302 AW Reserve Citizen Airman recognized for outstanding performance

  • Published
  • By Laura Fitzmorris
  • 302nd Airlift Wing Public Affairs

A 302nd Operations Support Squadron aircrew flight equipment Airman earned a Headquarters Air Force level award for his exceptional performance in 2021.

Tech. Sgt. Matthew Kenny, 302 OSS AFE craftsman, was named Outstanding Aircrew Flight Equipment Noncommissioned Officer of the Year for both Air Force Reserve Command and HAF.

“There was no question when it came time to put in names and recommendations for who would be a good, competitive candidate for the AFE NCO of the Year Award,” said Master Sgt. Ashley Solum, aircrew flight equipment lead trainer and Kenny’s supervisor. “Tech. Sgt. Kenny had already been recognized at the squadron, wing and AFRC levels so we knew he would be an excellent nominee at the HAF level.”

Kenny says he never would have won the award without the support of his fellow Airmen and other great mentors throughout his life.

“Both my father and father-in-law are retired military and have nearly 55 years of leadership they’ve bestowed on me,” said Kenny. “I’ve also been privileged to have great supervisors that always went the extra mile for me throughout my career within the Air Force. I’d also like to thank my wife, who so kindly coaches and guides me. She supports me and the family more than I could ask for, especially when I’m deployed or on a temporary duty assignment.”

Outside of his acknowledgments and recognition, Solum said her troop always leads the charge with a positive attitude.

“He is an excellent trainer and mentor, not only to younger Airmen, but to his peers and leaders as well,” said Solum. “His vast knowledge and expertise on the equipment make him an invaluable asset.”

Kenny has many roles in the AFE shop and, according to him, is often training fellow Airmen or leading by example with hands-on equipment. He routinely packs parachutes, inspects night vision goggles and tests floatation equipment.

“I’ve become a subject-matter expert on our defense property accountability system, which we use to forecast bench stock, maintain equipment records, generate reports and inquiries pertaining to our equipment and inspections,” said Kenny. “I also help with our aircrew training program, which includes training aircrew how to use our survival equipment, and the proper use of our chemical/biological equipment. Lastly, I’m the unit safety representative. Most drill weekends I spend some time making sure our squadron isn’t violating any safety hazards.”

Solum said that Kenny’s remarkable character and enthusiasm to serve are exceptional qualities that make him a stand-out NCO.

“We are so lucky to have him,” said Solum. “I am proud to serve with him.”

When asked what he would tell the Airmen working next to and supporting him, Kenny said ‘thank you.’

“Thank you for pushing me to always better myself and to stray out of my comfort zone routinely. Thank you for having high expectations of me and for taking time out of your busy day to care about a fellow Airman,” said Kenny. “I think this award could also be named best AFE shop for all of HAF. I couldn’t have won this award without the help from everyone within the office.”