A1C Jordan Lidrazzah, Avionics and Test Station Component ACE

Congratulations to the ACE award recipient, Airman 1st Class Jordan Lidrazzah, for scoring 100 percent on all his tests in the Avionics and Test Station Component course.

Airman 1st Class Jordan Lidrazzah
Avionics and Test Station Component ACE.

Rank and Name: Airman 1st Class Jordan Lidrazzah.

Unit to be assigned:48th Maintenance Squadron, Lakenheath Royal Air Force Base.

Duty title: Avionics and Test Station Component Specialist.

Hometown: Las Vegas, Nev.

Time in Service: 7 months.

Why he joined: After I graduated college, I was looking for an opportunity to work. I was initially interested in the Army but through conversations with family and friends I was guided towards the Air Force.

Family: I have my mother Maria, father Donald, two older brothers and one younger sister.

Hobbies: I enjoy crossfit and art.

Favorite aspect of job: I have not decided yet.

Most memorable Air Force experience: Seeing my father and brother at Basic Military Training on my graduation day.

How he makes responsible choices: I follow the rules and surround myself with responsible people.

“It is a rare event when a student in this course achieves a 100% GPA,” said Elizabeth Peveto, Lidrazzah’s instructor. “Lidrazzah set a goal for himself when he started this course; to achieve the Top Graduate award. He put forth the effort and exceeded his goal. He has done more than just excel academically; as the class leader he has demonstrated maturity and dedication to service and has been a positive role model for his classmates as well as the other students in this schoolhouse throughout his time here in the Automatic Test Equipment Course.”

A1C Cody Thompson, Aerospace Propulsion ACE

Congratulations to the ACE award recipient, Airman 1st Class Cody Thompson, for scoring 100 percent on all his tests in the Aerospace Propulsion Apprentice course. Thompson graduated Sept. 11, 2015.

Airman 1st Class Cody Thompson
Aerospace Propulsion ACE

Rank and Name: Airman 1st Class Cody Thompson

Unit: 2nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, Barksdale Air Force Base, La.

Duty title: Aerospace Propulsion Apprentice

Hometown: San Jacinto, Calif.

Time in Service: 4 months.

Why he joined: To have purpose in my life, something in my life I can be proud of accomplishing.

Family: My Mother, Robin Thompson and step Father Akira Cornell.

Hobbies: Music and watching movies.

Favorite aspect of the job: Always having more to learn.

Most memorable Air Force experience: Graduating Basic Military Training.

How he makes responsible choices: Thinking things through prior to making decisions.

“A1C Cody Thompson received the ACE Award and top graduate honors after completing the 361st Training Squadron’s TF-34 aerospace propulsion engine apprentice course,” said Staff Sgt. Jessica Dial, Thompson’s instructor. “Thompson scored 100 percent on all block tests showing he is absorbing the Air Force core values. While excelling as a student, he also achieved his teal rope and received a certificate of appreciation from SAPR. Thompson’s dedication to the mission and helping others will truly be an asset to the Air Force.”

A1C Austin French, Electronic Warfare Systems ACE

Congratulations to the ACE award recipient, Airman 1st Class Austin French, for scoring 100 percent on all his tests in the Electronic Warfare Systems Apprentice course. French is graduating Aug. 25, 2015.

Airman 1st Class Austin French
Electronic Warfare Systems ACE

Rank and Name: A1C Austin French.

Unit: 124th Maintenance Squadron

Duty title: Electronic Warfare Systems Apprentice.

Hometown: Boise, Idaho.

Time in Service: 7 Months.

Why he joined: To serve my community and my country.

Family: My Father is Douglas French and my Mother is Christina Branesky, who is married to my Step-father, John Branesky. I have an Older Sister, Lacee Peugh, and Younger Twin Sisters, Janae and Carissa Branesky and a 1 year old dog named Louie.

Hobbies: I love the outdoors in Idaho and camping and fishing with my father and grandfather. I am also a video game enthusiast and enjoy playing mostly strategy and shooter games.

Favorite aspect of job: Troubleshooting and solving problems.

Most memorable Air Force experience: Singing jodies at Basic Military Training.

How he makes responsible choices: I believe in taking advice whenever I can.

“A1C Austin French has unparalleled work ethic,” said U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Brandon Wilson, French’s instructor. “His work ethic propelled him to achieve the highest award available from the Electronic Warfare Systems Apprentice course. French is the second student to receive the ACE award for the course since it moved to Sheppard Air Force Base in 2003 … He exudes leadership, as proven by his stepping up to take over as class leader … He acts as a role model for underprivileged youth while working with the Big Brothers Big Sisters of America.”

