JSTARS officer wins ANG Sijan Award
By Master Sgt. Roger Parsons, 116th ACW PA
/ Published October 18, 2013
10/18/2013 -- A Joint STARS operations officer recently won the Air National Guard Lance P. Sijan Award in the senior officer category.
Maj. Amy Holbeck distinguished herself as the assistant director of operations, 116th Operations Support Squadron, 116th Air Control Wing, Georgia Air National Guard; expertly leading a blended team of Air National Guard and Active Duty personnel during the highest operations tempo in the unit's history.
"Initially I didn't want to be nominated," said Holbeck. "I'm not one to seek accolades for doing what I consider to be my job, but I was honored to win at such a high level and have the opportunity to represent my wing and the Air National Guard."
The Lance P. Sijan Award was named for the first Air Force Academy Graduate to receive the Medal of Honor. Sijan, a fighter pilot, was severely injured when he was shot down over Vietnam in 1967. Evading capture for 45 days, he later died in a prisoner-of-war camp in North Vietnam.
The award is bestowed annually to recognize Airmen who demonstrate outstanding leadership abilities while assigned to an organization at the wing level and below.
"Winning the Lance P. Sijan Leadership Award for the Air National Guard is a big deal and a great achievement for Maj. Holbeck," said Col. Kevin Clotfelter, 116th Air Control Wing commander. "I'm pleased for her but not surprised. Amy has consistently excelled during the 10 years I've known her."
"Whether it was combat operations in the early days of Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom, running a flight of 40 officers and enlisted, or overseeing a wing flying schedule of more than 900 aviators; Holbeck has been an unmatched leader," added Clotfelter.
Holbeck was quick to credit commanders and other leaders that she has worked with who saw something in her that she didn't see in herself.
A self-proclaimed shy and backwards person prior to joining the military, Holbeck shared how joining the military and becoming an officer helped build her confidence.
"Out of the uniform I never had confidence," shared Holbeck. "Wearing this uniform has brought out qualities in me I didn't have before. I kiddingly refer to it as my Wonder Woman suit."
Maj. Holbeck's commitment to leadership doesn't stop when she takes the uniform off at the end of the day.
"One of the qualities I feel is important for a leader is a servant's heart," said Holbeck. "I love to help people whether it's at work, home, or when I'm serving others in my community."
Having just returned from a missions trip to Honduras, Holbeck shared the passion she has for helping children both at home and abroad. She is a leader in her local church and teaches children on a weekly basis.
"My faith in God and the example set forth by my parents have been the driving force in every part of my life, said Holbeck.
"In everything I do I try to live by a philosophy my father shared with me, 'always do your best and take advantage of every opportunity."