MARTINSBURG, W.Va. --
Tech. Sgt. Sophia Burnham is an airfield management specialist for the 167th Operations Support Squadron.
She recently served as the acting airfield manager for the 156th Wing at Muniz Air National Guard, Puerto Rico, while their airfield management staff participated in contingency response training.
During that time she coordinated prior permission requests, handled an unauthorized landing, implemented processes for the dissemination of weather watches, warnings and advisories, and mentored and collaborated with crew chiefs ensuring all inbound and outbound air traffic arrived and departed on time.
“Tech. Sgt. Burnham’s superb performance of her duties while single-handedly managing the airfield management section and ramp operations in support of the PRANG, brings credit to the caliber and quality of professionals we have at the 167th Operations Support Squadron,” said Senior Master Sgt. Alan Romero, 167th Airlift Wing airfield manager.
Romero said Burnham consistently shows enthusiasm in every task in which she’s involved, regardless of the task difficulty or the lack of available information.
“One of her valuable leadership traits is that of concern for the well-being of her teammates,” said Romero.
How long have you served in the unit: 10 years in January
My job here is important because: Airfield Management specialists directly impact the daily mission through ensuring airfield and flight safety.
Education: BS in Fitness & Exercise Science, CCAF Aviation Management, CCAF Information Systems Technology, CompTIA Security + Certification, and CCAF Transportation
Hobbies: Lifting (weights), anything outdoors (hiking, kayaking, camping, etc.), painting, drawing, and photography.
The most exciting thing I've done in the military is: Recently I was the acting Airfield Manager at the 156th WG in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Their Airfield Management shop reached out to us for support, so they could complete Contingency Readiness Group (CRG) training. To date, this is the most exciting thing I have been able to do in my career because of the challenges it presented. Not only was it peak hurricane season for the island, but also in the middle of COVID-19 pandemic. I was able to apply my working knowledge and tackle the daily challenges that were presented, which in turn solidified confidence in my abilities. Being able to work alongside crew-chiefs, maintainers, pilots, and commanders while in Puerto Rico has made a lasting impression on my career and helped build the relationship between the 156 WG and the 167 AW.
My advice to the newest Airmen in the Wing: Integrity first. Service before self. Excellence in all we do. It may sound cliché, but having these core values as a staple to your character will take you places (militarily and civilian). Continue striving toward being the best you can – push for excellence in all you do. Throughout my career here at the 167 AW, I’ve had the opportunity to work in various squadrons and learn about the importance of our mission from all angles. No matter how small your part may feel or seem within the “Big Air Force”, it is significant! Set specific goals and small markers to achieve those goals. Both short-term and long-term. Get involved and stay informed. Remember to keep a running log of volunteer work, community services, goals achieved, and projects completed. These will come in handy for your supervisors when it’s time for EPRs and promotions. Welcome to the unit!