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Airman gets surprise STEP promotion
Brig. Gen. Mike Minahan, 380th Air Expeditionary Wing commander, presents a surprised Staff Sgt. Daniel Lopez with technical sergeant stripes during a recent 380th Expeditionary Aircraft Maintenance Squadron formation. Tech. Sgt. Lopez was awarded the promotion through the Air Force's Stripes for Exceptional Performers program. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Julie Briden-Garcia)
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Airman gets a surprise STEP promotion

Posted 2/3/2011   Updated 2/3/2011 Email story   Print story


by Master Sgt. Julie Briden-Garcia
380th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs

2/3/2011 - SOUTHWEST ASIA -- There's a difference between getting the job done and going above and beyond -- one staff sergeant went substantially beyond to get his mission accomplished. At a recently squadron formation with the 380th Expeditionary Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, Brig. Gen. Mike Minahan, 380th Air Expeditionary Wing commander, presented him with a Stripes for Exceptional Performers promotion.

Staff Sgt. Daniel Lopez, an RQ-4 crew chief, was promoted to technical sergeant due to his extreme attention to detail and strong leadership skills. Among some of his accomplishments that elevated this Airman above the rest was his recent selection as the 2010 AFCENT Lieutenant General Leo Marquez Award winner, NCO category, for his outstanding maintenance leadership. This award is presented to maintainers who have demonstrated the highest degree of sustained job performance, knowledge and efficiency in various maintenance categories.

This crew chief, whose responsibilities include maintaining the Global Hawk block-20 model, unknowingly stood with his peers and leadership when the 380th AEW commander called out his dormitory roommate, Staff Sgt. Brian Angell, 380th EAMXS, on a matter concerning Wingman responsibilities.

"Staff Sergeant Angell," the general said, "I was informed that you allowed one of your Wingmen to leave the dorm today out of uniform," loomed the general. After a few moments, the general called up Staff Sgt. Lopez and informed him that he was the individual out of uniform in accordance with AFI 36-2903. General Minahan and Sergeant Angell were honored to stand in for Sergeant Lopez's family and tack on his new stripes.

"I can't say enough about the work ethic and professionalism of Tech. Sgt. Lopez," said Sergeant Angell. "All along he's worked above his pay grade and been willing to accomplish taskings outside his work-related duties. For me, he was the best peer I have worked with."

Even though promotions occur on a regular basis in the Air Force - it's not a common occurrence when a promotion, based primarily on deployed performance, is presented to a troop before they redeploy.

"This is something that doesn't happen that often in a deployed atmosphere and I'm proud to have this happen to one of our own," said General Minahan.

Sergeant Lopez acknowledged that he was humbled by this recognition his superiors bestowed upon him. He encourages other Airmen to put a wholehearted effort into their work and set that example out there for other Airmen to follow.

Teamwork is a large part of the mission. Sergeants Lopez and Angell have taken teamwork to new heights, challenging one another to excel and demonstrated superior leadership skills.

"Learning from him during our assignment here has helped me improved as an NCO," said Sergeant Angell, "and given me a clearer idea of the importance of seeing the big picture while working the small details. This guy was able to step in to any job from his normal crew chief duties to working as an expediter and flight chief. He possesses the ability to walk in to any situation, assess the work needed, and lead a team to the job completion."

With only a few days left before Sergeant Lopez returns home, he reflects on his time here and all the people who contributed to the 380th EAMXS continuing a successful mission.

"My challenge for those I leave behind is to lead with action and direct your people. Our actions are what define us, not intentions. Get out from behind the keyboard and lead those who will follow you.

"Personal accountability has refined my work this year. No one can hit home runs every time at bat. You will strike out from time to time but it's how you handle the failure that makes you successful in the future. We train for these opportunities to prove ourselves in the field."

3/3/2011 10:34:37 PM ET
I have known Dan a long time. He is a true super star. Great Job Dan I am extremely proud of you.
CMSgt Tim Green, Joint Base Pearl Harbor Hickam
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