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OSAN AIR BASE, South Korea — Senior Master Sgt. Keith D. Finney has been in South Korea for 18 months, and he just extended for more fun in a place that many airmen shun.

So it’s not at all surprising that Finney, 40, was picked as Pacific Air Forces’ senior noncommissioned officer of the year.

“This will be a big boost,” said Finney, of Murray, Ky. “It will show I have accomplished something.”

Individual units nominate an airman, and then selections are made at the group, wing and numbered Air Force levels. Judges base their decision on leadership and involvement in the community, among other factors.

The judges are command chiefs from the numbered Air Forces, Finney said. Activities in the community also are important, he added.

Since being at Osan, Finney has taken night classes for his pilot’s license.

He also was chairman of the wing’s Native American Heritage Committee.

Finney said he has no American Indian blood, but he wanted to learn more about the culture.

Finney has been in the Air Force since November 1981 and works with Osan’s 51st Civil Engineering Squadron.

His selection also has given him the chance at being one of the 12 outstanding airmen selected throughout the service in June, Finney said. He will test for chief master sergeant this year.

“Every place in the Air Force is good, but Korea, job-wise, is challenging,” Finney said. “It’s a learning experience. I still can learn from the younger guys. I can still learn from my bosses.”

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