Tyndall Airman named AF Ophthalmic Airman of the Year

  • Published
  • By 2nd Lt. Kayla Fitzgerald
  • 325th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

Vision is an essential component of readiness for every service member.

The 325th Operational Medical Readiness Squadron’s optometry clinic provides visual and ocular health services, including routine check-ups as well as acute exams.

The clinic also serves as the main source for glasses and gas mask inserts for Tyndall’s active duty personnel and plays an important role in deployment readiness.

“We are quite significant to the Air Force mission as we are responsible for monitoring readiness in relation to visual standards,” said Staff Sgt. Jordan Cutaia, 325th OMRS ophthalmic technician. “Anyone who is deploying must see us to ensure that they are meeting visual requirements.”

Cutaia was recently selected as the Air Force Ophthalmic Airman of the Year for his commitment and hard work.

“I’m typically a very ‘under-the-radar’ type of person, so such recognition pushes me a bit out of my [comfort] zone,” said Cutaia. “Winning this has shown me that I am capable of so much more than I know.”

Ophthalmic technicians play an instrumental part in the operation of the optometry clinic.

 “My primary role as a technician is to essentially run the clinic and assist the optometrist in any way I can,” said Cutaia. “We are the face of the clinic, and our patient’s primary source of information for anything eye-related.”

Cutaia enlisted in the Air Force with a desire to work in the medical field and has a passion for sharing his knowledge with others.

“I think my favorite thing about my job is being able to teach our patients about their eyes,” said Cutaia. “I think some people take their eyes for granted and being able to teach our patients about the significance of their eyes is very fulfilling.”

The optometry clinic has overcome many challenges since Hurricane Michael devastated the base and Northwest Florida in 2018. Recovery efforts after the storm strengthened the relationship between Tyndall’s clinic, Eglin Air Force Base and Hurlburt Field, according to Cutaia.

“Relying on our neighboring bases was crucial because it allowed us to ensure our patients were properly taken care of while we worked to rebuild our clinic,” said Cutaia. “It was a very humbling experience, as everyone was more than willing to help each other out,” Cutaia continued.

Cutaia was quick to recognize others who have been influential in his career.

 “I have to give credit to my supervisor, Technical Sergeant Eric Digregorio, as I would not have accomplished such recognition without him,” said Cutaia. “He cares about his people and really goes above and beyond to ensure they are set up for success.”

The optometry clinic provides an essential service to Tyndall and the team’s hard work helps the base reach its goal of continuously improving so the 325th Fighter Wing can be better today, and even better tomorrow.