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NEWS | March 29, 2023

Joint Base Charleston Airman recognized as Expeditionary Center Airman of the Year

By Senior Airman Sara Jenkins Joint Base Charleston Public Affairs

Senior Airmen Lauren Parker, 628th Contracting Squadron contracting specialist, was recognized as the 2022 Airman of the Year for the Expeditionary Center. This award is presented to Airmen who have gone above and beyond in their career field and who embody the whole Airman concept. For Parker, this award is gratifying as it recognizes the hard work she and her supervisors put into her career.

“It is extremely fulfilling, just to know all the opportunities I've been given and all the accomplishments I've made have been recognized,” said Parker.

Parker continued to say she is grateful for the support she received from her peers and superiors to help her earn this award, but she’d honestly never expected to make it as far as she did in the process.

Capt. Alyson Phillips, Contracting Officer, explained it was no surprise to anyone else, though.

“Parker is extremely well-deserving of this award,” said Phillips. “Since she has joined the organization, she has done exceptional in every position she has been placed in. Performing at a standard of what would be expected for someone with much more experience than she has. She’s extremely hard-working and humble, she is going to achieve great things in her career.”

Parker also discussed her experience as a woman in the military.

“I've enjoyed the Air Force,” said Parker. “I feel like joining the military as a woman can be kind of scary because you never know what your experience is going to be, but I've found a really good group of people here. I think I've been given opportunities that I otherwise wouldn't have if I hadn't joined the military.”

Parker explained that when recognizing women's history month in the military it is important to acknowledge that women are a minority in the organization, and by recognizing the accomplishments of its female service members, the Air Force is making progress towards becoming a more diverse organization.

“I think it's important because women are outnumbered in the military,” said Parker. “Being able to recognize the accomplishments women in the military have made is extremely important because I wouldn't be sitting here today without them. So, I think taking the time to recognize women and women's history in the military is extremely important. If we don't reflect on the past, we can't keep progressing forward with how women are treated in the military.”

Phillips agreed that representation and recognition is important to women's progression in the military.

“It’s important to see that anyone, regardless of gender, can have success in their career,” said Phillips. “The more it occurs, the more motivating it is for other women to achieve. I love seeing all the different accomplishments women have achieved in the military. I find it very important to see other women achieve things that have not been done before. But even more so, once somebody is the first for something, they won’t be the last, and progress continues.”

Parker believes anyone is capable of joining the military and succeeding.

“I think having women who are motivated and accomplishing amazing things in the military helps set a better standard for women who may want to join,” said Parker. “When I joined the military, I was terrified. But, I think if I can do it, anyone can do it.”