An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

 


 

 

Senior Master Sergeant John Dawson

SMSgt John Dawson serves as Drum Major for the United States Air Force Academy Band, Headquarters, USAFA, CO. Charged with the ceremonial execution and bearing of 60 Active Duty professional Airmen musicians to support the cadet wing and help develop 1000 new leaders of character each year for the Air Force & Space Force.

From the suburbs of Washington DC, Sergeant Dawson developed an admiration for military music and dedicated himself to pursue military service as a 12-year-old student.  He earned his Bachelor's Degree in Jazz Performance from Arizona State University, where he studied saxophone, woodwinds, and arranging with Mike Crotty, SMSgt retired, USAF. 

During his time as an active duty Airman musician, he has led the USAFA Band’s Falconaires Jazz Ensemble touring in the continental United States, and the USAFE Band’s Ambassadors Jazz Ensemble touring Europe and Africa. Serving as Drum Major for the USAFE Band, he has led missions in support of building partnerships with many nations throughout Europe, rendering salutes to foreign dignitaries and heads of state to demonstrate solidarity. Sergeant Dawson has led teams to connect with live audiences to deliver command messages and counter disinformation with over 6 million people face-to-face.

EDUCATION
2006 Bachelor of Arts in Jazz Performance, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ
2011 Non-Commissioned Officers Academy, Peterson AFB, CO
2011 USAF Band Drum Major and OIC Ceremonial Training Program, Washington, DC
2014 Associate Degree, Community College of the Air Force
2014 Combat Airman Skills Training, Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, NJ
2018 USAF Band Drum Major and OIC Ceremonial Training Program, Washington, DC
2019 Senior Enlisted Joint Professional Military Education (correspondence)
2022 Senior Non-Commissioned Officers Academy, Maxwell-Gunter AFB, AL

ASSIGNMENTS
1. Jun 2006 – Jul 2006, Trainee, Basic Military Training, Lackland AFB, TX
2. Jul 2006 – May 2015, NCOIC, Music Performance Team, US Air Force Academy Band, Peterson AFB, CO
3. Nov 2014 – Feb 2015, Arranger/Audio Technician, US Air Force Central Command Band, Al Udeid AB, Qatar
4. May 2015 – Sep 2020, Section Chief of Operations, US Air Forces in Europe Band, Ramstein AB, Germany
5. Sep 2020 – current, Head Drum Major, US Air Force Academy Band, Peterson SFB, CO

MAJOR AWARDS AND DECORATIONS
Meritorious Service Medal
Air and Space Commendation Medal with two Oak Leaf Clusters
Air and Space Achievement Medal with one Oak Leaf Cluster
Meritorious Unit Award
Air Force Organizational Excellence Award with three Oak Leaf Clusters
Air Force Good Conduct Medal with four Oak Leaf Clusters
National Defense Service Medal
Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Service Medal
Global War on Terrorism Service Medal
Air and Space Recognition Ribbon
Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal              
Air Force Expeditionary Service Ribbon
Small Arms Expert Marksmanship Ribbon with Service Star

OTHER ACHIEVEMENTS
2012 Air Force Media Contest Outstanding Large Ensemble Arrangement, 1st Place
2012 Air Force Media Contest Outstanding Small Ensemble Arrangement, 1st Place
2012 NCO of the Year - US Air Force Academy Band
2013 NCO of the Year - US Air Force Academy Band
2014 Air Force Media Contest Outstanding Small Ensemble Arrangement, 1st Place
2015 German Army Schützenschnur Combat Arms Qualification, Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany
2015 Army Colonel Finley Hamilton Outstanding Military Musician of the Year Award
2017 Dalton USAF Public Affairs Team of the year Award - US Air Forces in Europe Band
2018 SNCO of the Year Award- US Air Forces in Europe Band
2020 SNCO of the Year for Public Affairs Communication Excellence – US Air Forces in Europe Band

EFFECTIVE DATES OF PROMOTION
Technical Sergeant July 28, 2006
Master Sergeant August 1, 2017
Senior Master Sergeant April 1, 2021

(CURRENT AS OF MARCH 2024)