Military News

Friday, March 20, 2015

McConnell Airman named AMC's 2014 ATC of the year

by Staff Sgt. Rachel Waller
22nd Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs

3/18/2015 - MCCONNELL AIR FORCE BASE, Kan.  -- Senior Airman Shane McRae, 22nd Operations Support Squadron air traffic controller journeyman, was recently named the Air Mobility Command's 2014 Air Traffic Controller of the Year, here.

As an ATC, McRae is responsible for maintaining the air space surrounding McConnell Air Force Base for the more than 60 assigned KC-135 Stratotankers and various aircraft from the local area.

"The award was a complete surprise," said McRae. "My chief controller asked if I could do some training in the tower. While there, we were notified that [Lt. Col. Brian Backman, 22nd OSS commander] was coming up."

"When the commander came up the stairs, he said 'I think I have an ATC of the Year awardee up here,'" said McRae. "I didn't know who he was talking about until he approached me."

Over the past year, as an Airman 1st Class, McRae managed 26,000 aircraft operations and 9,500 flying hours. Additionally, the Trinity, North Carolina native, coordinated with the Wichita Police Department during a helicopter pursuit to create a five minute airspace window that allowed the police to apprehend the suspect.

"McRae is a great Airman and he is a prime example of what the Air Force is looking for; the epitome of the total person concept," said Richard Temple, 22nd OSS ATC crew supervisor. "He puts in 100 percent effort here at work and he looks for ways to make things better."

McRae has been stationed at McConnell AFB since 2013 and he has made a noticeable impact on the ATC training program in that short amount of time. McRae created a team training program that helped certify eight co-workers 77 percent faster than the time allotted, ensuring the global refueling mission could continue without any training interruptions.

"The award is great personal recognition for McRae," said Temple. "I think it's a small sample of what everyone here does. He is the one leading the way for the Airmen calvary here."

For McRae, he said he is awed and humbled by the recognition.

"I know how difficult it is to win this [award]," said McRae. "I believe that there are a whole lot of people out there doing awesome stuff, so to get picked out of them was pretty cool. Everyone wants to be rewarded and recognized and it was really cool to see that people recognize me."

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