Airman receives top national honor

Name: Master Sgt. Alan Braden, United States Air Force, 16 years of service

Hometown: Currently stationed at Wright Patterson Air Force Base, but is originally from Detroit, Mich.

Age: 35

Out of 330,000 active duty men and women in the Air Force, Braden was chosen to receive one of the 12 United States Air Force Outstanding Airmen of the Year awards.

“You feel humbled and quite honored,” Braden said.

When he received the phone call letting him know that he received the award, Braden said he was speechless.

“I said, ‘Thank you.’ I don’t know what else you can say.”

He will receive the Outstanding Airmen badge Sept. 17 in Washington, D.C.

How he got involved in the military: “I went to college and enlisted in 1996. I was looking to do something different and to go to school further. I graduated with a bachelor’s [degree] from Wayland Baptist University in Texas and a master’s from Trident University in California.”

His deployments: “I’ve been deployed twice. I was deployed to Saudi Arabia the first time in 2000, and to an undisclosed location the second time in 2009.”

What actions he performed: “I’m a medic by trade, so I did medical stuff. I was a critical care technician. Now [at the base], I’m a career assistance adviser, which is similar to being a high school guidance counselor. I focus primarily on the professional development of the Air Force and helping airmen make important decisions about their careers.”

The most satisfying part of his work: “For me, it’s taking care of people…Mentoring and developing tomorrow’s leaders today. That’s what I love doing—being a mentor.”

The most memorable moment of his service: “In January 2012 or late December 2011, one of my airmen, Technical Sgt. Claire Swain, got promoted to master sergeant. She was the second person I had helped do that in the last four years. What made that really special is that she was selected out of the entire command. That was neat for everyone on the base. It was special.”

Tell us about your family: “My wife just retired from the Air Force. She served for 17 years. And I have two children—my son, Drew, is 9, and my daughter, Savannah, is 7.”

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