“Truly an honor.”: SOST member recognized as Air Force OAY

  • Published
  • By 1st Lt. Victor Reyes
  • 24 SOW Public Affairs

U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Brandon Blake, a special operations surgical team member assigned to the 24th Special Operations Wing, is set to be recognized as one of the Air Force’s 12 Outstanding Airmen of the Year at the 2022 Air, Space & Cyber Conference Sep. 19-21.

Blake and 35 fellow airmen were considered by an Air Force selection board for the department-wide award. Enlisted members are chosen based on superior leadership, job performance and personal achievements.

Blake is the Superintendent, Special Operations Surgical Team Detachment One, 720th Operations Squadron assigned to the 24th Special Operations Wing, Hurlburt Field, Florida.

Last summer, Blake was a catalyst in the evacuation of over 124,000 evacuees in support of Operation ALLIES REFUGE. He drove a six-member team supporting thousands of military and civilian personnel, treating over 70 wounded individuals and assisting seven surgeries.

“I couldn't have asked for a stronger team sergeant than MSgt Blake. His experience and leadership in stressful, highly dynamic environments was crucial to our team's success while deployed to Afghanistan,” said U.S. Air Force Major Jesse Payne, deployment team lead and Medical Operations flight commander for the SOST Detachment 1.

The efforts of Blake and his team earned praise from then 82nd Airborne Division commander Maj. Gen. Christopher Donahue and Commandant of the United States Marine Corps, General David H. Berger.

Additionally, Blake tackled the COVID-19 front lines at the University of Alabama Birmingham, a Level 1 trauma center, providing 768 acute service hours and aiding treatment for 156 severely injured patients.

“His ability to integrate with the civilian trauma system to see high acuity patients at UAB highlights the value of the Air Force partnership with the university,” said U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Marc Northern, Blake's former supervisor.

“He demonstrates his commitment to his unit, to his patients and to the mission every day. MSgt Blake upholds the highest level of compassion, clinical judgement, skill, and composure under pressure,” added Northern.

His leadership proved vital in his role as detachment superintendent, managing 25 members, four teams and four flights on top on a 1.5-million-dollar inventory.

His active roles, on top of countless trainings, exercises, and crisis response situations led to dozens of lives saved and exceptional operational readiness for the detachment.

Simultaneously, Blake earned a degree in Public Health and Healthcare Administration and spent free time with local animal rescue along with toy and food drives supporting low-income populations.

“To be recognized as OAY for Air Force Special Operations Command is truly an honor, and I am grateful for the opportunity,” said Blake. “I stand on the shoulders of giants, and I couldn't have done any of this without my team.”