The 944th Fighter Wing produced yet another 10th Air Force stand out. Senior Airman Perla Tapia-Cordero, 69th Fighter Squadron personnel journeyman, was recently notified she had won the 10th AF Airman of the Year Award. She is the third Airman in a five-year span that the 944th FW has sent up to 10th AF and come back a winner.
“I was shocked when I won Airman of the Year for the wing and now to have won Airman of the Year for 10th AF, it feels pretty amazing,” Tapia-Cordero said.
Though, the journey was filled with her share of disappointments, her superiors always believed in her and continued to create and submit packages on her behalf.
“I began to get discouraged,” she said. “At one point I actually asked my supervisor to stop wasting her time submitting the packages because I was never going to win. They obviously never listened to me, and I’m glad they didn’t because now I see the results. What’s more, to have witnessed the time and effort my leadership put into those packages, it has motivated me to go above and beyond, to volunteer more on and off base, and take on more responsibilities.”
Currently, Tapia-Cordero is a full-time Arizona State University student and on course to graduate in spring 2015. Her goal is to obtain a bachelor’s degree in secondary education with an emphasis in chemistry.
On top of going to school, she works and does veteran-to-veteran volunteer work at a valley hospice facility. She is also a council member and outreach team liaison for her church. On the weekends, she spends time with family, friends and prepares for powerlifting competitions.
“Perla is the kind of troop who epitomizes the excellence in all we do core value, so she continued to be a stellar performer regardless if she won or not,” said Master Sgt. Jacqueline Flores, 69th FS personnel programs NCO in charge. “Just like most stellar performers, she doesn’t do what she does for recognition – that’s just a nice byproduct.”
Ultimately, Tapia-Cordero’s goal is to begin the commissioning process and find different ways to help the military and her civilian community.
“This entire process couldn’t have been accomplished if it wasn’t for the 944th Fighter Wing,” she said. “I want to send a special thanks to my leadership for all their hard work and most importantly my supervisor, Master Sgt. Jacqueline Flores. If it wasn’t for all of her determination, this wouldn’t have been possible.”