By Michael Ritz, Air University Public Affairs
/ Published September 25, 2020
Lt. Col. Jason Newcomer, the deputy chair at Air University’s Air Command and Staff College Department of Leadership, was honored during a recent virtual ceremony at ACSC where he was presented the Air Force-level Blacks in Government Meritorious Service Award. The award recognizes Blacks in government who promote diversity throughout a variety of government organizations, including the Department of Defense. (Courtesy photo)
Lt. Col. Jason Newcomer, the deputy chair at Air University’s Air Command and Staff College Department of Leadership, was honored during a recent virtual ceremony at ACSC where he was presented the Air Force-level Blacks in Government Meritorious Service Award.
The BIG Meritorious Service Award honors military members and Department of Defense civilian employees, men and women, who have supported the DoD mission, overseas contingency operations, or whose attributes best epitomized the qualities and core values of their respective Military Service or other DoD Component.
“Receiving the BIG award is bittersweet,” said Newcomer. “I am humbled to have been selected for the award. It symbolizes that what my teams and I are doing is being recognized at the national level, and we are maximizing a real impact in an area that is critical to the security of the United States.”
Among the many accomplishments that led to him receiving the award, Newcomer led I Am O’Kah!, Inc., a not-for-profit organization focused on closing the socio-economic gap for at-risk minority youth. As chairman of the board for I Am O’Kah, he guided seven board members to help oversee the organization’s mission execution.
Additionally, he oversaw the operation of two high school cohort programs that carry students through freshman to senior year while providing them practical STEM skills via math tutoring, computer programming, software familiarization and summer internships. Ultimately, each student competes for a DOD position in the National Security Agency’s High School Work Study Program.
Moreover, Newcomer oversaw the patenting and development of the Career PLUG Mobile Application, released in February 2020 and designed to provide at-risk youth in minority communities an opportunity to connect with STEM-related, skill-based jobs directly out of high school.
Key among recent additional programs and events assisted, developed and implemented by Newcomer include a conference presentation on Numbers Don’t Lie: DOD Diversity Over the last 10 Years; mentor and presenter for Air Force Recruiting Service’s Det 1 2019 “AIM HIGH” Outreach Symposium; creator of the Hill Air Force Base, Utah, Minority Air Force Officer Community; and senior mentor, Maxwell AFB Minority Air Force Officer Community.
“It is unfortunate that the BIG award isn't a team award,” he said, “because without the amazing D&I team from the AF/A1D office, Higher Level Leadership Inc, I Am O'Kah! Inc, my supportive leaders at ACSC, Dr. Carrie Baker and the Minority Air Force Officer Community groups at Maxwell and Hill, I would not have made the impact that I did. It truly takes a village to move mountains, and I can't thank my village enough.”
The ACSC vice commandant praised the exceptional value of Newcomer’s achievements, including earning the Blacks in Government award.
“Our curriculum cuts across a wide array of subjects – from leadership, to international security studies, to airpower, space power, and joint warfighting – and as a result, we like to have diverse perspectives and ideas amongst our faculty to provide the best educational experience for our students,” said Col. Heather McGee, ACSC vice commandant. “So, of course, Jason receiving this award is a tremendous achievement and means a lot to our staff as we work toward increasing diversity, in all aspects, within our faculty core as well as our student body. The ACSC team is extremely proud of Jason and all that he has accomplished to include his amazing contributions to promoting diversity and inclusion within Air University and throughout the Air Force.”