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Lightning strikes twice: 307th Bomb Wing medical Airmen garner AFRC awards

  • Published
  • By Senior Master Sgt. Ted Daigle
  • 307th Bomb Wing

Whoever coined the phrase ‘lightning doesn’t strike twice’  never met Senior Master Sgt. Charles Johnson, 307th Medical Squadron senior enlisted leader or Master Sgt. Erin Chitwood, superintendent for the 489th Aeromedical Flight.  

The two Airmen made 307th Bomb Wing history this month by becoming the first medical personnel in unit history to earn Air Force Reserve Command awards in the same year. 

Johnson earned the Outstanding Air Reserve Technician Senior Noncommissioned Officer of the Year Award, and Chitwood won the Outstanding Senior Noncommissioned Officer assigned to a Reserve Medical Unit Award.

“It’s really nice to know that my colleagues think I’m doing a good job,” said Johnson. “But we have a group of phenomenal people in the 307th MDS, and that helps motivate me to do my best.”

Chitwood expressed a similar sentiment about her colleagues at the 489th AMDF.

“I couldn’t do my job without them,” she said. “They are instrumental in our success.”

The 307th Medical Squadron resides at Barksdale AFB, while the 489th AMDF is part of the wing’s geographically separated unit, the 489th Bomb Group, at Dyess AFB. Despite the distance, the two Airmen work closely together.

So, when Johnson heard about the awards last Friday evening, he quickly reached out to Chitwood.

“He (Johnson) texted me and asked if I had time to talk, but I was on leave and at dinner, so I asked if it could wait until Monday,” said Chitwood, laughing at the memory.

She called back anyway, her sense of duty prevailing over the need for rest.

That same sense of duty is what helped Chitwood lead the 489th Bomb Group to have a medical readiness rate that consistently ranks among the best in 10th Air Force. She was also instrumental in helping  489th AMDF personnel achieve 100% compliance with Tactical Combat Casualty Care training requirements.

“I’m always looking for ways to grow as an Airman and a person,” said Chitwood. “My dad instilled the idea that you should always be trying to get better at whatever you do.”

Johnson, who is instrumental in overseeing the Personnel Reliability Program of AFRC’s only nuclear-capable bomber squadron, said instilling a culture of excellence is his motivation.

“I feel like it’s my job to set the tone and ensure we are doing our best,” he said. “I have to up my game so we continue to challenge each other and not get complacent.”