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NEWS | Nov. 23, 2021

JBSA First Sergeant Diamond Sharp Awards

Joint Base San Antonio First Sergeants Council

The Diamond Sharp Award is sponsored by the Joint Base San Antonio First Sergeants Council and recognizes outstanding Airmen who continually exceed the standard to meet the Air Force mission.

Staff Sgt. Savanna B. Smith

Rank/Name: Staff Sgt. Savanna B. Smith
Unit: Air Force Medical Readiness Agency
Duty Title: Theatre Lead Agent for Medical Materiel Reachback Technician
Staff Sgt. Savanna B. Smith distinguished herself by management of medical material in support of Operation Allies Welcome for 70,000 refugees at eight stateside locations. She led purchases of an $8 million medical supply budget and established an expedited supply chain for $18 million in vaccines for special immigrant visa screening requirements. Smith ensured initial medical screening capabilities at three sites by packaging and shipping $170,000 in personal protective equipment, delivery accomplished within 48 hours of notification. Her knowledge and skills directly limited disease and lice outbreaks at six locations and protected 48,000 at-risk refugees.

Senior Airman Tiyana O. Jackson

Rank/Name: Senior Airman Tiyana O. Jackson
Unit: Special Warfare Human Performance Support Group
Duty Title: CSS Technician
Senior Airman Tiyana O. Jackson is the youngest in the group by age and rank, but she executes her duties far beyond. She was vital in the Department of Defense COVID-19 vaccination mandate, dedicating eight hours for medical screening, providing 292 vaccines and raising the wing’s readiness rate by 60% while shielding 400 pipeline students averting lost training time.  She created and updated 92 evaluation sites, processed 33 evaluations, 13 citations and fixed 213 errors, which was instrumental in the reduction of management personnel service backlog by 13%. She also planned the group’s first-ever UNITE-funded event, organized a team-building exercise that allocated $315 and tackled the group’s strategic priority for 15 Airmen.

Senior Airman Clara J. Thurston

Rank/Name: Senior Airman Clara J. Thurston
Unit: 502nd Comptroller Squadron
Duty Title: Financial Services Technician
Senior Airman Clara J. Thurston has filled a staff sergeant certification role, leading and training five civilian personnel. She corrected 1,000 trainee pay records and advanced $1.3 million dollars to help Airmen in no-pay statuses. Her efforts were recognized and coined by the 502nd ABW commander for her sustained excellence and outstanding leadership. Thurston also gave back to her community by volunteering at the local humane society and, to date, has nurtured 25 pets back to health and enabled adoption for 511 animals.

Senior Airman Dericka J. Walker

Rank/Name: Senior Airman Dericka J. Walker
Unit: 502nd Operations Support Squadron
Duty Title: Commander Support Staff
Senior Airman Dericka J. Walker dual-hatted as the unit deployment manager and unit training manager positions for nine months. As deployment manager, she oversaw 14 tasked contingency missions, scheduling newly tasked members for a total of 56 pre-deployment classes and 230 training hours. She also administered the blueprints for completing 300 upgrade training core tasks for members going through on-the-job training, leaving a 100% pass rate on the career development course final exams. Walker was nominated twice as the squadron commander's Spartan of the Week and contributed to her section's squadron team of the quarter award win.

Airman 1st Class Joseph R. Ortiz

Rank/Name: Airman 1st Class Joseph R. Ortiz
Unit: 502nd Security Forces Squadron
Duty Title: Installation Access Controller
On Oct. 29, 2021, Airman 1st Class Joseph R. Ortiz was performing duties as Installation Access Controller when an unauthorized vehicle attempted to enter JBSA-Fort Sam Houston. His control of the scene denied the vehicle further access. His decisive actions enabled the diversion of outbound traffic to avoid any vehicle accidents due to the disabled vehicle, resulting in zero injured personnel. Lastly, due to a language barrier with the driver of the vehicle, Ortiz translated and transcribed the driver’s statement, aiding with casework and responding patrols, ensuring unhindered operations for 136 mission partners.

Airman 1st Class Corey D. Simmel

Rank/Name: Airman 1st Class Corey D. Simmel
Unit: Air Force Band of the West
Duty Title: Regional Band Horn
As one of the squadron’s newest members, Airman 1st Class Corey D. Simmel answered the unit’s call to lead the squadron’s 30-member performance team rehearsals for their largest production of the year due to the commander’s absence. Leveraging his years of professional experience, he led eight hours of mission preparation, enabling a seamless transition for the commander’s return. Simmel also processed seven initial government travel card applications and educated Basic Military Training trainees on permanent change of station entitlements, eliminating the funding gap for Airmen reporting directly to their first duty assignment.