Reserve NCO earns annual U.S. TRANSCOM award

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Minnette Mason
  • 446 Airlift Wing Public Affairs
A Reserve client systems technician from the 446th Force Support Squadron here, was recently notified that he earned the distinction of U.S. Transportation Command 2014 Junior Service Member of the Year.

Staff Sgt. Jeffery Gebhardt has been training alongside Army, Navy and Marine Corps personnel for almost two years. He volunteered for an assignment with the Joint Communications Support Element at MacDill Air Force Base, Florida, in November 2013. Most recently, he was selected to provide tactical communications support within the U.S. European Command in Germany.

"This is the first annual award I have received," Gebhardt said. "I was pretty surprised when [I was notified]. I didn't think I had much chance since TRANSCOM is such a large entity."

As part of JCSE, Gebhardt is ready to deploy immediately and provide communications support to the Regional Combatant Commands, Special Operations Command and other agencies.

Gebhardt's selection was based on his accomplishments throughout the year. After earning a master's degree in information security, Gebhardt continued his focus toward military training. In September 2014, he completed the Gryphon Group High Threat Personnel Course at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. There, he was trained on "tactical driving, gun fighting and how to successfully break contact with the enemy," he said.

Joint training for the then-senior airman didn't end with specialized combat training, however. Two months later, Gebhardt completed the Army Basic Airborne School and was awarded the Airborne patch. Then, he returned to his Air Force roots and after graduating from Airman Leadership School, he was promoted to staff sergeant.

"[Gebhardt] had advanced technical education prior to being assigned to JCSE," said Master Sgt. Glen Coppin, Echo troop sergeant with the 2nd Joint Communications Squadron at MacDill AFB. He leads a team in EUCOM, where Gebhardt is assigned, and nominated Gebhardt for the annual award.

"I immediately recognized that [Gebhardt] epitomized the whole person concept that everyone in the Air Force strives for," Coppin said.
Although Gebhardt was notified, he has not yet received his award because he is geographically separated from JCSE in Florida.

"I told my friends and family, and they we're all very proud of me. But in reality, I was just doing my job to the best of my ability and trying to improve myself every day," Gebhardt said.

"Joining the Reserve has been one of the best decisions of my life," he added. "Sure you have to make sacrifices, but it is worth it in the end. The Air Force Reserve paid for my master's degree, has taken me to many different countries around the world, and given me the opportunity to jump out of planes!"