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Dedication to excellence: SJ Airman recognized as AF top crew chief
U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Jason Williams, 4th Maintenance Group quality assurance inspector, shows Senior Airman Gilberto Suarez, 4th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron environmental electrician, where to install a clamp on an F-15E Strike Eagle at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, N.C., Oct. 21, 2013. Williams won the Thomas N. Barnes Crew Chief of the Year Award for his excellence in job performance and leadership. As a quality assurance inspector, Williams passes down his extensive knowledge of aircraft maintenance and is able to focus more on what he loves – teaching. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Brittain Crolley)
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Dedicated to excellence: SJ Airman recognized as AF top crew chief

Posted 10/28/2013   Updated 10/28/2013 Email story   Print story


by Airman 1st Class Brittain Crolley
4th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

10/28/2013 - SEYMOUR JOHNSON AIR FORCE BASE, N.C. -- Being a crew chief may not be the most glamorous of jobs. It usually requires working long hours, often in extreme temperatures, heavy workloads and a fast-paced environment. Sometimes the blood and sweat poured into each day goes unnoticed.

However, the Air Force has recognized one 4th Fighter Wing Airman for his hard work, dedication and leadership. Staff Sgt. Jason Williams, 4th Maintenance Group quality assurance (QA) inspector, has been awarded the Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force Thomas N. Barnes Crew Chief of the Year Award.

Through work ethic and dedication, Williams has risen to the top of his career field, but he said it hasn't always been the norm for him.

"[The hard working conditions] can easily get the best of you," he said. "Eventually, you just become numb to it."

For Williams, being numb can be taken literally. After finishing technical school, his first assignment landed him at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska. On the flightline, where protection from the elements was minimal, he was finally able to put his mechanics training to the test.

"Just seeing the guys on the flightline for the first time was pretty cool," Williams described. "Actually seeing how [the flightline] works really made me excited to get started."

After almost four years in Alaska, Williams was reassigned to Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, N.C. with the 4th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron. As a native of Clayton, N.C., the Carolina skies were a welcomed sight.

Williams began honing his skills and taking on more responsibility. He didn't mind the fast-paced, long days; in fact, he thrived and developed as a leader of his fellow maintainers, according to his supervision.

"The leadership he brought to the table, day-in and day-out, really made him stand out," said Master Sgt. Dean Kunz, 4th AMXS aircraft section chief. "He's an excellent leader and he understands what a leader is supposed to do."

As Williams' role continued to grow with more responsibilities, so did Kunz's admiration for the crew chief's work ethic. When the time came to nominate Airmen for the Thomas N. Barnes Award, Williams' name was at the top of his list.

According to Kunz, the award package went through a "murder board" within the unit, meaning every supervisor had a hand in writing and editing it. Once the final edits were made, the "pure gold" package competed against the other three AMUs in the wing.

After defeating other strong competitors, Williams contended with other wing selectees at the Air Combat Command level, consisting of 22 wings total. Again, his standards rose above the rest.

Finally, he competed against other major command winners. After meticulously analyzing and grading all of the submissions, the award review board selected Williams.

"It means a lot to me to be selected at the top of my career field, but at the same time, there are a bunch of other people who deserve it just as much as I do," Williams explained.

During the selection process, Williams was reassigned to QA; a position he said allows him to focus more on teaching younger Airmen.

"The best perk about QA is that I can teach while I'm on the flightline, which I love," Williams said. "Here, that's my focus; training and teaching."

Even before his transition, Williams said he would always make time for his crewmates if they were looking for help. His passion for training others has also drawn him to consider becoming a tech school instructor in the near future.

According to Staff Sgt. Phillip Butche, 4th MXG quality assurance inspector, Williams' knack for educating others is what made him stand out as the Air Force's best.

"What makes him a great leader is his ability to keep guys focused and teaching them when they have questions," Butche said. "He has a good attitude about his job and that really helps the people you work with. That's hard to find out here."

Since winning the award, Williams and his co-workers said his attitude hasn't changed. He's still the same hard-working, humble Airman and though he may get a few extra jokes from the other Airmen in his office for winning the award, he wouldn't want it any other way.

"Work ethic defines a lot of people," Williams said. "You have to come into work each day ready to get the job done so you don't leave a mess for the next shift. Put in a good day's work and you go home happy knowing you did your best."

For Williams, his best is also the Air Force's best.

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