Staff Sgt. Ian Guthridge never set out to win any awards. He was just trying to do his part for the team and make everyone around him better.
“Everything I did was about taking the opportunity to do more rather than sit around and wait for something to find me,” Guthridge said.
Serving as NCO in charge of Supply and Logistics for the 88th Security Forces Squadron, Guthridge was recently named NCO of the Year for 2020 during the 88th Air Base Wing’s annual awards ceremony. The event was held virtually Jan. 19.
Winners in each of Wright-Patterson Air Force Base’s 14 award categories will now go on to compete at the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center’s annual awards.
Guthridge’s job is to run all the supply needs for 88 SFS, project equipment requirements throughout the year and manage supply accounts valued at roughly $6 million. In addition, he purchases all items associated with Airmen going downrange, everything from weapons parts to individual uniform items.
He’s also responsible for all 12 Security Forces buildings on base, associated work orders and upkeep of the facilities.
Since COVID-19 hit, many military members have been able to work from home but not Guthridge. He had to continue “normal” operations to keep things running in his department. On top of those duties, he also found time for self-improvement, which made him stand out for the award.
“I just tried to continue the normal operations that I was used to executing pre-COVID-19,” Guthridge said. “Once things in the state started to shut down and activities were limited, I took advantage of personal development by enrolling in more college classes and volunteer opportunities throughout the wing and local community.”
Which is why being awarded NCO of the Year came as a shock.
“It honestly was such a surprise when I found out I was nominated for the award,” he said. “And then I was amazed when I found out that I had actually been awarded NCO of the Year.”
It came as no surprise to Senior Airman Mark Debats, the 88 SFS vehicle control officer.
“Sgt. Guthridge is very dedicated to his job, takes it very seriously. He is well deserving of NCO of the Year,” Debats said. “It is super cool to see him rise to the next level and beat out everyone he went against. He is such a great mentor and role model.”
Debats says one of the biggest things that makes Guthridge stand out from other NCOs he’s had is his knowledge and willingness to share it. He hopes his NCOIC will be able to go forward and become one of the 12 Outstanding Airmen of 2020.
“One of the best pieces of advice I have gotten from him is to do three things a day: one small thing, one medium thing and one large thing,” Debats said. “That way, when the day gets hectic, you have everything already prioritized and you don’t feel the stress of it.”
Throughout the entire process of being nominated and winning the award, Guthridge said he does not want the focus to be on him, but his team.
“The award is great and all, but honestly, it has all been a team effort here. I feel like me getting this award wasn’t me just by myself, it was a total team effort across the board,” he said. “This award is definitely an honor, but I think that having the mission with the people I work with is more important than any award I could get.”
Guthridge also picked up a few other honors in 2020, including Squadron NCO of the 3rd Quarter, SF Functional for Staff NCO of the Year and Squadron NCO of the Year.
Guthridge joined the Air Force in June 2008 to initially help pay for college and travel. After his first four-year enlistment, he decided he wanted to make a career out of it.
He says he’s always tried going above and beyond what he is expected to do.
“My career has been a roller coaster of highs and lows, so to reach this level is something I thought I would never achieve,” he added. “I still have a lot of things to work on and things I want to get better at. It is a continuous process of learning, not just the Air Force ways but life in general.”
Guthridge encourages Airmen who are striving to be more successful to always rely on the team around them and never stop trying to better themselves.
“You cannot accomplish the mission by yourself. It takes a team to accomplish everything. Never be afraid to ask for help and seek new opportunities when they become available,” Guthridge said.
“A new opportunity can lead you in directions you never thought possible. Also, make sure you have a balance between your work life and personal life.”