NEWS | Sept. 15, 2021

AETC training technician wins 2021 SAIGE Military Meritorious Service Award

By C Arce Air Education and Training Command Public Affairs

An Air Education and Training Command training technician, who is also a Citizen Potawatomi Nation member, won the 2021 Society of American Indian Government Employees, or SAIGE, Military Meritorious Service Award.

Jeffrey Johnson, mobile training team technician for international training and education at the Air Force’s Security Assistance Training Squadron; and an active member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, won the award.

The SAIGE Military Meritorious Service Award honors military members, veterans and Department of Defense civilian employees, who have risen above and gone beyond the mission, and whose attributes best epitomized the qualities and core values of their respective military service.

“I couldn’t be more proud of Jeff,” said Col. Brian Afflerbaugh, Air Force Security Assistance Training commander and Johnson’s nominating official. “He has an incredible work ethic and his commitment to success is second to none. He is building partnership capacity and strengthening alliances every day. Not only that, but he is also an amazing educator and leader in his American Indian heritage.”

The goal of the MTT program is to teach partners and allies various things, such as the English language, flight operations, aircraft maintenance, and general military operations for humanitarian aid and disaster relief.

From Jan. 1, 2019, to March 31, 2021, Johnson acquired and scheduled thousands of courses and hundreds of mobile training teams for international military students within and outside of the United States. This supported a training portfolio valued at $10.9 billion for 157 foreign nations, and fulfills the Secretary of the Air Force’s priority of strengthening our alliances.

“I feel very humble,” Johnson said. “Because this award represents the way I live, it brings in all my worlds into one – a veteran, a civilian employee and an American Indian serving my country and my people.”

Johnson also enhanced awareness and appreciation of American Indian heritage, culture and traditions within the local community through his involvement in the Traditional American Indian Society and the Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph American Indian Heritage Committee. 

“We, the American Heritage Committee, are able to educate and share our culture with the local base community,” Johnson said. “We also bring history alive to the base schools, and children really do enjoy seeing us and talking to us about our culture.”

As the vice-chairman for JBSA-Randolph’s National American Indian Heritage Month committee, he also initiated three programs: Military Youth day, art projects and exhibition dances.

Johnson is the fourth person from Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph to win the SAIGE Military Meritorious Service Award. He was awarded by Afflerbaugh during a virtual ceremony on Sept. 15.