Outstanding Airmen of 2013

Brig. Gen. Brian Newby, chief of staff for the Texas Air National Guard pins the Texas Medal of Merit on Senior Airman Joushua Long, 136th Airlift Wing Airman of the Year for his outstanding performance in the Wing. Long competed amongst fellow Airmen thoughout the State. (National Guard photo by Senior Master Sgt. Elizabeth Gilbert)

Brig. Gen. Brian Newby, chief of staff for the Texas Air National Guard pins the Texas Medal of Merit on Senior Airman Joushua Long, 136th Airlift Wing Airman of the Year for his outstanding performance in the Wing. Long competed amongst fellow Airmen thoughout the State. (National Guard photo by Senior Master Sgt. Elizabeth Gilbert)

Brig. Gen. Brian Newby, chief of staff for the Texas Air National Guard awards the Texas Medal of Merit to Master Sgt. Nora Castro, 136th Airlift Wing First Sgt.of the Year for her outstanding performance in the Wing. Castro competed amongst fellow Airmen thoughout the State. (National Guard photo by Senior Master Sgt. Elizabeth Gilbert)

Brig. Gen. Brian Newby, chief of staff for the Texas Air National Guard awards the Texas Medal of Merit to Master Sgt. Nora Castro, 136th Airlift Wing First Sgt.of the Year for her outstanding performance in the Wing. Castro competed amongst fellow Airmen thoughout the State. (National Guard photo by Senior Master Sgt. Elizabeth Gilbert)

Brig. Gen. Brian Newby, chief of staff for the Texas Air National Guard congratulates Tech. Sgt.Olypia Williamson, 136th Air Lift Wing,Honor Guard Member of the Year for Texas at Camp Mabry, Jan.13, 2013. Williamson continues on for the State in the national competition, competing against active duty Air Force and Reserves. (National Guard photo by Senior Master Sgt. Elizabeth Gilbert)

Brig. Gen. Brian Newby, chief of staff for the Texas Air National Guard congratulates Tech. Sgt.Olypia Williamson, 136th Air Lift Wing,Honor Guard Member of the Year for Texas at Camp Mabry, Jan.13, 2013. Williamson continues on for the State in the national competition, competing against active duty Air Force and Reserves. (National Guard photo by Senior Master Sgt. Elizabeth Gilbert)

Major Gen. John Nichols, Adjutant General for the State of Texas congratulates Tech. Sgt. Carolyn Tatum, 136th Air Lift Wing, Non Commissioned Officer of the Year for Texas, at Camp Mabry, Jan.13, 2013. Tatum continues on for the State in the national competition, competing against active duty Air Force and Reserves. (National Guard photo by Senior Master Sgt. Elizabeth Gilbert)

Major Gen. John Nichols, Adjutant General for the State of Texas congratulates Tech. Sgt. Carolyn Tatum, 136th Air Lift Wing, Non Commissioned Officer of the Year for Texas, at Camp Mabry, Jan.13, 2013. Tatum continues on for the State in the national competition, competing against active duty Air Force and Reserves. (National Guard photo by Senior Master Sgt. Elizabeth Gilbert)

Brig. Gen. Brian Newby, chief of staff for the Texas Air National Guard pins the Texas Medal of Merit on Senior Mater Sgt. Edward Walden, 136th Airlift Wing Senior Non-Commissioned Officer of th Year for his outstanding performance in the Wing. Walden competed amongst fellow SNCOs thoughout the State. (National Guard photo by Senior Master Sgt. Elizabeth Gilbert)

Brig. Gen. Brian Newby, chief of staff for the Texas Air National Guard pins the Texas Medal of Merit on Senior Mater Sgt. Edward Walden, 136th Airlift Wing Senior Non-Commissioned Officer of th Year for his outstanding performance in the Wing. Walden competed amongst fellow SNCOs thoughout the State. (National Guard photo by Senior Master Sgt. Elizabeth Gilbert)

CAMP MABRY, Texas -- Thirty-one outstanding Airmen from various units across Texas competed here, Jan. 13, 2013 to determine the top Airmen in six categories.
"The process of becoming Outstanding Airmen of the Year starts at each individual unit, and the selected Airmen first have to win their squadron, or their group, or their wing before they can advance to the state level," said Senior Master Sgt. Michael Selheim, Superintendent Headquarters A6.

Setting up an event such as the OAY takes around six months to plan out, said Selheim. "This is very time consuming but I enjoy doing it and I am glad to be a part of the OAY board."
Each nominee stood before a panel of four to five Senior Non-Commissioned Officers and where then interviewed and judged on their dress and appearance and how they embodied and exceeded the Air Force core values.

The questions included knowledge of Air Force History, current events and personal questions of their own values.

The moment of truth had come.

Selheim announced the winners for each category: Airmen - Senior Airman Tabare Faison, 204th Security Forces Squadron; Non-Commissioned Officer - Tech. Sgt. Carolyn Tatum, 136th Airlift Wing; Senior Non-Commissioned Officer - Master Sgt. Mike Connelley, 273rd Information Operations Squadron; First Sergeant - Master Sgt. Malvin Barge-Rivera, 147th Reconnaissance Wing; Honor Guard Member - Tech. Sgt Olympia Williamson, 136th Airlift Wing; Honor Guard Manager - Tech. Sgt. David Williams, 147th Reconnaissance Wing.
After the announcements were made, Tech. Sgt. Carolyn Tatum, 136th Logistics Readiness Squadron, had a huge grin on her face because not only did she win NCO of the Year but a fellow 136th member, Tech. Sgt. Olympia Williamson 136th Logistics Readiness Squadron, also won in her group as well.

"I feel very proud that the 136th has supported me, gotten me to this level and for all their hard work, dedication, time, effort and energy; I am just happy to represent them," said Tatum.

Being selected as a nominee as OAY is also a huge honor to each service member; nominees and winners alike were proud to be a part of such a special event.

"It is an honor to be here with everyone that has been selected from other wings,'' said Master Sgt. Nora Castor, First Sergeant, 136th Civil Engineer Squadron. "It has never been about the promotions, it has never been for the recognition but it has simply been about giving back and hopefully those individuals can do the same thing to brighten their opportunities and brighten the word about the Air National Guard."

The Air National Guard becomes family to most members; not only do they have family at home but family at work.

"That is my brother (getting the award), that is my sister, that is my fellow 136th member," said Tatum.