JOINT BASE ANDREWS, Md. – Airman 1st Class Kaleigh M. Bevan, a cyberwarfare operator from the 184th Intelligence Wing, Kansas Air National Guard, was selected as the Air National Guard’s 2019 Outstanding Airman of the Year.
From the time recruits enlist into the ANG, they are encouraged to embrace the Whole Airman Concept. This concept lays the foundation for what it means to be an Airman by establishing three pillars for excellence: job performance/leadership development, community involvement and personal growth.
Bevan joined the ANG in 2016 and has made a conscious effort to involve the Whole Airman Concept in her daily life.
“The Whole Airman Concept is about making the most out of your skills, helping others, and being that positive influence in the community,” said Bevan.
Exceptional job performance in the military is vital and Bevan frequently seeks opportunities to fine-tune her skills. In 2018, she dedicated more than 200 hours outside of her required training to further her cyber knowledge. Bevan applied her additional knowledge of security protocol to conduct a building access audit that resulted in a 33% increase in 184th IW security.
“Being in cyberwarfare means that staying secure and staying alert is so important,” said Bevan. “If we leave even the smallest stone unturned, that leaves room for real adversaries to come in. I have to perform my job to the best of my ability every day for the sake of national security.”
In addition to job performance, Bevan also prides herself in pursuing leadership roles that boost her ability to think outside of the box. Some of her leadership positions include being a student leader at technical school, an instructor for the 184th IW Student Flight and the president of the Airmen’s Council.
“I am motivated and a self-starter,” said Bevan. “I put 100% into everything that I do and take initiative to get involved in different areas outside of my job.”
Humanitarian work is a passion close to Bevan’s heart as well. In 2018, Bevan volunteered to support Eight Days of Hope, a non-profit organization that traveled to Houston in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey to provide disaster relief. Her group dedicated more than 70 hours to area cleanup and assisted in the reconstruction of 844 homes.
Along with her recent career accomplishments and community involvement, Bevan earned an Associate of Applied Science in Cybersecurity from Butler Community College, graduating with a 4.0 grade point average and esteemed honors.
“The example Airman Bevan has set by excelling in every aspect of her life is inspiring to other Airmen, including leadership,” said Master Sgt. Joshua Manning, an information technology specialist and Bevan’s supervisor. “The perceived limitations of age, rank, or status are no longer there when you see the accomplishments Airman Bevan has made in such a short time with this unit.”
For her commitment to embracing the Whole Airman Concept, Bevan was awarded the title of the ANG’s 2019 Outstanding Airmen of the Year.
“Even though I’m so early on in my career, winning this award has already opened up so many doors for me,” said Bevan. “I am excited for the new perspective I will gain from this experience.”
Looking to the future, Bevan plans to graduate soon from Wichita’s Friends University with her bachelor’s degree in cybersecurity. She hopes to continue growing in her military career and establish herself as a leader among the ANG ranks.