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Hurlburt sergeant celebrated for work, community contributions

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Angela Shepherd
  • 1st Special Operations Wing Public Affairs
One Airman at Hurlburt Field recently found out she has been honored for doing what she loves to do ... being a loadmaster and making a difference in the community.

Staff Sgt. Jacqueline Patterson, 15th Special Operations Squadron, was selected as the Air Force's active duty winner of the 2009 National Latina Symposium Distinguished Service Award, an annual award that, according to the award announcement, "honors service personnel who demonstrate distinguished performance, embody the core values of their respective military services and display exceptional character as role models representing the Hispanic community with dignity and pride."

In recent months, Sergeant Patterson deployed twice. While in Afghanistan, she logged 46 combat sorties during which she helped deliver more than 700 tons of war material. She also served on emergency resupply airdrop missions to aid military members under fire on the ground. During another deployment, Sergeant Patterson provided training to foreign military members and assisted in transporting doctors into an underdeveloped area to treat more than 1,200 foreign nationals.

"Sergeant Patterson is a true Air Commando - a natural leader and a quiet professional," said Lt. Col. David Diehl, 15th SOS commander. "She cares deeply for her squadron and our team."

When she's not deployed, Sergeant Patterson maintains a very busy work schedule, but she still finds time to get out and volunteer in the local community.

While some people find a certain volunteer niche and stick with that, Sergeant Patterson splits her time amongst various groups and projects. She spent lots of time visiting with the enlisted widows at Bob Hope Village over the holidays, and now, she goes back on a monthly basis to participate in their video bowling tournaments. During the base's annual Operation Christmas Wish, Sergeant Patterson personally sponsored a Honduran child. She also helped coordinate her squadron's overall contribution to the event, helping an additional 20 orphans. The Special Operations Warrior Foundation is also near and dear to her heart. She helped raise more than $30,000 for the organization.

The combination of all of her efforts is what made her the standout choice for the award, which she'll have to make room for in her already impressive award collection. She was also recently selected as the 15th SOS NCO of the Year for 2008 and the 2008 Spirit of Hope Award recipient for Air Force Special Operations Command.

As a six-year Air Force veteran who has already garnered so much recognition, her leadership has high hopes for a promising and successful career.

"I look forward to watching Sergeant Patterson's career progress. I hope to cross paths with her again in the future," Colonel Diehl said.

Sergeant Patterson will be officially recognized during a ceremony in Washington, D.C., in September along with the winners from the other military branches.