Sokaogon Chippewa Community News

Intel Airman’s Life from Reservation to Air Force Intelligence

Story and photo by Tech. Sgt. Anthony Hyatt,

At a young age, most children in the Sokaogon Chippewa Community receive their Anishinaabe “original person” name. However, this didn’t happen for Walter Panick. It wasn’t until days prior to him leaving for Air Force Basic Military Training that an elder from another community presented him his name, Ni-Sag-Wen, which means “down river, downstream.”

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Walter Panick, 36th Intelligence Squadron Signals Intelligence Training non-commissioned officer-in-charge, recalls receiving his Anishinaabe name as the biggest influence of who he is today.

“Ni-Sag-Wen [down river, downstream] means the protector of all those under him,” said Panick. “Because of my name, the experiences I have lived through, it has been my goal to live up to it and help excel and protect Airmen around me.”

Panick, who has been in the Air Force for almost five years, currently creates and instructs signals intelligence (SIGINT) training for the 36 IS in two mission areas: target systems analysis and intermediate target development. This training is primarily designed for SIGINT Airmen to be able to produce SIGINT related remarks in their respective mission areas.

“Mainly, I joined the military to serve something greater than myself and to make my people proud,” Panick said. “I’ve always wanted to serve and represent my people on a greater scale.”

But his job now is vastly different to how he grew up.