August 18, 2008
AFA Salutes 2008 Outstanding Airmen of the Year
Arlington, VA – The Air Force Association today saluted the 2008 Outstanding Airmen of the Year.
Each year, AFA salutes 12 outstanding enlisted personnel for superior leadership, job performance, community involvement, and personal achievements. AFA proudly honors these Outstanding Airmen at its annual convention in Washington, D.C., in connection with the annual Air & Space Conference and Technology Exposition.
“The Air Force Association is very proud to join the Air Force in recognizing the accomplishments and dedication of these superb Airmen,” said Bob Largent, AFA Chairman of the Board. “They stand out even among highly dedicated peers, and are a credit to the Air Force.”
“Recognizing the 12 Outstanding Airmen of the Year is a real privilege for AFA,” said Mike Dunn, President/CEO of AFA. “These 12 Airmen are truly outstanding. Their contributions to keeping us secure are what help me sleep well at night.”
The program was initiated at the Air Force Association's 10th annual national Conference, held in New Orleans in 1956. The Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force, a general officer and selected Major Command chiefs form the selection board. The Air Force Chief of Staff reviews the selections. The 12 Outstanding Airmen are awarded the Outstanding Airman ribbon with the bronze service star device and wear the Outstanding Airman badge for one year. They also serve on the Air Force Enlisted Council for one year.
For more information, contact Lynette Cross at email@example.com or call 1-800-727-3337 ext. 4807.
The recipients of the 2008 Airmen of the Year Award are as follows:
James M. Weltin
Unit: 333d Recruiting Squadron, Rockledge, Florida
Duty Title: Enlisted Accessions Recruiter
Staff Sergeant Weltin was named Air Education and Training Command’s Noncommissioned Officer of the Year. He also garnered Air Force recognition by earning a second prestigious Air Force Recruiting Service Senior Recruiter Badge. He exceeded recruiting goals for 20 straight months, including recruiting three pararescue apprentices and four crypto-linguists, critical areas for the Air Force. During that time, his attention to detail ensured a 100% pass rate on enlistment applicant’s initial medical examinations. He sustained day-to-day operations for seven recruiters. He organized a swearing in of 75-enlistees by an original Tuskegee Airman. He hosted an "Air Force Careers" radio show in the recruiting zone's largest station and raised awareness for the Air Force in the community. He was the unit’s representative for the command’s Air Force 60th Anniversary Ball. Active in the unit and his community, Sergeant Weltin raised $1,200 for the unit booster club; mentored troubled children at the Brevard Juvenile Center; transported retirement home residents to medical appointments; and volunteered as a Sunday school teacher and youth group leader.
Mary C. Bullock
Unit: 11th Intelligence Squadron, Hurlburt Field, Florida
Duty Title: Full-Motion Video Analyst
Airman First Class Bullock was a key player in her unit earning the Air Force Special Operations Command Outstanding Intelligence Squadron of the Year Award for 2007. She deployed short-notice in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM. While deployed, her detachment engaged in 24/7 combat operations. Airman Bullock analyzed 823 hours of video and developed Al Qaeda target sets. She crafted 206 products for special operations forces direct action missions, which contributed to taking down Al Qaeda leadership and to a 61% drop in Iraq violence. She pioneered a full-motion video reporting aid for Predator operations and support. She developed a database of 175 video products, enabling analysts at remote sites to leverage intelligence for analysis. She authored the Air Force’s first-ever special operations forces’ checklists for use with full-motion video. The checklists increased product quality and improved delivery time by 35%. She meticulously produced situation reports that directly supported front-line warriors. Her community activities include volunteering with the Big Brother/Big Sister program, the Pensacola Animal Welfare Shelter and Airmen Against Drunk Driving.
James B. Caughron
Unit: 22d Civil Engineer Squadron, McConnell Air Force Base, Kansas
Duty Title: Fire Protection Craftsman, Station Chief
Technical Sergeant Caughron was named the Air Mobility Command’s Military Fire Officer of the Year. Sergeant Caughron was deployed to Ali Air Base, Iraq, where he trained 56 Iraqi civilian firefighters on rescue tactics and equipment. While deployed, he directed efforts to extinguish a fire in the tent area. His quick efforts saved the living quarters area for 280 people. He rescued the Australian Prime Minister from an aircraft filled with smoke and fumes. An outstanding emergency medical technician, he saved a soldier’s life by quickly bandaging a stab wound and treating for shock. He led a 3-person team to locate and extinguish a fire trapped in the wall of a $1.4 million building and limited the damage to $250,000. While responding to an industrial accident, he saved a patient’s life and leg. His swift response saved the life of a patient with an aneurysm. He aided in the medical treatment of a patient having a diabetic seizure, saving the man’s life. As president of the local Firefighter Association, he coordinated four events and raised $2,000 for emergencies and family care. He helped set up a veteran’s parade and chaperoned children attending an elementary school holiday party.
Earl I. Covel, Jr.
