For Immediate Release
September 3, 2010
AFA Salutes 2010 Outstanding Airmen of the Year
Arlington, VA – The Air Force Association today saluted the 2010 Twelve Outstanding Airmen of the Year.
Each year, AFA salutes twelve outstanding enlisted personnel for superior leadership, job performance, community involvement, and personal achievements. AFA proudly honors these Outstanding Airmen at its annual Air & Space Conference and Technology Exposition in the Washington, D.C. area.
“The Air Force Association is very proud to honor the commitment of these outstanding airmen,” said Joe Sutter, AFA Chairman of the Board. “We salute their dedication, patriotism and the fine example they are setting.”
“These men and women have demonstrated exceptional leadership and performance,” said Mike Dunn, President and CEO of AFA. “And to join the Air Force in recognizing them is a great privilege for AFA.”
The program was initiated at the Air Force Association's 10th annual national Convention, 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 Twelve Outstanding Airmen are awarded the Outstanding Airmen ribbon with the bronze service star device and wear the Outstanding Airmen 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 2010 Airmen of the Year Award are as follows:
Name: Robert Gutierrez, Jr.
Duty Title: Combat Control Craftsman
Organization: 21st Special Tactics Squadron, Pope Air Force Base, North Carolina
Home of Record: Chula Vista, California
Staff Sergeant Robert Gutierrez, Jr., directed and controlled more than 40 close air strikes and strafing runs while under intense enemy fire against a well-trained insurgent force estimated to be 200 strong. He controlled airstrikes and medical evacuations that eventually led to the successful extraction of all team members and casualties. Sergeant Gutierrez served 90 days in western Afghanistan before he was wounded in a battle by Taliban forces. After being wounded in the chest by enemy forces, Sergeant Gutierrez shot and killed the enemy and directed close air support strikes within 30 meters of his location. He is recovering from his wounds and serves as a Joint Terminal Attack Controller instructor.
Name: Joseph R. Aton
Duty Title: Joint Terminal Attack Controller
Organization: 11th Air Support Operations Squadron, Fort Hood, Texas
Home of Record: Roseville, California
Staff Sergeant Joseph R. Aton deployed for 180 days to a remote forward operating base in Afghanistan where he directed 27,000 pounds of weapons assistance for 60 troops in contact killing 42 enemy forces. He determined the origin of enemy fire which enabled precise close air support strikes killing 16 additional enemy forces. Sergeant Aton simultaneously controlled B-1 and MQ-1 systems which tracked eight improvised explosive device placers resulting in all insurgents being neutralized. He prepared a response team and controlled an AC-130 during a successful rescue of an isolated soldier.
Name: Zully M. Birkbeck
Duty Title: Financial Management Journeyman
Organization: 56th Comptroller Squadron, Luke Air Force Base, Arizona
Home of Record: Lazaro Cardenas, Mexico
Staff Sergeant Zully M. Birkbeck is instrumental to the base’s $134 million operations and maintenance budget program execution. She deployed to the Central Command theater of operations where she oversaw $26 million in funding and overseas contingency operations guidance. She certified 117 documents worth $19 million without any errors. Sergeant Birkbeck trained her flight on unsettled orders and cut the list by 95 percent in 3 months. The strategy was adopted across the command. She was the Airman Leadership John L. Levitow Award winner and the Air Education and Training Command Financial Management Airman of the Year.
Name: Cheryl A. Moore
Duty Title: Multi-Source Analyst
Organization: 8th Intelligence Squadron (Distributed Ground System-S), Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii
Home of Record: Portland, Oregon
Senior Airman Cheryl A. Moore is one of only two trainers for the Multi-Source Analyst position that have earned the Instructor Rated Officer certification. While deployed, she analyzed Predator video enabling compound Hellfire strikes. She warned combat units of imminent threats and protected forces against snipers, improvised explosive devices and ambushes. Sergeant Moore worked outside her specialty and excelled in combat with minimal training or supervision. She led intelligence fusion for 120 remotely piloted aircraft missions with 1,300 hours on targets, giving critical situational awareness for 240 combat operations.
Name: Kenneth I. Walker, III
Duty Title: Tactical Air Control Party Journeyman
Organization: 116th Air Support Operations Squadron, Camp Murray, Washington
Home of Record: El Paso, Texas
Staff Sergeant Kenneth I. Walker, III, saved American lives when he directed close air support of the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division in Kunar Province, Afghanistan, during his fifth deployment with the Air National Guard. He led close air support missions for nine operations and spent more than 135 hours on combat patrols. Sergeant Walker controlled more than 1,600 rounds of ordnance during 88 troops in contact situations. When his vehicle was struck by a rocket propelled grenade, he dismounted and returned small arms fire while the attack continued. He led close air support missions for a sustained 40 hours in combat conditions under direct fire.
Name: Stephen R. Hunter, Jr.
Duty Title: Explosive Ordnance Disposal Craftsman
Organization: 944th Civil Engineer Squadron, Luke Air Force Base, Arizona
Home of Record: St. Petersburg, Florida
Technical Sergeant Stephen R. Hunter, Jr., completed 107 combat missions, destroyed 29 improvised explosive devices and cleared 3,000 kilometers of critical supply routes while on his second 6 month short-notice mobilization to Balad Air Base, Iraq. He trained seven regular Air Force counterparts and certified explosive ordnance disposal technicians on vital range tasks and critical war skills. Sergeant Hunter swept over 70,000 acres of Goldwater Range where he disposed of more than 4,000 unexploded ordnances and recycled 548 tons of scrap metal. He also developed an inventory system which achieved 100% accountability and doubled user productivity.
