DPAA Airman earns OSD-level award

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Story by SrA Apryl Hall on 04/16/2018
It was just another day at the "office" for the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) medical operations and policy manager. He was on a recovery mission in rural Germany, driving the countryside after a hard day of digging and screening dirt when his boss' phone pinged with an email notification.

"Doc said, Hey, congrats! You won the award!' And I was completely shocked," said U.S. Air Force Technical Sgt. Matthew Scully, who was recently named the Office of Secretary of Defense's 2017 Junior Noncommissioned Officer of the Year. "I knew I had been submitted, but had no expectation of actually winning."

With only 18 months at DPAA, Scully has already participated in five recovery missions. Beyond that, he has had a hand in more than 75 successful missions by coordinating augmentee medics from across the Air Force, Army and Navy to participate in DPAA's recovery operations, ensuring the qualification and readiness of each individual. This led to an agency high of 201 Missing In Action identifications in 2017.

Scully was nominated for the award by Dr. Thomas Hoffman, DPAA surgeon, and Mr. Kelly McKeague, DPAA Director. Scully went above and beyond his duties and responsibilities, leading the Department of Defense's largest joint medical augmentee program, overseeing more than 2,000 augmentees annually and managing the medical readiness of 350 DPAA-assigned personnel. Volunteer work also played a big role in his nomination. As an example, Scully organized 60 volunteers for an event that raised $10,000 for school equipment for underprivileged teens.

"This is a total person awardjob performance, leadership and community involvement," McKeague said. "He rightfully earned this prestigious award because of the great work he does for us and our noble mission."

Success is not uncommon in Scully's life. He has earned several noteworthy awards throughout his career including 42nd Medical Group's 2008 Airman of the Year, Air Education Training Command's 2009 Medical Technician of the Year, high honors valedictorian at Pima Community College, Air Combat Command's 2015 Medical Technician of the Year and distinguished graduate at Noncommissioned Officer Academy, among many others. His accomplishments are a testament to his dedication to the mission and his no-nonsense work ethic.

"I just try to do everything as honest as possible," Scully said. "And I try my hardest to do it the right way the first time, so I'm not having to redo stuff."

While Scully has undoubtedly earned the title of OSD's 2017 Junior NCO of the Year through personal hard work, his modesty shines through, as he attributes his successes to his wife, his mentors and his DPAA counterparts.

"It's very special, but it's not just a reflection of me," Scully said. "This is a culmination of everyone I work with."


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