Year of the NCO; Master Sgt. Jennifer Mendoza

  • Published
  • By Christopher Parr
  • 932nd Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Today we spotlight Master Sgt. Jennifer Mendoza, 2019 3rd Quarter NCO award winner.

932nd AW: In just a few words what is an NCO?

JM: In the Air Force a NCO is a Non-Commissioned Officer. You will achieve this when you are an E-5/SSgt. When you become an NCO, you are in a manager/supervisory type of role.

932nd AW: In your words, what are some responsibilities of an NCO?

JM: NCO responsibilities include supervising your subordinates, learning and teaching new technical skills within their career, and continuously striving to improve their supervisor skills and professional experiences.

As an NCO, my goal is to always try to help others along the way. Whether that means helping them with their technical training, educating them on Air Force AFIs, rules and regulations, or just simply being a listening ear when they are overcoming challenges in their life. I also like to inspire others to be the best version of themselves.

932nd AW: What do you think it takes to become an NCO?

JM: To be a great NCO it is important to remember the Air Force Core Values-which are Integrity First, Service Before Self and Excellence In All We Do. We learn these Core Values from day 1 in Basic Training, but what do they do really mean? Here is what comes to my mind:

Integrity comes by the courage of always striving to do the right thing. We are human and we do mess up, but when you do, admit your mistake, be honest with yourself and others and then move on and learn from the experience. It is also important as an NCO to be vulnerable—and at times to show our subordinates that we are not perfect, but letting them know the tools and resources they have available to overcome that challenge.

Service Before Self to me means that you are always looking out for the best in your people. Whether that is mentoring, helping them navigate through a situation, or being a helping hand. Personally, I feel the most satisfaction in life when I am helping others. I always want to see people achieve their dreams and goals and overcome their challenges.

Excellence In All We Do is a value that we exhibit to perform at our best whether it comes to work, mental, physical, etc. If we are putting forth our best effort in life in these key areas, we will work towards becoming the best version of ourselves, which then as NCOs we can pass onto other Airmen.

As a Medical Lab Technician in the Air Force, I have to be precise and strive for excellence every time I am handling a patient’s blood sample. I have to remember to be “excellent in all I do” because I essentially am holding onto someone’s life/career.

932nd AW: What changed from being an Airman to becoming an NCO?

JM: As an Airman I felt very new to the Air Force and that I was trying to navigate the basics of what it meant to be in the Air Force and getting the technical skills in my new role as a Medical Lab Technician. As I put on more stripes, I quickly began to realize how much I loved being in the Air Force and how I used the Core Values on a daily basis (inside and outside of uniform). I never thought in my wildest dreams I would ever be a MSgt, but I have loved every step of the journey and I really enjoy helping others. I will be honest, the journey to NCO will have challenges, but it is important to find an NCO that you look up to, to help you along the way! Now, more than ever, I enjoy helping other Airmen achieve their goals in life—no matter what rank they are! It literally makes me smile when I hear of an Airman I helped doing so well and achieving their goals and dreams.

Thank you Master Sgt. Mendoza for sharing and being an outstanding NCO!!