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News | Jan. 20, 2012

Two Arctic Warriors STEP promoted

By Senior Airman Blake Mize JBER Public Affairs

Two Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson non-commissioned officers were bestowed an honor recently that only three Airmen throughout 11th Air Force will receive all year.

Newly promoted Master Sgt. Jeffery Holewinske, 703rd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, 3rd Wing, and Tech. Sgt. Yucari Brown, 673d Civil Engineering Squadron, 673d Air Base Wing, were promoted to their new ranks through the Stripes Through Exceptional Performance program, which recognizes outstanding Airmen for their superior performance by promoting them outside of their traditional promotion cycle.

NCOs ordinarily go through a lengthy promotion process, which includes tests and waiting periods. However, the Air Force releases a very limited number of slots for STEP promotions each year to be distributed Air Force-wide. Each major command is granted a few of the slots and subsequently allocates the promotions to wing installations. Wing commanders then choose the deserving individuals to be promoted to staff sergeant, technical sergeant or master sergeant.

Holewinske, a 14-year Air Force veteran from Antioch, Calif., is a crew chief on C-130 Hercules aircraft flown out of JBER. He has won several awards throughout his career and his leadership called him a well-rounded leader who is the catalyst of his unit.

"The best part of my job is knowing that an aircraft that I had a part in repairing is flying a mission," Holewinske said. "I enjoy it because I get to (do my job) all over the world."

Brown supports the Air Force as an engineer assistant for the 673d CES. She performs mapping, surveying and drafting of JBER on projects such as transforming an aircraft hangar into a venue in which President Barack Obama spoke when he visited JBER and surveying crash sites when jets have gone down here and at deployed locations.

"I enjoy what I do," she said. "Working in CE, you can see the impact that you have with the whole base."

Brown, from Myrtle Beach, S.C., said she thought she earned her promotion by stepping up when she was needed.

"I set some personal goals to set myself up for success and all the work has paid off," said Brown, a 10-year Air Force veteran. "I have had awesome leadership that saw potential in me and pushed me to go beyond the set standards."

Both recipients said they were pleasantly shocked when they found out they had to immediately sew new rank onto their uniforms.

"When I was notified, it felt like a dream at first," Brown said. "I am very thankful that my leadership felt that I was deserving of this promotion."

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