First duty assignment proves fruitful for Robins engineer Published Oct. 9, 2009 By Kendahl Johnson 78 ABW/PA ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. -- Despite being new to the Air Force, one young lieutenant is already making a name for himself. 1st Lt. Nicholas Battle recently won the Air Force Outstanding Engineer award. He won in the junior military category. "It's a prestigious award and I feel blessed to receive it," Battle said. "The recognition also needs to go to the guys I've worked with. They are the true winners. I was just lucky to be part of a great team." Battle, along with more than 30 other top scientists, engineers and research teams, was honored at the Air Force Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Awards banquet Sept. 23 at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs. Robins is Battle's first assignment. He spent most of his time here with the 330th Aircraft Sustainment Wing as an engineer for C-130, Global Hawk and other aircraft, but is now an executive officer in the 560th Aircraft Sustainment Group. He worked on structural, system and electrical repairs. "If an aircraft component failed, I designed the repairs to return it back to a full-operational aircraft," he said. He also recently deployed for about six months to Afghanistan, Iraq and Southwest Asia as a depot liaison engineer, where he said he was involved with the Air Force's first combat destruction team. "An aircraft crashed in the middle of Iraq. We assessed the damage and determined it was safer and more cost beneficial to destroy the aircraft where it was than to try to bring it back to base," Battle said. "We stripped the aircraft of some salvageable parts and then destroyed it." Battle's mentor, Maj. David Wilson of the 730th Aircraft Sustainment Group, said he's deserving of the award. "Lieutenant Battle is a phenomenal officer and represents the Air Force in an exceptional manner," Wilson said. "He's smart, driven, and sets the example. This recognition is well deserved and a great accomplishment." Battle, a native of Shreveport, La., earned a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Texas and a master's degree in industrial technologies from Texas A&M. He will likely get a new assignment in February or March. He said he's enjoyed his time at Robins and is grateful for the neat opportunities working here has provided him. "I've had a wonderful time here. Robins has been a great experience," he said. "The people here are amazing. I think of everyone here as a family. I will take many memories from this base and cherish them for the rest of my career." Battle's advice for other young officers just coming into the Air Force? "Don't take your job for granted and don't think that as a young Airman you can't make a difference," he said. "Work hard and treat your NCOs with the utmost respect. They are the ones who will groom you for future success."