Moody Airman wins 2012 Lance P. Sijan Award

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Joshua Garcia
  • 23d Wing Public Affairs
The tower assistant chief controller from the 23d Operations Support Squadron recently received the Lance P. Sijan award for Air Combat Command.

Master Sgt. Justin Hartman won the award at the ACC level due to his leadership qualities on and off duty.

"First of all, I'm shocked. I give huge credit to my supervisor and mentor. He challenged me from the start, put me in the right position and gave me the opportunity to succeed," Hartman said about winning the award.

The award is only given to individuals who demonstrate exceptional leadership traits, inspire others by personal example, and have community involvement. Hartman shows all these attributes when it comes to leading his Airmen.

"I try to relate to the people I lead and help them be successful. I have always thought it is important to never forget where you came from," said Hartman. "Don't forget what it's like to be that Airman or staff sergeant. And, I try to take bits and pieces of what my leaders taught me to form my own style."

Always willing to gain more experience and succeed, Hartman uses his experiences in the military to learn and further his trade.

"I have been on four deployments, and I enjoyed applying the things you learn stateside and putting those skills to good use," Hartman said.

With the constant demands of working in the Air Force, Hartman knows that family comes first and gives credit to his wife for everything she has done to help him succeed in his career.

"It's tough balancing the family and military. I give my wife a ton of credit. I couldn't do what I do without her support," he said. "Don't keep secrets and communication is key. It's also important to let them know you appreciate their support."

Even among his peers, Hartman is considered exceptional.

"As a technical sergeant, he ran the air traffic control facility for six months. This is usually for senior NCOs, but he did a phenomenal job. He didn't miss a beat and nothing fell through the cracks," said Master Sgt. Michael Merritt, the Radar Approach Control assistant chief controller for the 23d OSS.

Merritt, who is Hartman's supervisor and mentor, continues to praise Hartman for the work he does for the unit.

"He is an outgoing person. His leadership style is flexible, and he thinks outside the box," Merritt said. "He brings a different perspective to the unit. He is also very technical and knows his job well."

On top of performing at an exceptional level in his career field, Hartman also acts as the unit's first sergeant, and runs the Top 3 Airman Leadership School mentorship program.

"He seems to thrive in those opportunities." Merritt said. "It's his can-do attitude. If there is something new that he has never done before, he is not afraid to tackle it. He is a phenomenal senior NCO."

With everything Hartman has already accomplished he also knows there is more for him to do to further succeed in the air force.

"I intend to get my education knocked out. I would also like to make chief, if it is in my stars. But, I don't want to step on any toes or forget who I am to get there."

With goals set high for himself, winning the Lance P. Sijan award for the ACC is just one step Hartman has taken on his way to achieve those goals.