Outstanding Airmen of the Year: Tech. Sgt. Alexander W. Messinger

The Air Force’s 12 Outstanding Airmen of the Year for 2022 will be formally recognized at AFA’s Air, Space & Cyber Conference from Sept. 19 to 21 in National Harbor, Md. Air Force Magazine is highlighting one each weekday from now until the conference begins. Today, we honor Tech. Sgt. Alexander W. Messinger, the noncommissioned officer in charge of standardization evaluation at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas. 

Messinger’s guidance provided security validation in direct support of the President’s humanitarian border mission, ensuring that quick response capabilities (QRCs) and valid procedures were in place before the arrival of more than 1,000 migrant children from the U.S.-Mexico border to Lackland.  

“Lackland is a beast because it has so many different mission sets,” said Messinger. “So anytime there’s [one of] these big humanitarian efforts … Lackland [needs to be ready] for it.” 

And that’s exactly what Messinger’s responsibility is: ensuring readiness. Security validation and QRCs of this nature are only part of his role as NCO in charge of standardization evaluation at Lackland. He oversees program managers and makes sure their programs are in compliance with functional area inspection standards. 

Tech. Sgt. Alexander Messinger, the noncommissioned officer in charge of standardization evaluation at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas, is one of 12 Outstanding Airmen of the Year for 2022. Courtesy photo.

So while the base was preparing to house and relocate the migrants, he and his four-member quality assurance team were also racing to bring all of the programs up to code before a Vertical Inspection and Unit Effective Inspection—a process that usually involves 10 months of prep time before the inspection. 

But Messinger’s team prepared the programs in a short two months, ultimately overseeing 396 evaluations and 829 field exercises for 462 military and civilian personnel. His unit passed the UEI while Messinger was managing 33 programs and 65 checklists, earning the squadron two “Highly Effective” ratings with zero discrepancies, five strengths, and 26 Professional Performers awards. He was selected as the unit’s sole Superior Performer and as the Air Force Security Forces Support Staff NCO of the Year. 

“We’re lucky to get the team that we had,” Messinger said. “They’re just a bunch of go-getters and super hard workers. I just can’t thank my team enough for doing what they did to help.” 

Messinger was also the only NCO selected for a Flight Commander training course, in which his leadership propelled his team to winning seven annual awards at various levels. He credits his section chief for giving him the opportunities along the way to evolve into a leader in his own right. 

“One of the qualities I think a great leader has is that they know where to put their people to make them grow,” he said. “[My section chief] would always find ways for me to grow. I just hope that I can pay it forward and just follow him, take his mentorship, and provide it to others.” 

Messinger also gave a callout to his wife of four years, a Blue Rope military training instructor who “holds everything together” for him while inspiring him to improve daily.  

“I remember meeting her and her just picking me up and motivating me to do my best,” Messinger said. “I couldn’t do it without her.” 

Meet the other Outstanding Airmen of the Year in 2022 below: