Sgt. Sean Neri, 341st Security Forces Support Squadron vehicle readiness center NCO-in charge, poses in his custom-made Mandalorian suit Jan. 15, 2020, at Malmstrom Air Force Base(Air Force photo by Devin Doskey)
Doskey told Task & Purpose that MMCC participates in parades, Autism awareness events, hospital visits to children's wards, movie premiers and Boy Scout/Cub Scout activities. Neri himself has taken part in Alzheimer's walks, a Boo at the Zoo in Billings, Mont., and a fundraising kick-off event at the city's library, Doskey said.
The camaraderie and community spirit of MMCC reminds Neri of the other uniform he wears.
"Just like the Air Force and security forces, the MMCC really is like another family and I know that wherever I PCS, I'll have a clan to lean on for support," said Neri.
Support is the name of the game for Neri's day job, where he coordinates security forces vehicle operations and maintenance on base. Some might say that managing over $60 million worth of vehicles and equipment for the defenders of a 13,800-square mile missile base is already pretty sci-fi. But for Neri, it's just another work of service.
"I love being a cop and have made some really great, lifelong friends along the way," said Neri. "I am thankful for the opportunity to serve my country and to be able to pursue my passion for volunteering in the local community."