Military News

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Cherry on top of AF career

by Senior Airman Timothy Moore
86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

7/29/2015 - RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany -- Air Force officials recently announced the 12 Outstanding Airmen of the Year for 2015 and, for the second year in a row, Ramstein Air Base is home to one of the Air Force's best.

Senior Airman Allen R. Cherry III, 86th Aerospace Medicine Squadron Public Health technician, is now among the 12 Airmen who get to claim the prestigious distinction this year.

"It's exciting and very, very humbling," Cherry said. "There were a lot of key influential people that definitely helped mold and develop me. This wouldn't have happened without my leadership, my fellow peers, my supervision and my friends and family."

The award recognizes 12 outstanding enlisted service members across the Air Force for superior leadership, job performance, community involvement and personal achievements.

Among his 2014 accomplishments, Cherry was selected as the Air Force's 2014 Public Health Airman of the Year and Senior Airman Below-the-Zone. Though he said he is proud of those awards and accomplishments, he is equally honored of his other activities that were included in his award package.

"The things that I'm most proud of were being involved with honor guard and participating in more than 27 details this year and making an impact on the wing and the Air Force in large," Cherry noted.

Cherry explained that he was also proud of being a head coach for a youth soccer team.

One of the individuals Cherry credits with helping him achieve this award is Senior Master Sgt. Manjinder Suprai, who began as Cherry's flight chief but is now the 86th AMDS superintendent.

"He's just always been very amazing to me, asking how my job is going and trying to develop me," Cherry stated.

According to Cherry, Suprai would regularly ask him about his on and off-duty life and work, including school and volunteering. Suprai would ask questions to help Cherry get the best out of the Air Force, so the Air Force could get the best out of him.

"It's the service before self that they always talk about," Cherry said. "It's literally removing yourself, your name. We're representing the U.S. Air Force. We wear it on our heart. That's what we are representing first. I'll always be a Cherry, but I signed up for something bigger than myself. That's what I'm here to serve first. That was something that I really did and will continue to do to get the most out of the Air Force."

Cherry also attributes his determination and success to his father.

"He's a retired chief and I knew it was super important when he retired that I continue to carry the legacy that he had," Cherry said. "That way we could keep our name and our tradition of being in the Air Force credited and valuable."

According to his supervisor, Tech. Sgt. Ireneo Alfaro, 86th AMDS Public Health force health management NCO in charge, Cherry has done a fine job of holding up his family's name.

"When you are looking for an Airman that has all of the core values, this is the guy right here," said Alfaro. "I've even told him during our [Airman Comprehensive Assessment], 'You should be giving me this. You should be mentoring me instead.''

Alfaro said that is one of the things he has seen about Cherry that makes him stand out. He not only mentors and encourages his peers but also the NCOs in his flight. Cherry wants to improve those around him as he works to improve himself.

It is this reason both Cherry and Alfaro see this award as a victory for more people than just him.

"This is the guy that made it happen, not just for himself but also for our [Air Force specialty code]," said Alfaro. "He is the first ever public health technician to capture the 12 OAY in the Airman category."

Along with Cherry, only one other public health Airman has been named one of the 12 Outstanding Airmen of the Year since the program's inception. That was Staff Sgt. Jasmin D. Wiltshire in 2000.

"Medical's not a typical thing you think of when you think about the Air Force," Cherry admitted. "You think about air power, flying and dropping bombs. You don't think about medical or public health. I knew I could get far. I didn't realize I was going to get this far."

Cherry and the other award winners are slated to attend a banquet in September to highlight their accomplishments.

With more than 240,000 enlisted service members in the Air Force, Cherry truly sits on top of the Air Force among the best.

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