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News > JBSA-Randolph Airman earns Senior NCO of Year
SMSgt Felix Bradford
Senior Master Sgt. Felix Bradford, Air Education and Training Command F-35 functional manager, was selected as the 2012 Senior NCO of the year for AETC May 1 at Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph. (U.S. Air Force photo by Benjamin Faske / Released)
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JBSA-Randolph Airman earns Senior NCO of Year

Posted 5/9/2013   Updated 5/9/2013 Email story   Print story


by Robert Goetz
Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph Public Affairs

5/9/2013 - JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas -- When Senior Master Sgt. Felix Bradford, Air Education and Training Command F-35 functional manager, walked into the office of one of his superiors one morning last month, he was somewhat apprehensive.

Col. Craig Berlette, AETC Logistics, Installations and Mission Support deputy director, had summoned Bradford for an urgent matter. His demeanor was serious, if not stern.

Then he directed Bradford to look at an email on his computer screen.

"He got me good," Bradford said. "I was shocked; I was expecting it to be F-35 stuff."

The senior master sergeant had reason to be surprised; the email announced that he had been named AETC's Senior NCO of the Year.

"It humbled me," he said. "There are a lot of deserving senior NCOs at AETC, from specialists to engine guys."

Though the announcement caught Bradford off-guard, it came as no surprise to his immediate supervisor, Chief Master Sgt. Mark Samborski, AETC Combat Aircraft Maintenance Section chief.

"I'm very happy for Felix and for the A4M team, but I'm not surprised in the least," he said. "His character and airmanship are impeccable. He's an enterprise-level thinker whose foremost concern is the prosperity of the Air Force. At times, that can conflict with the local way of doing business, but Felix possesses the unique combination of fortitude, tenacity and diplomacy that cause most, if not all, who encounter him to understand and appreciate the Air Force's long-range vision."

Samborski also called Bradford "a modern-day gladiator."

"His hallmark is that he treats everyone with the dignity and respect they deserve," he said.

Bradford, a Greenwood, Miss., native who recently reached his 20-year mark in the Air Force, said he's "an F-16 crew chief by trade." He enlisted in the Air Force after visiting a recruiter with every service and began his career working on F-117s at Holloman Air Force Base, N.M. Since then, he's been assigned to bases in the Republic of Korea and Turkey as well as Hill Air Force Base, Utah, and Eglin Air Force Base, Fla.

One of Bradford's most challenging assignments was his involvement in the aircraft battle damage repair program at Hill Air Force Base, he said.

Bradford's current job at Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph has taken him out of the field, but it's enabled him to see the Air Force's bigger picture.

"Everyone should do a stint in a staff position," he said. "You're able to get a broader spectrum of the Air Force."

Bradford's playing a major role in the stand-up of operations for the Air Force's newest platform, Samborski said.

"Felix facilitated the Air Force's initial stand-up of F-35 operations at Eglin Air Force Base and is now coordinating the stand-up and follow-on F-35 operations at Luke Air Force Base, Ariz.," he said.

Bradford calls himself one of the "go-between guys" for Eglin.

"It's the first base with F-35s, the Air Force's new platform," he said. "We help them with their problems."

Bradford, who said he initially planned to serve for four years, has earned bachelor's and master's degrees and now looks forward to becoming a chief master sergeant. He has no regrets.

"I wouldn't go back and change anything," he said. "I couldn't imagine anything else but the maintenance career field."

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