MHAFB Airman wins 2013 ACC Lance P. Sijan award

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Benjamin Sutton
  • 366th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
A Bold Tiger maintenance officer recently received the Air Combat Command Lance P. Sijan award in the junior officer category.

Capt. Angelina Stephens, 366th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron officer-in-charge of the 391st Aircraft Maintenance Unit, earned the ACC level award due to her outstanding leadership qualities.

"Winning this award is amazing and I consider myself incredibly lucky to be a part of the Bold Tiger team," said Stephens. "Some amazing work has been accomplished during the last year and this is a reflection of the hard work from all 332 members of the 391st AMU and the supervision who challenged us to turn the unit around during very difficult circumstances."

The award requires candidates demonstrate leadership through scope of responsibility, professional leadership and leadership image.

"Everything I do is focused on ensuring maintainers have the necessary tools to make our aircraft available to meet mission requirements," said Stephens. "The foundation of the Wing mission is providing combat airpower, and the combat capability of the Bold Tigers rests on our ability to safely and consistently deliver top-notch jets to keep our aircrew combat mission ready."

Base leadership noticed the change in the morale of Airmen who worked for Stephens almost immediately.

"Captain Stephens led by example, working tirelessly to inspire her Airmen," said Lt. Col. Jeremy Saunders, 366th AMXS commander. "She put the people first, providing a culture shift which boosted morale while producing the best maintenance metrics and quality of work in several years."

Saunders said Stephens was the force behind an extraordinary unit turnaround and under her guidance the 391st AMU achieved two best-in-fleet for F-15E aircraft and eight 5-year-best Maintenance Performance Indicators, both extraordinary achievements as a measure of how well units perform according to Air Force standards.

"My goal is to be able to make a very challenging job easier on my Airmen because maintainers have a grueling career full of physically and mentally exhausting days," said Stephens. "They are held to incredibly high expectations and strict discipline standards. It's my job to make sure we are doing everything we can to meet the mission requirements safely without putting any unnecessary burdens on the maintainers who are making it happen."

With her Airmen and safety-first attitude, Stephens successfully led the Air Force's largest F-15E maintenance unit, directly responsible for 322 Airmen and 26 F-15s. 

"Among her many accomplishments were guiding an unprecedented 24-ship Air Expeditionary Force reconstitution, completing 403 maintenance actions in two months," Saunders said. "She revamped 87 programs to achieve the best F-15E AMXS maintenance compliance inspection results in the Air Force."

Stevens cited creativity and innovation as a source of the changes she's made while on the job.

"I'm completely overwhelmed by this award. For me, watching Airmen reach their full potential and find ways to improve our processes through their unique ideas and innovation is the best part of my job," said Stephens. "I'm lucky to work with such an amazing group and a proud Bold Tiger!"

The Lance P. Sijan USAF leadership award bears the namesake of the Medal of Honor recipient who was shot down in his F-4C Phantom fighter jet over Vietnam in 1967. For 45 days, Sijan evaded enemy forces, and when he was captured and tortured, he refused to divulge any information beyond what is permissible by the Geneva Conventions, until he died in the Hoa Loa prison, Hanoi, January 1968.