129th RQS gunner named outstanding SNCO for California

MOFFETT FEDERAL AIRFIELD, Calif. -- An aerial gunner superintendant with the 129th Rescue Wing was awarded as the 2009 California Air National Guard Senior Non-commissioned Officer of the Year at the Outstanding Airman of the Year banquet in Sacramento, Calif., Jan. 16, 2010.

Senior Master Sgt. Jason Red, the HH-60G Pave Hawk aerial gunner section superintendant for the 129th Rescue Squadron here was recognized for superior leadership, job performance, community involvement, and personal achievements.

"I was surprised I actually won at the wing level, let alone for the state," Sergeant Red said. "It was an honor to receive the award, especially with my parents and my daughter there to support me."

Ten years after beginning his active duty Air Force career in 1989 as a munitions systems specialist, Sergeant Red joined the Air Force Reserve where he was selected to become an aerial gunner with the 305th Rescue Squadron at Davis- Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz.

"I went straight into the Reserve, with no break in service, and almost instantly did an active duty tour at USAFE Headquarters in support of Operation Allied Force. After that conflict ended I was asked to remain on active duty for the staff and go down range to assist with the munitions issues relating to Operation Northern," Sergeant Red said. "In September of that year I got the call from the 305th while I was still deployed, saying that the gunner program was back online and did I want in, so upon returning from my tour overseas, I was fortunate enough to come back to the unit as one of the first aerial gunners."

Sergeant Red finally transitioned to the 129th RQW in January 2005 as a traditional Guardsman standard and evaluation aerial gunner for the 129th Operations Group. He later he assumed the role of the 129th Rescue Squadron aerial gunner section superintendant Oct. 2007.

As the superintendant, Sergeant Red ensures that all aerial gunners within the squadron are mission ready when the 129th is tasked for deployment. With this responsibility Sergeant Red also heavily recruits for the 129th RQS, having increased the manning to its maximum allowable capacity of 110%, said Chief Master Sgt. Richard Nowaski, Pave Hawk flight engineer with the 129th RQS.

In his capacity as an instructor and evaluator gunner, Sergeant Red goes above and beyond to conduct training for all 129th RQW enlisted flyers, as well as evaluating them to ensure the standards delineated by the operations group commander are being met, Chief Nowaski said.

Sergeant Red also attends senior leadership conferences within the aerial gunner career field, where he provides guidance on topics ranging from mission qualification syllabi, to overall career field management spanning the ANG, Air Force Reserve and active duty.

"Having served in all three components, and been deployed with all three, deploying is always the same," Sergeant Red said. "It doesn't matter what component you're in. Once you get in country, the job's the job and everyone does their part the same, doesn't matter which component you are a part of. I saw our people do some extraordinary things over there, made me very proud to be a part of this unit."

Sergeant Red has been deployed numerous times in support of Operations Desert Storm, Deny Flight, Provide Promise, Allied Force, Enduring Freedom, Southern Watch, and Northern Watch.

While deployed Sergeant Red has also shown great leadership and job performance in every mission he was tasked to. During Operation Enduring Freedom he showed exemplary supervisory skill to form a cohesive fighting unit from more than five separate ANG and active duty rescue squadrons during some of the most intense operations USAF rescue teams have experienced since the Vietnam War, said Sergeant Red.

As a senior enlisted aviator, Sergeant Red shines on the ever-changing battlefield incomparable to others, and has the ability to solve all tactical problems allowing him to mentor junior aviators as the subject matter expert in the aerial gunner combat deployment field, increasing survivability.

Outside of the military Sergeant Red is a senior special agent with the Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement. He is recognized throughout the nation by federal, state, and local law enforcement as a subject matter expert on Criminal Street Gangs and their methods of operations.

He goes on to volunteer his expertise to juvenile authorities about criminal street gangs and is regularly sought out by city officials to conduct gang membership counseling for high risk youth to prevent recidivism, said Sergeant Red.

In what free time he does have, Sergeant Red volunteers his time and expertise as a highly qualified firearms instructor to local Bay Area agencies, including twice a month, on weekends that don't conflict with his ANG drill schedule, to new recruits awaiting Police Academy Training, Sergeant Red said.

Furthermore, Sergeant Red is an avid spokesman for the 129th RQW. He has been selected to speak to local media about the mission here, promoting a positive ANG image. He has also volunteered as guest speaker during the newcomers briefing to provide first-hand account of the 129th RQS rescue mission.

As if all of his job performance and community involvement weren't generous enough, Sergeant Red also has an impressive list of personal achievements. Engaged in self-study program continually improving his leadership, management skills, and writing techniques, Sergeant Red is currently pursuing a degree in criminal justice coinciding with a degree in aviation operations.