Minot Airman named one of 12 Outstanding Airmen of the Year

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Christian Sullivan
  • Minot Air Force Base Public Affairs

Winning any Air Force-level award is a highly sought out accomplishment and shouldn’t be taken lightly by anyone who wins or is nominated at that level, but being named one of the 12 Outstanding Airmen of the Year in the entire Air Force is a rare honor.


Tech. Sgt. Michael Asuncion Jr., 5th Bomb Wing NCO in charge of administration at Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota, was one of the Airmen selected for this prestigious award. Remaining humble, he doesn’t take all the credit for his award


“I lead some really good people and teamed up with a lot of great people,” Asuncion said. “The family at home really did their part by sending me to work every day ready to do my best.”


Asuncion had to beat other Airmen at four different levels all across the Air Force before he was chosen as one of the final 12.


“The 12 OAY is an annual award, so first you compete at the wing level, then the numbered Air Force, then the MAJCOM and then the Air Force level,” Asuncion said. “I just found out recently that I won at the Air Force level.”


Asuncion was originally nominated for this award while he was still in pavement and equipment, or more commonly known as a “dirt boy,” stationed at Patrick Air Force Base, Florida.


“It’s really not a reflection of me, it’s the teams I’ve been on,” Asuncion said. “The Airmen over there at Patrick were great. Once we pointed in a direction, the Airmen were already running that way.”


Although this may be the highest honor he has received, it certainly isn’t the first.


“I did get BTZ, first sergeant’s sharp troop award as an Airman, NCO of the quarter for the 4th quarter in 2014, distinguished graduate for the NCOA in 2015,” Asuncion said. “I also got distinguished graduate in tech school for both pavement and equipment in 2012 and tech school for administration in 2016.”


Even though he has already known for some time now, Asuncion is still getting used to this high honor.


“I still don’t even know what to expect from this, people are saying it’s a big deal,” Asuncion said. “I know it’s a huge deal, it just really hasn’t sunk in yet. I think it will when my wife and I go to D.C. and we’re actually talking to Chief Cody. Right now it feels like another day just trying to do the job.”


Asuncion found out by getting a phone call from two very high-ranking individuals in his previous command.


“General Hyten, the Air Force Space Command commander, along with Chief McMahon, the command chief, called me up and said, ‘Congratulations, you made master sergeant, oh and you made 12 OAY’,” Asuncion said. “I was overwhelmed that day; the first thing I did was go home and tell my family what we’ve done because they are a big part of my success. Then I called up all the dirt boys back at home station and my mentors and everyone that had an impact on me and reciprocated the success because I’m representing them.”


Although this is a very high point in his career, Asuncion views this accomplishment not as a complacency point, but a launch pad to take his career even further and fulfill his long and short-term goals.


“Long term, my wife and I are still on the fence if I want to go through with the enlisted route and make chief or to take the officer route,” Asuncion said. “Short term, I just retrained into administration and I just got my three-level, so my current goal is to get good at my job and make this office the best it’s ever been. But I definitely want to stay in and retire to serve my country another 10 years, whether it’s as an officer or enlisted.”


Asuncion said that he is an example that you don’t have to do anything crazy to be recognized for doing a good job, just to make sure when you do something, to do it right.


“I just try to live the core values and try my best in everything I do,” Asuncion said. “Anyone can do it if you keep trying. It’s out there for anyone to get, it’s not just for the elite. You just have to wake up first and go to sleep last and do your best between those two points at whatever it is you do. If it’s putting binders away, make sure the binders are straight. If it’s lining up chairs, make sure there’s no dust on them, it’s the simple things that stand out.”