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Meyer named top aerial porter in Air National Guard

Col. Mary Decker (right), commander of the 123rd Mission Support Group, presents the Chief Master Sgt. Tommy Downs Award for Excellence in Aerial Port Operations to Tech. Sgt. Sarah Meyer during a ceremony at the Kentucky Air National Guard Base in Louisville, Ky., May 19, 2019. Meyer was selected from among more than 1,700 aerial porters as the top transportation journeyman in the Air National Guard for 2018. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Vicky Spesard)

Col. Mary Decker (right), commander of the 123rd Mission Support Group, presents the Chief Master Sgt. Tommy Downs Award for Excellence in Aerial Port Operations to Tech. Sgt. Sarah Meyer during a ceremony at the Kentucky Air National Guard Base in Louisville, Ky., May 19, 2019. Meyer was selected from among more than 1,700 aerial porters as the top transportation journeyman in the Air National Guard for 2018. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Vicky Spesard)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Tech. Sgt. Sarah Meyer, an aerial porter with the Kentucky Air Guard’s 123rd Logistics Readiness Squadron, has been recognized as the top air transportation journeyman in the Air National Guard.

An aerial porter for almost nine years and the unit’s new training manager, Meyer earned the Chief Master Sgt. Tommy Downs Award for Excellence in Aerial Port Operations for 2018. She was selected from more than 1,700 Aerial Porters across the country, said her supervisor, Master Sgt. Patrick Lease.

Leadership, mentoring, commitment and a sense of duty are the attributes that led Lease to nominate her for the award.

“Meyer is a jack of all trades in the career field,” Lease said. “There is nothing we could ask her to do that she can’t accomplish for us. There’s a lot of agility in her skill set, but more importantly, there is a willingness to try something new or step up to fill whatever need we may have.

“She applies a lot of critical thinking to her work while she’s in the field,” Lease added. “You never have to question the quality of work that she does.”

In 2018, Meyer deployed to Qatar as a shift supervisor, where she facilitated the movement of more than 1,500 units of blood and 24 million pounds of cargo, and coordinated a B-52 Stratofortress re-deployment movement. At home station, Meyer rigged 125 training loads used in critical training missions, enabling 100 percent mission readiness, among many other mission accomplishments.

“As Meyer has transitioned into the technical sergeant role and filling a supervisory role here, she’s leading by example,” Lease said. “You can see people turning to her for guidance and mentoring. We put her in a more demanding position because she can deliver.”

The award is named in honor of former 123rd Airlift Wing Command Chief Master Sgt. Thomas Downs, who was an aerial port superintendent before passing away in 2009 after more than three decades of service. The award has been bestowed annually since 2012.

“I know how much this award means,” Meyer said. “I never had the opportunity to meet Chief Downs, but I have heard wonderful things about him and his strength as a leader. I want to build on his qualities.

“This award motivates me to do more as a mentor to our younger Airman,” Meyer continued. “When I ask them to do something and give them my expectations, I need to be able to meet those expectations myself.”