Diamond Sharp Airmen: Confident controller

U.S. Air Force photo: Senior Airman Whitney Tucker U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Seth Christian, 27th Special Operations Support Squadron air traffic controller, was recently recognized as a Diamond Sharp Award winner for the month of December and was highlighted for his strong work ethic, leadership skills and dedication to his squadron.

U.S. Air Force photo: Senior Airman Whitney Tucker
U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Seth Christian, 27th Special Operations Support Squadron air traffic controller, was recently recognized as a Diamond Sharp Award winner for the month of December and was highlighted for his strong work ethic, leadership skills and dedication to his squadron.

By Senior Airman Whitney Tucker
27th Special Operations Wing Public Affairs

Editor’s note: This feature is the forty-fourth in a series of Air Commando spotlights at Cannon. The Airmen being highlighted are recent Diamond Sharp Award winners. Diamond Sharp is a monthly program where Airmen are recognized by wing leadership and first sergeants for their hard work and achievements.

For Airman 1st Class Seth Christian, 27th Special Operations Support Squadron air traffic control operations specialist and Diamond Sharp Award winner for the month of December, every moment must be perfection; and every decision infallible.

As a member of the ATC team at Cannon Air Force Base, Christian is charged with the successful orchestration of millions of dollars in Air Force assets and the safeguarding of thousands of lives.

“I chose the ATC career field because I wanted to challenge myself,” the Virginia native said. “It is known to be an extremely high-stress occupation, but ATC was appealing to me because of the opportunities it provides to grow as an individual, as well as succeed in the civilian sector after separation.”

With a reputation for spontaneity and a penchant for delivering witty one-liners, Christian transitions easily between the laid back guy his friends and family are accustomed to, and the focused professional his job requires him to be.

“Currently, I’m training in Radar Approach Control,” Christian said. “I look at the radar and regulate any type of aircraft coming into Cannon airspace. When I get into position, plug in and actively control traffic, I apply everything I’ve been taught and everything I’ve learned during the simulations we run as teaching tools. If I’m not in position, I’m running a simulation; if I’m not running a simulation, I’m studying. My life revolves around becoming the best controller I can be right now.”

Having reached the midway point in his upgrade training, Christian has already zeroed in on a new challenge: becoming dual-rated.

“Once I receive my RAPCON rating, I plan to earn my rating in the tower as well,” he said. “The tower is an entirely new arena and I look forward to another opportunity to see what I’m capable of achieving and withstanding. Our training is conducted under a certain amount of deliberate pressure; but that pressure is intended to make you a better, more confident version of yourself and that is a constant motivator.”

As evidenced by all who meet the high-octane 20 year old, confidence has never been a problem for Christian, and apparently neither has candor.

“I love telling officers where to go,” Christian said, chuckling. “But in all seriousness, the best aspect about my job is the responsibility and the trust my leadership has placed in me. Not many people can say they govern aircraft, or have millions of dollars and lives in their hands.”

In addition to consistently exceeding expectations on the clock, Christian gives freely of his time within the local community by volunteering at establishments such as St. Bernard Farms, his local church and believe it or not, a silent rabbit auction.

“I feel like it’s important to contribute in every aspect of your life,” Christian said. “I volunteer throughout the base and my community which helps to make me a better-rounded airman as well as a better representation of the 27th Special Operations Wing.”

“First, I was discouraged to learn that I would be stationed at Cannon,” he continued. “When I arrived here however, I chose to look at it as an opportunity. The more integrated I become, both with the people and mission at this wing, the happier I am. It’s amazing to see the real world application of Air Force Special Operation Command objectives and know that I contribute to the fight.”