JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, N.J. --
Master Sgt. John Mauger was awarded the Chief Master Sgt. Edward W. Wolbert Outstanding First Sergeant Award at the annual Enlisted Association of the National Guard of New Jersey Ball on Oct. 26, 2019 in Woodbridge, N.J.
Every year, the EANG-NJ hosts the awards ball to recognize outstanding Soldiers and Airmen from the state. The purpose of the EANG-NJ is to promote the status, welfare, and professionalism of New Jersey National Guard Enlisted Soldiers and Airmen by supporting state and federal legislation that provides adequate staffing, pay, benefits, entitlements, equipment, installations, and missions.
"I feel humbled because my leadership put me in for this award," said Mauger, the 108th Medical Group first sergeant. "Being a shirt is not about recognition, it’s about everyone else and taking care of them."
Primarily, the mission of being a first sergeant is to take care of their Airmen. The first sergeant is the eyes and ears of a squadron and serves as his or her commander's critical link for all matters concerning enlisted members.
"The moment you put on that diamond, it’s like getting on a roller coaster and not getting off," said Mauger. "It’s exciting yet scary. You’re locked in for the long haul, but while in the position you feel awesome because you touch so many souls. You are empowered to do so many great things for your Airmen and at the end of the ride you just can’t wait to get right back on."
Mauger joined the United States Air Force in 1985 as a personnel specialist and was first stationed in San Antonio, Texas. Mauger's next duty station was McGuire Air Force Base, N.J., where he worked in the mission support group. He later joined the New Jersey Air National Guard, 108th Air Refueling Wing in 2000.
"Truthfully, I never thought I would have gotten selected as a first sergeant," said Mauger. "I actually tried four times and was not selected. The medical group embraced me and gave me an opportunity to prove that I could do it."
In August 2013, Mauger became 108th MDG first sergeant.
"My advice to young Airmen is to find the positive enlisted members and officers, volunteer for everything, and to accept all the hard jobs and challenges," said Mauger. "Don’t ever let someone tell you that something can’t be done. Every person that wears this uniform has a story to tell. I encourage your Airman to tell their story; it makes a world of difference. Lastly, be genuine to each person you meet in your life it will mean so much to that individual."