First Airman earns Achievement Medal under STARR program

  • Published
  • By AFRS Public Affairs

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas-- A Hurlburt Field personalist is the first Airman to earned an achievement medal under the Stellar Talent Acquisition Recruiting Referral program for recommending a future Airman for service in the Air Force.

Airman 1st Class Makenzee Johnson, assigned to the 823rd Red Horse Squadron at Hurlburt Field, Florida, became eligible for the medal when she referred Cameron Calles, a friend from her hometown in New Mexico, to her recruiter.

Johnson, who joined this past January, has had such a positive experience as an Airman that she wanted others to know about the benefits of serving.

“Service in the Air Force really sells itself,” Johnson said. “The Air Force takes care of your education benefits, our medical benefits. They are unmatched.”

Johnson continually shared her positive experiences with her mother, who is friends with Calles’ mother. When the two began to talk about Johnson’s service, Calles’ mother encouraged her son to speak to her. That’s when Johnson referred Calles to her recruiter, Tech. Sgt. Mark Boone of the 367th Recruiting Squadron.

In March, the Department of the Air Force launched a Barriers to Service Cross-Functional Team to examine existing policies and procedures to ensure they reflect the service members needed for the future. This program is part of this initiative and serves as a cost-effective instrument for referring candidates and increasing enlistments throughout the Air Force and Space Force. 

“It’s exciting to witness the genesis of this program and how it benefits the Total Air Force,” said Brig. Gen. Lisa Craig, Air Force Recruiting Service deputy commander. “Our currently serving Airmen and Guardians are our strongest advocates for recommending service to their peers.”

Two new programs, Stellar Talent Acquisition Recruiting Referral and Stripes for Referrals, aim to incentivize all Airmen and Guardians to inspire the next generation to serve in the Air Force and Space Force.

STARR authorizes enlisted service members up to senior master sergeant and officers up to lieutenant colonel to receive up to two Air and Space Achievement Medals for referring three enlisted accessions applicants who depart for basic military training.

Additionally, any enlisted member, or officer up to colonel, may receive the Air and Space Commendation Medal for referring five enlisted accessions applicants who depart for basic military training.

Applications must be submitted through the Aim High application to qualify for the Air and Space Achievement and Commendation Medals. All users must create an account and input needed information in the ‘Refer a Friend’ portion of the app in order to receive credit for valid referrals.

More information on the STARR program can be found in DAFMAN 36-2806 and Stripes for Referrals in DAFMAN 36-2032.  

To submit referrals via application:
- Download the Aim High Application on your mobile device
- Create an account using your full, first and last name, and your .mil email address
- Open the application and look for the three horizonal lines at the bottom right labeled, ‘more’
- Select “more” and scroll to the bottom, and select ‘Refer a Friend’

Johnson was surprised and excited when her recruiter had told her she qualified for the medal.

“This program encourages Airmen to help fill our ranks,” Johnson said. “It inspires them to get out into the community and encourage others to join.”