News: Airman is best-of-the-best five years in a row
Story by Master Sgt. Beth Holliker
SWANTON, Ohio - 180th Fighter Wing Command Post Controller, Tech. Sgt. Levi Shadle, has been recognized as the best of the best for the fifth time in four years.
Shadle was recently named as the 2012 Continental United States North American Aerospace Defense Command Region, First Air Force and Air Force Northern Command’s Aerospace Control Alert Command Post Controller of the Year.
True to the 180th FW’s mission statement, to be The Best Fighter Wing in the World, the wing has a long history of top performing Airmen at the Air National Guard and Air Force levels. Again, this year, Shadle brought the wing another step closer to helping the wing accomplish that mission.
Driven to serve after the horrific attacks on our country Sept. 11, 2001, Shadle enlisted in the active duty Air Force in April 2003 as a Command post controller. He spent the first year of his career at Basic Military Training at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, followed by technical training at Keesler AFB, Miss. After completing his initial training, Shadle spent two years in the command post section of the 305th Air Mobility Wing at McGuire AFB, N.J., before transferring to the Ohio Air National Guard’s 180th FW in 2006.
When Shadle first transferred to the 180th FW, the command post office was typically manned only during normal flying operations before moving to 24-hour operations as the wing stood up the Aerospace Control Alert mission in 2008. Shadle was a key player to the command post and the alert mission from the beginning, as noted when he and the command post team earned Best-Seen-To-Date marks during the wing’s very first NORAD Alert Force Evaluation in 2009, just one year after bringing the alert mission to a fully operational status.
Continuing to be one of the wing’s top performers, Shadle was instrumental in the command post team earning the title of Air National Guard Command Post of the Year in 2010 and a Superior Performer Team Award during the Air Combat Command Operational Readiness Inspection in 2010.
Following his own motto, “Always be learning,” Shadle has made it his goal to learn something from every situation, positive or negative. “The mistakes I’ve made in the past have helped to shape the noncommissioned officer I am today,” Shadle said. “I am a firm believer in learning and moving forward.”
His drive to learn his mission critical job inside and out helped to earn him two individual national-level awards, back-to-back. In 2011, he was named as the Air National Guard Command Post Noncommissioned Officer of the year, followed by his 2012 NORAD title of Aerospace Control Alert Command Post Controller of the Year.
One of the things Shadle enjoys most about the 180th FW is being a part of a winning team. “I have been afforded the opportunity to be a pivotal member of a team and a mission that makes a difference,” Shadle said. “And I will do my best to continue that trend to the day I retire.”
Though he has been recognized as the best-of-the-best several times, Shadle plans to continue doing his part as a superior performer to ensure that the 180th FW is the best fighter wing in the world. His next project is to perfect the wing’s command post controller training program in efforts to make it a model for other ANG and AF command post sections to follow.
As he builds his long-term career plan, shooting for the rank of chief master sergeant, Shadle’s immediate goals are to keep learning to prepare himself for any challenges that come his way and for promotion to master sergeant.
“I plan to continue to help keep the 180th FW command post as the best in the entire country,” Shadle said. “I want to help prepare the people I train and supervise so that they can be better than I am.”