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NEWS | April 25, 2008

TSgt earns AF honors as best ARC Vehicle Operations NCO

By Staff Sgt. Tim Bazar 12th Flying Training Wing Public Affairs

A local Air Force Reserve Command technical sergeant was lauded by the Air Force as the 2007 ARC Vehicle Operations NCO of the Year recently. 

Rachael Kiernan, who works in a civilian capacity in the distinguished visitor transportation section of the 12th Logistics Readiness Division, also dons a uniform to join her fellow ARC Airmen at Carswell Naval Air Station (a joint Reserve base) in Ft. Worth every month for their two-day drill weekend. As a technical sergeant, her 12 years of experience with the military shines through, Lt. Col. David Jones, 301st Logistics Readiness Squadron commander at Carswell NAS said. 

In addition to teaching 14 Airmen the ins and outs of the "2T1" vehicle operations career field, Sergeant Kiernan also takes on the role of training manager to ensure every Airman under her watch is current on their requirements in the event they tasked to deploy. 

"Everything we try to accomplish in a month of active duty is all jammed into two days on the Reserve side," said Sergeant Kiernan, whose husband, Master Sgt. John Kiernan, is a first sergeant at Air Education and Training Command. "When my husband got stationed here, I naturally followed. But I wanted to stay with my Reserve unit at Carswell (NAS)." 

But San Antonio isn't far removed from the lifestyle Sergeant Kiernan has experienced in her military travels. As a vehicle operations craftsman, she has served at Andrews Air Force Base, Md., where she met her husband, Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas, where she applied for a military training leader position and got it. 

"My experience (as an MTL) was the best yet," she said with a grin. "It was long hours, but it was the best three years of my career." 

That's when she decided to "go Reserve." 

"It was a big change going from active-duty to Reserve," Sergeant Kiernan said. "But I was happy to be back driving again." 

While deployed for six months to Manas Air Base, Kyrgyzstan, as a volunteer, she transported 130 crews and 25,380 pounds of equipment, drove 485,000 pounds of cargo on 53 tractor trailers without incident, and delivered 18,000 pounds of Army and Air Force Exchange Service, or AAFES, goods and merchandise to meet customer demands. 

She additionally created multiple computer database and programs to smooth the tracking and organization of vehicle requests. 

But her services weren't all work-related. Sergeant Kiernan also worked to improve the fitness of other Airmen by volunteering to teach a step-aerobics class, while at the same time volunteering to be her unit's unit travel representative. 

"Being a UTR and taking care of getting our Airmen back home is a great motivator for me," she said. 

"She's second to none in patriotism, volunteerism, leadership and warrior spirit," Colonel Jones said. "(She even) volunteers her off-duty time to sew on patches and rank for new members and promotees."