Loadmaster wins AFRC award; competes for AF honors

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Kristen Pittman
  • 403rd Wing Public Affairs

Tech. Sgt. Jonathan D. Parker, a loadmaster instructor for the 815th Airlift Squadron here, has been announced as the 2019 Outstanding Air Force Reserve Command Enlisted Aircrew Member of the Year in the non-commissioned officer category and will compete for the USAF Staff Sgt. Henry E. “Red” Erwin Outstanding Enlisted Aircrew Member Airman of the Year award.

The award recognizes career enlisted aviators for outstanding job accomplishments, demonstration of leadership and sustained self-improvements in support of the enlisted aircrew operations career field. 

The award’s namesake, “Red” Erwin, is a Medal of Honor recipient recognized for his bravery during World War II when a phosphoresce smoke bomb malfunctioned in the interior of a B-29 aircraft. In the midst of suffering serious burns and unable to see, Erwin held on to the smoldering bomb and maneuvered his way past obstacles to the co-pilot’s window ultimately succeeding in throwing the bomb out and saving the lives of his wingmen.

Parker’s most notable accomplishment in 2019 was his selection for and completion of the U.S. Air Force Weapons School Advanced Instructor Course. He was the first ever Reserve Citizen Airman to be selected for the course, the class leader, and finished as the distinguished graduate. 

Chief Master Sgt. Darren L. Bannister, 403rd Operations Group superintendent, described Parker as a highly motivated “go-getter” who never says no and is considered the go-to tactical loadmaster.

“He developed a tactics refresher course centered on loadmasters,” said Bannister. “We’re always training to go to war and there has never been a refresher for tactics centered around loadmasters so he developed that while he was in the advanced instructor course.”

The completion of the instructor course and the development of the refresher course are only the tip of the iceberg of Parker’s accomplishments in 2019. The long list of achievements and contributions culminated into multiple yearly awards including 403rd OG and 815th AS NCO of the Year and 815th AS Loadmaster of the Year.

On his nomination for the “Red” Erwin award Parker said, “He definitely sacrificed and has given way more than I’ve ever had to, but it’s an honor to be considered for something of that caliber.”

Parker credits the high standard environment of the 815th as motivation to always go above and beyond and set a good example for the Airmen coming after him.

“What has pushed me to perform at the level I do is the leadership and mentorship that’s at the 815th and the brotherhood and camaraderie that we have there,” said Parker. “They’re always behind me, supporting me, and letting me chase after these dreams to pursue all these wild endeavors that I seem to go after. They hold everybody to these high standards, so they’re more than happy to support me in everything that I’ve done.”