Wilkes University’s Air Force ROTC Detachment 752 honors the memory of one of its own when it dedicates the Maj. Candice Adams Ismirle Leadership Lounge on Saturday, April 30. The lounge will be dedicated in a 4:30 p.m. ceremony in the University Center on Main, 169 S. Main St., Wilkes-Barre. The event is a prelude to the detachment’s annual Dining Out event, which includes a banquet and special recognitions for cadets.
Ismirle, a 2003 Wilkes graduate in communication studies, lost her battle to breast cancer in February 2016. A native of Brodheadsville, Pa., and a graduate of Pleasant Valley High School, the late major was a member of the University’s Air Force ROTC detachment. She received her commission as a lieutenant at the time of her graduation from Wilkes with a bachelor’s degree in communication studies. After her graduation, she enjoyed a distinguished career in the military as a public affairs officer.
Ismirle’s husband, Lt. Col. Ryan L. Ismirle, who is a pilot, and her parents, Sgt. Maj. (retired) Michael Adams and Sandra Adams will attend the dedication. The Ismirles have twin 18-month-old boys, Rafe and Ryder.
Lt. Col. John Baum, the detachment’s commanding officer, says it’s fitting to honor Ismirle’s memory.
“Detachment 752 is tremendously proud of Candice and her unwavering courage in the face of adversity. She personifies the Air Force Core Values of integrity, service and excellence while gracefully representing herself, Wilkes University, and the Officer Corps during her fight against cancer,” Baum said. “Candice raised the bar and set the standard that all cadets should strive to achieve. She is a shining example of leadership and her legacy will live on with through every cadet that passes through our halls.”
The dedication ceremony will include the unveiling of a plaque bearing a photo of Ismirle, the words Maj. Candice Adams Ismirle Leadership Lounge, and a signature sentiment of the late Air Force officer: “Choose to celebrate life rather than simply survive it.”
The words reflect the late woman’s career achievements and dauntless fight against an aggressive form of cancer.
At the time of her medical retirement in July 2015, Ismirle was working at The Pentagon worked at the press desk at Headquarters Air Force, the Pentagon. As a media operations officer for the People Team, she provided public affairs guidance to 11 commands worldwide, recommended media strategy to senior Air Force leadership and formulated media relations policy and guidance. In that role, she was responsible for covering some of the Air Force’s most sensitive issues such as sexual assault prevention and suicide awareness.
Prior to her work at the Pentagon, Ismirle taught the Department of Defense’s Defense Information School (DINFOS), where she trained more than 1,470 students from all U.S. military branches, select foreign nations, and Department of Defense agencies beginning in June 2009. She taught more than 2,100 hours of instruction in multiple courses, and developed the school’s social media curriculum.
Ismirle was first diagnosed with breast cancer while teaching at the school. She courageously shared her story by co-producing an award-winning multi-media documentary to raise awareness, all while undergoing treatment for her cancer and continuing to provide high-quality public affairs instruction. Following her diagnosis and treatment, she participated in a half-marathon. Even more amazing was the choice she and her husband made to become parents to their twin boys by having Ismirle’s cousin serve as a gestational surrogate.
Fellow 2003 Wilkes graduate Kyla Campbell, says such choices reflected her best friend’s dauntless spirit. “That was her to a T,” Campbell said. “Going forward and starting a family and doing things like that in the face of cancer was her way of saying, ‘I’m going to live my life and move forward.’ She never threw in the towel, ever. “
Ismirle began her military public affairs career at Oklahoma City Air Logistics Center at Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma, where she earned a promotion to deputy director of public affairs in her first assignment. While there, she was named the 2005 Air Force Materiel Command’s Outstanding Public Affairs Company Grade Officer of the Year.
In April 2006, she was reassigned to Headquarters Alaska Command (ALCOM), Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, as deputy Director Of Public Affairs. She Led Public Affairs Planning For Exercises Northern Edge and Vigilant Shield, She coordinated media coverage for the first United States fighter plane intercepts of Russian bomber aircraft since the end of the Cold War, which led to coverage on CNN and FOX News. Her work earned her ALCOM’s Company Grade Officer of the Year Award two years in a row, and directly contributed to her office winning the 2007 Brig. General Harry Dalton Award for public affairs communication excellence.
As chief of public affairs for the 3rd Wing at JBER, Major Ismirle created Pacific Air Forces’ #1 News Media Program. She was instrumental in the wing’s immediate response after the commander committed suicide, guiding follow-up news casts, civic actions, and supporting memorial service coverage. Her outstanding leadership resulted in her team winning PACAF’s Best Overall Communication Program and Best Crisis Communication Program for 2008.