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Excellence through teamwork

PETERSON AFB, Colo. -- This past week, I attended both the First Term Airman Center and Airman Leadership School graduations, and watched with great pride as the men and women of each class received their diplomas.

In the coming week, I will attend the Senior Noncommissioned Officer Induction Banquet. I am really looking forward to seeing this stellar group of professionals gain the recognition they deserve after working their way up to the top tier of the enlisted ranks.

While these ceremonies, upon first glance, may seem quite different in that they represent a broad range of individual experience and developmental levels, together they truly represent what has made us the most respected air and space force the in the world. That is our ability to function as a team - from our most junior enlisted to the most senior officer. Without the contribution of every single member of our team, we would be unable to successfully accomplish the mission to the level that we have come to expect.

There is no better example of how a single individual can influence the success of a team than Airman 1st Class Brisa-Marina Reoyo from the 21st Mission Support Squadron, one of the July 24 FTAC graduates. Her diligence, professionalism, and teamwork were a shining example for all those around her.

Consequently, she was selected as the "Sharp Troop Award" winner based on her outstanding performance. She had the top rated uniform (zero demerits) in two out of three uniform inspections conducted by the first sergeants. Congratulations Airman Reoyo I am proud of you and your entire class.

This week I had the privilege of attending the graduation of ALS class 07-6. Over a six week stretch, each student completed 192 hours of curriculum including eight evaluations, six tests and four speeches. Although every graduate played a key role in attaining the course objectives, there were a few shining stars that led the way.

Senior Airman Amanda Pembroke, 21st Space Wing Command Post, took home the "Academic Achievement Award" as the student who demonstrated exceptional mastery of all academic, speaking, and writing evaluations.

Senior Airman Charity Estrada, 3rd Space Operations Squadron, garnered the "Leadership Award" for her exceptional leadership traits. This was en extremely competitive award and Airman Estrada can be justifiably proud for being selected from such a deep pool of talent.

The John L. Levitow Honor Graduate Award went to another member of the 3rd SOS, Staff Sgt. Aaron Frigaard. Since this is the highest honor that can be awarded to any graduate in any level of enlisted professional military education, it goes without saying that Sergeant Frigaard was extremely instrumental in the overall success of the team.

It's been said before that a leader doesn't get recognized for his or her individual performance, but only when the team accomplishes its mission. This statement applies not only to those receiving special recognition from the FTAC and ALS graduations, but also to those performing the day-to-day jobs within the 21st Space Wing.

This week I also had the opportunity to visit our clinic at Schriever AFB. As soon as I walked through the front door of the clinic, I could tell I was visiting a "Crisp" organization. Lt. Col. Connie Smith is firmly in command and has set extremely high standards of care, professionalism, and competence.

This team of 30 medics, with the support of the 21st Medical Group staff at Peterson, provides full-service medical care for the Schriever population...and they do it flawlessly. Also while at Schriever, I met Tech. Sgt. Lashawna Harn, in the dental portion of the clinic. Sergeant Harn is a passionate and impressive NCO that has taken ownership of the entire PIMR process.
While individual recognition is nice, the most important thing to strive for is team success and mission accomplishment. It is only with this mindset that our Air Force will continue to be the best air and space force the world has ever known.