By Spc. Megan Burnham
Joint Task Force Guantanamo Public Affairs
GUANTANAMO BAY, Cuba - From working in hot, dusty conditions to walking in inches of water after a sudden rain shower, certain Airmen of the 474th Expeditionary Civil Engineering Squadron, from the Texas and Mississippi Air National Guard continue to conduct their work and succeed in their job at Camp Justice on U.S. Naval Station Guantanamo Bay.
Master Sgt. Marcus Hill, Staff Sgt. Brian Street and Senior Airman Mark Huffer have been seen continuously going above and beyond in their duties and responsibilities.
Since first arriving on base in February, senior leadership has been using their own means to recognize Airmen and reward them for all their hard work in completing the mission.
This has been accomplished by submitting recognized Airmen, including Hill, Street and Huffer, to compete against all Air Force deployed units for the Deployed Air Forces Southern monthly awards at 12th Air Force in Tucson, Ariz. Each month, over 3,100 members compete for these awards.
The monthly award is divided into four sections that include Airman, Non-Commissioned Officer, Senior Non-Commissioned Officer and Company Grade Officer. Only four awards are given in each category, one to represent each of the four regions that make up the Air Force. Recipients of this award are presented certificates and coins as proof of recognition for all their hard work.
"We want to make sure our Airmen are recognized and compete at some kind of level," said Air Force 1st Sgt. Scott Clarkson. "The 12th Air Force is a very high level. If you win that, you've accomplished something."
The mission of the 474th ECES in Guantanamo Bay is to construct and maintain the Expeditionary Legal Complex and Camp Justice facilities and infrastructure in support of the Office of Military Commissions
The deciding factors at the 12th Air Force level are the explicit accomplishments that highlight that specific Airman above everyone else. However, the description of all their accomplishments and qualities must fall within an eight-sentence limit.
Since the beginning of their deployment, three distinguished Airmen including Hill, Street and Huffer have achieved the AFSOUTH monthly award in their sections.
Hill, a senior lever heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) craftsman, achieved the Senior NCO of the month award in March. He was nominated by his supervisor Master Sgt. Michael Hamilton, HVAC shop superintendent.
"It's been a great experience," said Hill. "It lets you know that your hard work is realized and appreciated and some of the things you're doing is setting you apart from the crowd."
During the month of April, Street, pavements and equipment craftsman, was awarded NCO of the month. He was nominated by his supervisor Tech. Sgt. Jeffery Cox, heavy equipment supervisor.
"Street is an outstanding Airman; he's technically and professionally proficient," said Cox. "He does an excellent job in everything he does...it's well deserving for him to get this award."
Huffer, HVAC specialist, received Airman of the month also during April. He was nominated by Hamilton as well.
"It's a great achievement," said Huffer. "It's probably the greatest achievement I've accomplished since I've been in the military."
Certain qualities like attitude, job performance and quality of job completed are considered necessary for the supervisors in determining who they choose to nominate for this award.
"I nominate the guys that are going above and beyond," said Hamilton. "I nominate those that are really pushing forward to learning their craft as best as they can; even on their off-duty time."