By Staff Sgt. Julius Delos Reyes
50th Space Wing Public Affairs
A 527th Space Aggressor Squadron NCO recently earned the 2013 Air Force Enlisted Space Systems Operator of the Year award.
Tech. Sgt. Steven St. John, 527 SAS Weapons and Tactics Flight NCO in charge, continued the Aggressors’ tradition of excellence as he became the third consecutive NCO to win the award.
“When I was told I was selected as the Air Force Enlisted Space Systems Operator of the Year, I was really surprised because there are lots of talented and hardworking enlisted space operators that are just as deserving of this award,” St. John said. “I am honored to even be considered for this award.”
In 2013, St. John expertly led a team of highly-skilled operators in 527 SAS, the Air Force’s only active-duty space aggressor squadron, providing 820 hours of advanced training. He planned and executed support to 17 exercises and trained 47,000 joint warfighters on asymmetric counter-space threats.
Additionally, St. John earned the squadron’s NCO of the quarter twice and NCO of the year distinction as well as the Academic Achievement Award during NCO Academy.
Lt. Col. Scott Bonzer, 527 SAS commander, said St. John earned the award because of his professionalism and dedication.
“I think it is well deserved and I’m not surprised he won; he works hard and strives for perfection,” Bonzer said. “Professionalism is Sergeant St. John’s middle name — he is the epitome of NCO responsibilities codified in AFI 36-2618 or the ‘Little Brown Book.’”
Bonzer said the award shows the high quality of men and women of the 527 SAS.
“This speaks volumes to the cadre of Airmen we have in this squadron and how they support and push each other to be the best at defending our great nation,” he said.
St. John echoed the sentiment and highlighted the growing importance of a space aggressor squadron.
“This is not only a testament to the caliber of enlisted Airmen that we have and the quality of leadership this unit possesses; it also underscores the importance of our Aggressor mission even to the highest levels of Air Force leadership,” said St. John.
Though St. John won an individual honor, he said his squadron and family played a big part in helping him win the award.
“I could not have won this award by myself,” he said. “The real recognition should go to my family who consistently supported me throughout the year and to my Aggressor family that constantly challenged me and helped me excel.”