McConnell Airman impresses community

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Christopher Thornbury
  • 22nd Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs
Tech. Sgt. Bobby McCrary, 22nd Force Support Squadron Honor Guard NCO in charge, has been selected as one of ‘40 Under 40’ to be recognized as a rising star in Wichita.

Each year, the Wichita Business Journal selects 40 members in the surrounding community under 40 years old who demonstrate great leadership, community involvement and contribute to their organization.

McCrary shines in the three categories in which a person is considered.

He has led many Airmen in his career, through his profession as a Heat Ventilation and Air Conditioning technician, serving as a Military Training Instructor and as the 22nd Air Refueling Wing Honor Guard NCOIC. During his time in the Honor Guard, they have been awarded 18th Air Force Honor Guard of the Year and 22nd FSS Team of the Year.

“He is the type of supervisor who puts his trust into you and never micromanages,” said Airman 1st Class Savanna McCardel, 22nd Communications Squadron base publications and forms manager and former assistant NCOIC of Honor Guard. “He sets very simple, but easy-to-follow guidelines as to what he expects from people.”

He is selfless and always willing to help if ever someone needs anything from him, said McCardel.

“He is the type of leader that I hope to be like one day because he earns respect without ever having to ask for it,” she said.

McCrary has always enjoyed being active in the community and volunteering.

“It’s a sense of giving back that makes me happy,” said McCrary. “It’s become a hobby, and gets me out of the house.”

He led 60 Honor Guard Airmen who performed 450 details across Kansas throughout 2016, many of which honored veterans during funeral services. The team also supported community events and organizations, including the Tour de Cure for the Diabetes Association, the Red Cross, parades and the food bank

On his own, McCrary has been with the Big Brothers Program for the last year. He is looking forward to using his education, a master’s in business administration, to continue participating in the program.

In the last year, McCrary has earned 18th Air Force Program Manager of the Year and 22nd FSS Innovator of the Year.

“This last year we were the go-to Honor Guard in the area,” he said. “We had surrounding bases calling us for help. We ended up providing support for three states, and we even trained the Navy on military funeral honors procedures.”

As well as supporting different organizations, he improved his unit’s working conditions.

“I found I could do more with less without overloading the team,” he said. “I restructured the manning so I could send Airmen back to their work centers to fill deployment demands and help with low manning issues. It ended up saving around 5,400 man hours a year.”

All of his recent successes have been a display of great Airmanship and resiliency. Constantly smiling and looking forward with positivity, no one would be able to tell McCrary is being medically discharged.

“I just wasn’t feeling right, so I went into the hospital,” said McCrary. “They said if I would have shown up a little bit later I probably would have died.”

His days in the Air Force might be limited due to his mandatory separation, but more importantly, his illness is now under control and he has a long future ahead of him.

“It definitely doesn’t affect my spirit,” said McCrary. “I’m surrounded by extraordinary people, and I kind of feed off of them. I don’t let the med-board affect me at all, and I want to continue going 100 percent.”

He is confident in his transition to the civilian sector and plans on staying in the area when he separates to see if he can put his education and talents to use in a company downtown. He claims his supervisors throughout his career have made him into the successful Airman he is today.

“I had really good supervisors when I first joined,” he said. “They always pushed me to meet my full potential. They got me involved in school at a young age and I’ve been going to school full time for about 10 years now and am a Doctoral Candidate.”

He has been impacted by a lot of people in his time with the Air Force and claims they have made him who he is.

“I have honestly, no doubt, been surrounded by extraordinary people and it’s crazy,” he said. “I’ve heard of ‘surrounding yourself with cool people and cool things will happen’ and it works. The 60 people I’ve had the opportunity to lead this year and my leadership have influenced me. Everybody contributed to this, it wasn’t just me.”

While he credits his peers for his recognition, he is also glad to receive it.

“I think it’s fantastic, yet I’m humble about it at the same time,” he expressed. “Since this is Wichita, the largest city in Kansas, it’s pretty exciting, and I’m happy about it.”