AFWA NCO wins award

  • Published
  • By Ms. Jodie Grigsby
  • Air Force Weather Agency Public Affairs
If you ask him, he owes everything to everyone. If you ask him, he is just proud to serve in the United States Air Force. If you ask him, he is just another average Airman. But if you've had the pleasure to meet him he is anything but average .

He is Staff Sgt. Jay Sablan, Air Force Weather Agency Communications Directorate, Network Systems Administrator, Offutt AFB, Neb. Sergeant Sablan was recently selected as the Headquarters Air Force Airman of the year; he will compete for one of the Air Force's 12 Outstanding Airmen of the Year award. This award recognizes 12 outstanding enlisted personnel for superior leadership, job performance, community involvement, and personal achievements. The 12 OAY winners also serve on the Air Force Enlisted Council for one year.

Sergeant Sablan, who recently pinned on his staff sergeant stripes, works as a network systems administrator to ensure AFWA's networks meet Air Force standards. He works tirelessly to ensure that the agency is able to receive and send weather data without interruption. He provides technical support, customer service, and emergency response for AFWA's core servers.

"If Sergeant Sablan doesn't do his job, the pilot won't get their forecast. It's that simple," said Master Sgt. Scott Kinney, Sergeant Sablan's supervisor.

"If he isn't doing his job, it won't matter how accurate the weather forecast is, the warfighter won't get that information," he continued.

Sergeant Sablan said he doesn't usually get to see first hand the fruits of his labor, which is why it is important to get feedback from the customer. Being recognized as one of the Air Force's top Airman serves as the ultimate feedback.

Always quick to credit his team, Sergeant Sablan said humbly, "it is reflective of the great things everyone does everyday. We are a great team."

His award package reads like a laundry list of achievements. His accomplishments are more fitting for a fleet of computer technicians, let alone a staff sergeant who still counts his time in the Air Force by months . 44 months to be exact. Last year he was the key to thwarting more than 240 thousand virus attacks on the AFWA server. His accomplishments and contributions do not stop at the doors of AFWA or at the gates of Offutt. His effects are also felt it the community, by helping to provide food and clothing for more than 200 Nebraskan veterans. He helped raised $17,000 to support needy families in the Offutt community. This active member of the AFWA Color Guard also volunteered at a local shelter for homeless families.

However, the most impressive attribute of the Guam native is that he is the pinnacle of professionalism. His immaculate uniform and the spit shined boots will make any first sergeant gleam with pride. When you ask Sergeant Sablan which one of his accomplishments makes him the most proud, he answers, "I am most proud of the people I work with. They do amazing things. I am lucky to have such great people to learn from."

Although, now it is easy for Sergeant Sablan to appreciate what he has learned from his Air Force family, it wasn't clear for him when he decided to join the Air Force.

"I joined the Air Force for the worst reasons, and stayed for the best," he said.

When pressed, he reluctantly and somewhat sheepishly, admitted that he joined the Air Force to follow a girl, his high school sweetheart. But for this Airman, who does everything with careful thought and purpose, the reason turned out not to be so foolish after all - since he is now married to that girl.

"I couldn't do any of this with out her love and support," Sergeant Sablan said about his wife.

Is he the perfect Airman? If you ask him, he would say no. Ask his supervisor, Master Sgt. Scott Kinney, and he tells you that Sergeant Sablan is just as about as close to perfect as you can get.

"I have never met anyone like him. The only limits for him are the ones he put on himself," said Sergeant Kinney on supervising Sergeant Sablan.

Sergeant Sablan admitted that he did feel some pressure from all the attention, and that he gets a lot of questions. He says the most common questions are, "What will it feel like if you win? What if you don't win?"

His answer, "I have a job I love. I work with people I admire and respect to accomplish a truly important mission. In my mind I've already won."