Unit: 5th Air Support Operations Squadron, Fort Lewis AIN, Washington
Duty Title: Ranger Joint Terminal Attack Controller
Technical Sergeant Covel deployed for Operation IRAQI FREEDOM with the 10th Special Forces Group and participated in over 50 special operations forces missions. He established and controlled 170 combat landing zones, including five while under intense enemy fire. Sergeant Covel thwarted an enemy attack on his team’s safe house with close air support and is credited with saving the lives of eight other special operators. The engagement resulted in more than 150 enemy killed-in-action. During another engagement, he cleared a tunnel in hand-to-hand combat, killing three insurgents. He led a team more than 10 kilometers into rugged and hostile territory and successfully captured three key insurgent leaders. He deployed again, now in support of the 2d Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment. This time he conducted 155 classified missions and supported 150 Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance platforms during the 90-day deployment. He also worked with troubled high school students, and assisted with a high school graduation ceremony. He supports the Invisible Children Foundation, a program that rehabilitates Sierra Leone child soldiers.
Carla L. Curry
Unit: Air Force Personnel Center, Randolph Air Force Base, Texas
Duty Title: Superintendent, Enlisted Extended Deployment Branch
Master Sergeant Curry deployed for 365 days to Mehtar Lam, Afghanistan, where she participated in more than 20 convoy missions as a driver, turret gunner, and truck commander. Working outside the wire, Sergeant Curry was also an entry control point guard. In support of 110 joint forces troops, she oversaw and tracked 900 365-day extended deployment actions. She participated in five humanitarian aid missions which provided hygiene kits and food to local Afghans, established a forward operating base library with more than 600 books and led an “Americans for Afghanistan” drive that distributed 1,500 school supply items. Her effective pursuit of Chief of Staff of the Air Force vision and goals for senior enlisted leader management enabled her section to meet 11 of 12 tenets in the first 3 years. She wrote a chiefs group brief for the first Senior Enlisted Leader Summit. After her return from deployment, Sergeant Curry sourced and sent care packages to deployed Airmen. She worked with a local high school to raised $500 to offset choir and band field trip expenses. She is an Operation Warm Heart volunteer and in that role has helped numerous families in the San Antonio area.
Eric M. Eberhard
Unit: 419th Civil Engineering Squadron, Hill Air Force Base, Utah
Duty Title: Explosive Ordnance Disposal Craftsman
Staff Sergeant Eberhard volunteered for deployment and served as an Explosive Ordnance Disposal team member at forward operating base Gardez, Afghanistan. While there he contributed to the destruction of more than 2,300 unexploded explosive ordnance devices. He saved his team leader’s life after the team leader accidentally tripped an improvised explosive device by immediately applying tourniquets and clearing the area of additional explosive devices so medical personnel could respond. He expertly maneuvered his vehicle during an ambush, preventing three rocket propelled grenade hits, saved three lives and protected convoy assets. He skillfully disarmed an IED hidden in culvert. He then moved the explosive to a safe area and detonated it with zero collateral damage. He teamed with Federal Bureau of Investigations and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms agents to collect blast fragments to determine techniques used to attack Afghanistan police officers. He worked with the Boy Scouts, helped arrange a memorial serve honoring three fallen EOD Airmen and has landscaped and cleaned up areas of the base as well as for a local church and neighbors in need.
Alicia A. Goetschel
Unit: 100th Security Forces Squadron, RAF Mildenhall, United Kingdom
Duty Title: Pass and Registration Clerk
Senior Airman Goetschel was deployed to Camp Bucca, Iraq, where she performed detainee operations. Employing expert marksmanship, she quelled two riots. Reacting to numerous mortar and sniper attacks, she increased patrols and initiated recounts and lockdowns. One of the vital missions Airman Goetschel participated in was to move 220 high-risk detainees from Basra to Baghdad, Iraq. Displaying eagle-eyed vigilance, she discovered an escape tunnel, up-channeled the findings and prevented the escape. She also trained and certified 12 Iraqi correctional officers and was key to their integration with the U.S. guard force. She is an eloquent speaker and briefed 400 new members on vehicle registration and licensing, compliance with host nation laws and local traffic hazards. She expertly handled 200 tax-free car customs declarations, making sure all the tax waivers were error-free. She led the dormitory council and transformed her dorm from the base worst to the best. She volunteered and worked 12 hours as personnel screener at the base Fourth of July celebration. She also worked traffic control and parking for the local Mayfair Bazaar.
Donna J. Goodno
Unit: 147th Combat Communications Squadron, California Air National Guard
Duty Title: Superintendent, Mission Support Flight
Senior Master Sergeant Goodno volunteered for an Operation IRAQI FREEDOM deployment. She served as the maintenance superintendent for the 447th Air Expeditionary Squadron where she was responsible for five work centers and more than $17 million in assets. Despite more than 35 attacks on the base and a daily threat of rockets and mortar attack, Sergeant Goodno ensured zero communication outages. She identified and corrected 16 frequencies unapproved for Baghdad International Airport’s use, conducted an emergency repair of sabotaged perimeter fence fiber-optics, and worked the installation of a $155,000 cable project that provided a redundant network path. She also engineered a TV-over-network solution which provided Armed Forces Network services to more than 800 users. She managed a fix to the airport's only airspace radar control system after 10 months of stalled effort, getting the radar up and running in 2 weeks. Among her community activities are teaching re-integration classes with the group chaplain, which helps Army and Air Force members adjust to leaving Iraq. She also performed volunteer work for Veteran Standown, which helps homeless veterans reconnect with the community.
