Citizen Airmen work toward whole-person concept

  • Published
  • By Chief Master Sgt. Allan Sturges
  • 442nd Fighter Wing command chief
What a great UTA we had in January. It was a weekend about recognizing Airmen for their accomplishments within the wing and accomplishments they made to better themselves. Plus we had another great accomplishment that I'll address later.

There are nearly 1,400 Citizen Airmen within the 442nd FW and two associate units, three separate entities with one common asset -- Airmen.

Jan. 9 about 75 members of the 442nd FW gathered to recognize and reward the Airman and NCOs of the Quarter, and the Semi-Annual Senior NCO with lunch and gifts. During the luncheon the annual awards winners were announced.

These Citizen Airmen's packages were prepared and submitted by supervisors to recognize the accomplishments the Airmen had done to support the mission and to showcase the self-improvement the members made while demonstrating their volunteerism to the base and their community.

These packages were submitted by the supervisors but it was members' accomplishments that were important -- showing the whole-person concept.

Someone stopped me recently and asked me what the whole-person concept was. In days gone past, when I had less stripes and more hair, Airmen were recognized by what they did on the job -- supporting the mission. That was the important part of the nomination.

As our Air Force has evolved, not only do we want our Airmen to be stellar performers in their jobs and be great leaders, we want to promote the self-improvement of our Airmen both on and off the job. This involves professional military education (PME), attaining certifications relating to our military and civilian jobs and attaining college degrees.

Typically, if you have your college general education credits and your seven-level Air Force coursework complete you are eligible for a Community College of the Air Force degree. Your CCAF degree is recognized around the world as the equivalent of a two-year associate degree at many accredited universities.

Completing the whole-person concept requires involvement with your base and community by helping out at your place of worship, being involved in youth programs and donating your time to help organizations such as Habitat for Humanity or your schools.

When you do that, you help those organizations with your military experience and you bring lessons learned there back to the military, making you and the Air Force better for it.

That's what the whole-person concept is all about -- leadership and job performance, significant self-improvement and involvement with the base and local community.

The Airmen that were recognized as quarterly winners and the annual awards winners showcased those traits and what a pleasure it is to see them recognized.

We also had the first-ever graduation party for our most recent CCAF graduates. This is an opportunity for the graduates to walk across the stage and be recognized amongst their peers for their accomplishments. This task takes commitment to enroll in the courses and successfully complete them.
Anyone that is recognized and awarded a CCAF degree should be proud of their accomplishments. They have gone above and beyond others and should be respected and recognized for their sacrifices.

There is a wide spectrum of ways we can recognize our Airmen from a pat on the back, and a "Good job!" to letters of appreciation, awards and decorations, or nominating them for the quarterly Airman or NCO category or the semi-annual SNCO award.

There are numerous types of awards that you can nominate an outstanding Airman for. These awards are showed at each of the wing staff meetings or you can ask Senior Master Sgt. Cesar Ortiz, 442nd Military Personnel Flight superintendent, for the criteria, target audience and suspense.

But there are additional ways to recognize our Airmen also. Thanks to senior leadership in both the 442nd FW and the 509th BW we have opportunities to recognize the accomplishments our Airmen make with an incentive ride in a T-38. We have three people that have received rides so far, and each of them had ear-to-ear grins when they landed. Maybe you could be the next one to be the GIB (guy in back) in a T-38!