LITTLE ROCK AIR FORCE BASE, Ark. -- Airmen from the 19th Operations Support Squadron’s intelligence team were recently recognized in the Air Force Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Awards Program as being the best of the best across Air Mobility Command.
In addition to the team winning the title of AMC’s Outstanding OGI/OSS/OSF ISR Unit of the Year, Senior Airman Tiearra Ashe, 19th OSS intelligence analyst, was also recognized as the Outstanding Active Duty ISR Airman of the Year.
The awards encompassed work from 2020-2021 and the winners will go on to compete with other commands at the Air Force-level.
1st Lt. Jordan Waterman, 19th OSS officer in charge of squadron intelligence operations, credits the team’s win to its adaptability and willingness to do more with less.
“What you don’t see is when you have people deployed to two different [areas of responsibility], you still have to get the job done here with fewer people,” Waterman said. “You have to be able to change and adapt.”
The 19th OSS intelligence team works to provide real-time threat information, not only supporting missions at home, but also in U.S. Africa and Central Command’s AOR.
Waterman added that the team is always ready to put in hard work, despite a high turnover rate and members working around the globe.
“We are always getting new Airmen to train, and all of them are coming in ready to go, stepping up to the plate,” Waterman said. “They are walking in understanding that they have to adapt to this job and be ready to go at a moment’s notice.”
Maj. Benjamin Pritchard, 19th OSS acting senior intelligence officer, said he has no doubt the team is number one in AMC and that it’s rewarding to see the team’s hard work validated.
“It’s easy to perform well when you’re in an environment where you’re constantly training, but when you’re actually tested—like on the deployment missions we’re a part of—that’s where the most credible validation comes from,” Pritchard said.
Ashe said she believes that the award will motivate Airmen in the flight not only to win in the future, but also to learn more about their jobs and grow in their career.
“It raises the bar for newer Airmen coming in, letting them know to always ask questions and reassuring them that they have a good team around them,” Ashe said.
As far as winning the individual award, Ashe added that it wouldn’t have been possible without her teammates.
“Our flight stimulates growth,” she said. “You always have someone to learn from.”
Like many Airmen, Ashe has had to overcome obstacles and rely on her teammates for help and encouragement at times in her Air Force journey. Now that team mentality is a big part of her day-to-day motivation in the Intel flight.
“Of course I enjoy the mission, but I also enjoy teaching the newer Airmen and being there for them,” Ashe said.
While Waterman agreed that both awards were a team effort, he said there is no question why Ashe was recognized as an outstanding intelligence Airman.
“As an officer, your job is easier when you have Airmen like Ashe,” Waterman said. “As a junior officer, you always hear ‘The Airmen are going to know ten times more than you do,’ and that is the case with her. It’s amazing seeing her work because when I got here, she was training me. Her work ethic and her drive, even outside of the Air Force, is incredible.”
On a similar note, Ashe said her job is easier thanks to the support from her leadership. The unique working relationship between enlisted and officers in their career field is what helps the whole team strive to be the best.
“The comradery between the enlisted and officers is great. They take care of us and we take care of them,” Ashe said.
Pritchard said the expectation now is that the Airmen remain at the award-winning level and continue to adhere to the high standard they set for themselves.
“The hardest part about getting to the top of the mountain is staying at the top,” he said. “I’m pushing for our Airmen now to win at the Air Force level—not because that’s the goal but because it’s going to be the result of harder work and better analysis.”