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7th SOPS Citizen Airman recognized for innovation

First Lt. Brandon Sexton shown in front of Schriever AFB with patches representing his time at the 1st Space Operations Squadron and his recent induction into the Air Force Reserve at the 7th Space Operations Squadron

SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- First Lt. Brandon Sexton shown in front of Schriever AFB with patches representing his time at the 1st Space Operations Squadron and his recent induction into the Air Force Reserve at the 7th Space Operations Squadron. Lt. Sexton was recently recognized by Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein at the Air Force Association Air, Space & Cyber Conference in National Harbor, Md., on Sep. 19, 2017. (U.S. Air Force Graphic/Senior Airman Laura Turner)

Col. DeAnna Burt (left), former 50th Space Wing commander, and Chief Master Sgt. David Pesch (right), then 50 SW command chief, honor 50 SW annual award winners after the 2016 50 SW Annual Awards Banquet at the Club on Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado, Thursday, Feb. 9, 2017.

SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Col. DeAnna Burt (left), former 50th Space Wing commander, and Chief Master Sgt. David Pesch (right), then 50 SW command chief, honor 50 SW annual award winners after the 2016 50 SW Annual Awards Banquet at the Club on Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado, Thursday, Feb. 9, 2017. First Lt. Brandon Sexton stands far left, next to Col. Burt, accompanied by other nominees made up of Airmen and civilians from Schriever Air Foce Base as well as team members from 50 SW geographically separated units. (U.S. Air Force photo/Dennis Rogers)

First Lt. Brandon Sexton, 7th Space Operations Squadron, poses for a photo in his uniform while attending the Air, Space & Cyber Conference on Tuesday, Sep. 19, 2017.

SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- First Lt. Brandon Sexton, 7th Space Operations Squadron, poses for a photo in his uniform while attending the Air Force Association Air, Space & Cyber Conference on Tuesday, Sep. 19, 2017. Lt. Sexton, winner of the 50th Space Wing's 2016 Innovator of the Year award, received recognition from Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein during his annual Air Force Update speech at the conference. (Courtesy Photo)

SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. --

In today’s ever-changing and evolving Air Force, Airmen are often encouraged by their leadership to be innovative and find the most efficient way to perform their job. First Lt. Brandon Sexton, while working on active duty at the 1st Space Operations Squadron of Schriever Air Force Base, went above and beyond his call of duty to do just that.

By redefining the norms for Rendezvous and Proximity Operations data requirements, Sexton won the 50th Space Wing’s Dec. 2016 Innovator of the Month, then proceeded to win 50th SW’s 2016 Innovator of the Year award.

“It was a combination of tasks that can commonly be categorized as software development that led to my nomination,” said Sexton. “I would say the mission area and the Geo-Synchronous Space and Situational Awareness Program system itself are still in the infant stages. The novelty often manifests system limitations or unplanned mission requirements, which in return opens the door for innovative solutions.”

As an active duty officer, Sexton saw his career as a space operator taking a turn toward administrative duties and decided to consider the Air Force Reserve as a career path.

“As most people with a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) background, I have little interest in paperwork, PowerPoint, meetings and so on,” Sexton said. “Obviously, that doesn’t work as an active duty officer, but it is entirely possible in the reserve.”

Sexton attended his first Unit Training Assembly, also referred to as a drill weekend, with the 7th Space Operations Squadron July, 2017.

“I saw an opportunity to have a direct impact on an evolving mission area,” said Sexton. “Now I am able to provide some stability in the form of continuity for the future mission planners of 1st SOPS.”

Shortly after joining his Reserve unit, Sexton was invited to the 2017 Air Force Association Air, Space & Cyber Conference in National Harbor, Maryland. Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein, during his annual Air Force Update speech, highlighted Sexton as one of four outstanding Airmen being recognized at the conference.

“Brandon works for Air Force Space Command and he’s a Reservist,” said Goldfein. “He’s personally authored three thousand lines of code for our GSSAP. Think about it as our neighborhood watch in space; making sure that we sort of know who’s out there, what’s out there and what’s going on.”

During his speech, Goldfein gestured toward Sexton and the three other Airmen.

“Ladies and Gentlemen, this is just an example, one small snippet, of the quality of the Airmen that we have in our Air Force today.”

Sexton said he felt both honored and grateful to be nominated and recognized by Air Force leadership.

“I was fairly surprised at all levels of this recognition,” said Sexton. “All the way from Innovator of the Month to recognition from Gen. Goldfein; it seemed like the nominations and awards were snowballing.”

Sexton’s parents have been major influences on his successful career in the Air Force, which he credits to their example of a strong work ethic.

“I can’t pretend I have worked nearly as hard in my life as they always have, but anything I have ever done is credited to their work ethic,” said Sexton. “They have worked hard their entire lives so I could choose any path I wanted. I feel it’s only fair if I return the favor by showing initiative and ambition now.”

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Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein’s speech, the Air Force Update, can be found in its entirety at the link below:

  [25:35 marker for Lt. Sexton’s segment]

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