Awards keep coming for MacDill Airfield Systems Airmen

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Rito Smith
  • 6th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs

Intense heat, rain or wind can’t deter MacDill pilots from landing thanks to the hard work of airfield systems Airmen to keep the ground equipment fully functional to communicate with pilots.

Tech. Sgt. Kent Parsons and Senior Airman Sean Fitzpatrick, both assigned to the 6th Operations Support Squadron at MacDill Air Force Base, Florida won Air Mobility Commands 2016 Outstanding Airman and NCO of the year awards for their performance and abilities to lead beyond their rank.

Airfield systems Airmen work on many different types of equipment ranging from mission essential ground-to-air communications, to air traffic control landing systems on the runway, which allows pilots to gauge their landing even in low visibility situations.

 “I think Fitzpatrick had a leg up over the average Airman because instead of just learning the job, he was actually leading projects as a brand new senior airman,” said Tech. Sgt. Kent Parsons, airfield systems technician assigned to the 6th OSS.

Fitzpatrick said he always tried to take a leadership position in every project he was a part of to help further his skill set and increase his knowledge base.

“I have always tried to do my best at the job I’ve been given,” said Senior Airman Sean Fitzpatrick, airfield systems technician, assigned to the 6th OSS. “I think that always striving for excellence allowed me to take on bigger and bigger tasks as I progressed with my job knowledge.”

When putting together a package for these awards Parsons and Fitzpatrick sat down and thought about what they did during the year that would set them apart from other bases.

“We had a naval research lab come down and test a long range radar, and they requested our support and our facility for that mission,” said Parson. “We were always involved in things outside of our service and outside the shop, and I think that really set us apart.

“Everything we put together for these packages had to tie back to how we affected the mission here at MacDill. I think being able to support all of those joint partners helped us by allowing us to support other missions while still directly supporting MacDill.”

Parsons and Fitzpatrick credit their success to the leadership at MacDill as well as the other Airmen in their shop.

“One of my mentors encouraged me to fill out an award package every quarter with all of my accomplishments,” said Parsons. “When I got to this base I found out they were doing the same thing in this shop.”

Even before Parsons came to MacDill, the Airmen in the shop were asked to track their work.

“My leadership here has always asked us to fill out a weekly report and track what we have done throughout the year,” said Fitzpatrick. “I may not have won any awards throughout the year but by having those bullet points ready, my leadership made sure I was setup for success when the end of the year came around.”

Moving forward, Parsons and Fitzpatrick said they hope to keep the same level of motivation and ambition in their jobs and will continue to strive for more leadership roles.