MINNEAPOLIS-ST PAUL AIR RESERVE STATION, Minn --
The Lt. Gen. Leo Marquez Award is an Air Force-level award that recognizes base-level military and civil service aircraft, munitions, and missile maintenance personnel who have demonstrated the highest degree of sustained job performance, job knowledge, job efficiency and results.
This year, the award for the technician category went to Senior Airman Vincent Kerkes, 934th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron integrated flight control systems specialist.
“We are so proud of Vinny's accomplishment!” exclaimed Maj. Grace Miller, 934th AMXS commander. “All that Vinny has done in the past year--culminating in this award--speaks to what's possible with hard work, high standards, great training and a passion for maintenance.”
Kerkes’ passion for maintenance was evident when he joined the squadron in 2015.
“From the moment he graduated tech school, it was apparent that Senior Airman Kerkes had a knack for maintenance,” said Senior Master Sgt. Jennifer Murphy, 934th AMXS specialist flight chief and Kerkes’ supervisor.
Dedicated to his profession, Kerkes was always willing to push his skills and maintenance knowledge to the next level.
“His extraordinary level of enthusiasm toward learning aviation was refreshing and he never missed an opportunity to jump on a new challenge or skill,” Murphy continued. “It was fun watching his mind process how a component worked by looking at how it was assembled; that is the sign of a great mechanic!”
But what made Kerkes truly standout has been his ability to be a team player, not just at home station but also downrange.
“Lots of Airmen join the Air Force to travel but the reason Kerkes stands out above his peers was how he carried himself abroad,” Murphy reflected. “When his shop wasn't busy, he would jump up to help his teammates so everyone could head to the hotel and relax after a long day. Other maintainers loved to see his name on the trip roster and regardless the obstacle.”
For Kerkes, this award represents more than just helping others and his accomplishments.
“This award is just a reflection of all of the really great people in AMXS, specifically all of the trainers and supervisors that I have had since I have joined,” Kerkes explained. “I’m just really happy to be in the Air Force and to be a part of this really great team.”
“It's a joy to see one of our own Airmen honored for exemplifying all the characteristics we work so hard to instill and achieve here,” Miller said. “Congratulations to Vinny, and to all the supervisors and trainers who helped him become such a great maintainer.”
“I always knew he would represent his shop and his unit with pride,” Murphy added.