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460th SCS Airman one of two in 14th AF selected for STEP promotion

Maj. Douglas Freeman, 460th Space Communications Squadron, Det. 1 commander, informs then Staff Sgt. Benjamin Hunter, 460th SCS, Det. 1 radio frequency transmission technician, of his immediate promotion to technical sergeant Jan. 6, 2013. Hunter was one of two staff sergeants in 14th Air Force selected for a promotion through the Stripes for Exceptional Performers program. (Courtesy photo/Released)

Maj. Douglas Freeman, 460th Space Communications Squadron, Det. 1 commander, informs then Staff Sgt. Benjamin Hunter, 460th SCS, Det. 1 radio frequency transmission technician, of his immediate promotion to technical sergeant Jan. 6, 2013. Hunter was one of two staff sergeants in 14th Air Force selected for a promotion through the Stripes for Exceptional Performers program. (Courtesy photo/Released)

BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- A staff sergeant from the 460th Space Communications Squadron, Det. 1 was notified that his uniform was out of regulations Jan. 6 when he was awarded a promotion to technical sergeant through the Stripes for Exceptional Performers program.

Tech. Sgt. Benjamin Hunter, 460th SCS, Det. 1 radio frequency transmission technician, was one of two staff sergeants in 14th Air Force selected for a STEP promotion to the next rank.

The promotion was immediate from the moment Hunter was informed by his leadership, instantly earning him an extra stripe on his sleeve, he said.

According to Air Force Instruction 36-2502, Airman Promotion/Demotion Programs, the STEP program supplements the regular Weighted Airman Promotion System and accommodates unique circumstances for Airmen who clearly warrant promotion in the eyes of commanders.

"Some individuals simply do not do well in a test environment; it's just the way they are programmed. However, these same individuals make monumental impacts to our Air Force. It's for this reason the STEP program is vital to providing recognition (and) advancement for these individuals," stated Maj. Douglas Freeman, 460th SCS, Det. 1 commander.

Hunter, who arrived at the unit in September 2012, made such a good impression that he was noticed immediately by his leadership.

"(Sergeant) Hunter has a proven record of performance. In addition, he began to make an impact to our unit within his first month on station, revamping the way our crews are manned and improving operational processes," said Freeman. "It's always easy to brag about top notch performers like (Sergeant) Hunter."

Hunter credited numerous circumstances that led to his promotion.

"My job, like many, varies from base to base and mission to mission. ... Essentially I am part of the communication chain that keeps the warfighter going," Hunter stated. "I have been fortunate to have had some really great missions and TDYs passed my way, opportunities that not everyone necessarily gets during their (Air Force) careers that allowed me to prove myself in different situations."

Hunter joined the Air Force 11 years ago, following in the footsteps of his father, a former senior master sergeant in the weather forecasting career field.

"Of my entire career, this is by far the best honor to date," Hunter stated. "It's an amazing feeling to have attained a stripe through the sheer fact that others thought I was a deserving candidate, and I am just very grateful. It's all very humbling."
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