Stepping up: Grissom Airmen tack on

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Jami K. Lancette
  • 434th Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs

Integrity, service and excellence, three words Airmen are familiar with from the beginning of their service. Those words are also characteristics of Airmen who attained what their duty position has perceived as unattainable. 

For 14 Grissom Airmen, that goal was achieved as they tacked on another stripe Oct. 1 after being selected by the Stripes for Exceptional Performers II board.

STEP II is a commanders program designed to promote the most deserving Airmen, especially those who are blocked from promotion due to lack of position vacancies common in reserve units.

“This is a great program for people who are stuck where there are no vacancies for promotion; it gives deserving Airmen the opportunity to get promoted,” said Chief Master Sgt. Wes Marion, 434th Air Refueling Wing command chief. “And the fact that 14 of our wing members earned the promotion is just phenomenal.”

Grissom’s Airmen among many others around the command were made public when the Air Reserve Personnel Center released the names Aug. 29.

To senior master sergeant:

Joseph Hubbs, 434th Maintenance Group

To master sergeant:

Benjamin Mota 434th ARW

Evangeline DeGillo, 434th Aerospace Medicine Squadron

Jennifer Britt, 434th AMDS

Kandi DeLee, 434th AMDS

Kevin Gregory, 434th Maintenance Squadron

Kyle Kaufman, 434th MXG

Steven Leach, 434th ARW

Sean Stretch, 434th Communications Squadron

To technical sergeant:

Christopher Robinson, 434th MXS

Fredrick Beck, 434th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron

Jacob Wallin, 434th AMDS

Kelsey St. Clair, 434th MXS

Thomas Ray, 434th CS

“Each wing is allowed to submit a certain number of nominations,” said Marion. “Nomination packages are put together and submitted to the individual’s wing where it holds a board to determine which nominations will move forward.

“At that point the wing submits all of their local nominations to Air Force Reserve Command where they hold their own board to determine which submissions will get the stripe,” added Marion.

Senior Master Sgt. Hubbs, 434th MXG operations controller explains his initial shock as well as the hard work that went into making sure his package would stand out from the rest.


“I was kind of shocked for about the first week when I found out,” said Senior Master Sgt. Joseph Hubbs, 434th MXS operations controller. “When I spoke to people about the program all you hear is its really tough to get and it’s a hard program.

“We worked on my package for approximately a year,” said Hubbs. “It was a big help having other people look over the package before it was submitted, making sure everything was worded correctly and just making sure you’re producing a good product.”

Reiterating the time that Hubbs and his superiors spent on his package, Marion also explained that the process, as competitive as it is, takes a lot of time and effort. And for those deserving enough, it pays off in the end.

“This is a very competitive process; it really is an honor to get selected for STEP II,” said Marion. “The more things that you can do to set yourself apart the better.

“It’s important to look at taking optional courses like the senior non-commissioned officer leadership development course, optional professional military education, volunteering for various events on base and talking to others who have succeeded with the program,” added Marion.

At the end of the day the merit, hard work and dedication paid off for these Airmen as they continue to be an asset to the Air Force community.


“When our people promote through this program it really speaks to the quality of the Airmen in the wing, and the hard work that everyone is putting in,” said Marion. “A lot of effort went into those submissions and it shows that everyone did really well.”

The 434th ARW is the largest KC-135R Stratotanker unit in the Air Force Reserve Command. The Citizen Airmen from the Hoosier Wing routinely deploy around the world in support of the Air Force mission.

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