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NEWS | Oct. 21, 2015

59th MDW NCO earns AETC Lance P. Sijan award

59th Medical Wing Public Affairs

A 59th Medical Wing NCO at Fort Sam Houston was recognized by the Air Education and Training Command for her leadership and character in and out of the office.

Tech. Sgt. Michelle L. Bernard, 959th Medical Group microbiology NCO, earned the AETC 2015 Lance P. Sijan U.S Air Force Leadership Award in the junior enlisted category.

The award recognizes the accomplishments of officers and enlisted leaders who demonstrate the highest qualities of leadership in the performance of their duties and the conduct of their lives.

Nominees are rated on their scope of responsibility, professional leadership, leadership image and community involvement. Bernard’s performance and leadership as the group unit training manager and microbiology NCO in charge at the San Antonio Military Medical Center, Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston, made her an obvious choice for this award, according to her supervisor.

“When squadron leaders were looking at potential nominees for this award, her name popped up right away. She is always going above and beyond; she consistently performs at a level above her pay grade and it makes her stand out among her peers,” said Master Sgt. Marlon Pugh, clinical laboratory flight chief for the 959th MDG.

As the unit training manager, Bernard directed administrative support of 1,600 personnel servicing 240,000 beneficiaries at the San Antonio Military Medical Center, the Department of Defense’s only Level 1 trauma center. As the microbiology NCOIC, she leads personnel and oversees operations within the molecular, bacteriology, mycology, parasitology, immunology and virology laboratories.

“To me, this award means we have a great team. It is a direct reflection of all the people around me; the people I supervise, my mentors and supervisors. I’ve had some great mentors that have afforded me several opportunities to challenge me and help me grow, so I feel quite blessed and honored,” Bernard said.

Before winning at the MAJCOM level, Bernard competed and won at the squadron, group and wing levels. She will now compete at the Air Force level competition.

The award is named in honor of former Captain Lance P. Sijan, an Air Force Academy graduate and combat pilot, who was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his intrepidity while evading capture by the North Vietnamese and during his subsequent captivity as a prisoner of war.