AZ Airman earns black belt, articulates discipline concepts

  • Published
  • By Capt. Tinashe Machona, 161st Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs

GOLDWATER AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Ariz. – For Senior Master Sgt. Scott Newberger, a dedication to mastering martial arts put him on a path for success, where discipline became a principle that governs his life and military career. He achieved the status of black belt in Kenpo Karate and Kajukenbo Karate.

As a student at the University of New Mexico, Newberger, 161st Air Refueling Wing Human Resource Advisor and committee member on the Diversity and Inclusion Council, took a Judo introductory class. The rigors of the class taught him to be mentally and physically tough. After Judo, he directed his passion to Karate.

Newberger earned his black belts from his current instructors, Professors Jerry Shaw and Sifu Ronald Thayer. “They are both huge influences in my life. They not only taught me principles of the martial arts, but precepts and skills I use in the military and everyday life. They encourage me to keep going as both black belt programs were long and very challenging,” Newberger said.

“Over the course of studying and applying martial arts, I learned that the concept is about discipline and respect,” said Newberger. “I liken martial arts to meditation, which allows me to focus and really be in-tune with my spirit. Over a period of time, it becomes second nature and I have to say, it is therapeutically satisfying.”

Newberger credits one of his first instructors, Ray Barrera, who was a Special Forces operator, for motivating him to study the fundamentals of martial arts throughout his life which has helped mold him into the caliber of person he is today.

“Ray Berrera also had a major impact on my life. He taught me the principal tenants of martial arts is respect, which, if adhered to, will bring about the essence for a better life,” Newberger said. “It helps you to blow off steam and enhances your ability to concentrate on any given task. The discipline and ability to control your emotions is very relatable to my duties in the military,” said Newberger.

He added that self-restraint and self-control are skills he extracted from his martial arts training, making him a better airman.

“When unexpected things happen and panic attempts to takes over, I fall back to my training, which helps me remain calm and react in a manner that is productive for everyone. This, in my view, is crucial in a military environment because you learn to steer away from emotional decisions, but rather think in a calm and collected manner,” Newberger said.

As a consultant on the Diversity and Inclusion Council, Newberger explained the core function of the council. “The council is in charge of ensuring that everyone has an opportunity to leverage their strengths to help accomplish the mission of the Wing. This includes facilitating growth and development for our airmen,” said Newberger.

Staff Sgt. Victoria Linder, Equal Opportunity Specialist and President of the Diversity and Inclusion Council for the Wing, applauded Newberger’s leadership and enthusiasm. “He always encourages airman to do their best in all circumstances. His standards are beyond reproach,” Linder said.

“Self-discipline, compassion and respect are only a few words I would use to describe Senior Master Sgt. Newberger. He truly is an inspiring leader who embodies within,” said Linder.

Newberger has done martial arts with all his children, two daughters as blue belts; two sons as brown belts and one daughter as a fellow black belt. “I feel very fortunate that God gave me the opportunity and ability to study an art I love and share with my children” Newberger said.