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Award helps ‘maintain’ Reserve, active-duty relationship

Published: 02:29PM September 4th, 2013

Master Sergeant Roy Osman supports two different Team McChord units with the same mission. Osman stands between two organizations, connecting Air Force Reserve and active-duty maintenance groups, reinforcing the value of the Air Force’s Total Force Initiative in conducting daily air mobility missions.

On one end, he works as a C-17 Globemaster III aircraft maintenance technician Airman with the 446th Maintenance Squadron. On the other end, he’s a full-time C-17 civilian mechanic with the 62nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron.

The 30-plus-year veteran doesn’t play all of the roles in the McChord maintenance system, but his leaders and peers allow him to easily transition back and forth between squadrons. He recently demonstrated this acknowledgement by nominating his civilian supervisor, Rich Arnold, for the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve Patriot Award.

The Patriot Award is given when a Reservist or Guardsman nominates their civilian supervisor, or boss, in appreciation for the recognition and support they have given to the service member in respect to their military duty.

“Mr. Arnold has been a great supporter of my commitment to the Reserve,” Osman said. “It’s been good to know he was in my corner back in the states, while I was deployed.”

Arnold, a 62nd AMXS Maintenance Operations supervisor, said he appreciates the award and, as a retired chief master sergeant, can relate to the necessary demands of current Airmen.

“I’m humbled,” Arnold said. “It’s such a joy to work with these guys; I often feel I don’t support them enough.”

But Osman’s experience during his latest deployment was enough to warrant a nomination.

“I have been on deployments that have gone from six months to a year,” Osman said. “The last one was a yearlong to recover a C-17 that ran off of the runway. Mr. Arnold always emailed me to see if I could use anything, or to be a sounding board to see how things were going for me personally while I was over there.”

Arnold said as critical as Osman is to the McChord mission, allowing him to stay in theater to continue repairing the damaged aircraft was a no-brainer.

“I realized he was as important to the C-17 mission deployed as much as he was at home,” he said. “He is a critical piece of our home station effort. But I received phone calls from (Air Mobility Command) and Boeing about how valuable he was at the deployed site, and how he established relationships with the host nation and the Army, which were also critical to recovering the disabled aircraft.”

Arnold said he admires the knowledge and consistency Osman and other Reserve maintainers bring to the table.

“Roy and his peers bring a level of continuity and experience you could never duplicate with only active-duty folks,” he said. “He is one of the most generous with his time and effort. I don’t think he understands the word ‘no.’”

Colonel Craig Gaddis, 62nd Maintenance Group commander, said the award is a reminder of the crucial relationship between the 446th and 62nd Maintenance groups.

“It shows both the commitment to the Reserve mission and the appreciation of the Reserve to the active-duty force for their willingness to allow people to serve in military and civilian status,” he said.

Colonel Alan Lerner, 446th MXG commander, sees Osman’s experience and stability as inspirational qualities for the younger maintainers who work on the McChord flightline to emulate.

“He is heavily relied upon at home station to provide upgrade training to both active-duty and Reserve maintainers,” Lerner said. “I know the senior supervisors within his squadron are taking maximum advantage of his availability to mentor more junior maintainers in order to share his skills and experience before he retires.”

The ESGR Patriot Award is not the only way to show civilian employers recognition for their support of the Air Force Reserve mission. The 446th Airlift Wing conducts an Employer Orientation Day, which recognizes employers and provides them a taste of the Reserve mission in only a half of a day.