by Ricky Baptista
65th Air Base Group Public Affairs Office
MORÓN AIR BASE, SPAIN — Recognition of doing a good job in our line of work is customary. From the pat on the back, to the “coin” handshake and of course the different levels of awards at the flight, squadron, group or wing.
Yet, when one of our own is recognized as the best in the United States Air Force, we need to share his story of excellence. Master Sergeant Benjamin O’Bryan is a member of the 496th Air Base Squadron located at Morón Air Base, Spain. He was recently awarded the 2018 United States Air Force Airfield Management Senior Noncommissioned Officer of the Year award.
This Air Force-level award is given to an Airfield Management Senior Noncommissioned Officer who contributed to an outstanding degree their services, ideas, developments, or accomplishments in the career field. Considering the number of airfields the USAF manages across the globe, Master Sgt. O’Bryan distinguished himself as world-class leader.
Airfield managers are responsible for synchronizing daily airfield operations to maintain a safe, efficient, and effective airfield, including the coordination and oversight of construction projects and airfield repairs; managing the airfield environment in accordance with applicable criteria and initiating airfield waivers for non-compliant facilities, developing parking plans considering airframe suitability and operations potential, coordinating aircraft support, hazard identification and reporting, and processing notices to Airmen.
Master Sgt. O’Bryan led a 4 million dollar runway repair project at Morón Air Base, which replaced 9,800 feet of runway while continuing real-world operations. His oversight enabled the project to be completed one week ahead of schedule and extended the service life of the runway by 25 years.
His actions enhanced the partnership with host nation military, Spanish air force and resulted in a 10 percent increase in Department of Defense aircraft parking capability at Morón Air Base.
Master Sgt. O’Bryan is originally from Kentucky and enlisted in the U.S. Air Force in January 2007 to “see the world.”
“I have been extremely fortunate with assignments up to this point in my career and have been able to spend 9 of my 12 years in Europe to fulfill my original reason for joining,” said O’Bryan.
Although travelling is one of Master Sgt. O’Bryan’s priorities, you can see through his actions, leadership and day-to-day demeanor he has other priorities.
“My goal is to continually be a positive example for the Airmen I lead every day. I want them to see a person who is motivated, honest, and caring. I’ve heard many Airmen say they are separating from the Air Force because of the lack of understanding from their prior leadership and my goal is to show them that it is possible to put effort into both the people and the mission,” O’Bryan said.
Air Force-level awards recognize excellence amongst a multitude of deserving candidates. This level of recognition does not occur overnight. It requires years of dedication to the profession of arms and countless time spent in training and immeasurable sacrifices to be the best at what you do in the world’s best Air Force.
“My parents instilled a work ethic in my brother and me at a young age. Growing up in a rural area, chores were always a part of life. I firmly believe that the work ethic I was taught as a child has been a primary reason I have been successful. I also have had great leaders around me at every level, from the time I was an airman basic until today. Those people have been crucial in molding me into the senior noncommissioned officer I am today,” O’Bryan said.
It cannot stop here, there is always more that needs to be done. Master Sgt. O’Bryan’s advice for others to achieve success “The two things that are key to success, in my opinion, are effort and attitude. If you put 100 percent effort into a task and attack it with a positive, optimistic attitude, the odds are that you’ll successfully complete the task in front of you.”
Master Sgt. O’Bryan will be leaving Morón Air Base in September of this year and moving to Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana, for a 3-year tour as the Airfield Management Functional Manager at Air Force Global Strike Command. His goals during his next assignment are to finish his Master’s degree and, of course, take time to travel across America.