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Raven Team Member Wins Air Force 12 Outstanding Airmen of the Year Award

  • Published
  • By Staff Sergeant Sabatino DiMascio
  • Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst Public Affairs

JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, NJ -- The Air Force has announced the 2021 12 Outstanding Airmen of the Year award, to include JB MDL’s U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Jamonica Smith, 87th Security Forces Squadron, Raven team member. While on a mission in Africa, she was notified by her leadership that she will be going to Washington D.C. to represent Air Mobility Command as one of the 12 Outstanding Airmen of the Year.

“I am grateful, honored, humbled, and a little still in shock,” said Smith. “It’s a blessing to accept this award and I hope that anyone looking-in can see that if they push themselves far enough, anything is possible.”

While this award may have come as a surprise to Smith, it came as no surprise to her supervisor who nominated her, U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Raven Thornton, 87th SFS.

“The moment I found out that she was nominated nationally, I knew she had won it,” Thornton proudly proclaimed. “It is all her hard work and her captured story that won this. Smith is one of the most humble people you’ll ever meet, even with this award. She is going to mentor the Airmen in her future and give back.”

“When I met Smith, she was a fresh A1C, and I was a Senior Airman,” said Thornton. “She was always asking questions about our career field and had this unquenchable thirst for knowledge. Eventually, we became Ravens together. At one point Smith felt that she may have stalled out in her career, but we were able to forge a game plan for her professional development and spark a new surge for her confidence as a leader. I believe that helped lead her to the recognition she has earned today.”

Smith is a native of Wadesboro, North Carolina. She joined the Air Force in 2017. She is a Raven team member, described by many as one of the most elite programs in Security Forces. It requires extreme physical fitness and mental tenacity, as Ravens are sent into austere environments that are deemed high threat areas to ensure AMC assets, such as aircraft, cargo and personnel, arrive and depart safely.

Her award package won at multiple levels before being presented at the national level, to a selection board at the Air Force Personnel Center. The final selection considered 35 nominees representing major commands, direct reporting units, field operating agencies and Headquarters Air Force. The board selected the 12 OAY based on superior job performance, leadership, and personal achievements.

A notable accomplishment that made her package stand out amongst the others was her volunteer work for a Domestic Violence Hotline.

“I lost my uncle to a domestic violence case, so it’s something I’m very passionate about,” said Smith. “I hope I can help stop something before it gets out of control. Being in the law enforcement career, it’s just second nature. I think that this made my award so much more real, because everything I did was genuine.”

Along with attending a formal ceremony in Washington, D.C., in September, the winners are authorized to wear the Outstanding Airman of the Year Ribbon with the bronze service star device. They are also authorized to wear the Outstanding Airman of the Year Badge for one year from the date of formal presentation.