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Kadena Airman claims USAF top spot

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Rhett Isbell
  • 18th Wing Public Affairs

The 12 Outstanding Airmen of the Year have been recognized across the Air Force and one of Kadena Air Base’s very own Airmen, Senior Airman Caden Soper, 18th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron F-15 avionics journeyman, was one of those superior performers.

Soper clenched the win for this award through his formidable work ethic and the help of his teammates.

“I feel blessed,” Soper said. “I get to represent PACAF (Pacific Air Forces) and all Junior Enlisted Airmen, for that I am thankful. In my eyes this is not an individual award. There are a countless number of people who are behind me. Although my name might be on the hardware this is a squadron, group, and ultimately a wing accomplishment.”

Working with his team throughout the year, Soper found success and accomplishments on many fronts during the course of his official duties. While his feats are many, some key factors for his win include: saving a potentially failed aircraft launch, setting a wing record for performance, and saving millions for the U.S. Air Force.

“I’m proud to see that such an incredible Airman was acknowledged for all of his hard work,” said Brig. General David Eaglin, 18th Wing commander. “I’m sure winning this will just spur Senior Airman Soper on to even greater heights during his career in the Air Force.”

Having been recognized at the highest level, Soper now stands as a shining example to Airmen everywhere by showing the impact that they have and how they can be a leader at any level.

“Caden is one of the most hardworking, humble and talented Junior Enlisted Airmen I had the pleasure of serving with and a source of inspiration for all Kadena Shogun Warriors. I’m excited to watch his journey as he continues to grow as a leader in our Air Force,” said Chief Master Sgt. Ronnie Woods, 18th Wing command chief.

Even with all of this recognition, Soper still understands what he was working for all year and why he tries so hard.

“This is a win for all of the airmen who work hard every day, give everything they have, and don't get recognized,” Soper said. “I am not the only one waking up every day and giving it their all. They are the ones who deserve the recognition. I feel I have already reaped the reward. I love what I do and work with the greatest people in the world. The "award" is just what everyone sees. God blessed me with the journey and I couldn't be more grateful.”