109th Airlift Wing member Staff Sgt. Jessica Lee Cruz named New York State ‘Airman of the Year’

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Jamie Spaulding
  • 109th Airlift Wing

New York Air National Guard Staff Sgt. Jessica Lee Cruz, an air transportation specialist assigned to the 109th Airlift Wing, 109th Logistics Readiness Squadron at Stratton Air National Guard Base in Scotia, New York, was awarded Airman of the Year for the state of New York.

Cruz is a resident of Rensselaer County and the city of Troy, New York where she works as a Corrections Officer. She has served in the National Guard since August of 2017.

Airman of the Year is awarded to Airmen who exhibit outstanding leadership abilities, job performance, and personal achievement which sets them apart from the New York Air National Guard’s 6000 members.

As an air transportation specialist, Cruz is responsible for processing passengers and baggage aboard all Department of Defense and civilian owned military aircraft in accordance with all applicable Air Force rules and regulations.

Cruz has also received the Air Force Achievement Medal and the Air Reserve Forces Service Medal for outstanding achievement and meritorious service on behalf of the United States Air Force.

After competing and winning Airman of the Year at the wing level, Sgt. Cruz emerges from a field of five other airmen from four other guard bases and the Eastern Air Defense Sector to earn this achievement.

“It does feel good to be recognized. As a guardsmen, you spend a lot of time away from your family and from your home-life and to be recognized for those things feels great” said Cruz.

Currently Cruz is serving on active duty as part of New York State’s COVID-19 response which, according to her supervisor Chief Master Sgt. Mark Mann of the 109th Logistics Readiness Squadron, further demonstrates her dedication to service.

“Staff Sgt. Cruz emulates the Air Force Core Value of service before self with her continual willingness to step up whenever the need arises“ Mann added.

Cruz deployed to Kuwait and Qatar in support of contingency operations. She also participated in Operation Allies Welcome at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, assisting in the reception and resettlement of Afghan refugees in the United States.

“Staff Sgt. Cruz is an asset to the Air Transportation career field, the Air National Guard and the United States Air Force. She is a natural born leader, and has a great career ahead of her. All of us within the Logistics Readiness Squadron are extremely proud of her and her accomplishments” Mann said.

From here, Cruz will go on to compete against air guardsmen from all over the United States for the award of Air National Guard Airman of the Year at the national level.