JOINT BASE ANDREWS, Md. --
First Sgt. Rachel L. Landegent, the wing staff and operations group first sergeant from the 161st Air Refueling Wing, Arizona Air National Guard, was selected as the Air National Guard’s 2019 Outstanding First Sergeant of the Year.
A first sergeants’ primary business is people and, for Landegent, working with people is her passion.
“I never imagined myself as a first sergeant, but it has been the most rewarding position I have ever had in the Air National Guard,” said Landegent.
In 2018, Landegent demonstrated a strong commitment to improving Airmen’s quality of life through the implementation of several support initiatives.
“Drill weekends can be hectic for Airmen and even more so now with our wing’s high ops tempo,” said Landegent. “During exercises, I try to alleviate some of the Airmen’s stress by coordinating logistics like meals, transportation, and lodging accommodations.”
To ensure Airmen sustained operational readiness, Landegent routinely verified personnel were up to date on training requirements, medical examinations, and physical fitness tests. Her involvement in monitoring Airmen’s readiness mitigated shortfall risks, resulting in the successful mobilization of more than 100 mission-ready Airmen in 2018.
“The most fulfilling part of being a first sergeant is the impact I have in Airmen’s daily lives,” said Landegent. “I am here for them 24/7, ready to help them in both their professional and personal lives.”
Every Airman is important to Landegent and she strives to support them in their time of need. One of these situations occurred in 2017, following the Las Vegas concert active-shooter attack.
A spouse of an Airman assigned to Goldwater Air National Guard Base was one of the victims injured during the attack. The spouse survived the tragic incident and the long road to recovery for the Airman’s family began. Landegent helped organize a victim support initiative to renovate the family’s home, and credits teamwork for making this initiative happen.
“It was amazing to see Guard members, nonprofit organizations, and the community come together for this family,” said Landegent.
This story is one of many that have built Landegent’s esteemed first sergeant legacy.
“I’ve observed Sgt. Landegent in action, and she is truly deserving of this award,” said Chief Master Sgt. Wes Hudgins, the 161st ARW operations group superintendent and Landegent’s mentor. “She has a caring hand and executes with passion, courage and intensity every day. Our Airmen, wing, state, and nation are simply at its best because of her outstanding service.”
For her unwavering dedication to serving Airmen, Landegent earned the title of the ANG’s 2019 Outstanding First Sergeant of the Year.
“Receiving this national award is beyond anything I could have imagined,” said Landegent. “But, at the end of the day, my job is worth every late night, challenge, heartache, and victory because of the amazing people I serve every day.”
Since winning this award, Landegent has promoted to the rank of chief master sergeant and now works as the 161 ARW mission support group superintendent. Although the first sergeant chapter has come to an end for Landegent, she pledges to continue to protect and preserve the ANG’s number one asset- Airmen.