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NEWS | Feb. 28, 2007

Two Team Charleston members receive STEP promotion

By Staff Sgt. Alice Moore 437th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Two Team Charleston NCOs were promoted recently by the wing commander and the command chief master sergeant under the Stripes for Exceptional Performers program. 

One NCO was promoted to master sergeant and the one to technical sergeant by Col. Glen Joerger, 437th Airlift Wing commander, and Chief Master Sgt. Melvin Willis, 437 AW command chief master sergeant. 

Master Sgt. Keith Briggs, 437th Operations Group NCO in charge of special operations communications, thought he was chosen to brief Colonel Joerger on the Combat Track II program when he received the news of his promotion. 

"I prepared all day to brief the commander," Sergeant Briggs said. "After I finished the brief, Colonel Joerger asked if I could accompany him to brief the AMC (Air Mobility Command) commander." 

Sergeant Briggs said it was then he was promoted. 

"It was all a set-up," he said. 

Tech. Sgt. Brandon Hutchins, 437th Aerial Port Squadron unit deployment manager and health monitor, was also told he had to give a briefing to Colonel Joerger on a training program before he was promoted. 

"I was completely shocked," Sergeant Hutchins said. "I had already signed for my test date and everything, so that was the last thing I expected to see."
The individuals who nominated the NCOs for the promotion weren't as surprised to see the Airmen receive the honor. 

"This was a great way to recognize the unselfish service Sergeant Hutchins has given to his country through his career," said Lt. Col. John Pepin, 437 APS commander. "He was a perfect fit for this program." 

"When I lobbied our wing commander for the stripe, the material was the easy part," said Lt. Col. Richard Sheetz, 437th Services Squadron commander. "Sergeant Briggs is that good and his resume is full of good bullets. He is one of the finest NCOs I have ever served with." 

Sergeant Briggs said he was thankful for the recognition. 

"I feel pretty fortunate to have leadership that took the time to notice and recognize my accomplishments and those of the work center over the last six years," he said. 

Sergeant Hutchins was also thankful for the work of his chain of command. 

"I could never thank them enough," he said. 

The STEP program is a promotion recognition program used by commanders to recognize the outstanding contributions and accomplishments of senior airmen, staff sergeants and technical sergeants who work hard and are a "cut above the rest."