News>Grand Forks Airman named 2012 USAF Expeditionary Center Honor Guard Member of the Year
Staff Sgt. Alexandra Crawley, Grand Forks Air Force Base Honor Guard NCO in charge, was named the 2012 U.S. Air Force Expeditionary Center Honor Guard Member of the Year. (U.S. Air Force photo illustration/Staff Sgt. Luis Loza Gutierrez)
Staff Sgt. Alexandra Crawley, Grand Forks Air Force Base Honor Guard NCO in charge, greets Maj. Gen. William Bender during the U.S. Air Force Expeditionary Center commander’s visit to the North Dakota base on Feb. 22, 2013. Bender surprised Crawley with an official public announcement moments after arriving at the base Honor Guard building. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Xavier Navarro)
(At center) Staff Sgt. Alexandra Crawley, Grand Forks Air Force Base Honor Guard NCO in charge, is asked to step forward by Maj. Gen. William Bender, during the U.S. Air Force Expeditionary Center commander’s visit to the North Dakota base Feb. 22, 2013. Bender surprised Crawley with some good news, but not before raising the NCO’s level of curiosity by skipping her while he coined other Base Honor Guard Airmen. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Xavier Navarro)
Maj. Gen. William Bender, U.S. Air Force Expeditionary Center commander, congratulates Staff Sgt. Alexandra Crawley, Grand Forks Air Force Base Honor Guard NCO in charge, after announcing that she was named the 2012 USAF Expeditionary Center Honor Guard Member of the Year, during a visit to the North Dakota base Feb. 22, 2013. Bender surprised Crawley with the good news during his visit. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Xavier Navarro)
by Staff Sgt. Luis Loza Gutierrez
319th Air Base Wing Public Affairs
3/21/2013 - GRAND FORKS AIR FORCE BASE, N.D. -- One Warrior of the North was recently named as the best ceremonial guardsman for the U.S. Air Force Expeditionary Center.
Staff Sgt. Alexandra Crawley, Grand Forks AFB Honor Guard NCO in charge, was selected as the 2012 U.S. Air Force Expeditionary Center Honor Guard Member of the Year. The news of her selection was delivered by an unexpected source.
She said she hadn't given the award much thought because she was busy preparing for a visit by Maj. Gen. William Bender, Expeditionary Center commander.
Crawley said that Bender coined all the other Honor Guard team members, but skipped her and Tech. Sgt. Stephanie Rose, Honor Guard program manager. The general explained that he would come back to them later, Crawley said.
Finally, the two-star asked her to step forward, and in front of her fellow team members and a number of base senior leaders, announced her award and said she's now competing at the Air Mobility Command-level.
"I have to be honest, my face got extremely red, and my mouth dropped open in disbelief," exclaimed the Cleveland native. "I never in a million years thought that they would choose me."
Although Crawley is humble about her accomplishment, Rose, her supervisor, strongly believed she had all the qualities necessary to earn such a prestigious award.
"Crawley started base Honor Guard as a senior airman less than eight months ago and was later promoted to staff sergeant near the end of her team's rotation, so I got to witness first-hand her growth into a phenomenal leader," said Rose.
"During that time, she consistently went above and beyond in all aspects of what it means to be a ceremonial guardsman, and an Airman in today's Air Force. Our philosophy in Honor Guard is, 'It's not about us, it's about everyone else,' so I knew she would be humbled by the recognition," Rose said. "She has earned every bit of the recognition, and I was proud and honored to submit her for the award. She deserves the credit and I was confident about her chances of being selected."
Aside from her outstanding Honor Guard performance, the 5-year Air Force veteran has been lauded for promoting physical fitness and professional development by taking part in marathons, 5K runs and attending college classes.
She's also found time to volunteer at the rehabilitation center at a local hospital and currently supports the Honor Guard's continual charitable program, Blessings in a Backpack, which helps fight child hunger by delivering healthy food to underprivileged students.
"When an opportunity comes along I just take it because I know it will help someone later down the road, and it provides a wonderful experience knowing I helped make a positive difference," said the graduate of James Ford Rhodes High School.
Although Crawley's selection is considered an individual award, the 25-year-old was quick to recognize several people for helping her obtain the recent accomplishment.
"When I was deployed, there was Master Sgt. Jeff Martin, who mentored me and to this day I still go to him for advice," said Crawley. "He keeps things positive for me even when I can't see the light and he is someone I definitely couldn't have gotten this far in my career without."
She also expressed her appreciation for the 319th Mission Support Group commander, Col. Joe Lindsey, who she said gave her a second chance in her military career. She also showed her appreciation for fellow Honor Guard NCO and teammate, Tech. Sgt. Rose.
"She's dedicated time to me and she is always there when I need her," she said.
The biggest thanks appeared to be reserved for her husband, Senior Airman Benjamin Crawley, who is currently deployed.
"Ben was super excited (about the good news)," she said. "He is my everything, my rock and I really wish he could be here to celebrate this huge accomplishment."