New Chief’s Group program recognizes excellence

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Heather Heiney
  • 302nd Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Recognition is a way to show someone that the work they do is noticed and appreciated.


Chief Master Sgt. Michael Fekete, president of the 302nd Airlift Wing Chief’s Group, said the chiefs wanted to come up with a recognition process that took the process of presenting a chief’s coin to a deserving Reserve Citizen Airman and elevated it. What they came up with is the new Chief’s Group Excellence Award.


“This is our attempt at capturing wing-wide accomplishments of our men and women,” he said.


Fekete also said while official awards and decorations are important and a way to recognize people, they are time consuming. So, the group wanted to establish a process they would have time to complete every month during the limited time span of a unit training assembly.


“Keeping in line with the wing's mission, vision, and priorities to cultivate, motivate, and empower Airmen to lead, the 302nd Chief's Group wanted a way to recognize the 302nd AW's outstanding enlisted performers on a monthly basis,” said Chief Master Sgt. Jeffrey Flight, 731st Airlift Squadron loadmaster superintendent. “We have a lot of unsung heroes kicking butt in the 302nd and it is an honor for the Chief's Group to recognize these outstanding Airmen.”


Five individuals have been recognized so far for the work they’ve done for the 302nd.


Master Sgt. Mary Griego with the 302nd Force Support Squadron ensured 302nd AW members received professional military education school slots, coordinated the Senior Noncommissioned Officer Leadership Course and NCO Leadership Development Course and provided education support to the entire wing.


Tech. Sgt. Allison Heckenkamp with the 302nd Logistics Readiness Squadron was the main coordinator for recent wing-wide training, saving approximately 21,000 man-hours by replacing certain computer based training courses with in-person training.


Master Sgt. Nicholas Kundert, the 302nd AW Yellow Ribbon representative ensured members and families of the 302nd AW and 310th Space Wing were able to attend Yellow Ribbon events, which help attendees prepare for and reintegrate after deployments.


Master Sgt. Isaac Lopez, who is now retired, and Tech. Sgt. Carlos Gonzalez with the 302nd Security Forces Squadron provided combat arms and expeditionary active shooter training to hundreds of 302nd AW members.


Fekete says the best way to bring outstanding individuals to the attention of the Chief’s Group for recognition is to channel the information to their respective superintendents.


“At the end of the day we took a stance that we, as a group, were going to acknowledge our people,” Fekete said. “We’d like to keep it going as long as we’re provided the opportunity.”