SHEPPARD AIR FORCE BASE, Texas – There is a lot going on outside the gates of Sheppard AFB.
Airmen haven't been able to set foot outside base since COVID-19 first reared its ugly head as a measure to protect them, the base populace and the surrounding communities. But what Airmen are doing inside schoolhouses on base is revealing they are becoming more and more excellent at what they do everyday.
Some Airmen take it to the next level of excellence though. Airman 1st Class Frankie Rodriguez, from the 364th Training Squadron, said he likes a challenge, so he went and challenged himself to perfect one of the more challenging courses here at Sheppard and become the next ACE award winner in the squadrons electrical and environmental apprentice course. Spoiler alert – he won.
The ACE award is awarded to Airmen in Training that score perfect scores on all their block tests. Rodriguez scored 100s on all 10 of the E&E technical training course blocks. E&E technicians are in charge of maintaining and repairing multiple aircraft systems from landing gears to cabin pressure to warning lights.
Rank / Name: Airman 1st Class Frankie Rodriguez
Unit: 104th Fighter Wing, Westfield, Massachusetts
Duty title: Aircraft electrical & environmental systems apprentice.
Hometown: South Hadley, Massachusetts
Time in Service: 1 year, 5 months
Why you joined: To challenge myself and create professional opportunities
Family: Wife: Cara Rodriguez, Mom: Synthia Rodriguez, Dad: Frankie Rodriguez
Hobbies: Hiking, reading, gaming, and sports.
Favorite aspect of job: Accountability and standards of excellence.
Most memorable Air Force experience: Graduating BMT (coin ceremony), my wife tapped me out at the end of the ceremony.
How do you make responsible decisions: I tend to take a calculated approach to my recent endeavors. I try to see all the angles and keep my core values in mind.
"The ACE award is extremely difficult to attain. Airman attending the electrical and environmental technical training course must score perfectly on 10 block tests. This award is significant because it represents the dedication that our instructors bring to the school house every day. We strive not to just instruct, but also mentor our future Airman," said Tech. Sergeant Kevin Vergo, 364th TRS E&E instructor. "Airman Rodriguez winning this award is testament to his hard work in not just ensuring that he does well, but also his peers. It has been an extraordinary experience to see his growth during the last few blocks of instruction. He stays engaged with his instructors and displays leadership qualities towards his peers. I have no doubt he will be a shining star in our Air Force. Airman Rodriguez’s work ethic has shown to be most impressive inside the classroom by always asking questions, staying engaged with the material, as well as leading study sessions with his classmates. It’s these qualities that really stand out to me as his instructor, and has no doubt been a major part of his success. This is well earned Award!"