Through hard work and compassion: Lakenheath Airmen earns 12 Outstanding Airmen Award

Tech. Sgt. David E. Miller, 48th Contracting Squadron Personnel and Readiness NCO in-charge, poses for a photo at the 48th CONS at Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England, June 25, 2018. Through his outstanding leadership abilities, job performance and personal achievements, Miller earned the illustrious Air Force’s Outstanding Airman of the Year award for 2018. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Alex Fox Echols III)

Tech. Sgt. David E. Miller, 48th Contracting Squadron Personnel and Readiness NCO in-charge, poses for a photo at the 48th CONS at Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England, June 25, 2018. Through his outstanding leadership abilities, job performance and personal achievements, Miller earned the illustrious Air Force’s Outstanding Airman of the Year award for 2018. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Alex Fox Echols III)

ROYAL AIR FORCE LAKENHEATH, England --

Through hard work and compassion for others, a Liberty Wing Airman earned his spot among the stars, becoming one of the Air Force’s 12 Outstanding Airmen of the Year for 2018.

Tech. Sgt. David E. Miller, 48th Contracting Squadron Personnel and Readiness NCO in-charge, faced off against 35 other nominees and earned one of the most prestigious awards an enlisted Airman can receive.

“Winning was a mixed combination of shock and immediate humbleness,” said Miller. “It’s a wonderful award that means there are a lot of people that truly believe in me, but I’m a representation of the hard work of the individuals around me.”

Miller attributes his outstanding job performance directly to his stellar team, coworkers and leadership.

“For those of us who know and have the opportunity to work with TSgt Miller every day, this award comes as no surprise,” said Lt. Col. Adam Coyne, 48th CONS commander. “His work ethic and commitment to helping Airmen achieve their full potential is truly unique and inspiring. His energy is contagious, his passion for life is inspiring.”

Currently pursuing his Social Work Degree from the University of Southern California, he is very proud of the work he has done with the school, remotely counseling those in need for more than a year.

“It was intense,” said Miller. “Sitting down with individuals on a one-on-one basis and performing counseling services, you could really see a difference being made. People's lives were being changed. We were able to talk some people back from doing some serious self-harm.”

For the Air Force, Miller uses his social-work expertise to help create professional development courses like United States Air Forces in Europe's first Cognitive Behavioral Therapy course and to facilitate training that arms Airmen with the tools to combat sexual assault and suicide.

“One of my favorite things about the military today is how we embrace individuals dealing with these issues and the stigma for individuals receiving help has really been lifted,” said Miller. “More and more people are trying to get that help, and I want to be a part of that.”

Going forward, he wants to commission into the medical field as a licensed clinical social worker or earn his diamond to work as a first sergeant and help Airmen more directly.

“The entire leadership team is incredibly proud of TSgt Miller,” said Coyne. “This award highlights a lifetime dedicated to excellence, mission, and people.”

In September, Miller will attend a congratulatory banquet involving all of the movers and shakers of the Air Force. Between now and then, he will be talking to as many individuals as possible to learn their day-to-day issues and difficulties they face. He plans to be an advocate for Airmen that are not able to get that audience.

As the name suggests, only 12 of the 36 nominees representing major commands, direct reporting units, field operating agencies and Headquarters Air Force received the illustrious Outstanding Airman of the Year Award. Starting at the unit level, these Airmen battled their way to the top, earning this award based on their leadership abilities, job performance and personal achievement.