MIDLETOWN, Pennsylvania --
Staff Sgt. Alan McCutcheon, Jr., the Munitions Material Section Chief of the 193rd Maintenance Group earned the 2021 Outstanding Airman of the Year award in the Non-Commissioned Officer category for the 193rd Special Operations Wing. McCutcheon has served in the Air Force since 2012.
The Central Pennsylvania native sat down to talk about his military experience and what got him to this point in his career.
Can you talk about some of the things you've been doing in the past year that led to your success?
One of the biggest things that lead to my success this year, was volunteering to deploy with the 133th Wing to PSAB in support of OSS, OIR, and NEO operations.
How have those experiences helped your career develop?
Going out there challenged me professionally and mentally, and ultimately helped build me into a better leader as an NCOIC, as well as an NCO as a whole. I was met with a lot of unique and specific hurtles that needed unique and specific resolutions. But that’s what deployments are all about right?
What originally brought you to join the Air Force?
I wanted to have a solid career choice, and I wanted to set a good example for my two younger brothers.
Can you talk about a setback or a failure that you've ended up learning from?
I can’t really recall a failure per say, but as far as setbacks are concerned I definitely dealt with an unprofessional supervisor early in my career. I learned from that individual what kind of leader I wanted to be once I became an NCO, and have applied that knowledge and experience to how I treat and handle my airman. I definitely learned what kind of leader I DIDN’T want to be, and having that early on, truly benefitted me in the long run.
How do you stay focused when things get stressful or overwhelming?
I definitely have a strong support network between my friends and family, and I’m very grateful for that. They’re the ones that help keep me focused and my head clear.
How do you stay motivated and productive?
That’s a good question, I don’t like when things pile up. In our career there’s a lot of ways for that to happen, between inventories, shipments, inspections, and all the document control that goes into record keeping of those transactions, so it’s just easier to tackle things the moment its required.
What advice would you give to someone looking to enlist?
Make sure you’re truly ready to sign that dotted line. Your entire way of life, and the standard that you must hold yourself to changes, and you have to be ready and able to maintain that regardless of ever-changing politics, and international events. If you can handle that, then the military can be a very rewarding career.
Do you have an internal code or mantra?
Is there a book that’s influenced you that you would recommend? If so, why?
I actually don’t read a whole lot for pleasure anymore as I don’t really have the time. But if reading the Pennsylvania Real Estate Education book for my classes counts, then I would recommend it for personal financial growth opportunities.
What do you focus on in your spare time? Do you have any hobbies?
In my spare time I’m either co-hosting on my podcast Darker With Daniel, attending my real estate classes, shopping for properties, or spending time with my friends and family.