Lt. Gen. Leo Marquez Award recipient

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Photo by Senior Airman JAMES HENSLEY

Retired Senior Master Sgt. Terry Nelson, 56th Equipment Maintenance Squadron aircraft armament systems technician, earned the 2015 Lt. Gen. Leo Marquez Award in the Munitions and Missile Maintenance civilian technician category.

This award distinguishes Nelson as the best of the best among the Air Force’s munitions and missile maintenance personnel.

Guided by 30 years of experience, Nelson earned this award by supervising 36 F-16 gun system inspections and leading 25 wing pylon upgrades. In addition, he enabled 68 guided bomb unit-38 joint direct attack munitions to be expended while leading 458 inspections resulting in the fleet’s 98.7 quality assurance pass rate.

“I’ve been here almost 10 years, and I’ve never failed a quality assurance evaluation,” Nelson said. “I strive to always do everything right the first time and to the best of my ability.”

Nelson’s role in the mission ensures that when an F-16 pilot pulls the trigger, the weapons land on target.

“We maintain all the F-16 armament equipment including the bomb racks, missile launchers, gun systems, scheduled inspections, and all the troubleshooting and repairs,” Nelson said. “Without us and without weapons, Luke is just another airline.”

Nelson’s dedication to the mission made him eligible for the award, but recognition of his dedication by his supervisors is what made winning the award possible.

“I wish I had 30 Terry Nelsons,” said David Moore, 56th EMS aircraft ordnance mechanics supervisor. “I chose him because he deserves it. He’s very thorough, and he goes above and beyond when working on equipment. He’s very eager to train the Airmen, and his peers look up to him.”

Winning awards is great but it is not the most important thing to Nelson.

“It’s an honor to be recognized,” Nelson said. “However, quality is still the number one thing when it comes to doing the job.”