A1C Matthew Erickson, F-16 Avionics Systems ACE

Congratulations to the ACE award recipient, Airman 1st Class Matthew Erickson, for scoring 100 percent on all his tests in the F-16 Avionics Systems Apprentice course. Erickson is graduating Aug. 21, 2015.

Airman 1st Class Matthew Erickson
F-16 Avionics Systems ACE

Rank and Name: A1C Matthew P. Erickson.

Unit: 365th Training Squadron.

Duty title: F-16 Avionics Systems Apprentice.

Hometown: Emmons, Minn.

Time in Service: 1 Year and 4 months.

Why he joined: I’ve never seen myself doing anything else. I also wanted to follow in my father’s footsteps.

Family: My Father is Marcus and Mother, Tracy. I also have two Sisters, Ashley Yost and Amber Erickson.

Hobbies: Any action sport, snowboarding, farming, football, basketball and hunting.

Favorite aspect of job: Meeting new people and helping others.

Most memorable Air Force experience: Watching my first jet take off straight up into the air with my sponsor and another Airmen from my shop.

How he makes responsible choices: By weighing the circumstances.

“A1C Erickson stands out amongst his peers because of his extremely positive attitude and his relentless drive to achieve his goals,” said Robbie Chupik, Erickson’s instructor. “He has consistently proven himself to not only be an excellent follower, but also a steadfast leader both in and out of the classroom by accomplishing the impressive feat of receiving a red rope while at Sheppard. Erickson also defines the whole Airman concept with a work ethic that far exceeds any standard set forth by his predecessors. No one holds Erickson to a higher standard than himself, which is why he always follows through with what is expected of him.”

A1C Jasmine Orr, Aircraft Armament Systems ACE

Congratulations to the ACE Award recipient, Airman 1st Class Jasmine Orr, for scoring 100 percent on all her tests in the Aircraft Armament Systems course. Orr graduated Aug. 6, 2015.

Airman 1st Class Jasmine Orr
Aircraft Armament Systems ACE

Rank and Name: A1C Jasmine Orr.

Unit: 363rd Training Squadron.

Duty Title: Aircraft Armament Systems Specialist.

Hometown: Fort Worth, Texas.

Time in Service: Five months.

Why she joined: I joined to start my career and see the world.

Family: My Father, Lawrence Orr, is an Army Veteran and my Mother, Sharla May, is a high school math teacher. I also have a Brother, Aaron May, who is in the Navy.

Hobbies: Shopping, listening to music and relaxing at the beach.

Favorite aspect of the job: Working with my fellow Airmen.

Most memorable Air Force experience: Graduating from Basic Military Training.

How she makes responsible choices: I think about how the consequences of my actions affect the people around me and I live by my core values.

“Airman Orr will be recognized for all her hard work that she has put in this early on in her career,” said U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Joshua Roberts, Orr’s instructor. “Orr is my first student to receive this award and has clearly stood out amongst her peers by her determination and dedication. Orr has constantly done what is right and strives to help others; ensuring she is not only doing everything to her best ability, but also her fellow Airmen.”

Airman Nathan Chandler, Instruments and Flight Control Systems ACE

Congratulations to the ACE Award recipient for the Instruments and Flight Control System Apprentice course, graduating August 6, 2015. Airman Nathan Chandler scored 100 percent on all his course material.

Airman Nathan Chandler
Instruments and Flight Control Systems ACE

Rank and Name: Airman Nathan William Chandler.

Unit: 365th Training Squadron, Heavy Avionics Flight.

Duty title: Instruments and Flight Control System Apprentice.

Hometown: Boise, Idaho.

Time in Service: 7 Months.

Why he joined: I joined to serve my country and Family, and to receive an education with on the job training.

Family: Wife (Victoria), two cats, one dog, four Brothers and one Sister.

Hobbies: I enjoy reading fiction novels; especially from Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman. I also like writing, playing video games and Dungeons and Dragons.

Favorite aspect of job: I like learning about how the aircraft works and the various avionics systems within the career field.

Most memorable Air Force experience: Telling my wife that I am going to be going to Kadena AB, Japan.

How he makes responsible choices: I remember my goals and try to avoid doing anything that would distract me from achieving them.

“Airman Chandler achieved one of the most difficult objectives in our courses history,” said U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Brent Hoefer, Chandler’s instructor. “He is one of two people out of ten years, 215 classes, and 3,215 students that has completed IFCS apprentice course with perfection. Airman Chandler is a highly motivated individual putting forth the effort of studying in his off time and throughout the week. He continuously took notes and drawings of diagrams that would help grasp the difficult systems covered in our lectures for many of aircraft systems. Understanding how each of the complex systems that work in the aircraft can be very difficult for Airman to grasp; especially how each of the systems works together with the different modes of operations and how some of the systems are integrated to other systems for operations. Airman Chandler will be a great asset to his next gaining unit.”

