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Defender takes big STEP with promotion

  • Published
  • By Kristian DePue, Staff Writer
  • Peterson-Schriever Garrison Public Affairs

U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Stephanie Stewart, 50th Security Forces Squadron flight sergeant, earned a promotion through the Stripes for Exceptional Performers program, just before the holiday season, elevating her from staff sergeant to technical sergeant. The STEP program allows the major command, unit commanders and senior officers to select a limited number of Airmen or Guardians with exceptional potential for promotion.

Stewart has been in the U.S. Air Force for seven years, joining at 24 years of age, after earning a degree in criminal justice and working in a prison. Before being stationed at Schriever Space Force Base, Colorado, Stewart served at Kunsan Air Base, South Korea; Spangdahlem AB, Germany; Thule AB, Greenland; and Seymour-Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina.

“After promotion, with essentially three days’ notice, Stewart immediately started leading non-commissioned and taking charge of a 26-person security forces element,” said U.S. Air Force Maj. Timothy Marriner, 50th SFS commander. “Her STEP package was competitively selected by Lt. Gen. Whiting across the U.S. Space Force for promotion.”

Stewart is charged with providing installation access control, integrated defense and law enforcement at Schriever SFB. 

“Tech. Sgt. Stewart is an outstanding Defender and leader who, since her arrival here at Schriever, has worked tirelessly to understand our mission while simultaneously guiding and mentoring her troops,” added Marriner. “In her years as a Defender, she’s experienced assignments in all major theaters of operation for the Department of Defense. Her deployed performance earned her the Airman 1st Class Elizabeth Jacobson Award. No matter the environment, Stewart excels and demonstrates superior leadership, commitment and tactical expertise.” 

Stewart provides security for both protection level resources and the personnel assigned to Schriever SFB. Her efforts ensure impenetrable security for the nation’s epicenter of space operations.

“As Stewart’s immediate supervisor, I can say she is positive, earnest and professional at all times,” said U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Brandon Williamson, 50th SFS days flight chief. “She continuously seeks to self-improve and advance her education. She is the type of NCO [noncommissioned officer] that needs little-to-no supervision and always takes care of the Airmen. She is not only a disciplined professional, but gets along great with her team members.”

Speaking of her STEP promotion, Stewart said, “It was an overwhelming experience. I felt like I could finally breathe, after all that hard work. It really felt like everything added up.”

The Defender is very grateful for her experiences in the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Space Force.

“I never would have met such a diverse assortment of individuals if I stayed in Michigan where I was born and raised,” said Stewart. “People’s minds are an amazing tool — and when you bring people together from all over the world and remain open-minded to new understandings, there are no limits to opportunities. I’ve learned so many things about myself from other people and our collective experiences.”

Reflecting on her service and recent promotion, Stewart finished with:

“It’s not all about yourself. If you’re leading, you need to bring people with you. If you’re in the front, help those in the back come up and get to the finish line along with you.”