By Air Force Master Sgt. Chuck Marsh
NORAD and USNORTHCOM Public Affairs
PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colorado — More than 320,000 men and women make up the Air Force’s active-duty component and of that, only a dozen are chosen each year to represent the force above their peers as “Best of the Best,” as one of the Air Force’s 12 Outstanding Airmen of the Year.
One of the select few, Senior Master Sgt. Boston Alexander earned the senior NCO category, and is the first selectee from U.S. Northern Command since its inception in 2001.
The award recognizes 12 outstanding enlisted service members for superior leadership, job performance, community involvement and personal achievements.
“Senior Master Sgt. Alexander epitomizes the characteristics of what a (Senior Noncommissioned Officer) is supposed to be, and he lives the Air Force Core Values,” said Chief Master Sgt. Roderick Schwald, Headquarters North American Aerospace Defense Command and USNORTHCOM first sergeant, adding, “His selection as the 12 OAY winner comes as no surprise to me at all.”
The first sergeant said he was impressed by the level of involvement Alexander had not only with his superiors, peers and subordinates within the command, but also that his dedication to elevating the enlisted corps reached across Peterson Air Force Base as well.
“Besides mentoring and providing feedback to joint and binational servicemembers, civilian and contractor personnel in his directorate, Senior Master Sgt. Alexander doesn’t hesitate to provide guidance to others outside his area of responsibility,” said Schwald, who’s been a first sergeant since 1999. “His breadth of experience, professionalism and caring demeanor draw people to him naturally. He inspires those who come into contact with him, which was proven by him recently being elected as the Headquarters NORAD and USNORTHCOM Enlisted Council President. He also gives back to the Peterson AFB community, where he volunteered to teach study skills classes at the Professional Development Center and this past year he mentored a large contingent of Air Force Academy cadets on leadership and enforcement of standards.”
Schwald said Alexander’s nomination from the command was the easy part of the process, while the difficult bridge to cross from Airman to one of the 12 Outstanding Airmen of the Year came in the form of the selection committee — a distinguished bunch themselves. The chief master sergeant of the Air Force, a general officer and selected major command command chief master sergeants comprised the selection board with the Air Force chief of staff reviewing the selections.
“I’m humbled and honored to be selected as one of the 12 Outstanding Airmen of the Year,” said Alexander. “However, I must submit that there are thousands of phenomenal senior NCOs in our Air Force and at this moment I have the privilege of representing this very special group of professionals.
“I am immensely blessed, this recognition is a testament of the great work of the Airmen that I’ve had the privilege of leading and the Airmen, Sailors, Soldiers and Marines whom I lead today and unwavering family support,” continued Alexander. “I’ve also had first-class mentors who told me what I needed to hear rather than what I wanted to hear, and supervisors who have provided guidance, leadership and opportunities.”
According to his nomination package, Alexander synchronized the efforts and expertise of four flights of Airmen, revamping roughly 40 wing support programs sustaining a $250 million Flying Hour Program and enabling more than 10,000 sorties.
He led a 180-member team that identified and remedied 90 security flaws, propelling the command to an excellent rating in a 2013 Command Cyber Readiness Inspection. He also served as the President for the Air Force Sergeants Association, Chapter 1252, where he devised organizational strategies while leading more than 2,500 members, garnering the division Chapter of the Year award.
“His outstanding efforts as a superintendent for cyberspace operations included both exceptional operational activities as well as impactful mentoring to personnel that propelled him to this outstanding honor,” said Air Force Lt. Gen. Michael Dubie, USNORTHCOM deputy commander.
The 12 Outstanding Airmen earn the Outstanding Airman ribbon with the bronze service star device and wear the Outstanding Airman badge for one year. They also serve on the Air Force Enlisted Council for one year.
“It doesn’t matter where you come from in the world, what your environment is, or what you look like, with hard work and dedication what can be achieved is boundless” said Alexander. “That is the greatness of our armed forces and our nation.”