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SENIOR MASTER SERGEANT JOSHUA R. TIDWELL

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Senior Master Sergeant Joshua R. Tidwell is the First Sergeant, 1st Maintenance Squadron, Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va. A native of Alabama, he entered the Air Force in February 1999.

Before applying to be a First Sergeant, he performed in numerous capacities as an aerial porter or "port dawg" including ramp services crew chief, passenger services specialist, and combat readiness instructor. His first assignment was to Dover AFB where he honed his aircraft loading skills and deployed to Prince Sultan AB, Saudi Arabia. As a member of the Dover Honor Guard, Sergeant Tidwell was hand-selected to perform with the Air Force Honor Guard at the 2001 Presidential Inauguration.

In June 2001, then Airman 1st Class Tidwell, underwent a permant change of station to Ramstein AB, Germany, where he was quickly promoted to Senior Airman below-the-zone. While working in the Ramstein Passenger Terminal, he processed troops in support of Operation Enduring Freedom as well as the first 22,000 troops deploying in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. While in Germany, he attended the Kapaun Airman Leadership School, earning the John L. Levitow award.
 
In June 2003, he PCS'd to the 20th Logistics Readiness Squadron (LRS) at Shaw AFB, S.C. As Combat Readiness Flight supervisor,Tidwell managed the wing mobility and readiness training program, training and supervising over 113 mobility augmentees through wing exercises and deployments. While assigned to LRS, he deployed to Manas Air Base, Kyrgyzstan, and Al Asad Air Base, Iraq.

Upon completion of his Iraq tour in 2005, Sergeant Tidwell moved to USAFCENT, Logistics directorate where he served as the NCOIC of Airlift Operations. There he advised the USAFCENT staff on issues related to employment of airlift assets and provided policy, guidance, and direction to more than 850 transporters at over 27 deployed aerial ports. In 2006, he took a break to attend the Gunter NCO Academy where he was named distinguished graduate.
 
He returned to AFCENT and over the next few years he would spend more than 160 days annually serving in the CENTCOM area of responsibility. His expertise was critical to the success of make-or-break issues including the 2009 stand up of the first ever Expeditionary Aerial Port Squadron at Bagram Airbase, Afghanistan. To ensure its success, he volunteered to serve as this unit's first Operations Superintendent. During his year at Bagram, Sergeant Tidwell's unit was the DOD's busiest Aerial Port Operation, loading more than 440,000 passengers and 230,000 tons of cargo on 32,000 airlift missions. He and his team designed 3 MILCON projects including a new cargo terminal, cargo storage yard, and passenger terminal. Furthermore, they developed and implemented the offload plan to support USTRANSCOM's unprecedented use of cargo 747 aircraft to deliver more than 1,000 Mine Resistant Ambush Protected Vehicles to the war-fighter all while enduring 64 rocket attacks. For his leadership, Sergeant Tidwell was awarded the Bronze Star Medal. It was during his Bagram assignment that he applied for and was accepted to become a first sergeant. So, he returned to Shaw and attended back-to-back schools: the Gunter Senior NCO Academy where he earned the John L. Levitow Award and then the USAF First Sergeant Academy where was named Top Graduate.

Upon completion of both courses in August 2012, he PCS'd to Joint Base Langley Eustis to be the First Sergeant of the 1st Maintenance Squadron. In this capacity, he serves as the principal advisor to the commander on matters influencing the health, welfare, morale, and effective utilization of the unit's 570 assigned enlisted personnel. He continues to weigh in on make-or-break issues affecting his Airmen and speaks often at Airman Leadership School, NCOPE, and SNCOPE to perpetuate a culture of Airmanship. 

Sergeant Tidwell holds two Associates Degrees from the Community College of the Air Force and is working towards his Bachelor's in Psychology with a minor in Business Administration at Liberty University. His military decorations include the Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Air Force Commendation Medal with two oak leaf clusters, Army Commendation Medal, and Air Force Achievement Medal with three oak leaf clusters. His other significant achievement include Air Combat Command's 2006 Halvorsen Award, 2008 9th Air Force NCO of the Year, 2009 Airlift/Tanker Association 12 Young Leader Award, the 2012 1st Fighter Wing First Sergeant of the Year.




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