Moody maintainer focuses on teamwork, comes home with distinction

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Parker Gyokeres
  • 23rd Wing Public Affairs
A Moody aerospace ground equipment technician recently returned from the Paul W. Airey NCO Academy at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., with the school's highest award.

Tech. Sgt. Timothy Grant, the 723rd Maintenance Squadron AGE flight production support NCO in-charge, was selected from a class of 136 students to receive the John L. Levitow leadership award.

The Levitow award is the highest enlisted professional military education honor and is presented to the class' top student. This award recognizes the student who demonstrated outstanding leadership and achieved the highest academic and performance scores.

"I just wanted to do my best at what I was assigned to do and at the same time absorb what the academy was teaching," said Sergeant Grant. "Everyone who attends PME gets the pep talk to 'bring home the wood' and although that was in the back of my mind, I didn't make it my goal.

"I always had the impression that the person who wins the Levitow Award was the one who goes out of their way to appear 'Air Force Blue,'" he added. "You always think of them as going in and trying too hard to get that plaque."

Thinking of the Levitow as a competition is the wrong way to achieve its true purpose, he said. A key aspect of the selection is based on a peer vote. This vote aims to recognize the attitude of service before self.

"Airman Levitow didn't throw himself on that flare to save his own life; he did it to save the lives of his crew," said Sergeant Grant, referring to the first Air Force enlisted man to be awarded the Medal of Honor for his heroic actions during the Vietnam War.

"In the same spirit, the award isn't given to the person who is in it just for himself," he added. "It's offered to the Airman who does what he can to help his team succeed. I guess my flight and my instructors thought my actions were significant."

His instructors and fellow students aren't the only ones to have recognized Sergeant Grant's potential. Members within his chain of command said they knew he was capable of bringing home top honors.

"I wasn't surprised at all when he was recognized for his efforts," said Master Sgt. Michael Caputo, 723rd MXS AGE flight production superintendent. "I've been working with Sergeant Grant for several years and have seen him shine even in the dimmest light. No matter what the obstacle, he is continuously leading the way, demonstrating excellence through his personal actions. He is dependable, reliable, and wise beyond his years."

Despite the praise, Sergeant Grant is quick to point out that he's only being recognized because of help from his coworkers and classmates.

"I would not have made it through NCOA if it wasn't for my flight mates," he said. "They carried me through the rough patches as much as I helped them. We really gelled in and out of the classroom. I believe that between the 10 of us, there is a bond that could last throughout our Air Force careers."

This bond should serve him well, given the aptitude he has shown for advancement, said Master Sgt. David Prince 723rd MXS AGE flight chief.

"With a willingness to take on any challenge and his limitless leadership potential; Sergeant Grant is definitely on the well-deserved fast-track towards becoming an outstanding chief master sergeant," he said.