For Immediate Release
August 13, 2012
AFA Announces 2012 Outstanding Airmen of the Year
Arlington, VA – The Air Force Association today announced the 2012 Twelve 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 Air & Space Conference and Technology Exposition in the Washington, D.C. area.
“This time of the year is always an honor to us at AFA as we get to distinguish a dozen of our airmen who are among the best and brightest in their respective organizations,” said Sandy Schlitt, AFA Chairman of the Board. “Their dedication to duty is quite admirable and we commend them for their service.”
“Since this program’s establishment, we have recognized hundreds of men and women who have demonstrated strong leadership and exemplary job performance in their fields,” said Mike Dunn, President and CEO of AFA. “The 2012 OAYs reflect the integrity of the Air Force and the fidelity to its missions, and we lend our sincere gratitude for their service.”
The OAY 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 2012 Outstanding Airmen of the Year Award are as follows:
Name: Angelo C. Banks
Duty Title: Pass & Registration Clerk
Organization: 81st Security Forces Squadron, Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi
Home of Record: Salina, Kansas
Staff Sergeant Angelo C. Banks led eight Airmen as team leader of a quick response fire team while deployed to Manas, Kyrgyzstan. His team secured 90 sorties, which transported 296 tons of cargo worth $451 million. Airman Banks also trained members of the Kyrgyzstan military to search vehicles for improvised explosive devices and led 13 members in 19 flyaway security missions to 39 austere forward operating bases, delivering 1,300 passengers and three detainees.
Name: Alan M. Braden
Duty Title: Career Assistance Advisor
Organization: 88th Force Support Squadron, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio
Home of Record: Monroe, Michigan
Master Sergeant Alan M. Braden designed the Career Assistance Advisor Community of Practice program that provided training to 82 Career Assistance Advisors and became the Air Force’s benchmark. He led 83 courses, visited 82 organizations, and met with 432 Airmen in support of professional development programs. Sergeant Braden also drafted the Career Assistance Advisor and First Term Airmen Center inspection program, which has been adopted by the functional manager for use across Air Force Materiel Command.
Name: Cory T. Branham
Duty Title: Customer Support Supervisor
Organization: 366th Logistics Readiness Squadron, Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho
Home of Record: Plymouth, Ohio
Staff Sergeant Cory T. Branham led function check and shelf life programs during an inspection of assets worth more than $17 million. Air Combat Command designated his reports program as a “Best Practice” after he coordinated with 25 units to manage 158 performance reports to timely completion. Airman Branham also took control of the expendable asset program, recovering 2,500 assets and returning more than $4 million to the Defense Department.
Name: Bryenna L. Brooks
Duty Title: Aerospace Medical Services Technician
Organization: 2nd Medical Operations Squadron, Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana
Home of Record: Appleton, Wisconsin
Senior Airman Bryenna L. Brooks provided direct medical support at the 101st Troop Medical Clinic, Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan. She traveled over 3,000 miles as an Independent Convoy Medic, providing 24-hour care to over 1,000 personnel and serving as the lifeline during 25 successful missions. Airman Brooks also instructed Combat Lifesaver classes for more than 1,000 soldiers, dedicated over 80 hours toward an expansion for the Troop Medical Clinic, tested 200 blood units for the critical blood bank at Afghan National Army Hospital and was a key asset in the mass casualty plan rewrite.
Name: Brandon C. Bruner
Duty Title: Vehicle Operator/Dispatcher
Organization: 1st Special Operations Logistics Readiness Squadron, Hurlburt Field, Florida
Home of Record: Panama City, Florida
Technical Sergeant Brandon C. Bruner logged 13,000 miles over 56 days in the Iraq Joint Operations Area. He led a convoy consisting of 23 Joint team members through a direct small arms attack, making it safely through the ambush with no injuries. A seasoned convoy commander, he led 11 combat missions, trained 32 Joint team members, certified 6 convoy positions, and qualified 312 Airmen with the M-4 rifle, ensuring his 1,200-person battalion was combat-ready. Additionally, Sergeant Bruner directed first-responder action for a three-car collision in Kuwait, assisting four casualties.
