MSgt. Douglas K. Brock is ANG’s Outstanding SNCO of 2020, one of Air Force 12 Outstanding
By Tech. Sgt. Morgan R. Lipinski, Air National Guard
/ Published August 20, 2020
JOINT BASE ANDREWS, Md -- Master Sgt. Douglas K. Brock, of the 124th Air Support Operations Squadron, Idaho Air National Guard, is the Air National Guard’s Outstanding Senior Noncommissioned Officer of 2020 and one of the Air Force’s 12 Outstanding Airmen of the Year.
From navigating convoys through hostile terrain to directing air strikes against enemy targets, tactical air control party specialists, like Brock, are embedded on the battlefield front lines.
“As TACPs, our mission is to watch over and provide close air support for U.S. and allied aircraft,” said Brock. “In this career field, you never know what you’re going to face, and I love that thrill of the unknown, the unexpected.”
Brock has always dared to be ambitious, but 2019 proved to be the year that challenged his grit the most.
In mid-January, he departed for the notorious U.S. Army Ranger School. This course, averaging a 66% failure rate, tests candidates’ ability to perform under significant physical, mental, and emotional stress. Fewer than 350 Airmen have earned the Ranger tab and Brock, being the first Idaho National Guard Airman to attend the school, knew he had to see it through to the end.
“Ranger School is designed around leading people and managing resources in the most austere, unfavorable conditions you can image,” said Brock. “I was the underdog going into Ranger School as an Airman, but I just approached it as failure was not an option.”
After 62 grueling days, Brock not only earned the coveted tab, but was also honored as the top graduate amid his 348 fellow Rangers.
“Ranger School taught me how to be a better TACP,” said Brock. “Downrange, we are traditionally aligned with Army units, so this further developed my ability for working alongside our Army counterparts.”
For Brock, there was no tactical pause post-Ranger School. Two large-scale military exercises were on the horizon and there was no TACP representative on either planning task force. Brock volunteered to lead TACP participation in both events and dedicated countless man-hours in the process.
The first exercise took place at the U.S. Army National Training Center where, for 21 days, Brock led close air support training for 16 Airmen and Soldiers. He also bolstered multinational alliances at NTC by training nine Brazilian commandos as part of the National Guard’s State Partnership Program.
“We continuously train with our counterparts from other branches and even other nations because you never know what situations you’re going to face downrange,” said Brock.
Merely weeks after NTC, Brock journeyed to Michigan for exercise Northern Strike. There he served as a TACP brigade lead for 12 troops and coordinated airspace deconfliction measures for 74 close air support training missions.
Brock stated that supporting the strategic planning for these dynamic exercises was a significant time commitment. However, in the end, he was proud to serve as a lead in both.
Ensuring the safety and readiness of his fellow TACP wingmen is one of Brock’s highest priorities. Prior to a 124th ASOS November 2019 deployment, Brock scheduled 271 close air support simulator sessions that better prepared 36 TACPs for combat. He also spearheaded a $75,000 tactical gear purchase that drastically increased TACP relevance for the upcoming mission.
Outside of his TACP career, Brock finds fulfillment by volunteering in the Boise community. Throughout 2019, he attended 20 hours of Habitat for Humanity classes and helped repair the homes of three families. He also dedicated over 100 hours with a national-level disabled youth athletes program.
“[Master Sgt. Brock] is incredibly thoughtful, disciplined, motivated, has a great sense of humor and is a great friend,” said Technical Sgt. Dillion Isaman, a fellow 124th ASOS TACP specialist. “He's always willing to go to bat for us in TACP and is always looking for ways to help people out. If there’s anybody who should be Senior NCO of the year, it should be Doug Brock.”
For his relentless allegiance to his TAPC brethren and commitment to helping those in need, Brock earned his place as the ANG’s top Senior Noncommissioned Officer of 2020 and as one of the elite U.S. Air Force Outstanding 12 Airmen of the Year.
“When you graduate Ranger School, there’s a motto that states, ‘I didn’t earn my tab, others earned my tab for me’ meaning that I’m successful because everyone worked together,” said Brock. “The same applies to this award. I didn’t earn this alone. Saying thank you to everyone who helped me get here doesn’t feel like enough, but I am so honored to be here and represent the Air National Guard.”
Brock recently returned from a 124th ASOS deployment that was extended for 75 days due to COVID-19 travel restrictions. Though happy to be back on American soil, Brock is excited for the unknown adventures that lie ahead.