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Leading future leaders: ALS instructor receives FS NCO of the year award

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Marianique Santos
  • 36th Wing Public Affairs
From basic training to tech school, all the way to the operational Air Force, the phrase "setting you up for success" is continuously used. Delivered by instructors and supervisors, the phrase is used to reassure the mentee that the mentor's main purpose is to lead young Airmen towards the right direction, a purpose that is expected of every noncommissioned officer who has Airmen in their charge.

This year's recipient of the Force Support NCO of the year award is Tech. Sgt. Carrie Cain, a 36th Force Support Squadron professional military education instructor, an NCO who not only sets her subordinates up for success, but prepares countless Airmen to become leaders themselves. She currently serves the Air Force as an Airman Leadership School training instructor, a special duty that aims to strengthen the culture of professional Airmen.

"I am a part of the best Force Support Squadron in the Air Force," she said proudly. "I am responsible for preparing Senior Airmen to be professional, war-fighting Airmen who can supervise and lead Air Force work teams in support of the employment of air, space and cyberspace power."

Over the last three years, Sergeant Cain has taught 413 students, with approximately 79,000 contact hours and a total of 3,047 classroom hours. She was also awarded the Air Force District of Washington NCO of the Year this year.

"Sergeant Cain has an awesome drive which reflects in her students," said Master Sgt. Carlos Gutierrez, Sergeant Cain's supervisor since August 2011. "Her dedication to force development is repaid by having ready future NCOs."

"I am definitely honored to win an award at the Air Force level," said Sergeant Cain. "This is something that my mentor, retired Senior Master Sgt. Donna Barry, helped me attain through guidance, counseling and leading by example."

Sergeant Gutierrez said that the ALS, being a special duty assignment, has the "best of the best" NCOs as instructors. Sergeant Cain excelled in her duties in this demanding career and helped the school succeed and maintain production despite the manning shortages, a feat that did not go unnoticed.

"I thought after I won the Air Force District of Washington NCO of the Year there was nothing else to follow," she confessed. "I didn't know that I won this award until last week. So I was truly surprised to hear that it went up to the Air Force level."

Despite the exceptional work she has done, Sergeant Cain did not forget to acknowledge the people who worked with her at the 36 FSS, the people who are currently working with her and her beloved family who serves as her inspiration.

"I definitely have to thank my team for helping me obtain this award," she said. "This award would not have been possible without the support and help of my previous supervisor, Sergeant Barry and co-worker, Tech. Sgt. Esperanza Urbano. Most importantly, my husband, Tech. Sgt. Daniel Cain, who challenges me every day to do bigger and better things for myself and our family."