Airman of the Year: First sergeant earns top honor

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Zachary Vucic
  • 911th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

A 911th Airlift Wing first sergeant was recently recognized as the best in the Air Force Reserve Command

Master Sgt. Tammanica Muse, the 911th Security Forces Squadron first sergeant, won the First Sergeant category in Airman of the Year competition. She said she was both surprised and honored to be recognized at such a high level. 

“It was absolutely surreal,” Muse said. “It was an amazing accomplishment. I’m still in shock that my work, amongst all of those talented, dedicated and skilled people was able to shine and get me to that place.”

Muse’s time with the Air Force began in 2001, after spending roughly a decade in the Army. She crossed over as a medical technician at Westover Air Reserve Base, Mass., before moving on to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio.

As a young technical sergeant, she became increasingly interested in checking an item off her bucket list and becoming a “drill sergeant,” as they say in the Army. After some research, she applied and was accepted as a military training instructor, heading off to Lackland Air Force Base, Texas.

“I could still be a reservist, but do something that I really wanted to do with my career,” she said.

She received her campaign hat in March 2009, and began what she touts as her favorite part of her time in the military. Coming from the Army, she said it was her training and time as an MTI that enabled her to better understand the Air Force culture and relate to Airmen.

“Coming into the Air Force and not coming the traditional way through basic [military] training, I didn’t know a lot of things,” she said. “(So) I know how it feels not to know something. So whatever information I have, regardless of how simple it may be, somebody may not know it. I try to share that information because it can make the difference.”

She said her passion has always been teaching, which made for a smooth transition into the role of first sergeant when she received her diamond in November of 2013, and headed back to BMT in her new role.

“I wanted to stay in that capacity where I could still touch lives (and) talk to Airmen,” she said.

In January 2017, she deployed for nearly a year to Southwest Asia. She said she wanted to experience deployment and take that experience back to the squadron level to enhance her interactions with the Airmen.  

“I enjoy empowering people, sharing my knowledge and saying ‘this is what I did, this is what I saw, so here’s something you can use,’” Muse said.

After her deployment, she sought a full-time position as a squadron first sergeant. With an overabundance of available positions, she eventually landed at Pittsburgh International Airport Air Reserve Station, and began the newest chapter of her career.

“She’s been doing great,” said Lt. Col. Jason Price, the 911th Security Forces Squadron commander. “It was an immediate impact when she got here. All the positive things we read and heard about her has been spot on.”

Muse said one of her goals during her time here is creating a no-pressure, interactive culture with the Airmen of the 911th, and not make every conversation about work-related issues and career development. She said she would like to host events simply for the Airmen to get together and build relationships.

She said she had enjoyed her first few months in the Pittsburgh area as she settles in, and that her first impression has been a lasting one. 

“I’ve never been hugged by so many strangers in my life,” Muse said.  “The people in this community absolutely appreciate what the military is doing. I have found that to be just incredible. I don’t think words can really describe it.”