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Vandenberg NCO selected as best in AF air transportation

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. - -- A Team V NCO was recently named the Col. Gail Halvorsen Air Force Outstanding Air Transportation Individual of 2007. 

Staff Sgt. Daniel Merrill, the NCO in charge of operational support airlift with the 30th Logistics Readiness Squadron, earned this award partly through his dedication to his mission and pushing himself until the job is done. 

"My shift can range from 8-10 hours a day, five days a week or whenever they need me," said Sergeant Merrill. "Whenever the Air Force needs me, I'm there. I give a hundred percent or more at all times." 

This dedication to duty has not gone unnoticed by the Air Force or his peers. 

According to his award package, Sergeant Merrill's dedication provided flawless service during the coordination for all the airlifts for all general officers in Air Force Space Command as well as any cargo or passengers that come through Vandenberg. 

Though Sergeant Merrill's award package paints the outline of an award winning Air Force sergeant, some words from a peer help to fill in the gaps. 

When Master Sgt. Andrew Colsch, 30th LRS air terminal operations section chief, was asked about Sergeant Merrill, only two words came to his mind: "unquestionable reliability." 

"The reason why I can only think of 'unquestionable reliability' is because any mission critical task that comes along is instantly pushed to him because I know that he can get the job done and get it done right," Sergeant Colsch said. 

"Not only does Sergeant Merrill work tirelessly to be the best he can be, he channels the same energy throughout his work area inspiring others to take pride in their job and their base," he said. 

By taking pride in his base, he secured hundreds of millions of dollars of cargo that directly led to Vandenberg's 100 percent air transportation mission success. 

Sergeant Merrill supervised processing and handling of 23 aircraft with $162 million of Missile Defense Agency cargo as well as flawlessly downloaded a $30 million Payload Avionics Module that kept the Ground-based Midcourse Defense Interceptor program on schedule, according to his award package. 

For other Airmen who aspire to win Air Force awards, Sergeant Merrill suggests keeping the Air Force Core Values, even when nobody is watching. 

"Always do your personal best, even when nobody is watching," Sergeant Merrill said. "If any task is worth doing, it's worth doing right the first time, so work hard and the awards will come."