86th Airmen receive STEP promotions

Nate Cairney
Kaiserslautern American

The two Airmen never even saw it coming. Master Sgt. Jeff Smith, an air transportation specialist for the 86th Air Mobility Squadron, and Tech. Sgt. James Ewing, a flight engineer for the 37th Airlift Squadron were both promoted Feb. 16 under the Stripes for Exceptional Performers program.

***image2***“I had just got back from Kosovo and wasn’t in the loop on anything,” said Sergeant Smith, who was promoted from technical to master sergeant. “It was super.”

The same sentiment held true for Sergeant Ewing, who was STEP promoted from staff to technical sergeant.

“I was surprised and very relieved, because I just took my test for Tech. (Sgt.) last week,” he said. “I am very grateful.”

According to Brig. Gen. Rich Johnston, KMC and 86th Airlift Wing commander, the two Airmen were completely deserving of the STEP promotions.

***image1***“One of the most rewarding privileges I have is to promote Air Force shining stars,” said General Johnston. “STEP promoting Staff Sgt. James Ewing to the rank of technical sergeant and Tech. Sgt. Jeff Smith to master sergeant was an honor. I am very grateful for their talent, leadership, and dedication. Both Sergeant Ewing and Sergeant Smith are prime examples of why I am so proud to be a part of the best aerospace force in the world.”

Sergeant Smith deploys often in his role as an air transportation specialist, and helps to coordinate transportation for cargo and passengers.

As a flight engineer, Sergeant Ewing is called upon to perform a variety of duties, including flight preparation, mission planning and monitoring systems in flight.