Senior NCO receives PACAF Security Forces award
By Staff Sgt. Melanie A. Hutto , 35th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
/ Published November 20, 2017
MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan --
Pacific Air Forces awarded top honors to one of Misawa’s Wild Weasel Defenders, Master Sgt. Bruce Rick, NCO in charge of integrated defense with the 35th Security Forces Squadron. PACAF selected him for Outstanding Security Forces Flight Level Senior NCO of the Year for his performance as a flight sergeant from October 2016 through September 2017 at Misawa Air Base, Japan.
“It is an honor,” said Rick, a Cleghorn, Iowa native. “Since day one, my focus has been helping and training Airmen and NCOs to do their jobs. Sometimes it consumes you, and you forget about yourself. Since my attention was on their development, I was a bit taken aback when I was told I was selected for the award. It's a humbling experience”
The annual award is security forces specific and judged the 35th SFS, PACAF and then Air Force-wide level. Rick was selected over senior NCOs from nine other bases in the PACAF region. He will now compete for the Air Force-level award, which will be announced February 2018.
As a flight sergeant, Rick managed and supervised the shift operations for 118 U.S. Air Force active duty members and Japanese national security forces members. Under his guidance, his Airmen safeguarded approximately 11,500 status of forces agreement members and a total of $3.5 billion in Department of Defense assets.
Within the past year, he also saved the life of a local national from a violent armed assault. His heroic actions earned him an Air Force Commendation Medal.
In preparation for the 2017 Defenders Challenge, Rick coached a six-member team on 23 different combative skills and five weapon systems, leading the team to win three individual awards, ultimately resulting in being named the champions of the overall challenge.
“Master Sgt. Rick is an inspiration to all of us on Cerberus Flight,” said Senior Airman Amy Dyar, a 35th SFS base defense operations center controller. “His positive attitude and sound leadership helps us persevere through the day-to-day challenges associated with being a defender, from something as simple as bearing the cold weather to walking into a situation that less than favorable.”
His mentorship of 118 Airmen led to 22 subordinates receiving awards for excellence through various Air Force award programs.
“Rick is a phenomenal leader. His insight and judgment have made him invaluable to the United States Air Force and the 35th Security Forces Squadron,” said Maj. Patrick Gordon, 35th SFS commander. “He embodies the Air Force core values, develops champions and is certainly deserving of this recognition."
Rick is a firm believer that, next to providing guidance for troops, it’s vital to get out from behind the desk and get your hands dirty with them in the field.
“The Airmen are the backbone and what make the U.S. Air Force the greatest in the world,” Rick said. “They don’t work for me, I work for them.”