Outstanding Airman of the Year Program furnishes opportunity to reward hard work Published April 7, 2010 By Chief Master Sgt. Asa Carter 188th Fighter Wing command chief FORT SMITH, Ark. -- The Outstanding Airman of the Year is an annual award to recognize outstanding performance in each category: Airman, Noncommissioned Officer, Senior Noncommissioned Officer, First Sergeant, Honor Guard Member, Honor Guard Program Manager, Officer and Volunteer of the Year. Nominations are based on achievements that occurred within the 12 months preceding the award. The nomination package includes: Air Force Form 1206 showing leadership and performance in their primary duty; significant self improvement; base and community involvement; a biography; base-level RIP; statement of intent; and a current fitness test score. The first step in the recognition process is a board review of all the packages. The packages are reviewed based on category with the strongest package being selected to go forward to Joint Forces State Headquarters. The individuals with the selected packages are notified of the upcoming interview board at JFHQ. They should begin studying for this interview by reviewing current events, issues facing the ANG, Air Force and the nation. Everyone should know the Airman Creed. This is a good time to ask others who have met the board to learn from their experiences. Learn from others when ever you can. Check your uniform ensuring proper fit, complete ribbon rack, proper stripes, name tags, etc. Preparation is the key to success at this point. The day finally arrives to meet the board. Take a deep breath and realize you deserve to be there. You are already a winner. The board is only trying to pick the strongest candidate from among the winners. Are you getting the message? You deserve to be here; you have earned it. You would not be ready to knock on the door and stand before the interview board if you didn't deserve it. So relax. But, don't relax too much, you are still under review. Everything is looked at again. At the end of the day, the board makes its recommendations for the winners in each category. These packages are forwarded on to the national competition, where we compete against all ANG units and the Air Force. What do you get out of this competition? First, you get the recognition you deserve for outstanding performance in your category. Second, you get some really neat prizes. The further you go in the competition, the more prizes you get. Lastly and most importantly, you gain valuable experience in interviewing, preparation and networking. These skills will aid you in achieving success in promotions, employment and life in general. Master Sgt. Brian Mays, the 188th Fighter Wing Honor Guard Program manager, who selected as the winner for the state, participated in the first ever Joint Outstanding Soldiers and Airmen of the Year Recognition luncheon at Camp Robinson Maneuver Training Center. State Command Chief Master Sergeant Stephen Arnold, and State Command Sgt. Maj. Deborah Collins, developed the idea to combine the state recognition of our Outstanding Airmen of the Year with the Outstanding Soldier and NCO of the Year competition that the Army National Guard conducts annually. This joint recognition benefits the individual, Army National Guard, Air National Guard, and invited family members, through recognition for their part in this accomplishment. Every person reading this now has a responsibility to recognize our great Airmen for their outstanding achievement. As stated in the first line, this is an annual award, so we will be asking for nominations again. It is important, so please nominate the deserving Airmen and show them what they do is important and recognized. It is my honor to serve with you. God Bless our Airmen.