Airlifter of the Month: going above and beyond

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Jordan Lazaro
  • 86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany – “Airman 1st Class Riston Mais was nominated as Airlifter of the Month because he shines in the pool of his Airman peers,” said Tech. Sgt. Jody Kemper, 86th Munitions Squadron conventional maintenance section chief. “He is straight out of tech school and is a go-getter– he thinks critically, takes initiative, volunteers outside of the workplace and performs beyond his skill level.”

Mais, who is an 86 MUNS conventional maintenance technician, hit the ground running when he arrived at Ramstein Air Base in July 2021. He spent countless hours in support of Operation Allies Welcome and was responsible for ensuring the cleanliness of the Afghan evacuee pods on Ramstein, along with a team of five peers.

“Before I joined the Air Force I had a passion for helping people, and being a part of OAW has been the best experience for me so far,” said Mais. “I was able to be a part of something outside of myself and I felt like I was able to truly make a difference in someone else’s life.”

Mais grew up on a 13-acre ranch in Hartwell, Nebraska, with his parents and three younger siblings. The home was surrounded by a horse shoe shaped driveway, a riding arena and a 100-year-old barn where they stored hay for their livestock. There he helped his family raise cattle, horses, goats, chickens and bees.

“I’ve always enjoyed working hard and using my hands,” Mais said, pressing his palms together. “Being outside and constantly moving is important to me and I would not enjoy having an office job where I had to sit at a desk all day.”

In his free time he lifts weights, plays games, and reads science fiction and fantasy.

“Prioritizing my physical health through lifting weights is important to me and now that I have completed my Career Development Courses I have more time to work on my mental wellness through reading,” said Mais. “I also use video games as a way to keep in contact with my brothers and to spend time together while I am overseas.”

Additionally, he has participated in numerous volunteer programs to include the 786th Civil Engineering Squadron facility and Leadership Excellence program, Ramstein Bazaar, and Kaiserslautern Military Community Kindergraves Memorial.

“I’ve always been a go-getter,” said Mais, “I enjoy helping people and making their lives easier.”

Mais has continued to progress in his career through taking additional training, which contributed to his recognition as Airlifter of the Month.

“Mais’s future in the Air Force looks bright,” said Kemper. “He has very clear leadership qualities and team mentality that will take him to high places.”