442nd NCO nominated for AF Reserve Outstanding Airman of the Year Published April 27, 2006 By AFRC News Service HQ AFRC Public Affairs ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. -- A reservist assigned to the 442nd Fighter Wing, Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., represented his parent unit 10th Air Force, Fort Worth, Texas, as their Outstanding Airman of the Year, senior noncommissioned officer category, at Air Force Reserve Command's annual banquet April 20, at the Museum of Aviation, Robins AFB, Ga. Master Sgt. Dean Larson III, assigned to the 442nd Civil Engineering Squadron, joined other AFRC Outstanding Airmen of the Year nominees for a week with Command Chief Master Sgt. Jackson Winsett, AFRC's top noncommissioned officer. "These nominees have the awesome responsibility of representing the best of our enlisted force from all of our command's agencies," said Chief Winsett. "We've honored them this week to make them aware of how their accomplishments have positively impacted the Air Force Reserve. They are setting the example." Sergeant Larson, a career civil engineer, has served 12 years in the Air Force Reserve. "I love civil engineering. The camaraderie within the career field and the unit is just like one big family. I look forward to every drill weekend." The Missouri native says he loves a challenge. "When I'm challenged, it motivates me to do the best I can. I love deploying. Even if it's not considered an ideal location, I've always had a great time," said Sergeant Larson. Technology also influences his job, said Sergeant Larson. "As a Reservist it's a challenge to learn new computer programs that we use in the career field - it's hard to become proficient only working during a two-week annual tour and one weekend a month." One of the largest influencers on his career was his grandfather, a World War II pilot who served on active duty and retired as a Reservist. "When he was alive he used to ask me about the types of things I was doing in the Reserve. He really encouraged me to make the Reserve a career." Previously, he served five years with the Army Reserve, but switched services to make his duty location closer to his residence.