CAMP LEMONNIER, Djibouti – An Airman deployed to the Combined Joint Task Force – Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA) received a surprise Stripes for Exceptional Performers (STEP) promotion to the rank of technical sergeant in a ceremony at the command’s headquarters, Oct. 22, 2020, on Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti.
U.S. Air Force Staff. Sgt. Dana Cable, public affairs production chief, CJTF-HOA, received her new rank during a video teleconference call with her home station wing commander at Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas and was presented her stripes by U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Lapthe C. Flora, commanding general, CJTF-HOA.
"Our Air Force’s greatest strength is our Airmen—service members with strong character, driven by our core values of integrity, service, and excellence,” said U.S. Air Force Col. John Schutte, 19th Airlift Wing and LRAFB commander. “Dana is exemplar of these values and is very deserving of this STEP. We can’t wait for her to return from deployment so we can see her put her new rank to work in service to Airmen and our mission here at the Home of Herk Nation.”
Cable serves as the noncommissioned officer in charge of mission partner support at LRAFB. Since the middle of August, she has been deployed to the Horn of Africa and has been filling a role typically reserved for someone of her new rank.
“Cable has performed well above her paygrade for the 16 months that I have had the privilege to know her,” said U.S. Air Force 1st Lt. Jessica Cicchetto, 19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs chief. “She brings hard work, heart and dedication to the mission—and to her Airmen—every single day. It is phenomenal to see her receive the rank she has been performing at for a long time.”
In her deployed position, Cable manages the workflow for every PA support request that comes into the office. This includes assigning photo support and articles, helping plan out social media posts, maintaining and running the jobs calendar, and effectively keeping the PA mission running as smoothly as possible.
Cable’s new rank was official the moment she received notification of her promotion.
The STEP program allots only 180 stripes Air Force-wide, per year, and allows commanders to promote Airmen to the ranks of staff and technical sergeant, without a test or a board. An Airman who receives a STEP promotion may only have one per career, and it recognizes the Airman’s long-standing performance. It is not used as a reward for a single act.
“I had the privilege of working with Sergeant Cable last year during Exercise Mobility Guardian 2019, where she was recognized by the Air Mobility Command commander for her outstanding work,” said U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Mike Andriacco, acting director of the CJTF-HOA PAO office. “I walked into this deployment expecting her to continue to excel, and she didn’t disappoint.”
While those who work with Cable now, or have in the past, were not surprised that she earned her promotion, she was shocked.
“Never in a million years did I believe I would receive such an amazing honor,” Cable said. “Having my home station video conference in to tell me the news meant a lot to me—and having Maj. Gen. Flora put on my new rank is something I will never forget. I have been so incredibly lucky throughout my entire Air Force career to work for amazing leaders who constantly inspire me to do my best—I can only hope I will inspire others to do the same.”