Airlifter of the Week: Staff Sgt. Jashield Blades

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Kaitlyn Oiler
  • 86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Jahshield Blades, 37th Airlift Squadron noncommissioned officer in charge of loadmaster development, was coined as Airlifter of the Week on Jan. 12 for displaying exceptional leadership during his first six months at Ramstein Air Base, Germany.

Blades, who grew up in Belize, joined the Air Force in 2015 as a loadmaster on C-17 aircraft until he moved to Ramstein and began working on C-130J Super Hercules aircraft.

“I wanted to throw stuff out the back of airplanes all over the world,” Blades said. “When I saw what loadmasters actually did, it gave the job more meaning to me.”

Outside of his primary position as a loadmaster, Blades serves the community by volunteering as a basketball coach for a traveling team in the Kaiserslautern Military Community. Blades was inspired by his younger brother to coach and has enjoyed mentoring the players, a passion that has carried into his professional life as well.

“Someone told me, ‘If you can mentor a person and mentor them into being a solid person, they’re probably going to be really good at their job as well,’” Blades said.

Blades sees this kind of change happening in the new Airmen that come through loadmaster development and aims to develop them as individuals as well.

“He’s hit the ground running,” said Master Sgt. Colin Freeman, 37th Airlift Squadron operations superintendent. “It just shows the effort he puts in. It’s next level for someone who is a very junior noncommissioned officer and fresh out of Airman Leadership School. Blades is phenomenal with his process management and his ability to bring along his peers in that realm.”

Blades said he could not be where he is now without the support of his wife, Senior Airman Kyra Blades. He and his wife grew up together in Belize and she enlisted after seeing the positive experience he had as part of the U.S. Air Force.

Blades sees this achievement as a sign that he is on the right path, and that leadership recognizes him as someone who is trying to make change and impact the team in a positive way.

“I’m grateful,” Blades said. “This is the reassurance of keep doing what you’re doing, it’s working.”