736th AMXS maintainer awarded the Gen. Lew Allen Jr. Trophy

  • Published
  • By Roland Balik
  • 436th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Thomas Belin, 736th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron production superintendent, was named the winner of the 2023 Air Mobility Command Gen. Lew Allen Jr. Trophy that was presented to him during the 436th Mission Generation Group’s 3rd quarter awards ceremony on Oct. 13, 2023.

“At first, I was somewhat surprised due to the nature of the award and the individuals I was competing against,” said Belin. “I never really considered an award as a defining feature but according to the majority of my leadership, this is a big deal. I still don’t think the reality has set in yet.”

As a pro super, his duties entail leading 300 aircraft technicians from six distinct Air Force Specialties ensuring fleet health and rapid global response for 13 C-17 Globemaster III aircraft at the Department of Defense’s largest air cargo hub complex.

“One of his greatest attributes is his ability to extend his influence up, down, and across the chain of command because he doesn’t just confine himself to his duty title,” said Lt. Col. Shawn Cox, 736th AMXS commander. “More importantly, he instills that same drive in his subordinates by purposefully challenging them to do the same.”

Belin was one of three senior noncommissioned officers who led the 436th MGG flight line through Multi-Capable Airman and Air Force Force Generation task qualifications.

He also was credited with leading eight members through preparing and vetting AMC’s first-ever C-17 Rapid Launch Contingency Operations for aircrew and maintainers that reduced the standard launch sequence duration from two hours down to 12 minutes, a 90 percent reduction.

“Thomas is a methodical thinker that doesn’t just look at immediate challenges but tackles the third and fourth-level details to make best decisions for maintenance to project airpower,” said Chief Master Sgt. Aaron Hemberger, 736th AMXS senior enlisted leader. “It’s hard to find maintainers that can think and operate outside the box because of the tight restrictions of our technical orders and instructions, but Master Sgt. Belin never settles for ‘no,’ but instead accelerates through the gray to safely find ‘yes.’”

Even though he spends most of his shift driving up and down the flight line coordinating mission generation, Belin still has time to interact with young aircraft maintainers and mentor them.

“Confidence, communication, and teamwork are the trifecta for success. Show confidence in your actions, communicate your vision, and work as a team regardless of your position to achieve the mission.”

The Sharpsville, Pennsylvania, native has been in the U.S. Air Force for more than 16 years and started his aircraft maintenance career by working on the B-1 Lancer before transitioning to the C-17 aircraft.

“Accomplishments are in the eyes of the beholder; if anything, my downfalls throughout my military career have given me the confidence to excel,” said Belin. “The lessons are what make an individual based on the recovery and mentorship provided.”

Named after the 10th Chief of Staff of the Air Force, the trophy is an AMC-level annual award that recognizes the accomplishments of officers and senior noncommissioned officers in the aircraft maintenance or munitions career fields, directly involved in sortie generation.