2003 Airman of the Year
Senior Master Sergeant Cedric Council
RANDOLPH AFB, Texas - Senior Master Sergeant Cedric M. Council exemplifies the ideal of the unsung "everyday hero," whose integrity, service and commitment to his fellow airmen and community define his professional and personal activities. "He is the kind of individual who strives to give the best of himself for his job, his co-workers, and his community. He doesn't look for any gain, he only looks at what he can give … and it's always his best," said a fellow NCO.
SMSgt Council is an aircraft/trainer maintenance inspection manager in the Air Education and Training Command's inspector general's office at Randolph Air Force Base, Texas. It is a challenging job, but he has earned the respect of those around him as he strives to keep a safe working and training environment for airmen. "He will not hesitate to make the hard call during an inspection, but his heart is with the unit and people … He wants them to do well," said a supervisor.
He has conducted 12 command inspections, which detected 150 deficiencies affecting 120,000 sorties. He led the redesign of a hazardous material storage site and 320 hazardous items are now properly controlled. His recommendations improved safety for over 300 personnel and drastically reduced environmental contamination. SMSgt Council fine-tuned basic military training programs that ensured quality training for over 30,000 recruits annually. "We trust his judgment and character without reservation," a colleague said.
SMSgt Council knows that the mission comes first, said one airman, but "he never forgets that people are the ones performing that mission." He has earned a reputation as a mentor to junior airmen and as an honest and caring senior noncommissioned officer who provides useful, constructive feedback to both his troops and his supervisors. "I am inspired by Cedric's desire to make every airman he comes in contact with better," said his division chief. "He is the ultimate role model for airmen," said another NCO.
On base, SMSgt Council raised over $7,000 to support unit social and holiday functions and put together a team to support the base's Junior Enlisted Appreciation Day activities. "He is always thinking about his troops," said a fellow inspector. SMSgt Council also is well-known outside the base gates because he spends much of his free time volunteering in the San Antonio community.
As a member of the Texas Youth Commission, SMSgt Council mentors incarcerated youth to help them transition back into mainstream society. For nearly a dozen years, he has worked with a group to clean up a neglected community cemetery. He sponsored a clothing drive for needy families. He works with a program that provides meals to the homeless. He has raised more than $5,000 to provide scholarships and books for schools in San Antonio. He regularly visits San Antonio nursing homes where he also organizes birthday parties for the residents. He volunteers his time to mentor youth and work in community youth programs. These are just a few examples of the myriad of volunteer charitable activities undertaken by SMSgt Council.
According to his division chief, SMSgt Council's community activities have improved relations between the base and its civilian neighbors. The consensus of his colleagues is that SMSgt Council embodies the Air Force's core values and is a role model for young airmen and officers alike. He is the image of 'Mr. Air Force,' said a senior NCO, noting that SMSgt Council's photo was used in a military study guide of an example of how one should look in uniform. He is dependable, courteous, disciplined, motivated and humble, his colleagues said.
"He is professional with unquestionable technical expertise and represents Air Education and Training Command and our Air Force extremely well," said a fellow senior NCO. "Integrity is SMSgt Cedric M. Council's rule of engagement, service before self is his lifestyle and excellence in all we do is his work ethic. Not sure I can say more than that."