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Andersen Airman awarded Weather NCO of the Year

Staff Sgt. Paul Alfred, 36th Operations Support Squadron weather forecaster, poses in front of a thermal infrared satellite feed of the Pacific Region here May 11. Sergeant Alfred was recently awarded 2010’s Weather Noncommissioned Officer of the Year at the Air Force level for showing outstanding initiative and leadership ability. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Carlin Leslie)

ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam -- Staff Sgt. Paul Alfred, 36th Operations Support Squadron weather forecaster, poses in front of a thermal infrared satellite feed of the Pacific Region here May 11. Sergeant Alfred was recently awarded 2010’s Weather Noncommissioned Officer of the Year at the Air Force level for showing outstanding initiative and leadership ability. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Carlin Leslie)

ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam -- "I look back on what my life was, and compare it to what it is now," said Staff Sgt. Paul Alfred, 36th Operations Support Squadron weather forecaster, as he reflects on his formative years. "The Air Force has given this new life to me."

Rising from humble beginnings in the Marshall Islands, a small chain in the North Pacific Ocean, Sergeant Alfred's motivation to achieve more than his lot in life garnered him recognition at the Air Force level, and in April, he was named 2010's Weather Noncommissioned Officer of the Year.

"When I found out I had won, I was both ecstatic and surprised," Sergeant Alfred said. "I knew I had been involved in some important things during my time in Honduras, but I wasn't sitting back and thinking 'this is going to make a great awards package one day.'"

The win does not come as a surprise to his supervisor, Master Sgt. Kenneth Lester, 36 OSS weather flight chief.

"Sergeant Alfred arrived on Andersen in November of last year," he said. "From the moment he got to work he hit the ground running. From the way he took charge of our training program to his sharp appearance, Sergeant Alfred is a leader in every sense of the word."

Stationed at Soto Cano Air Base for the majority of 2010, Sergeant Alfred's initiative and take-charge attitude enabled him to play a pivotal role in a counter-narcotic mission that led to the seizure of roughly 300 kilograms of illegal drugs.

Intelligence Sergeant Alfred provided ensured the safety of aircraft and allowed for the successful completion of the mission in the most unpredictable conditions.

"Each airframe has limiting thresholds such as visibility and the position of the clouds at a given time," he said. "If they had gone below the mandated weather criteria, the aircraft would have had to land in the middle of nowhere. To prevent this, I was constantly relaying what conditions were like to the team. I think we were all proud when the mission was a success."

For most, the words weather and adventure don't usually make it into the same sentence. However, through volunteerism, Sergeant Alfred has managed to break the mold and create a new normal for himself. He encourages those around him to do the same.

"Never limit yourself to what you see in front of you," Sergeant Alfred said. "Find something that pushes you to strive for more and focus on it. You can excel in what you do, but what puts you ahead of your peers is when you step forward and do something outside the box."

For this forecaster, family is the only driving factor he needs.

"Without my wife, nothing I have accomplished would have been possible. Because of her love and support, I have been able to take advantage of the opportunities the Air Force has given me and make a better life for my children than I had ever thought possible."

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