Ramstein paralegal named best in AF

Story and photo by Tech. Sgt. Michael Voss
Ramstein Public Affairs

Master Sgt. Kristen Orcutt, 435th Air Base Wing Legal Office,
non-commissioned officer in charge for legal operations, was recently selected as the Yates-Popwell Award winner for 2008.

The Karen Yates-Popwell Award is an Air Force level award that recognizes the active-duty senior non-commissioned officer in the grade of senior master sergeant or master sergeant selected as the most outstanding paralegal of the year based on demonstrated excellence, superior initiative, leadership,
management skills and professionalism.

Recently, Ramstein Public Affairs asked her a few questions to get to know more about the award-winning Airman.

Q: Where is your hometown?

A: Palmdale, Calif.

Q: How long have you been in
the Air Force?

A: 18 years the end of May

Q: Why did you join the Air Force, and why did you select your AFSC (if by choice)?

A: To take part in the Gulf War, travel and college. I needed a change, wanted to learn something new and different than transportation.

Q: What is your official duty title?

A: NCOIC, Legal Operations

Q: What are your normal tasks and duties?

A: Assist the law office superintendent in the day-to-day running of this 43-person office. Funding, day-to-day supervision and anything else that comes up.

Q: How does your job contribute to the Team Ramstein mission?

A: I keep the paralegals happy so they can assist commanders and first sergeants with military justice matters and provide legal assistance, Power of Attorney,
notary and claims assistance.

Q: What do you like about your job?

A: People I work with both internal and external. Helping people – no one is happy when they come to the legal office.

Q: What kind of base or community involvement do you participate in?

A: Parent Teacher Organization, Cub Scouts, the Top 3 – wherever needed if I can find the time.

Q: What kind of things do you do to improve yourself as an Airman?

A: Continuously practice my writing skills and speaking abilities to help with communication and to be able to recognize my Airmen properly.

Q: What is or was your favorite assignment?

A: I can’t say. Each base has been wonderful and each has caused me to grow a little, though you can’t beat being stationed at the hub of Europe!

Q: How does winning this award make you feel?

A: Wonderful and nervous. It is great to be recognized by your peers but I’m not comfortable in the lime light.

Q: Is there anything else about you or the award that you’d like to share?

A: This award does not reflect what I did, but what every enlisted and officer at the Ramstein Legal Office has done. This is truly a team award.

Q: How would you have someone else position themselves in a way that they could complete your jobs?

A: Always keep the focus on your Airmen, be truthful with them and set the best example you can because someone is always watching to see how you do things. So show them how to do it right.