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380AEW Article

380 AEW Airman wins 2016 Air Force Airfield Management Journeyman of the Year

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Preston Webb
  • 380th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs
These awards recognize exceptional enlisted service members who demonstrate superior leadership, job performance, community involvement and personal achievements.

“I’ve never won an award before this, so for it to be of this magnitude is mind-blowing for me. Winning something like this makes me feel like I can go far in the Air Force,” Bolding said. “It’s unfortunate that I have to leave my Airmen behind to attend the ceremony. At the same time, I’m very proud and happy with my career right now.”

According to Master Sgt. Christopher Davis, 380 EOSS airfield manager, Bolding’s selection didn’t come as a surprise. Davis said Bolding’s exceptional performance managing personnel who drive on the airfield, training the unit managers, and providing the maps, tools and skill required to drive on the flightline make him a clear choice for the award.

“Staff Sgt. Bolding is the most experienced airfield manager on my team. He’s my voice when I’m away, gives sound direction and ensures expectations of the team are met,” Davis said. “He’s an easy to follow leader as his sound input is always heard. It is easy to see why he was selected as the Air Force's Airfield Management Journeyman of the Year for 2016.”

Davis said that the Airfield Management shop here accomplishes its goal by combatting potential airfield hazards and protecting one of the most vital weapons systems in the Air Force inventory today-:; the runway. Airmen conduct daily inspections of an airfield larger than 33 million square feet while partnering with the host nation to provide an effective airfield environment which supports Coalition training and combat operations. They check for everything from foreign-object debris to small potholes that form over time.

Providing this critical Coalition support at Al Dhafra presents unique challenges, said Davis. Ordinarily, airfield management makes final decisions regarding airfield parking, flight planning and other airfield operations functions. However, as guests making use of host nation assets, these decisions must be coordinated our local mission partners.

Bolding, who came to the 380 AEW from Moody AFB, Ga., seconded the challenges and rewards of coordinating with a host nation.

“Sometimes it’s a little hard to understand them, so I’ll have to relay the message to the unit airfield managers. Other times, not everybody gets those messages and we have controlled movement violations or runway incursions,” Bolding said. “At the end of the day, if the airfield is safe, aircraft can land safely, and people have the training they need to get around, then I’m happy.”

Davis stressed the importance of accuracy when coordinating across multiple agencies, and the commitment to excellence required by his team in order to achieve mission success. This is a sentiment shared by Bolding.

“Anything I do in life, I try to hold myself to the highest standards. The people I work with are held to that standard as well, and I think it helps the mission,” Bolding said. “This is one of the best groups I’ve ever worked with. My Airmen have won some awards while they’ve been out here and watching them grow has been humbling.”

Bolding said he’s glad to have had the opportunity to play a pivotal, supervisory role in the Airfield Management mission at the 380 AEW.

“I’ve never been in this type of position before where I can hand off the reins, and sit back a little,” Bolding said. “Being able to observe and watch lets me teach the Airmen and pass off some of my experiences to help them further their careers.”

While he said he appreciates being selected as the 2016 Air Force Airfield Management Journeyman of the Year, Bolding claims awards shouldn’t become the “be all, end all” when it comes to performance.

“It’s not always about awards, though they help. Even if you don’t win any awards, if you keep on pushing, you’ll still get what you deserve. Even if you feel like it’s going unnoticed, continue to do what you do,” Bolding said. “If you’re doing what you’re supposed to, eventually everyone will know.”