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Team V NCO selected as top California AFSA member

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. --  Staff Sgt. Joshua Young, who works with the National Reconnaissance Office here, was selected as the Air Force Sergeants’ Association Division 13 member of the year at a ceremony April 18 in San Diego. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Ashley Reed)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Staff Sgt. Joshua Young, who works with the National Reconnaissance Office here, was selected as the Air Force Sergeants’ Association Division 13 member of the year at a ceremony April 18 in San Diego. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Ashley Reed)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- A Vandenberg NCO was selected as the Air Force Sergeants' Association Division 13 member of the year at a ceremony April 18 in San Diego.

Staff Sgt. Joshua Young, who works with the National Reconnaissance Office here, will go up for the international-level award during the Professional Airmen's Conference this August in San Antonio.

Selected from among the 7,200 members from the all-California division, Sergeant Young had long list of accomplishments and civic involvement that earned him the recognition. His off-duty activities included raising more than $6,000 for the Special Olympics, and volunteering for the Veterans of Foreign Wars and American Legion, as well as AFSA. On duty, he earned the Lance P. Sijan Award, had zero write-ups as safety monitor and was coined for his support of the Combat Airmen's Program.

"I think Staff Sergeant Young truly understands the meaning of 'Service Before Self,'" said Master Sgt. Brian Keating, Vandenberg's AFSA Chapter 1356 president. "He is always out front leading the charge. Whether it is for the annual POW/MIA ceremony, presenting an FTAC briefing, or running Chapter 1356's scholarship, Sergeant Young is always willing to do what it takes to make the Air Force and Vandenberg better."

The prior 30th Security Forces Squadron member credits two senior NCOs for leading him in the right direction.

"When I was at Whiteman (Air Force Base, Mo.), I was still an airman, so I basically just joined because an NCO said it would be a good idea," Sergeant Young said.

When he got to Vandenberg, Senior Master Sgt. Spencer Spriesterbach and Master Sgt. Jorge Hinojos took him under their collective wing and mentored him, teaching him what AFSA does for enlisted Airmen.

"With AFSA, I know that I'm helping our voice get heard there on Capitol Hill," Sergeant Young said. "We have lobbyists at Capitol Hill who fight for our benefits, pay raises, day care costs, PCS costs, COLA increases and GI Bill. Our goal is just to have a better quality of life for the enlisted force personnel."

His passion for helping Airmen allowed him to first be sergeant-at-arms for the local AFSA chapter, then trustee. In his first year, he recruited 60 people. Since then, he has continued to keep the Vandenberg chapter moving ahead.

"He is one of the members that brought our chapter out of the ashes a few years ago," Sergeant Keating said. "He has filled leadership roles and is always in the running for our chapter's top recruiter. He understands how important professional organizations, like AFSA, are to our military."

These accomplishments have allowed him to move on to the international level, where he will have to face a board on which Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force Rodney McKinley will sit.

"It was a surprise to find out I won," Sergeant Young said. "And now I'm pretty nervous because I have to go in front of the chief master sergeant of the Air Force. It's pretty exciting."

Sergeant Young will face the board and attend the awards ceremony during the Professional Airmen's Conference on Aug. 24-27 in San Antonio.

"He'll be going against some very tough competition, but I think Staff Sergeant Young has what it takes to come out on top," Sergeant Keating said.