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AFA Recognizes 12 Outstanding Airmen of the Year
by USAF Senior Master Sgt. David Byron - September 24, 2011

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U.S. Air Force logoNATIONAL HARBOR, Md. (AFNS - 9/21/2011) -- The 12 Outstanding Airmen of the Year for 2011 were recognized during a formal banquet hosted by the Air Force Association during its 2011 Air & Space Conference and Technology Exposition, Sept. 19, at the National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Md.

Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James Roy emceed the evening event highlighting the 12 Airmen who represent more than 400,000 enlisted members of the Air Force active, Guard and Reserve forces.

"This is a proud moment for our honorees - it is also a proud moment for the Air Force," Roy said during the banquet. "Through their many achievements, these Airmen have set new standards for themselves, fellow Airmen and the United States Air Force."

Air Force Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Phil Breedlove delivered the evening's keynote speech, and addressed the dedication and impact each of the 12 Airmen has made upon the Air Force.

"Whether on the home front or the front lines, their dedication mirrors the enduring commitment the Air Force has made to our Joint and Coalition partners," said Breedlove. "Each one of them has made their Air Force and their community a better place."

The 2011 Outstanding Airmen of the Year are:

♦ Senior Master Sgt. Patrick Jones, the 375th Civil Engineers Squadron operations superintendent at Scott Air Force Base, Ill., provided leadership, direction and management of 250 military and civilian engineers covering multiple career fields. He led the maintenance of 57 miles of road across 3,600 acres of land while supporting several high-level organizations to include the United States Transportation Command, Air Mobility Command, 18th Air Force and associate units. Jones also took part in leading a 50-year, $250 million privatized water program which included a 24-mile pipeline repair program, a first for the Air Force.

♦ Senior Master Sgt. David Newman, the Knowledge Operations Management superintendent for United States Strategic Command at Offutt AFB, Neb., executed knowledge operations management for a joint-service command, five directorates and six geographically separated combatant command organizations. He orchestrated more than 1,800 action items and optimized a $285 million budget critical to national command and control policy. Newman forecasted more than 50 surety inspections across five platforms, including multiple departments and major commands, reviving accountability and ensuring a strong nuclear enterprise. He earned Six-Sigma master certification and created a robust training program certifying more than 120 tasks, significantly reducing upgrade training time to eight weeks. Newman also served as the headquarters first sergeant, where he supported 16 geographically separated units and 1,600 joint-service members.

♦ Senior Master Sgt. Kathleen McCool, a Recruiter Screening Team superintendent for Headquarters, Air Force Recruiting Service at Randolph AFB, Texas, led the top Air Force enlisted accessions team where she coordinated with more than 100 career filed managers to revamp a new recruit assignment process, saving more than 5,000 hours in screening time. As the Air Education and Training Command lead for the special duty briefing team, she visited more than 60 bases, increasing recruiter application by 300 percent. McCool's scrutiny of recruiter applicants, as the leader of recruiter hiring, led to the filling of more than 1,200 positions with a 96 percent recruiter school graduation rate. She also identified more than 160 surplus positions, centralized recruiter interviews and cut the recruiter selection timeline by 90 days.

♦ Tech. Sgt. Ricardo Chavez, a military training instructor for the 433rd Training Squadron at Lackland AFB, Texas, trained more than 39,000 new Airmen in war fighting and survivability skills, Airmanship and drill during 44 courses. As a master blue rope MTI, he revised the war fighter courseware and authored numerous classroom checklists, reducing class preparation time by 26 percent and equipment errors by 42 percent. Chavez spearheaded the 737nd Training Group's training evaluation preparation, and he revitalized the safety program, where he conducted 560 evaluations leading to error-free programs. His self-designed instructor training program for 160 future MTIs on 25 objectives, and personal mentoring of eight instructors during certification, led to 100 percent readiness in two-thirds of the standard timeframe.

♦ Tech. Sgt. Dustin Goodwin, a 48th Security Forces Squadron flight chief at RAF Lakenheath, England, deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom where he engaged 20 enemy combatants, contributing to the defeat of an enemy attack, while providing cover fire for wounded Coalition forces. He also augmented base defense forces on outside-the-wire missions responding to 13 rocket attacks. Goodwin also searched two suspected moles, seizing 15 key documents and foiling an enemy espionage plot. He organized the transfer of a terrorist cell target, removing an improvised explosive device expert from the street, and he worked closely with Army Criminal Investigative Division and U.S. Secret Service officials to detain a subject in connection to a threat to President of the United States. Goodwin also led numerous cases ensuring the security and accountability of more than $1.8 billion in assets.

♦ Tech. Sgt. Bradley Williams, a 5th Logistics Readiness Squadron vehicle operator and dispatcher at Minot AFB, N.D., deployed as a Joint Expeditionary Tasking Airman with an Army unit, where he commanded 17 convoy missions covering 16,000 miles and transporting 41,000 tons of cargo, a critical link to 23 forward operating bases and 150,000 Coalition troops. While deployed, he identified vehicle-borne IEDs, rerouted six convoys and called in quick reaction forces and explosive ordnance technicians, as well as thwarted small arms attacks, guaranteeing the safety of the mission with no Coalition casualties. When not deployed, Williams led vehicle support for more than 3,000 request, 4,000 passengers and a million tons of cargo in support of a dual nuclear mission installation. He also served as the unit's interim first sergeant, where he reenergized the family care program and implemented a financial training program for unit members, reducing their average debt by more than 10 percent.

