By Fin Truant | Peterson-Schriever Garrison Public Affairs
PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Andrew New, Space Delta 3 – Space Electronic Warfare, 5th Space Control Squadron mission assurance flight chief, received an Outstanding Enlisted Award from the Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development Corporation’s Military Affairs Council in Colorado Springs, Colorado, May 14, 2021, as part of the chamber’s annual Armed Forces Awards. New was one of seven local service members in consideration for the award in the mid-grade enlisted category, which encompasses the E-5 and E-6 pay grades — at the time of the award, he had the rank of technical sergeant.
“I didn’t do anything that everyone else hasn’t done,” said New. “I just did what I wanted to do to give back to the community.”
Examining New’s record, though, marks him as humble as well as community-minded — he logged over 500 hours of volunteer work in his first eight years in the Air Force, earning himself a Military Outstanding Volunteer Service medal in 2018.
Since arriving at Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado, in November 2019, New has organized a variety of charitable efforts, despite the COVID-19 lockdown conditions over the past year. On two occasions, he arranged for around 20 volunteers to help a local food pantry organize and process its donations and supplies, replace old shelving, and prepare grab bags for families. Looking forward, New hopes to work with Read Across America and link up with local schools to volunteer as a mentor, opening the door for other service members to give back as well.
“I think people want to be inherently good, and they’re always looking for ways to give back to the community,” said New. “Everybody wants to help, they just don’t always know how to.”
New comes from Portage, Pennsylvania, a town he described as small and economically disadvantaged; it had only two stop lights during his upbringing there, and he recalls the construction of the first McDonald’s in town as a major event. Volunteers and mentors who came into his school gave him role models and showed New and his classmates that they could strive for more than they had.
Later, New moved to St. Cloud, Florida, where he attended high school, and he enlisted in the Air Force after graduation. He pinned on master sergeant July 1, 2021, and intends to commission as an officer in either the U.S. Air Force or U.S. Space Force.
“I couldn’t really do anything without the support of the local community,” New said. “I’ve been in [the Air Force for] almost 11 years now, and we really have to look [at] who’s coming in and what we’re going to hand them…make sure we’re taking care of the local community as they’re taking care of us.”