JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas –
One of Joint Base San Antonio’s own, Tech Sgt. Alexander Messinger, used the word "disbelief" when he found out he was selected as one of this year’s Air Force’s 12 Outstanding Airmen of the Year.
“When you get put up for Airman of the Year, you don’t expect it to go that high, I was just in disbelief when it happened,” said Messinger. “It meant a lot that my unit had a belief in me to put me in for this honor.”
Messinger serves as the noncommissioned officer in charge of standardization evaluation for the 802nd Security Forces Squadron at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland.
He oversees evaluations for every duty position within his squadron. In addition, Messinger manages the entire Management Internal Control Toolkit and Inspector General Enterprise Management System programs covering hundreds of checklists throughout every single section. He works closely with project managers covering 25 different work centers to validate 91 guidelines containing more than 5,000 requirements, ensuring compliance with the Department of Defense, the Air Force and local policies and procedures.
“There were a lot of things he did as a leader, he's a very big team player and drives team success. He brings leadership qualities and abilities that I wish we'd see in more individuals,” said Master Sgt. Andrew Contreras, 802d SFS operations and training superintendent. “If I could join the military today and Airman Contreras just hit the ground running, I would follow TSgt. Messinger”
In preparation for a unit effectiveness inspection and a vertical inspection, Messinger and his team inspected more than 70 programs in the squadron within two months, a process that is typically completed in a 10-month timeframe. The unit earned a highly effective rating during the UEI and Messinger himself was recognized as a professional performer for the second UEI in a row.
His team led process improvements on MICT and their deficiencies and observations tracking throughout the entire squadron leading to some best practices being identified during the vertical and UEI inspections. He was identified as the lone superior performer during the unit’s vertical inspection.
Messinger attributed his recognition to the three core values he lives by.
“Of course hard work, that is your buy-in, the number one. If you don’t do that, you can’t get to the other two. The second is attitude, I’m huge on attitude. I can’t come into work with a poopy attitude and expect my troops to be excited about what they are doing. I always show up with a smile and always help wherever I can. The last one is always be a student. The moment you think you know everything is when something fails. Always learn and look for those growth opportunities even when you make mistakes.”
Messinger stressed the importance of being part of the team and always striving for the greater good of the team. His supervisor echoed the same sentiment, praising Messinger for always putting the team first.
“He shows humility, he will be the first to say thank you to the team. He never takes credit all for himself, he always gives credit to the team. He just displays the leadership qualities that I myself want to follow, that I want to aspire to be,” said Contreras.
Messinger said he never had 12 OAY on his radar, his focus always stayed with his mission and his team.
“I just came in with those three values and tried to give it my all every day and see what we could accomplish as a team,” said Messinger. “This honor isn’t for me, it’s for the standardization evaluation team, for the squadron and for everyone that has helped me along the way.”