Name: James P. Mogren
Duty Title: Security Forces Craftsman
Organization: 72nd Security Forces Squadron, Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma
Home of Record: Wheatridge, Colorado
Master Sergeant James P. Mogren provided command and control, maintained security and aided the injured after an explosive device hit during a deployment to a Provincial Reconstruction Team in Afghanistan. He provided aid to five children during the explosion and saved three lives. Sergeant Mogren led security operations for 95 convoys which enabled quality assessments on 27 projects valued at $3.2 million. As the team’s civil affairs leader, he conducted 60 critical meetings with Afghan government officials which built trust and solidified the team, affecting 350,000 lives. Sergeant Mogren supervised 13 humanitarian assistance events which delivered 20,000 tons of aid to 3,600 Afghan families.
Name: Steven Higgins
Duty Title: Wing Inspections, Readiness and Exercises Superintendent
Organization: 48th Fighter Wing, Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England
Home of Record: San Francisco, California
Senior Master Sergeant Steven Higgins deployed to Iraq as a Counter Radio Controlled Improvised Explosive Device Electronic Warfare Instructor. There, he served as the electronic warfare senior enlisted leader with the Army and led 52 field site electronic warfare technicians. Sergeant Higgins ousted fear and restored confidence in 105 Soldiers following a convoy attack. He executed more than 300 system pre-combat checks where he identified and replaced 50 faulty systems protecting 200 vehicles and 700 people. Sergeant Higgins oversaw more than 300 maintenance actions and 131 threat updates.
Name: Anthony G. Graham
Duty Title: Flight Production Expeditor
Organization: 18th Aircraft Maintenance Unit, Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska
Home of Record: Tellico Planes, Tennessee
Technical Sergeant Anthony G. Graham led maintenance on the Air Force’s oldest F-16 fleet where he oversaw 4,056 scheduled maintenance actions and 230 repairs which kept the $463 million fleet healthy. He guided 38 maintainers who generated 2,892 sorties and 5,026 flight hours. Sergeant Graham supervised 55 Airmen and 15 aircraft for exercise Red Flag which produced 247 sorties and verified more than 20 pilots’ combat skills. He created cannibalization procedures and targeted 56 tasks and 12 high-fail areas which increased on-time builds to 93%. Sergeant Graham readied his organization for a 10-aircraft, multi-site deployment which featured 100 passengers, 41 short-tons of cargo and 245 sorties.
Name: Samuel A. Siewert
Duty Title: Fire Protection Journeyman
Organization: 437th Civil Engineer Squadron, Charleston Air Force Base, South Carolina
Home of Record: Oconomowoc, Wisconsin
Airman First Class Samuel A. Siewert extracted a cardiac arrest patient from a civilian aircraft which enabled first responders to revive and save the life of the patient. He arrived on scene to a routine medical call but instantly identified a suicide attempt and provided care crucial to survival. Airman Siewert applied advanced lifesaving techniques to a patient who was lifeless after being ejected from a car, saving the person’s life. He was recalled to duty to help battle a raging military housing fire where he assisted the resident with relocation. Airman Siewert rescued a worker who was pinned between two cars, stabilized a broken leg and treated the patient for internal injuries. The patient fully recovered.
Name: Ryan D. Pfeifer
Duty Title: Security Forces Journeyman
Organization: 791st Missile Security Forces Squadron, Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota
Home of Record: Aurora, Colorado
Senior Airman Ryan D. Pfeifer executed three emergency route deviations to allow re-routed forward units to meet the convoy commander’s intent and to uphold security. He improved convoy briefing creation and distribution processes which saved two hours on each convoy and more than 200 man-hours annually. Airman Pfeifer performed 72 hours as a security escort team leader for increased mission operations which allowed three missile sequence code changes to be accomplished without delay. He served as a heavy weapons team leader for 120 convoys which exceeded the previous year’s total by 50% without incident.
Name: Sarah A. Sparks
Duty Title: Supply Manager
Organization: Logistics, Installation and Support Division of Headquarter Air Force Space Command, Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado
Home of Record: Taos, New Mexico
Master Sergeant Sarah A. Sparks served on a one-year deployment as a logistics advisor for the Afghan National Security Forces where she advised the Afghan two-star Logistics and Materiel Readiness Directors and synchronized efforts across the Ministry of Defense. She led 225 convoys and ensured the safety of 1,400 passengers along 1,600 miles with no mishaps. Sergeant Sparks managed the Afghan National Army’s depot capability for 134,000 soldiers and 11,000 weapons accounting for a $350 million vehicle fleet and $65 million in radio equipment. She drove a 100% review of national Afghan logistics policies and procedures which slashed the rewrite time from 18 months to four months.
The AFA is a 501(C)(3), nonprofit organization promoting public understanding of aerospace power and the pivotal role it plays in the security of the nation. AFA has over 200 chapters nationally and internationally representing 120,000 members. Visit AFA www.AFA.org.
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