by Dan Hawkins
82nd Training Wing Public Affairs
7/30/2012 - EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- For Tech. Sgt. Ryan Tennyson, Air Education and Training Command's Non-Commissioned Officer Instructor of the Year for 2011, life as an Explosive Ordnance Disposal instructor couldn't get much better.
Whether it be teaching students at Naval School Explosive Ordnance Disposal at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., or deploying downrange to help prosecute the global war on terrorism, it's the excitement of doing a job that matters drives Tennyson daily.
Assigned to the 366th Training Squadron Field Training Detachment 3 at Eglin, part of the 782nd Training Wing based at Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas, Tennyson earned the annual award not only for his outstanding work educating Airmen, Soldiers, Sailors and Marines about improvised explosive devices at NAVSCOLEOD, but also for his deployment time as well.
Tennyson, who's been at NAVSCOLEOD for close to four years, deployed as part of Task Force Troy in Iraq during 2011, acting as the single point of contact within the task force as liaison officer for IED's.
Being an EOD technician is thrilling on many different levels, but the relationships built within the EOD community is what keeps many technicians going through the tough times, both at home station and in the deployed environment.
"The brotherhood we share, that's what I love best about being in EOD," Tennyson said. "It starts right here in tech training and its carried on out to the field and downrange. It's a very tight-knit family."
Being in a position to mentor the newest generation of EOD operators is a satisfying component of being an instructor.
"Showing these students the right way to go about your job and Air Force career is great," Tennyson said. "I work hard every day to make sure they (students) are learning what they need to know to be competent and safe technicians."
Tennyson's work ethic and ability to pass his knowledge on to his students in an extremely technical career field has not gone unnoticed.
"Ryan brings his 'A' game to the training environment every day," said Lt. Col. Jerry Sanchez, 366th TRS Detachment 3 commander. "You can't ask for a better role model for our students."
One of the best things about being an instructor was the chance to spend more time at home with his own family.
"It's not that we don't work long hours here," Tennyson said. "But spending time with my family is my number one priority when I'm not working and I'm grateful this tour at NAVSCOLEOD gave me a little extra time with them."
Headed to Spangdahlem Air Base in Germany and the 52nd Civil Engineering Squadron after he completes his tour as an instructor in the fall, Tennyson could not be more excited to get back out to the field.
"I've had a great time here," he said. "But working out in the field and getting the chance to perform the real-world mission is something we all live to do."
The 782nd Training Group conducts technical training in telecommunications, aircraft systems, avionics, civil engineering, fuels and vehicle operations for more than 13,000 students annually.