While Staff Sgt. Jennifer Naranjo was busy installing a computer system for the 4th Space Operation Squadron’s new Advanced Extremely High Frequency System, she had no idea her efforts might qualify her for an award.
The same is true for Airman 1st Class Andrew Cadwallader. He made a significant contribution as 1st SOPS took ownership of a new satellite, was a subject-matter expert on TacSat-3 and regularly briefed large groups of Airmen on issues the Air Force Sergeants Association deems important to its members.
The AFSA Chapter 1182 (Schriever AFB) named Sergeant Naranjo as its non-commissioned officer of the year and Airman Cadwallader as its First Term Airman of the Year.
Col. Wayne Monteith, 50th Space Wing commander and Chief Master Sgt. Randy LaCombe, 50th SW command chief master sergeant, along with Senior Master Sgt. Doug Perry, Chapter 1182 president, Tech. Sergeant Darren Williams, Chapter 1182 awards/programs trustee and Master Sgt. Amber Mitchell, 1st SOPS superintendent, presented Airman Cadwallader and Sergeant Naranjo with their awards April 2.
“They really surprised me,” Sergeant Naranjo said of the AFSA chapter leaders, who created a ruse and kept her talking for 15 to 20 minutes before announcing news of her award.
The announcement proved equally surprising for Airman Cadwallader.
“It really meant a lot to win this award,” he said. “Everything I’ve done here is just really enjoying my job and being in an environment where they give you opportunities to excel. So the awards I’ve won in my short tenure in the Air Force have been a by product of working hard and trying to do my best.”
A Long Island, New York native, Airman Cadwallader enlisted in the Air Force during March 2009. After an exemplary performance during basic training he earned “honor graduate” status. Following satellite command and control school at Vandenberg AFB, Calif., he arrived here August 2009.
In that short time he made his presence known, earning the distinction of 1st SOPS Airman of the Year.
Only top Airmen are selected to be considered for the AFSA awards. Nominees are first considered by their supervisors, who compile a package of accomplishments and forward them to the AFSA Chapter 1182 selection committee, headed here at Schriever by Sergeants Perry, Williams and Mitchell.
The selection committee uses four categories to rate nominees: leadership, job performance and primary duty; significant self improvement efforts; base and community involvement and AFSA related contributions.
Sergeant Naranjo, an 11-year Air Force veteran and NCO in charge of information technology systems at 4th SOPS, was critical to 4th SOPS in obtaining additional classified network connections for the unit.
“Because of her effort, 4th SOPS added 32 SIPRnet connections,” Sergeant Williams said.
“Our switch was getting old, our ports were dying and we were losing connectivity to the point where our mission was going to suffer,” she said. “With the additions of ports and a new switch, it gave us more stability and it allowed for a seamless mission transition.”
As representatives of Chapter 1182, Sergeant Naranjo and Airman Cadwallader will compete at the AFSA division level against winners from nine other chapters.
The AFSA will announce its division winners at a conference in Albuquerque, N.M., May 13-16.