Ariel Ruffin competes for Airman of the Year

MILITARY HONORS — Liberty student Ariel Ruffin is competing for the Air Force Airman of the Year award for the 192nd Fighter Wing. If she wins, she will advance to the state and then possibly national levels.

Every year members of the Air Force compete for a prestigious award known as the Airman of the Year award.  Liberty student Airman First Class (A1C) Ariel Ruffin recently received this honor for the 192nd Mission Support Group, a subdivision of Virginia’s 192nd Security Forces Squadron.

“I was at work one weekend and they were having a ceremony,” Ruffin said. “I was called up front and they announced that I won the award. I wasn’t expecting it at all.”

Ruffin will now compete against other airmen in the 192nd Fighter Wing for the award of Airman of the Year for the 192nd Fighter Wing. The winner of that award will move on to a state level and then national level.

“A1C Ruffin is an outstanding young troop in the Virginia Air National Guard,” Staff Sergeant Jeffrey Hosfeld said. “She not only brings great credit to the 192nd Security Forces Squadron, but also to the 192nd Fighter Wing and to Liberty University. A1C Ruffin is an outstanding example of Liberty University students that are being trained to be ‘Champions for Christ.’”

The criteria for this award are very rigorous, according to Hosfeld. When Ruffin competes for the 192nd Fighter Wing, she will stand before a review board, consisting of commanders, sergeants and non-commissioned officers. The review board examines everything about the candidate, from the placement and wearing of the uniform to the candidate’s attendance, performance, duties, records and other accomplishments. The board will ask Ruffin a series of questions, ranging in scope from her job details to general military questions and military history. Her answers will then be compared to the other candidates and a recipient will be chosen. Ruffin said she is preparing herself mentally for this interview process.

This is the first award that Ruffin has received in the Air Force. Ruffin enlisted in 2008, upon graduating from high school.

“I wanted to do my part and serve my country,” Ruffin said. “I’ve enjoyed it and have met a lot of great people.”

Ruffin is a junior at Liberty University, majoring in psychology. She has a concentration in human services. Upon receiving her bachelor’s degree, Ruffin hopes to go to grad school and get a degree in marriage counseling. She also plans to continue her career in the Air Force and become an officer.

According to Hosfel, Ruffin will make senior airman within the next month. From there she will work to become a non-commissioned officer. Currently Ruffin is enlisted in the United States Air Force and the Virginia National Guard. Hosfel said that from their squadron they have had airmen deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq. Ruffin has not been deployed, but it is a possibility for her.

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