A1C Josuhé Serrano propulsion ACE

Congratulations to the ACE Award recipient for the Aerospace Propulsion Apprentice course, graduating July 29, 2015. Airman 1st Class Josuhé Serrano scored 100 percent on all his course material.

A1C Josuhé Serrano

Rank and Name: A1C Josuhé Serrano Orriols.

Unit: 156th Airlift Wing at Muñiz Air National Guard Base, Puerto Rico.

Duty title: Aerospace propulsion apprentice.

Hometown: San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Time in Service: 2 Years and 3 months.

Why he joined: I joined for the experience, travel, education and to make my family proud.

Family: Mom, Dad and a Brother.

Hobbies: Working on my cars, fishing, bowling and working out.

Favorite aspect of job: Every day is a new experience.

Most memorable Air Force experience: Graduating from Basic Military Training.

How does he make responsible choices: Being a good example to other Airmen, having integrity and using past experiences to shape the future.

“The occurrence of an airman achieving the ACE Award in our course is very uncommon and has not happened since 2013,” said U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Justin Boyd, aerospace propulsion instructor with the 361st Training Squadron. “So having two Airmen achieve this accomplishment in the same class, from the same unit, goes to show that this is a once in a lifetime achievement for these individuals and probably the schoolhouse. Not only do these Airmen exceed the expectations of our course, they are truly among the best for our Air Forces’ future.”

A1C Alejandro Marrero propulsion ACE

Congratulations to the ACE Award recipient for the Aerospace Propulsion Apprentice course, graduating July 29, 2015. Airman 1st Class Alejandro Marrero scored 100 percent on all his course material.

A1C Marrero ACE

Rank and Name: A1C Alejandro Marrero

Unit: 156th Airlift Wing at Muñiz Air National Guard Base, Puerto Rico.

Duty title: Aerospace Propulsion Apprentice.

Hometown: Puerto Rico

Time in Service: 2 Years

Why he joined: I joined because I have always wanted to deploy and to further my education.

Family: Mom, Dad, Sister and 3 ½ year-old son.

Hobbies: Cars, paintball and surfing.

Favorite aspect of the job: Having the opportunity of using the skills I have learned to further my career in and out of the Air Force.

Most memorable Air Force experience: Graduating from Basic Military Training and the day my family picked me up at the airport.

How does he make responsible choices: Living by the Air Force Core values.

“The occurrence of an airman achieving the ACE Award in our course is very uncommon and has not happened since 2013,” said U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Justin Boyd, aerospace propulsion instructor with the 361st Training Squadron. “So having two Airmen achieve this accomplishment in the same class, from the same unit, goes to show that this is a once in a lifetime achievement for these individuals and probably the schoolhouse. Not only do these Airmen exceed the expectations of our course, they are truly among the best for our Air Forces’ future.”

Sheppard Combat Barbeque embodies Air Force family

by Senior Airman Kyle Gese
82nd Training Wing Public Affairs

The Air Force is one family – no one is left behind.

It is this ideal that drives our force, and the Combat Barbeque held April 24, 2015, was a great example of how we work towards being a family.

Sheppard Combat Barbeque embodies Air Force family
U.S. Air Force Capt. Joshua Meyer, 363rd Training Squadron logistics readiness officer training instructor, crawls through a muddy obstacle during the Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas, Combat Barbeque 5k run. The Air Force ensures Airmen are ready for new missions by holding morale events that bring the community together in a family setting to strengthen mental, physical, social and spiritual fitness. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kyle Gese/Released)

It is an important part in every person’s life – being a family that is – that shapes who you are and who you will become.

Sometimes your family can stress you out, but other times they can be your drive to accomplish the impossible.

In the end, it is often times your family that pulls you out of bad situations. In this case, it’s pulling you over obstacles. Regardless, family is an essential part of our development both personally and professionally.

U.S. Air Force Airmen from Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas, work together to accomplish tasks during a base-wide Combat Barbeque obstacle course, April 24, 2015. Out of approximately 1,000 Airmen who attended, roughly 300 Airmen participated in the obstacle course. Airmen stayed together to push through rain, mud, sweat and freezing water, strengthening social, physical and mental fitness. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kyle Gese/Released)

Morale events like the barbeque help build and strengthen ties that bind us together as part of the world’s greatest air, space and cyber space force. Roughly 1,000 coworkers and unit members from around the base attended to cheer on their counterparts in the Combat Barbeque obstacle course (who knew the 82nd Security Forces Squadron would take home the trophy … after all, they are the ones with all the guns. Good job team!).

