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Unsung Hero Spotlight: TSgt. Lawton Rich leads through initiative and wisdom

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Noah Tancer
  • 378th Air Expeditionary Wing

PRINCE SULTAN AIR BASE, SAUDI ARABIA - The Top III Association of Prince Sultan Air Base, presented an award to an airman who went above and beyond their normal duty tasks.

The Unsung Hero award recognizes up-and-coming leaders within the ranks of E5 and E6 who exemplify their service’s core values, oftentimes behind the scenes, inspiring others and contributing to the improvement of customer service and the overall mission.

Tech. Sgt. Lawton Rich, a heating, ventilation, and air conditioning craftsman with the 378th Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron, has excelled as the non-commissioned officer in charge of one of the busiest shops in the 378th ECES, guiding the daily operations and welfare of 29 Airmen, contractors and Soldiers.

“It means a lot knowing that my hard work paid off,” said Rich. “Winning the Unsung Hero award means my squadron leadership recognized and appreciate the work I’ve done so far. I did it because I understand the mission here and wanted to take care of my guys as well.”

PSAB is Rich’s third deployment and first time at a forward operating base. Using a transformational leadership strategy, he steered his team through weekly training and held them accountable to execute the highest monthly work order rate of 2022 at 249 in July.

“My favorite part of the military has been the ability to travel and meet new people,” said Rich. “Listening to their stories, backgrounds and things they enjoy doing is honestly why I’ve stayed in. The camaraderie and ability to have a family away from your family, that’s the best part.”

Rich’s mentorship helped earned his team the AFCENT A7 Unit Safety award and seven squadron commander coins for his Airmen and Soldiers.

“I’ve been in the military 15 years so far, and it’s going by really fast,” said Rich. “I’m pretty much at the end so I know it will be over by the time that I look back. My words of wisdom would be to save as much as you can while you’re serving in the Air Force and find out what you’re interested in doing. If it’s not to stay in the military, figure out exactly what you want to do and focus on that while also completing the mission.”

Leading by example, Rich has completed the PSAB University program and inspired three of his Airmen to attend courses.

“Set yourself up for success,” said Rich. “Take advantage of all the opportunities that you have while you’re in the Air Force. Whether it be education, volunteering or any type of certification take advantage of it because you won’t get that anywhere else once you do decide to hang the uniform up.”

The Prince Sultan Air Base Top 3 Association is a group of senior non-commissioned officers devoted to helping the PSAB enlisted force.

Every month they present the Unsung Hero Award not just to thank Airmen for their hard work, but to encourage the enlisted force to hold firm their values and to be an example of integrity first, service before self and excellence in all that they do.