DUKE FIELD, Fla. --
During unit training assemblies at the 919th Special Operations Wing, groups of new Air Force recruits in the Development and Training Flight learn what it means to be an Airman. The person guiding them on their new journey is Master Sgt. Melissa Hill, flight chief of the 919th Special Operations Wing Development and Training Flight.
Earlier this year, Hill made a switch from her civilian job as the senior coordinator for the medical continuation program with the 919th Special Operations Medical Squadron to take on a new opportunity to help prepare new trainees become successful Airmen.
“She’s the right NCO at the right time to bring the development and training flight forward,” said Chief Master Sgt. Pete Webb, the 919th SOW command chief. “She brings a drive to the Development and Training Flight and she’s having to think outside the box with COVID.”
Although Hill no longer had an obligation to the 919th SOMDS when the coronavirus pandemic began to impact operations, she did not hesitate to help the squadron and the wing when they needed her.
“Despite taking on new responsibilities at the wing, she continues to coordinate care for our wounded warriors and is the type of leader that ensures that her team here is still taken care of,” said Lt. Col. Jen Wylie, 919th SOMDS medical services director. “She is an amazing asset to both the wing and medical squadron.”
In addition to helping with the wing response to COVID-19, Hill also had to find ways to reform how she was running the Development and Training Flight to help mitigate risk of spreading the virus. This included moving some training to the virtual environment and reducing group sizes in person.
“Due to COVID, I’ve had to reform the entire operations of the flight,” said Hill. “I’ve got a few other tricks up my sleeve I’m excited to try out, but the goal is to comply with CDC guidelines to keep our population safe and healthy while still maintaining the integrity and purpose of this program,” said Hill.
All of the extra time and effort Hill put into the mission did not go unnoticed, and during the July unit training assembly the First Sergeant Council presented her with their Diamond Sharp Award to recognize her efforts.
“Master Sgt. Melissa Hill is a selfless leader who goes the extra mile to do what is right,” Master Sgt. Kimberly Censabella, 919th Special Operations Support Squadron first sergeant, shared on behalf of the 919th SOW First Sergeant Council. “She continues to inspire others by fostering positivity, energy, productivity and balance within the Development and Training Flight and the 919th SOW.”
The Diamond Sharp award is given to publically recognize a 919th SOW Airman who exceeds standards and reflects positively on the Air Force by their actions on or off base. The First Sergeant’s council presents the award to one Airman during each UTA.
“I can be pretty hard on myself so on days when I feel like I’m drowning in to-dos and taskers, things like this award really help me to step back and realize I’m not doing as terrible as I feel I am,” said Hill. “I am so grateful for the acknowledgement!”
Hill not only has to think about setting a good example at work, she also has to think about the example she sets at home for her two sons.
“Showing my kiddos what dedication, commitment and hard work looks like is ultimately what drives me,” said Hill. “I take my responsibilities seriously, no matter how big or small,” said Hill.