Airman is awarded for hard work and dedication

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Justin Goeden
  • 122nd FW/PA
To be honored with a yearly award of any kind is definitely a great achievement for anybody, but it is nearly an understatement for Staff Sgt. Andrew Carboneau, a Warsaw, Ind., native and a Phase Aircraft Mechanic for the 122nd Fighter Wing in Ft. Wayne, Ind. Carboneau was awarded Airman of the Year for 2010 for the Indiana Air National Guard (INANG). The award was presented to him at an Armed Forces Day Picnic at Victory Field, home of the Indianapolis Indians, a triple-A minor league baseball team, in Indianapolis, Ind., on May 20, 2011, where the other military branches honored their yearly award winners as well.

The Airman of the Year award is a continuing tradition for the Air Force to recognize and congratulate Airmen for tremendous hard work and self-sacrifice. It is aimed to highlight a "whole-person" concept with areas such as job performance, community involvement and continuing education. Quarterly award winners are advanced to compete against each other for the yearly award at the unit level, then that winner is advanced to compete at the state level for this award.

Carboneau is a very active individual juggling a full-time college education in aviation with his responsibilities with the INANG. He majors in Professional Aviation at Indiana State University with only one semester of school remaining. He currently holds a Commercial Pilots License with an instrument rating and hopes to go through an upcoming fighter pilot selection board with the 122nd Fighter Wing. At school, he is a resident advisor, where he is responsible for resolving conflicts and being a resource for other students.

Community involvement is also an area that makes Carboneau a stand-out individual. He frequently volunteers for Habitat for Humanity, helping build houses for the less fortunate and assists with fundraising for the Veteran's Association where most of the money raised helps pay for books for veterans to return back to school. "Andrew is a good ambassador for the unit and is a great influence on everyone around him," says Senior Master Sgt. Jeffrey Nix, his supervisor in the INANG. "He lifts everyone else up and has strong leadership skills, even at such a young age," said Nix, who feels Carboneau has a great chance of becoming a pilot with the INANG.

It is outstanding to have an Airman of his (Carboneau's) level representing the Indiana Air National Guard in front of the city, reports Brigadier General Stewart Goodwin, Assistant Adjutant General - Air, Indiana National Guard, though it is often hard for the commanders to pick between such great Airmen. "You know, the INANG members are already the cream of the crop, so selecting the cream of the crop from the cream of the crop can be very hard," said Goodwin.

Carboneau feels that a combination of the dedication to the INANG and to all people, through work and volunteering, helped make this award possible. For him, it is about applying the Air Force's core values (Integrity first, Service before self, and Excellence in all we do) both inside and outside of the military. "I want to show people that we do more than just drop bombs in the military," said Carboneau, "it is what we do outside of our state mission to help others around us."