DOVER AIR FORCE BASE, Del. --
Every year, the Air Force selects 12 Airmen to be recognized for their distinguished accomplishments.
An Air Force selection board at Air Force Personnel Center considered 35 nominees who represented the various major commands, direct reporting units, field operating agencies and Headquarters Air Force for recognition. Of those, only 12 were selected for the Air Force level award.
This year, Tech. Sgt. Sharry Barnshaw, 436th Communications Squadron client systems section chief, received the honor as one of the Air Force 12 Outstanding Airmen of the Year.
“Team Dover is proud to have TSgt Sharry Barnshaw recognized as one of the 12 Outstanding Airmen in the Air Force,” said Col. Michael Grismer, 436th Airlift Wing commander. “She is a rockstar leader, innovator, collaborator, and humble professional who raises the level of play for all of Team Dover.”
Barnshaw, a sharp Airman with a crisp uniform and not even a single hair out of place, called the award an ‘unexpected honor.’
“I did not expect this at all,” Barnshaw said. “Honestly, I was just myself. I did everything I would normally do, whether I was going for an annual award or not. I just found goals and did my best to achieve them. I never thought I would be selected for this honor.”
Barnshaw stated the stars seemed to align this year as her goals came to fruition. She completed her bachelor’s degree, performed well in the NCO Academy interactive leadership course, and served as the president of the wing’s 5/6 Counsel.
Exemplifying the ‘whole Airman concept,’ she made personal goals in an attempt to improve herself and be a better supervisor for her Airmen. Her gaze wasn’t set on recognition, merely improving herself as an Airman, but fate had more in store for her.
“To be a good leader, you have to continue to improve on yourself,” Barnshaw said. “A part of our job is continuing education and staying involved in our community. I can’t exactly ask my subordinates or peers to get involved or try to do school if I’m not doing that myself. In order to be a better leader or supervisor for them, I need to constantly improve upon myself and be someone they can look up to. I think all personal improvement contributes to becoming a better leader, supervisor, mentor, peer, follower and ultimately shapes who you are into a better person.”
She said her personal journey toward self-improvement is a long path, one that has no end, because there is always something new to learn.
“There are things I’m learning now as an NCO that I probably should have learned as an Airman,” Barnshaw said. “I didn’t seek it for myself though, not like I should have. That’s something I tell all my Airmen, ‘I’m here to help mold you into a better version of you, whether it’s as an Airman or an NCO, but you have to go seek it yourself.’ If you want to better yourself you can’t wait for someone to tell you, you have to seek it. I wish I’d done that a lot sooner.”
Barnshaw said her success does not come from any one person, everyone around her has influenced her career. Her mentors showed her ways she could improve, but all of her coworkers have taught her lessons throughout her career.
She may have been recognized as one of 12 outstanding Airmen, but she humbly attributed her success to the support she received from those around her.
“I’m so thankful for everyone who has helped me get where I am today,” Barnshaw said. “This is truly an honor. My name may be on the award, but this truly is a Dover award. This is a Dover accomplishment.”