Jason D. Hughes
Unit: 3d Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska
Duty Title: Flightline Expediter
Technical Sergeant Hughes was named the Pacific Air Forces Noncommissioned Officer of the Year. He designed the base’s F-22 hot pit capability, raising sortie generation capability by 33%. He saved 150 man-hours by identifying six technical data errors and authoring new procedures which eliminated engine removal. Sergeant Hughes orchestrated the weekend F-22 flyby for the Eielson Air Show where the new PACAF combat capability was showcased. He was the ramrod on aircraft preparation for the first-ever F-22 NORAD alert, filling the gap of grounded F-15s. Sergeant Hughes oversaw the launch of the first-ever F-22 intercept of a Russian bomber encroaching on U.S. airspace. He supervised a fuel tank acceptance inspection, 70 tanks were inspected and the job was finished 2 months early. He also organized a wireless cryptographic keying validation which reduced aircraft keying time by more than 40%. An active community leader, he led clothing drives for the homeless. He is involved with Airmen Against Drunk Driving, devoting 16 hours to the effort. He volunteered with Operation Warm Heart and packaged and delivered food for more than 200 families.
George Price, Jr.
Unit: 45th Civil Engineering Squadron, Patrick Air Force Base, Florida
Duty Title: Chief, Explosive Ordnance Disposal Flight
Master Sergeant Price deployed to Kirkuk where he neutralized 986 improvised explosive devices throughout a 42,000 square kilometer area of responsibility. He potentially saved more than 1,000 lives when he identified a 400 pound improvised explosive device on a vehicle entering a gate. In more than 1,000 missions, he provided explosive ordnance disposal support for 2 divisions, 2 brigades and 12 battalions. He helped distribute 1,000 pounds of humanitarian aid after an attack on the local community. The aid reassured the Iraqi people the Americans were there to help. He trained Army and Iraqi Army soldiers to identify improvised explosive devices, enabling them to avoid and survive deadly attacks. Back in the United States, he partnered with the Secret Service and provided 30 days of explosive ordnance disposal support for the President of the United Stated at the White House. He made safe and arranged proper disposal of 32 Space Shuttle booster separation motors, protecting the environment and saving NASA more than $90,000 per day in environmental fines. He instructed a post explosive blast course for local law enforcement officials.
Shawn A. Ryan
Unit: 82d Security Forces Squadron, Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas
Duty Title: Security Forces Patrolman
Senior Airman Ryan was named Air Education and Training Command’s Airman of the Year. He was also awarded the command’s Billy Jack Carter Award, given to the Airman who has made the most significant contribution to protect Air Force personnel. He volunteered for a second Operation IRAQI FREEDOM deployment and was assigned to the 732d Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron at Camp Victory, Iraq. Airman Ryan was injured by an improvised explosive device and continued to man his weapon system to repel a secondary attack. On another occasion, he protected a large crowd by stopping a speeding vehicle-borne improvised explosive device with a .50 caliber machine gun. Because of his expertise on the M2 machine gun, Airman Ryan trained a team on its capabilities and taught battle drills. By guarding electrical workers, he enabled the restoration of power to 1,000 Iraqis. As a key part of the Iraq stabilization plan, he trained and mentored 3,000 Iraqi police officers at seven different police stations. He collected and distributed toys to Iraqi children and back in the United States he raised $235 for the Give a Child a Christmas program.
Tammy K. Shaw
Unit: 88th Diagnostics and Therapeutics, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio
Duty Title: NCOIC, Shipping
Technical Sergeant Shaw was named Air Force Materiel Command’s Noncommissioned Officer of the Year. She was also named the Air Force’s Laboratory Noncommissioned Officer of the Year. She piloted the Department of Defense’s largest DNA collection site. The site takes in about 38,000 samples a year. Under her guidance and leadership, the lab was cited as the best in the DoD and was named the command’s Lab Team of the Year. Contributing to the Total Force, she synchronized tests from nine Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard bases. Sergeant Shaw saved $710,000 for 59 medical treatment facilities by optimizing standards. She created specimen identification visual aids for medical personnel that saved $72,000 a year. She trained more than 400 Airmen on self-aid and buddy care. She supervised the medical processing of specimens for 150 Reserve Officer Training Corps cadets, disbursing 600 samples at three test sites with zero errors. An active community member, she co-chairs Wright-Patterson’s Airmen Against Drunk Driving program, volunteers for Habitat for Humanity and Project Linus, a program that knits blankets for cancer stricken children.
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