Iowa guardsman is top graduate at Airman Leadership School

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Mavi Smith
  • The I.G. Brown Air National Guard Training and Education Center
A member of the Iowa Air National Guard was presented the John L. Levitow award for his accomplishments at The I.G. Brown Air National Guard Training and Education Center's Airman Leadership School during the class graduation ceremony held in Knoxville, Feb. 11.

Staff Sgt. Scott M. Moore, a services craftsman with the 132nd Fighter Wing in Des Moines, Iowa was the top graduate of 62 airmen who attended Airman Leadership School Class 10-1.

"It was unbelievable," said Moore of his win. "I knew I did a good job and I tried to be the best leader that I could be... so, it was just really amazing. I don't think it's sunk in yet but it's definitely an awesome honor and I'm really appreciative of it."

The John L. Levitow Award is the highest honor awarded a graduate of any Air Force enlisted professional military education course. It is named for Medal of Honor recipient Sgt. John L. Levitow for his actions during the Vietnam War. It is presented to the one student who not only demonstrates academic excellence, but also the outstanding attributes of leadership, enthusiasm, military bearing, and dedication to the spirit and mission of the total Air Force.

This award was an accomplishment for Moore, who spent the first seven years of his military career in the Army National Guard.

He said, he went from drilling with the Army Guard one month to the Air Guard the next and didn't get much of a transition briefing. Airman Leadership School provided the foundation he needed for his Air Force career.

The 5-week in-residence school prepares senior airmen for positions of greater responsibility by providing many of the leadership skills required of military supervisors. The course enhances their development by strengthening their ability to lead, follow, and manage while they gain a broader understanding of the military profession.

"When we started talking about the (Air Force's) enlisted force structure, core values and heritage is when it really started to sink in," said Moore. "I learned a lot here. I feel really proud to be part of this organization and I'm definitely looking forward to going back and making a positive change where I can."

"From the very beginning, I saw Staff Sgt. Moore take on a leadership role within the class," said Tech. Sgt. Cable D. Rose, Moore's instructor. "He is well deserving of the award and I think he's going to go on to do great things."

Moore is a recent graduate of the University of Northern Iowa. His degree is in education and he is pursuing a teaching position in the local school districts. While he's still looking for a job, he's been working as a substitute teacher instructing high school students in social sciences and fulfilling his traditional guardsman responsibilities.

"We are very, very proud of him," said Moore's father Dan, who traveled from Davenport, with his wife Karen and Moore's girlfriend Jennifer, to attend his son's graduation. "We knew that something good was going to come of this, and it has."

The John L. Levitow award is named in honor of Sgt. John L. Levitow, one of only two Air Force enlisted men to receive the Medal of Honor during the Vietnam War.

Levitow received the Medal of Honor for his heroic actions on Feb. 24, 1969. Serving as a loadmaster on an AC-47 gunship over Long Binh, South Vietnam, his aircraft was severely damaged by mortar fire. Suffering from over 40 shrapnel wounds to his back and legs, he saw a smoking magnesium flare amid a pile of spilled ammunition canisters. Despite loss of blood and partial loss of feeling in his right leg, he threw himself on the flare, hugged it close, dragged himself to an open cargo door and hurled the flare out. Almost immediately, the flare ignited harmlessly. Levitow's actions saved the aircraft and the lives of seven crewmembers.