TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. --
Picture this, growing up abroad, visiting various places and bearing witness to the prestige of military ceremonies becoming a member of the U.S. Air force. This was the case for Master Sgt. Martha Dunning, AFNORTH standards and evaluations manager and this week’s unsung hero.
Originally born and raised in Colombia until the age of seven, Dunning is the eldest of four children and the first member of her family to join the U.S. Air force.
The Torrance, California native is currently in her 15th year of enlistment with six years prior active-duty and her subsequent years as a proud member of the Florida Air National Guard.
Dunning is a graduate of Torrance High School and attended El Camino College for a year prior to enlisting. She has also obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in instructional systems design through Southern Illinois University.
“Education has always been important to me so I encourage my sons to have a positive outlook when it comes to obtaining knowledge and learning,” said Dunning. “It’s challenging but we teach our children the importance of our service to our country. They know they are my purpose and that everything I do I do for them.”
Dunning’s primary position is aerospace control and warning systems specialist. When not performing duties as a 1C5 or standards and evaluations manager, she leads her units Combined Enlisted Association as the President.
“The Combined Enlisted Association is a group which meets monthly with the goal of providing members with resources for development, enrichment and organizational leadership opportunities,” said Dunning. “We discuss topics that reflect day to day challenges such as priority management, stress management and conflict resolution.”
Dunning will also be an implementer of the Green Dot program, a new Air Force program which prepares others to implement a strategy of violence prevention that reduces power-based interpersonal violence, which includes not only sexual violence, but also domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, child abuse, elder abuse and bullying.
In the past, Dunning also served as the Honor Guard manager for the 601st Air Operations Center Color Guard Team and a member of the Tyndall Honor Guard Team.
“I was awarded the opportunity to be a part of the Honor Guard team on Tyndall as an Airman 1st Class,” she said. “Some aspects that appealed to me the most were the uniforms and the demonstration of discipline and character by its members. Just like the time when I was a young girl witnessing a very similar ceremony in Colombia. These were the same characteristics that drew me to become an Airman.”
In her spare time, Dunning participates in physical exercise activities which she uses to maintain a positive lifestyle and attitude.
“I love to be outdoors and be physically active and am part of an awesome Gym on the beach,” said Dunning. “It’s family owned and filled with pretty wonderful people whom I consider part of my extended family.”
“My advice to all Airmen is to focus on your why,” said Dunning. “You can pretty much endure anything if you remember why you’re doing it. There are times when you may get frustrated and or upset but sometimes those are the things you need to push you and to prepare you for even greater opportunities.”