News: RAF Mildenhall Defender garners top USAFE honor
Story by Master Sgt. Kevin Wallace
ABERDEEN CITY, United Kingdom - When asked how it feels being named the 2009 U.S. Air Forces in Europe outstanding flight level senior non-commissioned officer of the year, he humbly described how it was the contributions of his Airmen that garnered the honor – he called it a team victory.
Charges: The modest Master Sgt. Emmett Tibbs, 100th Security Forces Squadron Operations superintendent, was lauded the top USAFE senior NCO Defender.
Tibbs maintained his innocence. Rather than accepting responsibility for his actions, he stuck to the story that his team was to be honored.
However, his leadership forwarded evidence of his deeds to their command who dropped their own gavel and passed judgment on the master sergeant.
Verdict: Guilty as charged!
For his performance both in the brutal sands of Iraq and right here in East Anglia, Tibbs is guilty of having displayed unflappable integrity, dedicated service and unwavering excellence.
Judgment: Sustained military service as a model senior NCO and continued trust from his leadership.
"If I had to respond to a life-or-death law enforcement call or deploy to a location where enemy activity was high, Master Sergeant Tibbs would be my choice NCO when it comes to someone I can trust to never waiver and watch my back," said Capt. Robert Clouse, 100th SFS Ops officer.
Tibbs is a veteran to perilous situations.
While deployed to Iraq, Tibbs, son of a retired Air Force maintainer, led a 78-person flight to perform a law-and-order mission for about 30,000 service members. It was in that capacity he dealt with indirect fire attacks, downed aircraft and a wide array of security measures.
On one occasion, Tibbs uncovered a potentially deadly situation as his team identified three undercover terrorists working on base. His actions helped alleviate a potentially devastating situation.
Not only did the master sergeant have terrorists to contend with, he was also responsible for policing American service members.
Tibbs recalled responding to a victim who had been found on the ground with head injuries and stab wounds.
“The soldier stated he been attacked while taking a shower,” Tibbs said. “Someone hit him in the head, then stabbed him and ran. He made it outside yelled for help and then collapsed.”
When he arrived and assessed the situation, Tibbs knew immediate aid was necessary, he said. Since medical personnel were not on scene, the master sergeant improvised by utilizing an undershirt and applied direct pressure to slow the bleeding until paramedics became available.
He then set up a 360-degree perimeter around the crime scene and used standard police cordon procedures to control people in the area, he said.
“That was one of the busiest nights,” he recalled. “In addition to the stab victim, I responded to an indirect fire attack, a vehicle rollover, a violation of [a general order], and a separate assault.”
Still, Tibbs summed up the day by calling it routine police work and said, “Any security forces airman would have done the same.”
"I am fortunate in that I get to work with some of the most motivated warriors in the Air Force," Clouse said of his Defenders. "It's the highly-disciplined and no-nonsense NCOs who keep our Defenders sharpened and vigilant. Master Sergeant Tibbs is one of the best examples of that type of NCO.”
Tibbs has a wealth of security forces knowledge and an unmatched level of energy, he added.
Though Tibbs said he finds a great deal of gratitude winning the high-profile award, his true bliss comes in the pride this accomplishment will put in the heart of his greatest mentor – his father.
Tibbs is scheduled to fly to Ramstein Air Base, Germany, to be presented the award in March. Until then, Clouse said the master sergeant is doing what Defenders do best – keeping their base safe.
"[Sergeant Tibbs] is a true asset to our Defenders,” said the captain. “He’s a testament to what our career field brings to the fight, and a shining example of what an Air Force Senior NCO should be."