By Tech. Sgt. Kevin Allen
506th Air Expeditionary Group Public Affairs
KIRKUK REGIONAL AIR BASE, Iraq – Airman 1st Class Matthew Walters, a telephone systems journeyman with the 506th Expeditionary Communications Squadron here, earned recognition as the 506th Air Expeditionary Group Diamond Sharp Award winner for the week of June 3-9.
Airman Walters, a Beebe native, is deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom from Misawa Air Base, Japan. He’s 17 months into his career as an Airman and this is his first deployment.
“Being here gives me experience I can take back to my home station,” Airman Walters said. “Hopefully I’ll be able to show some of the newer Airmen, and maybe even some who have been in longer than me, what I’ve learned while I’ve been here.”
His performance highlights include quickly responding to an emergency affecting U.S. Army operations. A fiber optic cable was accidentally severed, resulting in a 90 percent loss of communication capabilities for soldiers in the affected area. His efforts in repairing the cable ensured full restoration of service in less than three hours.
Airman Walters was also responsible for closing 10 communications service requests, reducing work order backlog by 50 percent. His handling of five emergency telephone outages affecting base perimeter hot lines ensured communications availability for forces responsible for the safety of more than 5,000 American forces assigned here.
“Airman Walters’ outgoing personality and dedication to duty makes him stand (out) above his peers,” said the airman’s supervisor, Staff Sgt. Kyle Stine. “He’s always the first to step up and take on additional responsibility.”
Some of those additional responsibilities include serving as his deployed squadron’s physical training leader and volunteering as a member of the Kirkuk RAB Honor Guard.
“I chose Matthew as our Diamond Sharp (nominee) because he epitomizes the Air Force core values and demonstrates the ‘whole-person’ concept,” said Senior Master Sgt. Keith McIntosh, 506 ECS first sergeant. “There are many fine candidates in the 506 ECS who are doing great things,” he said, and “Airman Walters is truly deserving of this award.”
“A lot of work goes into what we do here,” said Airman Walters. “This award makes me proud, because I get to represent how hard everyone in my squadron works.”