JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas —
The accolades were slow in coming, but there’s been no shortage of them in the past year for an Air Force staff sergeant who has served as a firefighter assigned to the 502nd Civil Engineer Squadron at Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph for more than two years.
Since his promotion to the NCO ranks last August, Staff Sgt. Nathan Lindgren has earned the John L. Levitow Award at the JBSA Airman Leadership School, the school’s highest honor, and swept unit awards all the way to 502nd Air Base Wing Airman of the Quarter for the first three months of 2019.
Lindgren’s awards streak continued in May, when the New Braunfels Chamber of Commerce recognized him as Airman of the Quarter, also for the first quarter of the year. The chamber’s recognition program, more than 50 years old, allows the organization to “showcase and thank Randolph for their efforts in both war and peace venues.”
“It’s powerful to see how the New Braunfels chamber is empowering people,” Lindgren said. “It’s been a humbling experience to receive recognition and see the support of that community. It’s their way of maintaining a connection with the military and honoring those who serve our country.”
Before last year, Lindgren said he had not received any awards in his young career, but his former supervisor at JBSA-Randolph, Tech. Sgt. Zachary Edwards, who is now assigned to Grand Forks Air Force Base, North Dakota, said he is not surprised by the recognition Lindgren has received in the past year and predicts more of the same in the future.
“He is a very hard-working Airman and mature for his age,” he said. “This award will be one of many in his promising career ahead.”
Edwards called Lindgren “one of the smartest individuals” he’s known in his nine-year career.
“If being sharp wasn’t enough, he is also highly driven,” he said. “The combination of his intellect and work ethic will land him success in whatever avenue he pursues. His greatest accomplishment is that he started at the 502nd Emergency Services at JBSA-Randolph an unsung hero.”
That all changed with Lindgren’s promotion to staff sergeant on his first try, his recognition as the Levitow award winner and his multiple Airman of the Quarter honors, Edwards said.
“I’m so glad he’s finally getting the recognition he deserves,” he said.
Lindgren, who grew up in California, Maryland – a community that was named after the state – counts his father as a huge influence in his life.
“My father is a retired Navy captain who graduated from the U.S. Air Force Academy,” he said. “Like my dad, I had a desire to serve. I’m dedicated to duty. I love to help people. When there is a need, I want to be there to do it.”
Lindgren also saw the Air Force’s commitment to education as a motivating factor in his decision to enlist.
“Education was big for me, and the support from the Air Force is unparalleled in the service branches,” he said.
Lindgren started his Air Force career at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, relocating to JBSA-Randolph in March 2017. His present duties range from lead firefighter, ensuring his crew handles emergencies quickly and efficiently, to lead emergency communications center dispatcher, answering 911 calls and monitoring fire alarm systems.
Lindgren has also achieved emergency medical technician certification through many off-duty clinical and study hours, using his knowledge to help patients experiencing medical emergencies.
“Having that extra skill is really helpful,” he said. “We can perform certain medical treatments and respond differently to emergencies.”
Lindgren’s desire to serve also extends to the community he lives in. The husband and father of two children was the president of his homeowners’ association and led the organization in the development of five major projects that were completed in a timely manner and achieved maximum cost savings.
In addition to the drive and passion he exhibits in accomplishing the goals set in front of him, Lindgren said he strives to empower those around him at work.
“This is through the empowerment of my peers by ensuring we consistently train and work to better each other all around, whether that’s in education, family life or the job,” he said.
Innovation is another attribute Lindgren brings to his job.
“I am always trying to find new ways to do things, better means of accomplishing tasks, or more effective paths to provide top-notch emergency services,” he said. “This doesn’t mean all my ideas make it to reality, but persistence and refinement is key to the continued success of our organization.”