By Airman 1st Class Jonathan Whitely | 50th Space Wing Public Affairs
SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — Being recognized as an outstanding Airman at the Air Force level is tough, but this is what two Team Schriever Airmen accomplished when they earned the Air Force 12 Outstanding Airman of the Year award.
Air Force officials select the 12 OAY award winners based on superior leadership, job performance and personal achievements.
Staff Sgt. Caryn Frederick, 19th Space Operations Squadron technician, said the recognition feels surreal having been chosen as one of the 12 Outstanding Airmen.
“It’s one of those things where I had assumed I would feel high and mighty, proud beyond belief that I had been able to make it so far — and I do feel proud — but surprisingly, I’ve noticed that I haven’t focused internally on my accomplishments nearly as much as I assumed I would,” she said. “In all honesty, I noticed instead, all of my focus has been on reflecting on those around me and how they have truly influenced me and morphed me into the Airman I am today.”
She said earning the award is humbling.
“These Airmen, my family, have taught me how to thrive and push through in good times and bad,” Frederick said. “They have taught me how to lead by showing me how to lead. They have taught me working as a team is essential and not only one person can accomplish it on their own. I can tell you now that going through every detail of everything they’ve ever done for me would never be able to truly do them justice.”
She said her team taught her about the Schriever AFB mission of evolving space and cyberspace operations as well as the Air Force lifestyle.
“People say they have an Air Force family, but you can’t explain it until you’ve experienced it,” Frederick said. “All I can really say is ‘thank you’ to my Air Force family. You have earned my respect and gratitude more than you will ever know.”
Tech. Sgt. Matt Davis, 19th Space Operations Squadron noncommissioned officer in charge of engineering, Frederick’s supervisor, said it was a non brainer to nominate her.
“Like anything in Frederick’s personal and professional life, she attacks this endeavor (her job) with tenacity, planning, organization and leads the effort with a skillset beyond her rank,” he said. “She leads by example, achieving the high standards she sets for her subordinates as well as motivating those around her to perform at the highest possible level.”
Davis said Frederick is an inspiration to those who work with her.
“She doesn’t do what she does for recognition,” he said. “She deeply cares for and invests herself fully into the success of our mission.”
Tech. Sgt. Inna Lvova, 50th Comptroller Squadron noncommissioned officer in charge of financial analysis, also earned OAY recognition.
“I have been fortunate to be recognized at such a high level,” she said. “I don’t consider myself as one of the 12 Outstanding Airmen, I consider myself as one of the many phenomenal Airmen across the Air Force that strive to achieve excellence in all they do.”
Lvova said maintaining the right mindset is essential for Airmen to have a successful career.
“Attitude is everything,” she exclaimed. “I try to always stay positive, have an open mindset and I always try to go the extra mile.”
Lvova is originally from Russia and attributes some of her work ethic to her upbringing.
“Hard work is important me; however, constantly evolving processes and not remaining stagnant is more important,” Lvova said “Enabling my team to tackle the mission effectively and efficiently has always been my primary objective.”
She said it is important to recognize the process behind earning an award like this.
“I’m proud of this award, but not because ‘I’ earned it,” Lvova said. “This kind of award only happens when you have the support of everyone around you, when you’re surrounded by outstanding Airmen, and when you’re part of a champion team.”
She said it is important to be around motivated people in order to stay motivated.
“My office was very supportive,” Lvova said. “Earning this award was a team effort. Leadership from the top down, along with the Airmen I’m surrounded by constantly empowered me, provided guidance and allowed me to lead a stellar team.”
She said her goal was not to win awards, but to contribute as much as she could to her team and the mission.
“You need to choose mentors that challenge you and push you to go above and beyond your comfort zone,” Lvova said. “It may seem painful at the time, but it’s all for the betterment of you and the Air Force as a whole.”
Senior Master Sgt. Kathy Blake, 50th Wing Staff Agency and 50th CPTS superintendent, Lvova’s supervisor, said Lvova is the textbook definition of an outstanding Airman.
“Sergeant Lvova was chosen for 12 OAY, not only for her duty performance but for her overall innovation and how she handles her programs,” Blake said. “She takes her programs to the next level. She works efficiently and effectively. She’s taken her knowledge and skillset and has passed it on to other Airmen. Her leadership has been phenomenal and we’re lucky to have her in this office.”
Senior Airman William Nash, 50th CPTS finance technician, said Tech. Sgt. Lvova is his supervisor, and she has been a mentor to him.
“Sergeant Lvova has been a continuous source of inspiration and has driven us to be better leaders and Airmen.”