62d AW Airmen Win “Red” Erwin Award

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Benjamin Riddle
  • 62d Airlift Wing Public Affairs

When leaders win awards through their hard work, passionate leadership and positive attitude, their teams win with them.

Senior Master Sgt. Gary West, 7th Airlift Squadron senior enlisted leader, and Senior Master Sgt. Kyle Favorite, 62d Operations Group superintendent, won the distinguished Staff Sgt. Henry E. “Red” Erwin Outstanding Enlisted Aircrew Member of the Year Award. This award is presented annually to one junior enlisted Airman, one noncommissioned officer and one senior noncommissioned within the aircrew career fields.

When asked about his personal connection to “Red” Erwin, West emphasized Erwin’s courageous work ethic.

“I’m sure he didn’t train to do what he did,” said West. “He wasn’t expecting to do it, but he did what he did anyway, because that’s what needed to get done at the time. Now, we’re on the precipice of that same need once again, and we must focus on the mission ahead and do what needs to be done.”

Favorite took time to communicate how humbled he was to accept an award in Erwin’s name.

“This award holds immense significance for me as it honors the legacy of Henry “Red” Erwin, an enlisted aircrew member like me,” said Favorite. “Contributing positively to the entire enlisted aviator community brings me incommunicable joy.”

Favorite also expressed his heartfelt gratitude for his assignment manager team and the chiefs who believed in him. He was clear that his leadership’s support and confidence were instrumental in his winning of this award and in addition to his squadron’s success.

West was also adamant that his success was nothing without the talent, leadership and overall culture of his squadron. West’s love for the 7th AS has daily been made evident through his joyous dedication to his individual Airmen, their team, and their principal mission.

“The culture that my predecessors cultivated carries through to this day, you know, it’s just an awesome place to be,” said West with a grin.

Even though these McChord leaders show grace and pride through humbleness, it is necessary to communicate the amount of work that these Airmen did for their nation.

Favorite’s winning of the “Red” Erwin award was in large part due to his work merging 7,000 aviators into a new multi-capable Air Force specialty code, saving the Air Force $13.2 million annually while executing a $250 million training pipeline. He worked for Air Education and Training command to improve the service overall and to also double rescue aviator output.

One important factor to West’s winning of the prestigious award was his leadership in the 7th AS’s first in-place deployment using the new Air Force Force Generation model (the Air Force’s new cyclical deployment schedule). While leading this in-place deployment, the 7th AS executed 22% of Air Mobility Command’s 4,600 missions and hit over 5,000 total flight hours.

With all this proud work under his belt, when asked about why he loves his job, West spoke on the immense satisfaction he has found in being a servant leader.

“A key piece to servant leadership in the Air Force is that an Airman might not know what’s expected of them, but I do,” he said with confidence and understanding. “I’m going to tell them and I’m not going to let them fall short.”