News: ANG's Outstanding Airman of the Year: Senior Airman Christian Goldsmith
JOINT BASE ANDREWS, Md. - Family, a strong work ethic and the unyielding thirst for knowledge are three dominant characteristics of Senior Airman Christian "Jake" Goldsmith, the Air National Guard's Airman of the Year.
Born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Goldsmith is a proud member of the 150th Special Operations Wing, located at Kirtland AFB near Albuquerque.
At a young age, Goldsmith learned that his roots and his family were the foundation for his success. "They taught me everything I need to know to be successful," he said, "including working hard, getting an education and helping people."
Goldsmith heard the call to serve his country. "I always wanted to join the United States military and I thought about it all the time in high school," he said. However, his great-grandfather, Deacon Palmer, became ill and Goldsmith did everything he could to make his final days as comforting as possible. "After Grandpa Deacon passed, my great-grandmother, his wife of 65 years, had never lived alone, so I took care of her, too."
Goldsmith attended Central New Mexico Community College, and earned an associate's degree in integrated studies. Before long, Goldsmith found himself regretting not having joined. "I saw a lot more opportunity in uniform not available on the civilian side," he said. "Compared to the other services, the ANG offered me the best opportunities--most tailored to my strengths and abilities."
Fast forward three years, and Goldsmith recently competed nationwide, against over thousands of senior airmen, to earn the highly coveted honor of ANG Airman of the Year.
Obviously, Goldsmith is not average--in any way. In the Guard, he has excelled significantly as a "superb" geospatial intelligence analyst, noted for his ability to streamline processes, to scrupulously train fellow wingmen in record time, and his aptitude to set new standards and strengthen effectiveness.
Goldsmith is also physically fit and consistently exceeds 90% on his military physical fitness test, another characteristic he attributes to his family. "I don't go to the gym to work out; instead, on the weekends, I help my grandfather, Ken Pierce, on the ranch. We cut fire wood, haul loads of hay for the horses, and take care of the ranch, that keeps me fit. As an engineer, Grandpa Ken taught me that if you don't feel as though you've personally earned it, than it doesn't mean anything."
Goldsmith's mom, Kathy Gomez, has also been a significant influencer and supporter in his life.
"I admire everything she has done as a mother, and as a professional. She's the hardest working person I know," he said. "Growing up, we weren't wealthy or anything, and for a long time it was just her and me. She always made sure I had everything I needed. I never wanted for anything." As a seamstress, Ms. Gomez also works with her hands, helping her family through her craft and diligence. When Goldsmith graduated from basic training, Ms. Gomez brought her sewing machine to Lackland AFB in San Antonio and tailored his uniform before his graduation. "Yes, I have to admit that I looked pretty sharp," he recalled.
Looking sharp is very important to Goldsmith, but what motivates him most is "when people tell me I can't do something. Then, I do everything in my power to make it happen. I attribute that characteristic to my Grandpa Deacon, who taught me never to take things at face value and to always ask questions and find out more."
Knowing more has spurred him to continue his education. He is working on his bachelor's degree at Lewis University in Criminal Justice, and completing military geospatial-intelligence training in record time. "The Air Guard has helped me so much, in so many ways, from education and development to providing me the opportunity to stay close to family here in Albuquerque."
Goldsmith's family tradition is continuing, as he and his wife Erica are welcoming their first child in August. "We are excited beyond belief," he said. "This is definitely an incredible time in my life. I'm honored and grateful to help set the example for future generations, by wearing a uniform that says 'United States Air Force' on one side, and 'Goldsmith' on the other."