Passion, proficiency puts wing E&T SNCO on top

  • Published
  • By Gene H. Hughes
  • 908th Airlift Wing
Master Sgt. Roderick Parker is responsible for the oversight of all education and training for the 908th Airlift Wing. If the Reservists are prepared to go to war at any given moment, chances are that he and his staff had a big hand in it.

In recognition of his management of such programs both here and overseas, Sergeant Parker was recently named as the 2010 Education and Training Staff Non Commissioned Officer for AFRC.

While education is the primary customer service function, assisting members with matters concerning the GI Bill, tuition assistance, the Community College of the Air Force and other Air University-type programs. But Sergeant Parker sees his primary focus as managing on-the-job training for wingmen's career development and making sure members are able to do their jobs.

"Our central focus is always on enlisted personnel," he said. "The more technically proficient we are, the better prepared we are to go to war and come home safely.

"We try to develop programs to ensure that our trainers and supervisors are equipped to train, qualify and certify our people.

Sergeant Parker's opinion the award, despite recognizing his day-to-day activities, had a great deal to do with his being able to be where there was a need for his expertise.

"They needed someone in Afghanistan to fill a billet that required a four-year degree, and unfortunately, not as many training managers had it," he said.

But it was more than just being at the right place at the right time. While deployed, he had the opportunity as the 451st Air Expeditionary Wing Test Control Officer to visit downrange installations and train test-control officers. This allowed alert personnel - specifically pilots - to continue their career progression in place.

"They were not able to travel to Kandahar where I was stationed," he said. "So I went to where they were and trained someone down there so they would be able to keep their careers on track."

After 25 years in the service, 15 in education and training, Sergeant Parker believes the key to success in his field has two main characteristics: Proficiency and passion.

"You have to know what you're talking about if you're going to train someone to train someone else," he said. "If the process by which you do that is flawed, then you'll end up with a flawed organization.

"After all my years, I still have a great passion for this job. If I could afford to, I'd do it for free because I really enjoy what I do. I take my charge very seriously, and each day I try to positively impact the lives of our members so they are able to realize their dreams as a part of this Air Force."