PEASE AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, N.H. --
When the 64th Air Refueling Squadron flight medical technician reported to her commander, Lt. Col. Joshua J. Zaker, for an impromptu medical update meeting on December 21, 2017, here, she expected nothing out of the ordinary to take place.
“We were talking about our Airmen’s readiness, when all of a sudden, the commander gets a phone call from both the Air Mobility Command Commander and Command Chief,” said Tech. Sgt. Shanelle I. Sampson, her brown eyes seeming to light up. “I did not think anything of it because it was close to the holidays and I just figured they were making their rounds, trying to touch base with everyone.”
Chief Master Sgt. Shelina Fray, the AMC command chief master sergeant, greeted everyone in the room, paying special attention to Sampson.
“She asked me what I was doing for the holidays and I explained that my in-laws were going to be visiting,” said Sampson. “She asked me if I thought I should do a little something extra since they were coming.”
Sampson laughed as she recounted her thoughts at that moment.
“I remember thinking that my in-laws love me, I don’t need to do anything extra special to impress them,” she said.
Then Fray awarded Sampson with a Stripes for Exceptional Performers (STEP) promotion to technical sergeant.
“I think about two seconds later I started to cry,” said Sampson, gesturing toward her face for emphasis. “And I must have said thank you about ten times.”
Sampson is one of only approximately 200 Airmen who earned one of these on-the-spot promotions throughout the entire Air Force for the year, as enforced through Air Force Instruction 36-2502: Enlisted Airman Promotion/Demotion Programs.
“Through the STEP program, we get to identify an individual who is consistently executing duties and taking on responsibilities that are one step above their current rank,” said Tech. Sgt. Fernando B. Reyes III, the flight chief of operations support assigned to the 64th ARS, and Sampson’s supervisor at the time.
Sampson arrived at Pease Air National Guard Base from Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling, Washington, D.C. in August 2017. As the sole flight medical technician, she is responsible for ensuring the medical readiness of more than one hundred and twenty active-duty Airmen here.
“I like being able to be independent,” said Sampson. “As long as I know what is expected of me.”
Reyes co-wrote the narrative for Sampson’s promotion packet.
“Staff Sgt. Shanelle Sampson epitomizes what it means to be a professional Airman,” the narrative reads. “She exemplifies the Air Force Core Values of Integrity First, Service Before Self, and Excellence In All We Do. She has excelled from day one as a medical technician, gaining a specialty code of Flight Medic and graduating as a distinguished graduate from Technical School. She is constantly looking for big-picture impacts affecting the Wing, MAJCOM, and the AF. Staff Sgt. Sampson’s impeccable record speaks volumes towards her professionalism and dedication to service.”
The narrative also highlights Sampson’s major career accomplishments so far, which include backfilling as a flight chief for six months, where she managed a team of 20 civilian and military personnel which handles more than 300 deployment readiness clearances each year, and executing a 400-thousand-dollar financial plan for the flight, which facilitated nine critical maintenance repairs and restored clinical services, directly supporting seven thousand Wing personnel.
Sampson has been recognized as Wing Airman of the Quarter in 2012, Senior Airman below the zone, Medical Squadron Airman of the Year in 2013, and Top IV Exceptional Performer of the Quarter in 2015.
She has earned a Community College of the Air Force degree in Allied Health Science and an Emergency Medical Technician certificate, and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in Health Administration.
Sampson said she is grateful for the opportunities that have led her to this point in her nearly eight-year career.
“My commanders and supervisors have always pushed me to look for the next challenge, the next opportunity for growth,” said Sampson. “I’m thankful for them all and I look forward to seeing what Pease has to offer.”