8 NCO's go above, beyond for fellow Airman
By Senior Airman Kristina Overton, 51st Fighter Wing Public Affairs
/ Published December 13, 2012
OSAN Air Base, Republic of Korea -- Military members sign on the dotted line to defend the nation's freedoms. All too often, the expense of that signature ranges far from just the line of duty. The cost of service involves a multitude of sacrifices, calling for leadership and full out dedication every single day to accomplish the mission. The wingman concept ensures that every Airman can rely on each other so no matter what the challenge, and as stated in the Airman's Creed, no Airman is left behind.
For Staff Sgt. Greg Anderson, formally with the 607th Air Operations Center as an intelligence analyst, his wingmen were there when faced with a personal battle.
Anderson went home to the United States for his mid-tour in April of this year. During his trip, he learned that his wife had developed a severe bone disorder. Upon his return to Osan Air Base, his leadership immediately had him enroll in the Exceptional Family Member Program. The EFMP program provides special assignment consideration to Air Force members who have a spouse, child, or dependent adult with medical conditions requiring prolonged hospitalization or outpatient treatment. As the date came closer for Anderson to be eligible to return from overseas, his wife's condition worsened. She became immobile.
With so much at stake, several Airmen stepped in and helped Anderson get off the ground and on a plane in 38 hours.
"To say this has been stressful for this NCO is a huge understatement," said Master Sgt. David Vasser, 607th AOC intelligence surveillance reconnaissance superintendent. "This process could have taken well over two to three months, but the can-do attitude of Team Osan was crucial to him returning to his wife and the Air Force. Not once did any of these Airmen say no. They found ways to say yes at every turn. They communicated across squadrons and kept everyone in the loop so that if anyone could make the process more efficient, it was done instantly."
Through the combined efforts of Master Sgt. Myrla Kiluk, Tech Sgt.'s Ashante McVay and Langston Bland, and Staff Sgt.'s Nicole Allums-Ball, Jessica Meyer, Amber Naylor, Manuel McElroy, and Larre Ceaser, Anderson's entire process was cut down to five weeks. These individuals worked behind the scenes to process paperwork, make calls, send e-mails and even come in past the regular duty hours to ensure that their fellow Airman was taken care of.
"What they did was truly amazing," Vasser said. "These Airmen represent the greatest thing about the Air Force family. They cared and sacrificed for the needs of one NCO and his wife. Their actions relieved an immense burden from these two and at the end of the day made their lives better for years to come."
These eight NCOs were coined by Col. Donavan Godier, 607th Air and Space Operations Center vice commander, in the 7th Air Force conference room Dec. 12 for their exemplary service.
"It was definitely a surprise to be recognized," said Kiluk. "It was my guys in the office that were the ones who really did the work and pushed to help this Airman out. They were the ones that worked hard and stayed up late getting things signed and coordinated. It's our job, day in and day out, to go above and beyond and take care of our customers. I'm just proud that we were able to assist and do what was needed to get him taken care of and back home to his spouse in time for the holidays. "
Kiluk works for the 51st Force Support Squadron as the career development superintendent. Ceaser works at 51st FSS an an assignments consoler. Allums-Ball works at the 51st Medical Support Squadron as the family relocation clearance coordinator. Meyer works at the 51st Medical Operations Squadron as resiliency NCO in charge. Bland works for the 51st Logistics Readiness Squadron as personal property NCOIC. Naylor works for the 51st LRS as a flight operations and personal property specialist. McVay works with the 51st LRS as passenger travel NCOIC. McElroy works for the 51st LRS as floor manager of passenger travel.
"To those who helped, a thank you would be a complete understatement of how indebted I am to them," said Anderson. "It certainly was a team effort, from all different occupational Airmen. For me, it was a humbling experience, and still is. I don't think I could truly convey in words the gratitude I have for those that helped this process move at the speed and success it did. I am grateful that my wife will receive proper care and I can fulfill my duty to the Air Force."