624th ASTS medical SNCO earns top leadership award

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Mary Andom
  • 624th Regional Support Group

It takes a village to raise a child is well-known proverb, for Master Sgt. Jerry D. Pagaduan, the 624th Aeromedical Staging Squadron chief of medical readiness, it was a village of colleagues, teammates and family that propelled him to be the best Airman possible.

Pagaduan is the recent recipient of the 2020 AFRC Medical Service SNCO Leadership Award.

The Air Force Reserve Command award recognizes the expertise, leadership and commitment of Reserve Citizen Airmen medics.

As a traditional Reservist and NCOIC of Readiness, Pagaduan has served in one on of the most critical posts within the unit.  As a key member of the readiness team, he helped steward the rapid deployment of medical personnel to New York City during a critical phase of the COVID-19 pandemic.

He also provides guidance and oversight for medical administration, medical materiel, and biomedical equipment personnel. Along with his team, Pagaduan supports the medical readiness requirements of nearly 700 combat-ready Airmen of the 624th Regional Support Group.  

Readiness is more than accomplishing mission-oriented tasks, Airmen should be comprehensively balanced individuals who strive to be mentally, physically, socially and spiritually fit, Pagaduan said.

“I have this saying: KYSS- keep your stuff straight,” Pagaduan said. “It is vital for Airmen to keep their financial, emotional, physical and emotional state in check. When the time comes, we have to be ready to overcome the challenges we encounter in life. That means taking care of you, not just as an Airman, but as a person.”

Pagaduan, also serves as the 624th ASTS acting first sergeant, where he advises Reserve Citizen Airmen on their career progression, family needs, and responds to the needs of unit members.

This 24 hours a day, seven days a week responsibility is something Pagaduan doesn’t take lightly.

“I have a passion to mentor, guide and empower Airmen,” he said. “I want to impart my knowledge and skills to ensure the Airmen I encounter have a bright, successful career.  “I always try to remind myself we are people outside of this uniform. I take time to get to know the Airmen above and below me. I want to know what drives them, what makes them tick, what motivates them. You have to learn people, so you can get the best out of them.”

Pagaduan’s superior technical skills, commitment to mentoring Airmen and Service Before Self mindset, makes him an invaluable member of the 624th ASTS, said Col. Edward G. Johnson, 624th ASTS commander.

“As acting first sergeant, Master Sgt. Pagaduan has spent countless hours providing support, directing members to resources and serving as a calming spirit,” Johnson said. “Some of our personnel have lost family members, housing and jobs, he was instrumental in helping our Airmen navigate the uncertain COVID-19 landscape.”

Born and raised in Mililani, Hawaii, Pagaduan is a first-generation Filipino-American. His mother was instrumental in convincing him to serve in the military.

Pagaduan enlisted in the Air Force in April 2003 and completed Medical Laboratory technical training in July 2006. He spent 11 years in the Hawaii Air National Guard. In April 2014, he transferred to the Air Force Reserves to the 624th ASTS.  

In his 18 years of serving, he acknowledged his accomplishments were not a single-handed effort. Receiving the award is gratifying not only for him but his family.

 “Whether is it being coined by a general or receiving a piece of paper, they may not understand the magnitude or recognize the importance, but my mother and wife celebrate every accomplishment,” Pagaduan said. “I thank my mom for her persistence in planting the seed by encouraging me to serve. My wife was there when I took the oath 18 years ago, she has stood by my side through countless TDYs and deployments and kept the home front aligned. She gave me the opportunity and capability to serve while wearing this uniform.”