Recognize, reward all Airmen’s achievements

  • Published
  • By Col. Jerry Martinez
  • 62nd Airlift Wing commander
Last month the Air Force announced a new combat action medal will be unveiled in April to recognize Airmen who have participated directly in active combat, on the ground or in the air. The new medal is designed to highlight the combat part of being an Airman, a part of an Airman's accomplishments that is currently not officially recognized.

Recognizing and highlighting achievements is an important part of military culture for all branches of service. It's so important to our tradition that we don't just award certificates or plaques; we should proudly wear our accomplishments.

Last week we hosted our annual awards dinner to recognize McChord's sharpest Airmen of 2006. You can see their names and faces on pages 8 and 9 of this week's paper. Being an annual award winner at McChord isn't something you can wear on your uniform, but believe me, it's a big deal. For one evening, the base gathers to salute their accomplishments, and they are impressive! As I read this year's packages, I was amazed by not only the work our Airmen do while on duty, but also what they accomplish in their off-duty time.

It's important that we take the time to recognize and reward these individuals' achievements, not just for the award winners, but also for their peers. These men and women are role models for those around them, both in the active duty and civilian forces.

They are frequently leaders in their shops and offices, either by position or their own natural tendencies. Recognizing them applauds their accomplishments and sets an example for their peers to follow.

Next time you see an Airman receiving an award or wearing the new combat action medal, think about why the Air Force is taking the time to reward that Airman. To all of Team McChord, be proud when you receive medals and awards for your accomplishments ... I can assure you that I am proud of you!