By Jennifer Thibault
50th Space Wing Public Affairs
Under the guise of a required motorcycle safety program brief, Air Force Space Command Commander Gen. C. Robert Kehler surprised a 3rd Space Experimentation Squadron staff sergeant with an on-the-spot promotion shortly after his introduction Sept. 28.
Now, technical sergeant, Teddy Vargas earned his new stripe through the Stripes for Exceptional Performers program along with a 3rd Combat Communications Squadron NCO from Tinker Air Force Base, Okla.
“He was so focused on briefing the four-star, Sergeant Vargas never thought that he too would get promoted during the conference call,” according to Chief Master Sgt. Robert Ehrhart, 595th Space Group. “We all just burst out in cheers for him.”
It took a while for the moment to sink in for the new technical sergeant.
“I was flabbergasted and in disbelief. The whole event didn’t dawn on me until everyone started applauding and cheering,” he said. “The whole unit did a good job keeping it under wraps.”
Sergeant Vargas was nominated for promotion based on his leadership and continued focus on self-improvement according to his recommendation letter signed by the Space Innovation and Development Center’s Commander Col. Roger Vincent.
Some of the letter’s highlights include Sergeant Vargas piloting and leading a team of 16 for AFSPC’s no. 1 experiment, capturing seven AFSPC ‘first-evers’ and meeting 100 percent of mission goals. He was also chosen to complete the Advanced Orbital Mechanics course at the Advanced Space Operations School in preparation for his selection as an orbital analyst in the selectively-manned 3rd Space Experimentation Squadron.
Sergeant Vargas said his personal philosophy is what helped him achieve this milestone.
“I am not the person who just wants to make the grade or is comfortable simply meeting the minimum standard. What makes me stand out among my peers is achieving my personal best in all I do,” he said.
Outside of his assigned duties, Sergeant Vargas is the group’s motorcycle safety rep. The safety program was lauded by the IG team during the Space Integration and Development Center’s 2010 unit compliance inspection.
Sergeant Vargas is also currently working to obtain his master’s degree in business administration.
This STEP is not the last for Sergeant Vargas.
“Transitioning from one position to the next takes time, but I am willing to learn what I can…I welcome the new challenges and moving forward into a new professional place,” he said.
He takes with him a quote on leadership by Lee Iacocca, “Motivation is everything. You can do the work of two people, but you can’t be two people. Instead, you have to inspire the next guy down the line and get him to inspire his people”