Top enlisted airmen in Europe named at banquet
Four U.S. enlisted airmen were named Friday as the best in Europe at the Enlisted Awards Banquet at Ramstein Air Base, Germany.
On hand to bestow the honors were former Chief Master Sergeants of the Air Force Paul W. Airey and Sam E. Parish.
“The officers are the head of the team,” Airey said. “The enlisted person’s job is to get the jobs done that need to be done.”
Airey served as Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force from 1967 to 1970; Parish from 1983 to 1986. Their jobs were to advise top officers on issues of health, welfare and morale affecting enlisted persons.
The USAFE Outstanding Airmen for 2002-2003 are:
• Airman of the Year: Airman 1st Class Joshua B. Kendall, 3rd Medical Operations Squadron, Aviano Air Base, Italy.• Noncommissioned Officer of the Year: Tech. Sgt. Tara A. Marta, 932nd Air Control Squadron, Keflavik Naval Air Station, Iceland.• Senior Noncommissioned Officer of the Year: Senior Master Sgt. Thomas O. McConnell, 39th Maintenance Squadron, Incirlik Air Base, Turkey.• First Sergeant of the Year: Master Sgt. James E. Woodham Jr., Headquarters United States Air Force Europe, Commanders Support Squadron, Ramstein Air Base.
The four were chosen from a field of 12 finalists. They were graded on categories such as leadership, community involvement and personal achievements — “involvement above and beyond normal duties,” Airey said.
Of course, they’re also good at their jobs.
“If they’re not good at their job, how are they going to lead, guide, supervise the enlisted guys through the years?” Parish said.
Kendall, Marta, McConnell and Woodham will advance later this year to a servicewide competition against other top airmen.
The four winners will be awarded a red, white and blue ribbon for their uniform. In September they’ll be feted for a week in Washington.
“Then we’ll kiss them goodbye and tell them to go out and represent the Air Force to the rest of the world,” Parish said.
The other eight finalists were:
• Senior Master Sgt. Katherine A. Barrino, 85th Mission Support Squadron, Keflavik Naval Air Station;• Master Sgt. Tony S. LeGree, 31st Mission Support Squadron, Aviano Air Base;• Master Sgt. Troy A. McFarland, 1st Commander’s Support Staff, Ramstein Air Base;• Senior Master Sgt. Todd W. Nielsen, 65th Civil Engineer Squadron, Lajes Air Field, Azores;• Tech. Sgt. John V. Haneline, Headquarters USAFE Logistics Directorate, Ramstein Air Base;• Tech. Sgt. George E. Young, 93rd Operation Support Squadron, Incirlik Air Base;• Staff Sgt. Jason Pringle, USAFE Special Security Squadron, Ramstein Air Base; and• Senior Airman Robert H. Davis, 52nd Commander’s Support Staff, Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany.