JOINT BASE ANDREWS, Md. --
The 131st Bomb Wing's Senior Master Sgt. Thomas J. DuMont was chosen as the Air National Guard’s 2016 Outstanding Senior Noncommissioned Officer of the Year.
DuMont, the Combat Operations Flight superintendent for the 157th Air Operations Group, Missouri National Guard, was chosen for his commitment to mission success as well as his ability to improve the team members around him.
“It’s an honor just to be considered,” said DuMont. “It’s great to be able to represent the ANG. It shows that people trust in your leadership and want to hear your voice represent them.”
DuMont spent five years in U.S. Army special operations before a break in service for college and starting a family, but he never lost his drive to serve.
“Everything I wanted to do I thought was somewhere else, but it was actually right there in front of me,” he said. “It’s something you really miss when you’re on the outside looking in. I’d look at everybody in uniform and I didn’t like sitting by while other people are out there doing the job. I was quite capable of being one of those people, so I wanted to get back in. Luckily, I had the opportunity to do that.”
The Air National Guard gave DuMont the chance to once more put his talents to use in service of his community and the nation.
“My wife just didn’t want to keep moving,” he said. “She wanted to have our family in one spot. I respected that and the option of the Guard gave me the opportunity to do that. It’s been great.”
“When I’m on a TDY or deployed, my wife is the one who’s there from sunup to sundown, taking care of the kids, going to work and everything else. She’s the rock behind me being able to do what I do. If the roles were reversed, I don’t know if I would be able to do all that.”
Military service runs in the DuMont family. His father was an Army Reservist for 22 years. He also has an uncle who served in Vietnam, as well as both grandfathers in WWII – one a U.S. Navy sailor in the Pacific, and the other in the Army Air Corps in North Africa and India.
“My father’s a big inspiration for me,” DuMont said. “I remember watching the convoy of Army trucks go out when I was a kid. I remember Memorial Day parades, drums and marching. I always wondered what that was like, that really drew my interest.”
DuMont’s approach to readiness embodies the modern-day minuteman, ready to answer the call to accomplish the ANG’s homeland defense and disaster response missions at any time.
“You never know what situation you’re going to be in where you’re going to have to be physically fit,” DuMont said. “Some people may not believe that, but there are times when you know it could be detrimental.”
“In my prior Army time, I was in the Battle of Mogadishu, so readiness has a big meaning for me. There were situations where our non-frontline troops were sent directly into battle. So even though you don’t necessarily play that role every day, it’s critical that you are always ready to go on a moment’s notice.”
DuMont’s prior service experience also brings him a unique perspective to his current responsibilities coordinating air operations downrange, and to the Airmen he works with.
“The power behind what we do in the Air Force is absolutely amazing,” DuMont said. “To see that from an Army perspective it’s great to see both sides and how we support each other. And the smart people I work around are amazing here. You hang around with those people, you pick up a lot of knowledge from them; you become a better person.”
Being around so many inspirational people makes it easy for DuMont to mentor and inspire others as well.
“You know, everybody’s got something to give,” he explains. “With the diverse population we have, if you can pull something out of each person I think you’re going to have a better place. I hope to use this opportunity to help me maximize other people’s leadership ability–try and pull out of them what they’re best at.”
For DuMont, though, his highest aspiration is to leave a legacy for his children.
When it’s all said and done, I want to have a successful family and a military retirement,” he said. “I’d like to have a shadow box up on the wall and be able to say ‘this is what I did.’ It’ll show my kids that if you set your goals high, you can still achieve anything and have a great time doing it."