AFPC personnelist named Outstanding Airman of the Year
By Master Sgt. Kat Bailey , Air Force Personnel Center Public Affairs
/ Published July 10, 2008
RANDOLPH AIR FORCE BASE, Texas --
With the holiday weekend pending, Master Sgt. Carla Curry thought the mandatory all-call on the front steps of the Air Force Personnel Center here July 3 signified a safety briefing.
Little did she know her career was about to change radically, in front of almost 2,600 members of AFPC.
"Major General McClain said she wasn't announcing an early release," said Sergeant Curry. "Then she called my name."
Sergeant Curry felt a little sick to her stomach as she made her way to the front steps.
"What is going on?" she thought.
Then General McClain announced Sergeant Curry was selected as one of the 12 Outstanding Airmen of the Year for 2008.
"Oh, my God," Sergeant Curry thought, "What have I done to deserve this?"
Apparently she did her job and myriad other activities in a superlative manner. AFPC had already selected Sergeant Curry as its senior NCO of the year.
"It wasn't expected," said the Troy, Ohio, native. "I'm just a normal person, a senior NCO, nobody special."
The award recognizes her for superior leadership, job performance, community involvement and personal achievements.
She said her extended 365-day deployment to Afghanistan in 2006, with nine days notice, was probably her top accomplishment.
"I met great people, made lifelong friends and consider it time well spent," said Sergeant Curry. "The Army training at Fort Bragg, N.C., also gave me a new-found respect for the Army."
Sergeant Curry, a self-proclaimed "Air Force brat," joined the service in December, 1987.
"My dad was an Air Force recruiter. It was all I'd known and seen because of him," she said. "There was no doubt in my mind that's what I would do after high school."
Her first duty assignment was Altus Air Force Base, Okla. as a personnelist. She transferred to the Personnel Systems Management career field and in June, 1995, she moved to Pope AFB, N.C., where she continued to serve as a Personnel Systems Manager. In 2000, Sergeant Curry was selected to work in the Air Force Personnel Center where she has held several positions, including one as an analyst within Airman Information Management Systems. She converted back to the Personnel career field and became an assignment NCO for all chief master sergeants worldwide.
Upon completion of her extended deployment, Sergeant Curry assisted the Chiefs' Group with its move to the National Capital Region, and moved into her current assignment where as superintendent of AFPC's Enlisted Extended Deployment Branch, she and her team select Airmen for 365-day extended deployments.
"That's about 900 or so enlisted members we work with," she said. "We advertise and solicit volunteers and then select the most-qualified Airman for the job."
The senior NCO's job at AFPC is not the only place she excels. She is pursuing her degree in accounting with plans of becoming a certified public accountant.
"I've had an interest in math since elementary school," said Sergeant Curry. "I enjoy working with numbers."
She is also acting on her lifelong dream.
"I started taking piano lessons in May 2007," she said. "I've wanted to do that since I was 12 years old."
Tackling her aspirations head-on is typical behavior for this senior NCO. Her advice to other Airmen is to follow through when they set goals.
"When you're young, maybe before you have children, get stuff done before your life changes," said Sergeant Curry. "The time is going to fly by."
The 12 OAY program recognizes 12 enlisted members in a range of grades representing a cross section of career fields. Representatives of the enlisted force, they also serve on the Air Force Enlisted Council for one year. The Air Force Association will honor the 12 OAY and their spouses at its annual convention in Washington, D.C. this September.