HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah – The Air Force recently named Senior Airman Patrick Schilling, an explosive ordnance disposal technician at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, as one of the service’s 12 Outstanding Airmen of the Year.
Annually, the Air Force selects 12 enlisted Airmen from various career fields based on superior leadership, job performance and personal achievements. The Airmen serve as “ambassadors” for the enlisted force.
Schilling said when he received the news, he couldn’t believe it.
“I tried to process it, but I could only make out the words ‘thank you,’” Schilling said. “It is an honor to be in this position and to represent my unit, Hill Air Force Base and the EOD career field.”
Following the announcement, Schilling was personally congratulated by the Commander of the Air Force Sustainment Center, Lt. Gen. Lee K. Levy III, during the general’s visit to the installation.
Schilling said the general talked to him about family and leadership, and what he could expect during the following year. The 12 OAY winners earn the Outstanding Airman ribbon with the bronze service star device and wear the Outstanding Airman badge for one year. They also serve on the Air Force Enlisted Council for one year.
Perhaps one of the most significant accomplishments on Schilling’s resume was when he was administering a physical training test and saved an Airman’s life in May 2017.
An Airman fell unconscious during the run portion of the test, and Schilling immediately began lifesaving support, directing a bystander to call 911 and saving the Airman’s life.
Schilling’s other accomplishments include helping clear more than 100 acres looking for potential explosive hazards during the Presidential Inauguration to ensure the safety of the president and the 800,000 people who attended the event.
He also had an instrumental role in the destruction of seven ICBM rocket motors as part of international treaties to reduce the number of U.S. ballistic missiles. The effort helped save the Navy $6 million in maintenance and storage expenditures.
Outside of work, Schilling was greatly involved with Airman Against Drunk Driving program. As president of the program, he led more than 40 volunteers to ensure nearly 900 people were provided a safe ride home. He also collaborated with the Utah Highway Patrol to increase awareness and prevention of DUIs in the community.
Schilling attributes his exceptional job performance to his leadership and unit, and said it’s his family that motivates him the most.
“I’m extremely thankful for my wife and daughter, my unit and leadership. They have all motivated me and helped point me in the right direction,” Schilling said. “Without their mentorship, guidance and faith in my abilities, I would not have received this level of recognition.”
He said his job often takes him away from home and his wife is left behind to care for their daughter. However, Schilling said she still finds the time and energy to support him.
In September, Schilling will be formally recognized at an Air Force Association banquet in Washington, D.C., along with the other 12 OAY award winners.
He said his wife, daughter and mother will accompany him to the celebration to share in the recognition.
“Without their unyielding support at home, I would not be where I am today. I am extremely excited about our accomplishment,” Schilling said.