♦ Staff Sgt. Jordan Bishopp, an explosive ordnance disposal craftsman with the 377th EOD Flight, Kirkland AFB, N.M., deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom where he executed 60 route clearing missions, clearing more than 5,000 miles for convoy operations. He supported Army units, where his expertise averted disaster on 724 successful missions. Bishopp personally disabled 46 IEDs, allowing more than 750 Soldiers to execute combat operations. He also analyzed 12 post-blast calls, collected more than 500 pieces of evidence and trained 150 Soldiers in identification techniques. Bishopp's efforts directly reduced successful insurgent activity by 33 percent

♦ Staff Sgt. John Norris, a Tactical Air Control Party member with the 148th Air Support Operations Squadron at Fort Indiantown Gap, Penn., deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom where he charged into enemy fire to rescue two wounded and isolated Soldiers while, at the same time, controlled multiple air assets and directed close air support strikes. While deployed, he also controlled 120 close air support taskings and conducted more than 100 combat patrols in support of Army units. Norris controlled air support for 34 troop-in-contact situations, defeating the enemy and surgically striking high-value targets. He also organized more than 300 air asset requests, deconflicted 50 support and artillery missions, and directed counter-fire and anti-IED missions in support of ground unit movements.

♦ Staff Sgt. Nora Limjoco, a dental lab journeyman with the 30th Medical Operations Squadron at Vandenberg AFB, Calif., led a five-member lab during the lab NCO-in-charge's six-month absence. She scheduled, tracked and certified more than 3,000 base members, and she ensured the accuracy of $93,500 in prosthetic care. Limjoco maintained $85,000 in laboratory equipment and supplies, and she mitigated a 36 percent budget reduction while still ensuring quality care. Managing the precious metal program, she researched more than a thousand material safety data sheets, trained staff and ensured full compliance with the hazardous material program, as well as maintained a perfect accountability record for more than $24,000 in gold. Limjoco also mentored and trained junior Airmen and 10 California state emergency medical technician instructors in preparation for a state-wide emergency management exercise.

♦ Senior Airman Daniel Skidmore, a combat control journeyman with the 21st Special Tactics Squadron at Pope AFB, N.C., deployed, on a moment's notice, arriving within 26 hours of the earthquake in Haiti to quickly open an airfield critical to relief operations. He served on a six-man air traffic control team directing 4,180 sorties. Skidmore also volunteered and deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom where he filled a critical role during 60 missions, three firefights and 20 mortar attacks. While deployed to OEF, he also surveyed two drop zones and controlled 10 air drops, delivering more than 120,000 pounds of supplies to sustain a 12-man team at a remote location.

♦ Senior Airman Ulla Stromberg, an aerospace medical technician with the 99th Medical Operations Squadron at Nellis AFB, Nev., provided care for more than 400 patients a month while streamlining the schedule, reviewing more than 160 records and ensuring a 97 percent medical readiness rating. Deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, she recovered 84 post-operative patients, trained staff members on 37 emergency room operations skill sets and oversaw the dining facility health program. While deployed, Stromberg also served as a shift leader, aiding in more than 1,200 patient admissions, 15 surgeries and 500 aeromedical evacuation missions. In one case, she performed life-saving actions on a Taliban general suffering from cardiac arrest, ensuring a critical intelligence information resource remained available to Coalition forces.

♦ Senior Airman Raven Taylor, an aerospace medical technician with the 354th Medical Operations Squadron at Eielson AFB, Alaska, oversaw more than 650 preventive health assessments, in the midst of a 50 percent staff reduction, while also mentoring first-term Airmen to ensure readiness. She supervised an infectious control program, and revamped its inspection program, to achieve a zero infection rate during 18,000 patient visits. Taylor Served on more than a thousand hours of ambulance service, assisted with 20 minor surgeries and managed 78 equipment items. As the leader of one of the clinic's cancer screening programs, she kept 250 patients well informed. Her medical skills were also critical in saving the life of a gunshot victim.

"These 12 outstanding men and women represent the very best of our enlisted Airmen - active duty, Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve," said Roy. "Some of these Airmen spend a great deal of time operating in austere environments in Afghanistan, Iraq and around the globe. They have been critical to helping our joint and coalition partners with today's fight."

The week's events for the Airmen kicked off with a social hosted by the Roys at Airey House and included a wreath laying ceremony at the Air Force Memorial. Other events included a VIP tour of Washington D.C. and the Pentagon, meeting with their congressional representatives and attending conference forums. The 2011 award recipients were drawn from Airmen representing major commands, direct reporting units, field operating agencies and Air Staff agencies.

Those nominees who competed at the Air Force-wide level are authorized to wear the Outstanding Airman of the Year Ribbon, while the 12 winners will wear the bronze service star device on the ribbon. The winners will also wear the Outstanding Airman of the Year Badge for one year.

By USAF Senior Master Sgt. David Byron
Air Force Public Affairs Agency
Air Force News Service
Copyright 2011

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