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Guard’s Only Female MTI Named AU NCO of Year

  • Published
  • By Captain Peter Shinn
  • Officer Training School Student Squadron Commander
The first and only female Military Training Instructor in the Air National Guard is also the first and only Air National Guardsman to be named the Air University Noncommissioned Officer of the Year.

Tech. Sgt. Leslie Cummings of Corona, Calif., is a Military Training Instructor for the Academy of Military Science, the U.S. Air Force Officer Training School commissioning program for Air National Guardsmen at Maxwell AFB, Ala.

Lt. Col. Reid Rasmussen, a native of Clarksville, Va., commands the Academy of Military Science. He described Cummings as a "top-notch professional" and said he was not surprised to learn Cummings won the Air University award for 2012.

"AMS and OTS are fortunate to have people like Leslie," Rasmussen said. "I'm constantly amazed at not only her job performance but everything she's done for Maxwell, as well."

Cummings' contributions to the Maxwell-Gunter community include founding Airmen Against Drunk Driving, known locally as A2D2, which has virtually eliminated drinking and driving incidents among military personnel here. Cummings is also a founding member of the Guard and Reserve Network, or GARNET, an organization that enhances the skills and civilian employment opportunities of Reserve Component members.

GARNET's founder is Col. Edward Vaughan of Denver, Colo. Vaughan, who is also the Air National Guard Advisor to the Commander and President of the Air University, praised Cummings as an "outstanding Citizen-Airmen" and a premier example of the Total Force concept.

"Sergeant Cummings is quite simply one of the Guard's very best leaders," Vaughan said. "Her selection as AU's NCO of the Year shows that she's one of the one of the very best leaders across the Total Air Force as well."

Cummings, who is currently serving on extended Active Duty, is a member of the California Air National Guard's 146th Airlift Wing, located at Channel Islands ANGS, Port Hueneme, CA. The unit is commanded by Col. Paul Hargrove, who congratulated Cummings on her historic achievement.

"I, and every member of the 146th Airlift Wing, we're all proud of Leslie's accomplishments," Hargrove said. "We're looking forward to her return to the unit."

Though Cummings is the first Air National Guard Military Training Instructor and first Guardsmen to be selected as the Air University NCO of the Year, she said she doesn't see herself as a pioneer.

"I really don't think of myself as a trailblazer," Cummings said. "I've just been given great opportunities that I've tried to maximize as best I could, because I believe every opportunity you're given is an opportunity to set yourself apart in a positive way."

Asked about her feelings about winning the award, Cummings expressed appreciation for her co-workers at the Air University, the Jean M. Holm Center for Officer Accessions and Citizen Development, U.S Air Force Officer Training School and the Academy of Military Science.

"It's awesome, and I really appreciate it, but it's really about just doing your job to the best of your ability and maximizing your contribution to the team," said Cummings. "I'm very fortunate to work with such a great group of professionals."