2021 DAGRE of the Year
Staff Sergeant Ethan C. Pierce distinguished himself as a superior performer while serving as a DAGRE Team Leader, 352d Special Operations Wing, Royal Air Force Mildenhall. As a member of the Training Section, Sergeant Pierce temporarily filled the NCOIC position, normally staffed by a Technical Sergeant for 180 days. While leading the training section, he directed fourteen members to meet 23 objectives while preparing three teams for the wing’s force generation initiative. Sergeant Pierce, drawing upon his wisdom and knowledge, secured yearly DAGRE training requirements ensuring his peers were trained and equipped to meet SOCEUR’s strategic priorities. In addition, he went above and beyond by crafting training for three wings whereby constructing seven tactical medical scenarios for 43 personnel that boosted the crisis response capability for three bases. Next, bridging local squadrons, he created eight joint lesson plans and led 80 members through four exercises to enhance AFSOC’s combat employment capabilities. Sergeant Pierce advanced both AFOSI and Security Forces’ strategic interoperability initiatives while leading Advanced Gunfighter training. Additionally, he coordinated with AFOSI’s Anti-terrorism Specialty Team to conduct joint, mission-centered, live fire and Simulation training events. Moreover, he coached seventeen personnel from two local organizations to assist DAGRE in meeting the 352d SOW’s “Prepare for Conflict” priority. Next, he garnered zero discrepancies by updating the flight’s master training plan which secured compliance with the flight’s MICT checklists. While deployed, Sergeant Pierce acted as the anti-terrorism/force protection (AT/ FP) liaison for SOCEUR Exercise Trojan Footprint-South. He coordinated security on behalf of the mission commander and led the security detail for two MC-1301 and two CV-22B, valued at $374M. As the assistant Team Lead, he coordinated two fly-away security missions, with one inserting two reporters covering a story on Defender ’21, an exercise supporting SOCEUR’s “Counter Russian Malign Activity” priority. With proficiency training still being a necessity while down range, he instructed a live fire event for the Chief Military Coordination Office of Romania, advancing the wing’s vision of increased theater engagement. Additionally, he coordinated tactical off-road vehicle familiarization, infiltration, exfiltration, and ropes training with Special Tactics and Host Nation Special Forces which bolstered interoperability with allied forces in a deployed location. Further, he conducted two route and hotel surveys, expanding EUCOM’s future deployment footprint. He also led two Tactical Security Details for the mission commander, and led the forward area refueling point (FARP) security team in a demonstration for Major General Tabor, SOCEUR Commanding General, and the Romanian SOF Commander. During General Tabor’s visit, Sergeant Peirce advised the MC-1301 aircraft commander and Romanian IAR 330 aircraft commander with security inputs for the scenario, solidified SOPs for future FARP missions, and embodied the elements of the 352d SOW Commander’s vision. Furthermore, as the AT/FP Team Lead, he liaised with Special Tactics to conduct three landing and airdrop zone surveys in a non-NATO partner nation to support SOCEUR’s “Prepare for Conflict” priority. In fact, while deployed as an AT/FP liaison in support of the North African Response Force, Sergeant Pierce collected vital security information for the mission commander, provided close-in security for two MC-130Js totaling $190M, and coordinated an airfield security survey at a location previously not used by the SOW. Above all, Sergeant Pierce invested in the spiritual and mental well being of his peers and leaders by establishing a weekly therapy session. Additionally, while balancing mission requirements, Sergeant Pierce chaired RAF Mildenhall 5/6 chapter’s ACE program. He mentored Airman to volunteer in the community and organized a Red Cross drive in which 150 pounds of clothes and $300 in school supplies were donated. While simultaneously leading in the community, he fulfilled all requirements for his CCAF in Criminal Justice, finishing with a 3.7 GPA and completed two classes towards his bachelors in Homeland Security. Sergeant Pierce benchmarked multiple Air Advisor courses across seven wings and satisfied an AFSOC HQ initiative. He guaranteed 307 members were certified while saving the Air Force $228K. Lastly, Sergeant Pierce’s actions garnered his DAGRE Team’s 2021 wing nomination for the General Larry O. Spencer Innovation Award. He has consistently performed above his grade and has set an example for other DAGREs to emulate.
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