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Deployed Hill Airman receives STEP promotion

A portrait of Tech. Sgt. Zachary Hunter.

Tech. Sgt. Zachary Hunter with the 75th Medical Group at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, was notified that he received his technical sergeant stripe under the Air Force's Stripes for Exceptional Performers, or STEP, program. Hunter is currently deployed and was informed this week about the promotion during a surprise morale call from his home station's base commander. (Courtesy photo)

HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah -- Earlier this week, Tech. Sgt. Zachary Hunter with the 75th Medical Group was notified that he received his technical sergeant stripe under the Air Force's Stripes for Exceptional Performers, or STEP, program during a surprise morale call from 75th Air Base Wing Commander Col. Jenise Carroll.

Hunter is currently deployed to Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar. During the call, the commander told Hunter she was calling to find out how he was doing, how his family was doing and if they needed anything.

Then she gave him the good news that effectively immediately he was to be promoted to technical sergeant.

Hunter said he was completely surprised to hear about the promotion.

“I was shocked,” he said. “I didn't even know I was put in for a STEP.”

Each calendar year, a limited number of enlisted Air Force personnel with exceptional potential may be promoted to the grades of staff sergeant and technical sergeant under the program.

Lt. Col. Julie Hanson, 75th MDG chief nurse, said Hunter was nominated for the STEP because of his sustained exceptional performance as the group’s sole unit training manager.

“All during the global pandemic, Sergeant Hunter has led education and training platforms for 17 flights and temporary duty assignments for 16 medics to do competency training,” she said. “He engineered virtual classes for 43 in- and out-processing group members and screened 100 percent of patients and visitors at the group’s single entry point because of COVID-19.”

Hunter said he wanted to join the Air Force since the fourth grade and he’s proud to serve because he gets to work with amazing, goal-oriented people from all over the world.

“The Airmen and civilians that I have worked with have been amazing,” he said. “I love learning about who they are, where they come from and how they came to be where they are today. I believe that it's crucial to understand the people you work with, because when you connect with each other it helps the team achieve the common goal.”

Hunter’s advice for other Airmen: “Don’t forget where you came from and always help others whenever you can.”