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Airmen in Focus - SrA Austin Putnam

Barnes Air National Guard Base, 104 Fighter Wing - Westfield, Mass -- The 104th Fighter Wing honors one deserving Airman annually as its "Outstanding Airman of the Year." The 2010 award was earned by SrA Austin Putnam.

Putnam, a native of Westfield, serves as a specialist in Aircraft Fuel System Maintenance. This position entails several critical tasks including repair, inspection, preventative maintenance of the aircraft's fuel system and external tanks. He has been a member of the Wing for over four years and began working at the base full time in February 2009.

Putman takes pride in his work. "I enjoy telling people what I do for a living and watching their reaction. I feel like I have one of the greatest jobs working out here," he said. "The people out here are a cut above the rest. They all work hard towards one goal, to get these jets in the air," he observed.

TSgt Dave Wilson, Putnam's supervisor, has been impressed by his demeanor, work ethic and creativity. Putnam developed and implemented the "External Tank Program" allowing the crew to better detect deficiencies and troubleshoot problems. "We noticed right away that he was a real go getter and are happy to have him here," said Wilson. "He wants to become a pilot and I am confident that he will reach his goal."

SrA Putnam's commitment to the 104th Fighter Wing is readily apparent. "I love knowing, in my heart, that we really are our nation's sword and shield. The whole nation is counting on us to protect them and their families for generations to come," he said.