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446th reservist wins AFRC award

Uses civilian teaching skills to train airmen

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Crystal Y. Lothrop, 446th Force Support Squadron education and training technician, poses outside the 446th Airlift Wing headquarters building on Joint Base Lewis-McChord Feb. 25. Photo credit: Staff Sgt. Mary A. Andom

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A Reserve education and training technician assigned to the 446th Force Support Squadron at Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM) has earned the 2020 3F2 Reserve Component Noncommissioned Officer of the Year award.

Staff Sgt. Crystal Y. Lothrop was recognized by senior leadership on JBLM March 6.

"Taking the time to recognize our airmen is one of the most important things we can do when growing our future leaders," said Chief Master Sgt. Christopher D. Neitzel, 446th Airlift Wing command chief. "It takes time to put together a competitive recognition package, albeit, the payoff is much greater and shows our airmen how important their contributions are to our success."

Maj. Leslie E. Weitershausen, 446th Force Support Squadron commander, credits Lothrop's commitment to training airmen in her winning the award.

"She will sit down with everyone; it doesn't matter how long it takes," said Weitershausen. "She's been here sometimes until 9 p.m. That's dedication."

As a unit training manager, Lothrop equips Reserve citizen airmen with efficient training strategies and opportunities to assist in their education and training, career advancement and promotion.

"I know it is not in the job description, but I love helping people," said Lothrop. "I love the Air Force and want to help equip it with the best airmen in the world."

A traditional reservist and a Puyallup school district teacher, Lothrop said her role as an educator has inspired her to find innovative ways to train airmen.

"I understand not everyone can fit a specific mold," Lothrop said. "I think outside the box when it comes to finding the best and most effective methods in educating airmen. I want to create avenues of success for the Air Force."

Job performance remains the most important factor when considering airmen -- whether officer, enlisted, and civilian -- for promotion and other professional development, said Col. Paul M. Skipworth, 446th Airlift Wing commander.

"When an airman earns an award such as a Functional award, they have been recognized for exceptional job performance amongst their peers at the major command level or above," said Skipworth. "That is a strong indicator for potential promotion or further professional development that may lead to future opportunities. I highly encourage our airmen to strive for these and other awards, and for supervisors and command teams to pursue recognition for their strong performers."

Lothrop will advance to compete at the Air Force-wide level.

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