86 OMRS Airman streamlines flight physicals

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Tamara Norwood, 86th Operational Medical Readiness Squadron flight and operation medical technician, center, poses for a photo with Chief Master Sgt. Tommy Childers, 86th Civil Engineer Group superintendent, left, and U.S. Air Force Col. Matthew Husemann, 86th Airlift Wing vice commander, during an Airlifter of the Week ceremony at Ramstein Air Base, March 25.

The 86th Airlift Wing command team recognized U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Tamara Norwood as Airlifter of the Week for her excellent job performance and leadership, March 25.

Norwood, 86th Operational Medical Readiness Squadron flight and operational medical technician, played a vital role in the unit’s Initial Flying Class physical program.

The IFC programs are appointments requested by Airmen across U.S. Air Forces in Europe-Air Forces Africa, who are looking to retrain or re-class out of their current Air Force Specialty Code.

“My job is to make sure that Airmen are qualified for flying jobs,” Norwood said. “The physicals are more intensive for Airmen wanting to retrain into these types of jobs, but due to COVID-19 it’s been more difficult for Airmen to make appointments for physicals and other medical requirements.”

Once flight physicals and medical appointments for Airmen became available, Norwood was able to streamline the process in order to get a backlog of Airmen who were about to miss the deadline for their retraining process. She was able to complete 12 physicals and sign off 624 requirements within 24 hours.

“Norwood has done a phenomenal job and has shown an ability to be resilient in the way she reacts and proactively adjusts to change,” said Col. Matthew Husemann, 86th Airlift Wing vice commander. “She is an asset to the OMRS.”

Norwood also revamped the training for unit health monitors and guided them on how to track and process updates for more than 400 Airmen. She also helped to boost the 721st Aerial Port Squadron’s mission readiness rate by 20% by organizing a health care one-stop shop for more than 100 personnel to complete their labs, immunizations, and other health care requirements in one visit.

Norwood remarked that others have referred to her unit as “dream crushers” because of how often applicants are disqualified from flying because of health reasons.

“I don’t like being called that, I like being able to make people’s dreams come true,” Norwood said. “When I am able to get someone closer to being able to retrain, that makes my day.”

Norwood, a Puerto Rico native, just recently took a promotion test and hopes to be a leader during her time in the U.S. Air Force.

“The more we get to move up in rank, the more we owe the U.S. Air Force,” Norwood said. “The more they give us, the more we owe them. I feel like the U.S. Air Force has given me so much and I want to pay that back and pay it forward.”