Nellis MSgt named Lance P. Sijan award winner

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Rachel Loftis
  • 99th Air Base Wing Public Affairs
Master Sgt. Janell McGivern, 823rd Maintenance Squadron production superintendent, was recently named the winner of the 2014 Lance P. Sijan U.S. Air Force Leadership Award in the senior enlisted category.

McGivern was an air advisor at Shindand Air Base, Afghanistan on a year-long deployment from June 2013 to June 2014, where she advised a rotary wing squadron consisting of 48 Afghan air force members who learned how to maintain a fleet from the ground up.

"While deployed we were told we only had 400 days left for them to get the picture. We discussed what it took to have a successful air force and we came up with a plan to show the Afghans how to manage their fleet," said McGivern. "We showed them how to understand phase-flows and how many hours they can fly airplanes based on how many hours they made by doing their scheduled inspections -- the same way we do here at Nellis Air Force Base."

McGivern currently holds Lance P. Sijan awards at the squadron, wing, major command and Air Force levels.

"If I were to pick an award that I would ever want to win, it would be the Lance P. Sijan," said McGivern. "You can be a leader in all the things you do, so to me it's about finding leadership in all aspects of the Air Force."

Though she has won multiple awards, McGivern acknowledges that she can still improve.

"I make terrible decisions sometimes, I can turn someone in the wrong direction and I can get very emotional about a situation," said McGivern. "What I think makes me a good leader is that I own all of those qualities."

At the 823rd MXS, McGivern is a helicopter maintenance craftsman that is currently a production superintendent. She leads approximately 270 personnel in maintaining the Air Force's largest HH-60G Pave Hawk fleet valued at $721 Million.  

"She has many hats. She's a mom, a wife, an airman and most importantly she's a maintainer, and she's able to balance all of that and I think it takes a true leader to be able to know which hat to wear and when. She's incredible with that," said Lt. Col. Kimberly Grover, 823rd Maintenance Squadron commander. "Leaders tend to be very selfless. She is selfless. She puts the needs of others before her own which I admire her for."

First awarded in 1981, the Lance P. Sijan Award was established in honor of the first U.S. Air Force Academy graduate to receive the Medal of Honor. Sijan, a captain, was shot down over Vietnam Nov. 9, 1967. He evaded capture for 45 days despite severe injuries, but later died while in a Vietnamese prisoner-of-war camp and was posthumously presented the Medal of Honor for his heroism.