Air Force Rescue Coordination Center Airman named NORTHCOM Junior Enlisted Member of the Year

TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- Sometimes simply showing up to work and doing your job is enough to raise the bar for an entire unit. At least that is the case with Senior Airman Amanda Perkins.

Perkins, a search and rescue controller at the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center, was selected as the 2007 United States Northern Command Junior Enlisted Member of the Year in February during a ceremony at Peterson Air Force Base, Colo.

"I just come to work and do my job," said Perkins, whose modesty does little to acknowledge her outstanding performance in the 601st Air Operations Center, Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla.

Perkins has earned six awards for outstanding service since arriving in May.

Perkins received the 1st Air Force Headquarters and 1st Air Force (AFNORTH) Airman of the Quarter awards. She was selected as the 1st Air Force (AFNORTH) Headquarters 2007 Airman of the Year, the Tyndall Associate Unit Airman of the Year, and the Team Tyndall Airman of the Year.

Perkins exemplified the same qualities, dedication and hard work at the NORTHCOM Airman of the Year competition as she does at AFRCC every day.

"She does all of her work three grades above everyone else. Now people are trying to meet the Perkins standard," said Lt. Col. Jed Hudson, AFRCC commander. "She's a good Airman. I wish we had 20 of her."

She competed in the junior enlisted category against other enlisted (E-1 - E-6) Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines from NORTHCOM for this honor. Airman Perkins was the most junior of the service members in this category.

Each enlisted service member was graded on their written package, military bearing, personal appearance, command knowledge, and ability to articulate themselves.

"The nomination forms that came in were great," said Chief Master Sgt. W. Allen Usry, 1st Air Force (AFNORTH)/CONR command chief, who sat on the board with senior enlisted leaders from the other services. "Airman Perkins stood out from the others. In walks this young lady and she says, this is what we do and this is how we do it. She presented herself very well, possessed great command knowledge and when you combine that with her nomination, it just got better."

Perkins said she found out about the competition a short time before the trip to Peterson Air Force Base.

"I had a week to try to read up and cram it all into my head," said Perkins, who was also enrolled in the Inland Search and Rescue Course at the time of the competition.

Perkins has been in the Air Force for four years, and first started with the AFRCC at the end of May 2007. She scored 99.3 percent in the Air Operations Center Initial Qualification Course, the highest score in the history of the course. Perkins was also the first enlisted honor graduate of the course.

Since that time, Perkins continues to make an impression on the AFRCC. She scored 100 percent on all of the AFRCC mission qualification training tests. Perkins managed 368 potential distress cases, resolving 56 percent of these without federal search and rescue assets. She coordinated 162 search and rescue missions, synchronizing local, state and federal efforts.

"That is one of the exciting things about this job is that you never know what's going to happen next," said Perkins.

The AFRCC, which operates in the 601st Air Operations Center, serves as the U.S. inland search and rescue coordination center. It is the single agency responsible for coordinating land federal search and rescue activities in the 48 contiguous United States, Mexico and Canada.

Perkins received the Joint Service Achievement Medal from the North American Aerospace Defense Command and NORTHCOM Commander, Gen. Victor E. Renuart, Jr., for winning the competition.

Also competing in the awards competition at Peterson Air Force Base were 722nd Air Control Squadron Senior Master Sgt. Kevin King and 1st Air Force Computer Support Squadron Master Sgt. Rhonda McMichael.

Perkins will take her standard to the 2008 Air Combat Command Junior Enlisted Member of the Year competition in March at Langley Air Force Base, Va. 

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