This event is exactly what – I’m going to say it – comprehensive Airman fitness is all about. It exercised every area of physical, mental, social and spiritual fitness.

Teams of all Airmen – enlisted, officer and our civilians – worked together to conquer even the biggest of beastly obstacles, crossing the finish line. In the end, everyone enjoyed a lunch fit for winners and left with stronger relationships among each of the units.

Kudos to all who planned and participated in the triumphant barbeque.

Sheppard Air Force Base holds last Iwo Jima reunion

by Senior Airman Kyle Gese
82nd Training Wing Public Affairs

The gentle beating of drums started as the patriot riders motorcycle escort approached Sheppard Elementary School. Children rushed out to the sidewalks to greet the legendary heroes; survivors of the battle of Iwo Jima.

Sheppard Air Force Base holds last Iwo Jima reunion
William Schott, Iwo Jima survivor, walks through a gauntlet outside Sheppard Elementary School at Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas, Feb. 13, 2015. Children from the school met with WWII veterans during the Iwo Jima Survivors 70th Reunion. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kyle Gese/Released)

A rumble of tiny hands clapping erupted as they exited the buses. Flanked on both sides, WWII veterans walked through the lines of children holding U.S. flags high. Several of the youth saluted, grinning from ear-to-ear as they passed.

It wasn’t long before the veterans were listening to children singing the U.S. national anthem during the opening ceremony. Later, a few children shared their speeches about the heroes in their lives to honor them.

Children from Sheppard Elementary School sit in the cafeteria for the Iwo Jima Survivors 70th Reunion at Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas, Feb. 13, 2015. The elementary school children’s choir opened the event with the singing of the U.S. anthem followed by presentations for the Iwo Jima survivors. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kyle Gese/Released)
Children from Sheppard Elementary School sit in the cafeteria for the Iwo Jima Survivors 70th Reunion at Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas, Feb. 13, 2015. The elementary school children’s choir opened the event with the singing of the U.S. anthem followed by presentations for the Iwo Jima survivors. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kyle Gese/Released)

“This will be our last hoorah,” said Hershel “Woody” Williams, last surviving Medal of Honor recipient during the battle for Iwo Jima. “For some of you, we may not see each other again,”

Fighting his way past machine gunfire in 1945, Williams aided in neutralizing one of the most heavily defended Japanese strong points that he and his men encountered. Today, Williams shares his stories of miracles with the Sheppard Elementary School children; the future of America.

Hershel “Woody” Williams, Iwo Jima survivor and Medal of Honor recipient, tells a story to the Sheppard Elementary School students during the Iwo Jima Survivors 70th Reunion at Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas, Feb. 13, 2015. Williams shared his story of miracles during the last anniversary for the Iwo Jima survivors. He is the last living Iwo Jima Medal of Honor recipient. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kyle Gese/Released)
Hershel “Woody” Williams, Iwo Jima survivor and Medal of Honor recipient, tells a story to the Sheppard Elementary School students during the Iwo Jima Survivors 70th Reunion at Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas, Feb. 13, 2015. Williams shared his story of miracles during the last anniversary for the Iwo Jima survivors. He is the last living Iwo Jima Medal of Honor recipient. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kyle Gese/Released)

“You never know when a miracle may come our way,” said Williams. “I hope everyone in this room, in their time, will find their miracle.”

The lights dimmed as the students played a slideshow. “I am proud to be an American” played and began stirring emotions. Soon an explosion of pride consumed the room as the words “and I proudly stand up,” played. The children rose to their feet with Williams and saluted for the remainder of the song.

U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. Scott Kindsvater, 82nd Training Wing commander, sits beside Hershal “Woody” Williams, Iwo Jima survivor and Medal of Honor recipient, during the Iwo Jima Survivors 70th Reunion at Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas, Feb. 13, 2015. Kindsvater and Williams applaud for the Sheppard Elementary School students after they delivered their speeches. This will be the last reunion of the Iwo Jima survivors. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kyle Gese/Released)
U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. Scott Kindsvater, 82nd Training Wing commander, sits beside Hershal “Woody” Williams, Iwo Jima survivor and Medal of Honor recipient, during the Iwo Jima Survivors 70th Reunion at Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas, Feb. 13, 2015. Kindsvater and Williams applaud for the Sheppard Elementary School students after they delivered their speeches. This will be the last reunion of the Iwo Jima survivors. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kyle Gese/Released)

This will be the last time the school hosts these veterans them for their reunion; this was their last hoorah.