An airman with Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support who was selected as the DLA Senior Noncommissioned Officer of the Year for fiscal 2015 represented the agency in the Department of Defense competition.
Air Force Master Sgt. Antoinette Jones competed at the Office of the Secretary of Defense-level in February and the winner will be announced later this month.
“No matter the end result, I feel that my experience has made me a stronger leader,” said Jones, an acquisition specialist with the Construction and Equipment supply chain.
Jones’ entrance in the OSD competition followed her selection as DLA Troop Support SNCO of the Year. She’s been with Troop Support since May 2013 after being selected for the Air Force Material Management Enlisted Career Broadening program.
Through the program, enlisted supply specialists in the Air Force earn a three-year assignment at DLA to improve their understanding of the logistics field.
“I never thought I would be here representing DLA,” Jones said. “That’s why I appreciate being here so much.”
Jones was afforded the opportunity to appear before the Feb. 11 OSD board via teleconference. However, she decided it was her duty to get out of her comfort zone and represent herself and DLA in person, despite feeling nervous.
“We should never give up or overlook an opportunity to grow as an individual,” Jones said. “DLA Troop Support is truly on the front line making sure the warfighter is taken care of. So being in a position to represent the people of DLA was not taken lightly.”
Air Force Col. Glenn Chadwick, Industrial Hardware supply chain director, said that Jones’ recognition is well deserved. But she’s the one who often thanks her civilian coworkers for their efforts in training Air Force Career Broadeners, he said.
“She will be the first to tell you that it was only possible because of all of her teammates and the support they have provided her,” Chadwick said.
Chadwick manages the career broadening program and said Jones sets a great example.
“I would encourage every young airman, or other service member or civilian, to live by her ideals of doing the best you can wherever you're planted,” Chadwick said.
Ralph Lund, director of supplier operations for C&E, also had praise for Jones.
“It’s easy for an employee to flourish in different roles when they have the drive and dedication that Master Sergeant Jones displays each day,” Lund said. “She's a credit to the Air Force and a role model for other uniformed warfighters to emulate."
Jones credits her success to her mother, a 26-year veteran of the Air Force Reserve who Jones considers her first Air Force mentor.
“My mother just inspires me so much because she would take a hit and would keep on clicking away,” Jones said.
Jones said that it was important for her to pass on lessons learned from her mother and her own Air Force experiences by mentoring junior warfighters.
“Be true to yourself and keep growing. And don’t be afraid to get out of your comfort zone and take on new challenges,” Jones said. “Change will happen, and how you handle that change that will determine how you are as a leader and how you are as a person.”