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CMS NCO gets creative

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Jonathan Corbitt, 18th Component Maintenance Squadron avionics team leader, stains a piece of wood in preparation for engraving on Kadena Air Base, Japan, June 12, 2014. Corbitt has been working with wood for about 15 years, and held a job remodeling homes before enlisting into the Air Force. He said working on creative, constructive projects is a relaxing hobby he has always enjoyed. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Zade C. Vadnais)

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Jonathan Corbitt, 18th Component Maintenance Squadron avionics team leader, stains a piece of wood in preparation for engraving on Kadena Air Base, Japan, June 12, 2014. Corbitt has been working with wood for about 15 years, and held a job remodeling homes before enlisting into the Air Force. He said working on creative, constructive projects is a relaxing hobby he has always enjoyed. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Zade C. Vadnais)

KADENA AIR BASE, Japan -- Enlisting in the Air Force and being thrust into a job with little hands-on experience is a familiar situation to most Airmen today. Although there are plenty of opportunities for Airmen to pursue their interests, not everyone is able to incorporate their passions into their day-to-day work.

However, Staff Sgt. Jonathan Corbitt, 18th Component Maintenance Squadron avionics team leader, has found a way to use skills he learned in his previous job renovating homes to boost morale and save money in his workplace.

Corbitt has worked on several projects benefitting his workplace, including creating screens big enough to display slides during events as large as group award ceremonies and plaques to be presented at going away functions.

"He's awesome," said Master Sgt. Patricia McCrary, 18th CMS avionics assistant flight chief. "He's our go-to person when we need something done."

He created a gift box painted to resemble a question mark block from "Super Mario" to be auctioned as a fundraiser, a shadowbox that doubles as a storage chest for a retirement ceremony and a dragon costume to promote squadron pride.

He's even worked on a few projects outside of his day-to-day workspace.

"We actually loaned him out to another flight that was undermanned," McCrary explained. "He saw that they had some rubber protective flooring that they hadn't put down yet and he was just like 'Well, while I'm here I might as well get this fixed.'"

Although anyone who has seen his work will attest to the effort he puts into everything he does, Corbitt is very humble and attributes his talents to the job he held before enlisting in the Air Force.

"I used to flip houses," Corbitt said. "I started doing these things because I saw a lot of plaques and things that people were paying for that I thought I could do for less money. It keeps the squadron from spending $50 on something I could do for $10."

McCrary said that no matter what was asked of him, Corbitt makes sure it gets done if he has the time. In addition to honing his craft and ensuring his skill level does not dwindle, he feels rewarded in a personal way through his projects.

"It's almost therapeutic," Corbitt said. "It calms me down. It's something that I really enjoy and basically it just keeps my head on straight, but it's nice to see someone else can appreciate the work I put into whatever it is I make."

According to McCrary, his passion and dedication to his craft has not affected his job performance. She described Corbitt as a model NCO who does things by the book, and said he is a great role model for junior enlisted members.

"It's good for the Airmen to see someone going above and beyond without expecting anything in return," McCrary said.

With his departure from Kadena right around the corner, Corbitt is excited about the opportunities his new assignment will present to him and his family. Although he is headed into new territory, McCrary said she isn't worried about him at all. She said success will follow him wherever he goes due to the fact that he possesses talent, drive and a very admirable trait:

"He always goes above and beyond."