T-56 turbo prop student at 361 TRS earns ACE award

Staff Sgt. Taylor, a student at Sheppard earned the ACE award. The ACE award recognizes academic excellence within the career field. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jelani Gibson)

Staff Sgt. Brian Taylor, 361st Training Squadron T-56 apprentice student, earned the ACE award. The ACE award recognizes academic excellence within the career field. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jelani Gibson)

SHEPPARD AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- The ACE award plaque at the 361st Aerospace Propulsion Flight added a new name for the T-56 apprentice course for the first time since 2011.

With the award, Staff Sgt. Brian Taylor is one of only 20 students in a nearly two-decade stretch to receive the honor.

Earned by maintaining a perfect 100 percent average throughout their time in tech school, the ACE award is the highest academic honor a student can receive.

Taylor first thought about achieving the ACE award after receiving a perfect score on the first two block tests. With five more blocks of instruction in front of him, he spent many nights studying six hours a night.

Earning the ACE award is what Taylor considers this achievement to be his "perfect game".

Since his training started Taylor has enjoyed learning the theory, operative and constructive features of the turbo prop engine.

"I want to be comfortable and competent in my job," Taylor said.

During his first enlistment, Taylor was B-52 gunner, as well as a C-130 Hercules load master before separating. After seven years away he returned to the military as an active reservist attached to the 910th Airlift Wing in Youngstown Ohio, where he will return as a turbo-prop jet engine mechanic.

With his history on the C-130 as a load master and his new appreciation for the T-56 turbo prop engine, Taylor is excited to get to work.

"I'm proud to be able to maintain the engine," Taylor said. "I consider the C-130 to be the work horse of the air cargo world for its agility and versatility."

Before coming to tech school, Taylor had some mechanical background. Owning a snowmobile repair shop contributed to his growing knowledge of engine maintenance.

"I'm a mechanic at heart," Taylor said.

However, Taylor is quick to note that he could have not achieved the honor of the ACE award, if not for the impressive and top notch instructors that taught him along the way.

"I got to see how to see how professional, courteous and respectful everyone at Sheppard has been," Taylor said. "That includes everyone from the instructors, airman, and other professionals on the base."