From Dedication to Distinction: Long-serving Oregon Guardsman Receives Prestigious Director of Weapons Safety Award

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Alexander Frank
  • 142nd Wing/Public Affairs

Senior Master Sgt. Jeffrey Reynolds, the Weapons Safety Manager for the 142nd Wing, has been awarded the 2022 Director of Weapons Safety Award for the Air National Guard. The award is presented to individuals who demonstrate an exemplary dedication to safety principles, by providing pivotal safety guidance to their organization.

Remarkably, this is the second time that Reynolds has won the prestigious award, having previously been awarded the honor back in 2018. While the awards are certainly impressive, Reynolds sees them as proof that his work has made a meaningful impact for the community at Portland Air National Guard Base (PANGB).

“It's validation that I'm doing things right,” said Reynolds. “[it] makes me feel good that I'm providing the wing with the best job that I can do to make sure…that everyone's safe out here.”

The job of a Weapons Safety Manager is not for the faint of heart. It’s an incredibly important position that ensures explosives and munitions are stored properly, and that Airmen and their leadership have procedures in place to ensure the proper storage and handling of explosive materials.

“Any unit that handles munitions or has anything to do with explosives, they have to have a safety program specific to explosives”, said Reynolds. “I help train the units on what their responsibilities are… how they train their people, how to handle them, [and] transport them safely”.

In speaking with Reynolds, or “Jeff” as he prefers to be called, it’s evident that his work at PANGB is more than just a job to him. Whether it’s a friendly wave in the hallway, or taking the time to introduce himself and talk to other members, it’s clear that his true passion is connecting with the people around him, and doing his best to serve the base community he’s been a part of for 37 years.

“This is a home to me,” said Reynolds. “I very much love the job, the mission out here, the people, and I take [the job] very seriously.”

Reynolds, a Portland native, had a fascination with aviation that began at a young age. In his youth, he would watch with admiration as planes of all shapes and sizes traveled in and out of Portland International Airport. His fascination with aircraft would be a key factor leading him towards joining the Oregon Air National Guard.

“I’ve always been fascinated by airplanes,” said Reyolds. “My parents would
take my brother and sister and I to the airport, and we’d run the terminals and look at the airplanes. In 1977, there was an air show out here and we came out to it, and I think that’s what solidified me to get interested in this aspect of aviation.”

Reynolds would get the chance to work near aircraft in the summer of 1986 when he joined the 142nd Wing, then the 142nd Fighter Interceptor Group, as a drill status guardsman and Airman Basic working in munitions. In 2000, Reynolds joined the munitions team as a full-time employee, and was selected for his current role as Weapons Safety Manager in 2016.

For 37 years Senior Master Sgt. Reynolds has called the 142nd Wing home. In a world where active duty members move stations every few years, and Airmen enter the Air National Guard often after years of service across the world, Reynolds’ tenure at a single station is impressive. His decades of service on PANGB gives him an unprecedented familiarity with the installation that only enhances his effectiveness as a Weapons Safety Manager.

“We spend more of our waking hours of our lives out here with this place and these people than we do in our home,” said Reynolds. “Having been out here for so long, I know the ins and outs of this place.”

In every sense of the word, Senior Master Sgt. Reynolds is a hometown hero. Reynolds’ recent awards, while impressive, are simply the product of a guardsmen doing everything he can to better his community, and keep his fellow Airmen safe.

“It's given me that sense of serving, and serving something other than just a job for a company to earn a dollar,” said Reynolds. “Knowing that what I do serves the country and protects the country is what's meaningful to me.”