By Airman 1st Class Jonathan Whitely | 50th Space Wing Public Affairs
SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — Senior Master Sgt. Cory Shipp, 50th Force Support Squadron and Wing Staff Agencies superintendent, and Senior Airman Cassidy Basney, 50th Operations Support Squadron wing intelligence trainer, are two of the Space Force’s 12 Outstanding Airmen of the Year announced May 11.
With the Space Force being a new branch, Shipp and Basney are the first Airmen in its young history to earn the award. The award follows the Air Force’s 12 OAY program and is considered to be among the most prestigious awards an Airman can win.
“Always be authentic and genuine in leadership,” said Shipp, who won in the Senior Noncommissioned Officer category. “Now more than ever, our Airmen deserve the honest answer versus a popular answer. Trust your gut, if whatever you are doing is for the right reasons; it will always resonate with those you lead.”
Shipp also earned the 2019 Sijan Leadership Award at the major command level, which recognizes individuals who’ve demonstrated the highest qualities of leadership in their jobs and lives, in the senior enlisted category. He said the hard work, dedication and support of his team in the 50th FSS and WSA pushed him to win the award.
“I will use this platform as a personal example to all Airmen, that if you work hard and take care of your team, the rest will take care of itself,” Shipp said. “Some will call this a cliché, but I truly believe that everyone can be successful with the right attitude, positive energy and uncompromising effort toward leadership and followership.”
As the squadron superintendent for the 50th FSS, Shipp oversees 24 enlisted Airmen and as the group superintendent for the 50th WSA, Shipp is tasked with supports an additional 41 enlisted Airmen. “Senior Shipp is one of the best [Airmen and leaders] I’ve seen in my 30 years of service,” said Lt. Col. Mark Cipolla, 50th FSS commander and Shipp’s supervisor. “He balances the mission and people and has a great strategic focus while simultaneously leading and developing his Airmen.”
Basney, who earned recognition in the junior enlisted category, traveled and briefed senior enlisted leaders about space threats and operations, to include the Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force. She also earned the Superior Performer award at Space Flag 20-1, a major space exercise that simulates realistic, high speed warfighting environments, for her ability to integrate intelligence into mission planning and effectively drive space operations. Additionally, she is working toward finishing a bachelor’s degree in intelligence analysis.
“Being a 12 OAY [winner] gives me an opportunity to show Airmen if you apply yourself to your career, you can do great things,” Basney said. “I can help encourage junior enlisted to think outside of the box and really apply yourself to your goals, dreams and have an impact that will follow you throughout the rest of your career.”
Before earning this recognition, Basney won 50th Space Wing and Team Schriever 2019 Airman of the Year for outstanding performance and leadership. “I am extremely proud of this achievement,” she said. “Many junior enlisted do not think that they can create change or have an influence within their young career and I was able to do both of those things.”
Basney said winning this award wouldn’t be possible without her mentors – Lt. Col. Patrick Hamlin, National Air and Space Intelligence Center space analysis squadron commander and retired Master Sgt. Johnnie Somsen, former 50th OSS intelligence flight superintendent.
“Basney is an incredibly hard worker,” Hamlin said. “In the Air Force we talk a lot about informal leadership [and] she is the epitome of what that looks like. No one should ever discount themselves because of rank or feel as though they can only be in passive receive mode. Airmen can, and have changed the world.”
The next step for the two award winners is competing at the Air Force level against winners from each Major Command in the branch.
“Even as a junior enlisted Airman, you are able to accomplish anything you put your mind to,” Basney said. “Realize you can make a difference and have an impact no matter what your rank is. If you apply yourself, you will be able to accomplish more than you thought you could.”
Each base submits its most qualified Airmen for the award, Basney and Shipp had to compete with Airmen from four other wings in the USSF.
“Thank your teammates, supervisors, honor your families and loved ones,” said Chief Master Sgt. Boston Alexander, 50th SW command chief. “You’re the face of this accomplishment but a great many people had a lot to do with getting you there. There are phenomenal E-4’s and below and phenomenal E-8’s and below [assigned to] the Space Force, but you were chosen, and they chose right. It’s a heavy crown to wear; but where much is earned, much is given.”