Ohio National Guard member named 'Airman of the Year' at National Level

  • Published
  • By Story by Master Sgt. Molly Teegarden
  • 200th RED HORSE

Senior Master Sgt. Mark Schneider, a pavement, maintenance and construction equipment superintendent, for the 200th RED HORSE, Camp Perry, Ohio, was awarded Senior Non-Commissioned Officer of the Year for the Air National Guard. He is the first 200th RED HORSE member to win the national level competition.

Schneider credits the mentorship he has received from leaders throughout his career for helping prepare him for this honor.

“I had a lot of good influences over the years.  They’ve tailored me and took me under their wing to prepare RED HORSE for the future, and I’m looking to do the same thing for my fellow Airmen,” said Schneider. 

He is thankful to represent his unit at such a prestigious level because it sheds light on the RED HORSE mission.
Schneider describes the unit as versatile and self-sufficient with the ability to, “Build big things in a short amount of time.”  He shared that most people think of them as a construction crew, but pointed out the unit also has key support elements; mechanics, food service, mortuary affairs, and medical personnel.

Schneider admits his mindset can be analytical and process driven at times, but his greatest strength is caring about his troops. 

His mentorship style allows him to evaluate and recognize the unique qualities in each Airman, mentor their talents and help mold them in a direction that will not only benefit them in their military and civilian careers, but also throughout their lives, said Schneider.

Schneider encourages all Airmen to find a wingman.
“The missions are going to get more and more difficult as we progress.  There’s going to be increasingly more demand, but we always have our friends, our friendships and fellow service members that we need to lean on and ultimately mentor them to be tomorrow’s leaders,” said Schneider.

COVID-19 posed unique challenges when it came to acquiring supplies, anticipating logistic chain delays and meeting social distancing and spacing guidelines during deployment with his troops.  Schneider praises his Airmen for assisting him in adapting and overcoming those struggles.
 “I don’t think we would have been as successful with our last deployment and throughout the years that I’ve been with them if that communication wasn’t there.  They are able to be open with me, identify what our weaknesses are, so that we can work together, work through the problems as a team,” said Schneider.

Schneider is approaching 20 years of military service and although he has seen a lot of changes in that time he reflects on the one thing that has remained the same. 

“RED HORSE is a family to me and we need to have the mentality of next man up.  We’re all going to retire one day, but as long as we have someone that we can trust and lean on to replace us, the organization can keep going in a positive direction.”