Missouri Airman named Air Guard 2016 Outstanding Airman of the Year
By Maj. Jeffrey Bishop, APR., 131st Bomb Wing Public Affairs
/ Published April 11, 2017
WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo -- The Missouri Air National Guard 131st Bomb Wing’s Master Sgt. Thomas DuMont is the Air National Guard’s Outstanding Airman of the Year for 2016.
DuMont is a senior air defense officer technician in the 157th Combat Operations Squadron, a new unit of the 157th Air Operations Group at Jefferson Barracks Air National Guard Base in St. Louis. The award honors those Citizen-Airmen who best reflect excellence in leadership and performance, community involvement and significant self-improvement.
“Master Sgt. Dumont is an excellent representative of the best of the Missouri National Guard,” said Maj. Gen. Steve Danner, the adjutant general. “We expect a lot of our Missouri Guardsmen, who are prepared to serve at home during emergencies or overseas during conflicts. When our nation needed him for our fight against ISIS in the Middle East, Master Sgt. DuMont stepped up and deployed to answer the call.”
DuMont deployed in early 2016 to the Combined Air Operations Center at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, with almost 100 other Citizen-Airmen from the 157th AOG. While there, he was instrumental in the execution of 630 combat flight hours, with missions that struck 23 dynamic targets in support of coalition troops in theater. He coordinated 176 air tasking orders and monitored 372 aircraft while managing a 14-member cell during 10,000 sorties, directly aiding 2,000 counter-ISIS strikes to support the most concurrent missions yet flown in Air Force history.
DuMont learned the news of his selection when Col. Ken Eaves, 131st Bomb Wing commander, called him at his squadron where he is a full-time technician.
“I was very overwhelmed during the announcement, and what it all meant didn't quite sink in until later in the day,” said DuMont. “I am proud to represent the 157th AOG, the 131st BW, the Missouri Air National Guard and the Air National Guard!”
“Of the 105,021 Airmen and 21,582 senior NCOs in the Air National Guard, there is only one best. And the best is Master Sergeant Thomas DuMont,” said Eaves. “He has always been a stand-out performer in our wing, and the Air National Guard just validated his excellence. Better yet, we cannot find in our history where any senior NCO from Missouri has won at this level. I could not be more proud of him.”
Eaves called DuMont the “epitome of the Citizen-Airman, and told him, “Out of the more than 90 wings in the Air National Guard, there is no senior NCO finer than you."
“Every drill, 131st Bomb Wing Airmen like Master Sergeant DuMont show up and exude excellence for the Show-Me State and for our nation,” Eaves said. “I'm honored that one of our own has been recognized by the Air National Guard as best of the best.”
“Master Sergeant DuMont is quietly fierce in every aspect of the Air Force Core Values. He is relentless to do his work exceedingly well,” said Lt. Col. Lyn Cleveland, 157th Air Operations Squadron Plans Flight commander. Cleveland has worked with DuMont for more than eight years and deployed with him in 2016.
“He makes everyone around him operate at a higher level,” Cleveland added. “He has a great mind and incredible work ethic, he knows the mission, he knows how to lead and instruct exceptionally well. I couldn't agree more with the board’s choice of OAY.”
Prior to being selected as the Air National Guard’s top senior NCO of the year, DuMont first had to clear competition at the state and wing levels. A wing selection board reviewed wing nomination packages and conducted formal in-person board interviews of all group-level nominees during December drill. The panel selected the winners from a wing of more than 1,200 members. A state board reviewed written packages and named DuMont to represent Missouri for the Air National Guard competition.
DuMont will now compete at the Air Force level from amongst major commands, direct reporting units, field operating agencies and Headquarters Air Force, for the chance to be named one of the 12 Air Force Outstanding Airmen of the Year for 2016.