Air Force Recruiter among AETC Airmen recognized as 2023 SAIGE Military Meritorious Service Award winners

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JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas --Three Air Education and Training Command Airmen are among 10 winners of the 2023 Military Meritorious Service Award presented by the Society of American Indian Government Employees (SAIGE).

SAIGE is the first national nonproft organization representing American Indian and Alaska Native Federal, Tribal, State, and local government employees. Each year, the organization selects 10 meritorious service award winners from military service members around the world.

Awardees are selected based upon their contributions in promoting greater understanding of the American Indian/Alaska Native culture, supporting government-to-government interactions with tribes, and reflecting a positive image of American Indian/Alaska Natives while epitomizing the core values of their respective military service.

The 2023 SAIGE Military Meritorious Service Award Winners from AETC are:

Staff Sgt. Marvis LaMere, enlisted accessions recruiter with the 349th Recruiting Squadron at Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma

Tech. Sgt. Janel Rattling Leaf, military training leader at the 359th Training Squadron, Detachment 1, at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida

Senior Airman Ryan Lesansee, financial management Airman at the 58th Special Operations Wing at Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico

Until the establishment of SAIGE in 2001, there was no national organization for American Indians and Alaska Natives employed by the federal government. The organization aims to promote the development and advancement of American Indian/Alaska Native government employees, to educate and assist federal agencies regarding the Federal Indian Trust Responsibility, and to provide a national forum for issues affecting American Indian/Alaska Native government employees, according to Edward Blauvelt, who serves on the SAIGE board of directors and is the director of the SAIGE Warrior Society, a special program within SAIGE focused on military and veteran issues. Blauvelt is also chief of command operations and manpower for the Air Force Security Assistance Training Squadron at AETC Headquarters.

“Through SAIGE, young Native Americans in the military can network together, help each-other out and further their careers. They are also going out into their communities, keeping their culture alive and helping other Native Americans learn about government service opportunities,” said Blauvelt.

Each year SAIGE hosts its signature national training program, which is open to all. The three-day program is focused on professional development, leadership, topics related to the federal Indian trust responsibility, as well as specialized training for veterans and youth.

“SAIGE’s training is ranked as one of the top government training programs by GovLoop, and it is authorized by the DOD and the Office of Personnel Management as an official training event,” Blauvelt said. “If you work in or with diverse communities or are American Indian/Alaska Native, I encourage you to participate in this unique professional development training program.”

Those interested in attending the national training program can visit the SAIGE website to find event details, training justification information and a link to register.

The 2023 Military Meritorious Service Award winners will be recognized during the National Training Program Veterans Luncheon June 22, 2023, at the River Spirit Resort in Tulsa, Oklahoma.