Name: Matthew J. Butler
Duty Title: Weather Forecaster
Organization: 15th Operational Weather Squadron, Scott Air Force Base, Illinois
Home of Record: Colorado Springs, Colorado
Senior Airman Matthew J. Butler deployed in support of Operation NEW DAWN, executing 400 forecasts to enable 5,500 flight hours and 40 combat convoys. He identified low-risk routes for 53 missions, enabling 30,000 tons of cargo to be airlifted to battlefield outposts. Executing 63 close air support briefings, he identified opportunities to ensure supplies were delivered to troops pinned down by enemy fire. When entrusted with a high-visibility resource protection role, Airman Butler beat the forecasting accuracy standard by 22% to secure $13 billion in assets at 33 sites.
Name: Laura A. Callaway
Duty Title: Physical Medicine/Emergency Department Support
Organization: 60th Medical Operations Squadron, Travis Air Force Base, California
Home of Record: Ormond Beach, Florida
Senior Master Sergeant Laura A. Callaway led the Air Force’s largest physical medicine and emergency departments and forged a clinical practicum with the University of California-Davis, which was identified as a career field benchmark. She secured a multi-year contract worth $2 million to ensure on-site care for veterans, reducing diverted care by 30% and saving $500,000. Sergeant Callaway cultivated the Air Force’s largest civilian physical therapy training exchange program, chartering agreements with five universities to work with 15 interns and saving the Air Force $600,000.
Name: Emilio Hernandez
Duty Title: Operations Flight Superintendent
Organization: 100th Civil Engineer Squadron, RAF Mildenhall, United Kingdom
Home of Record: Hialeah, Florida
Senior Master Sergeant Emilio Hernandez led 52 people in 53 civil engineering projects at 163 forward operating bases in support of 85,000 warfighters. He orchestrated $80,000 in repairs to nine Marine Corps aircraft hangars to safeguard $300 million in assets in support of a vital ISR platform. Sergeant Hernandez oversaw a project to upgrade an electrical grid on a dam, which preserved water and power flow to 450,000 Afghans, and managed the construction of two tactical operations centers worth $500,000, securing Afghanistan’s key district of Panjwai.
Name: Nicholas A. Hurt
Duty Title: Response Force Leader
Organization: 721st Security Forces Squadron, Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station, Colorado
Home of Record: Chino Valley, Arizona
Senior Airman Nicholas A. Hurt served on a quick-reaction team at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, where he secured the base perimeter to protect 30,000 personnel and $3.8 billion in assets. He responded to a severe head trauma injury, applying combat lifesaver skills to stabilize the victim. Further, he disrupted an insurgent supply point by discovering a weapons cache and destroying 200 pounds of explosives. Airman Hurt also responded to 14 indirect fire attacks, clearing mission-critical zones without taking casualties or losing assets.
Name: Sandra L. Plentzas
Duty Title: Chapel Operations Superintendent
Organization: 944th Fighter Wing, Luke Air Force Base, Arizona
Home of Record: Glendale, Arizona
Master Sergeant Sandra L. Plentzas leveraged the Head Chaplain Total Force Initiative to integrate active duty and air reserve component chaplain training and scheduling, extending Luke Air Force Base’s ministry to more than 2,000 Airmen. She also led a ten-person team of volunteers in hosting a deployed spouse event, which provided support to more than 40 family members. Sergeant Plentzas conducted a spiritual needs assessment, which identified an increase in financial and relationship support needs and developed a Comprehensive Airman Fitness ministry plan in response.
Name: Matthew G. Stark
Duty Title: Explosive Ordnance Disposal Quality Assurance Section Chief
Organization: 354th Civil Engineer Squadron, Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska
Home of Record: Amherst, New York
Technical Sergeant Matthew G. Stark led the most decorated explosive ordnance disposal flight in Iraq. He oversaw 27 operations with zero casualties in support of Operation NEW DAWN. He served on a security team for the President of the United States at the United Nations General Assembly where he headed a five-person team conducting improvised explosive device sweeps to ensure the security of 193 world leaders. Sergeant Stark also destroyed unexploded ordnance on a Predator ramp, neutralizing the threat while keeping $24 million in assets safe and secure.
Name: Luke W. Thompson
Duty Title: Combat Controller
Organization: 125th Special Tactics Squadron, Oregon Air National Guard
Home of Record: Battle Ground, Washington
Senior Master Sergeant Luke W. Thompson enabled two Combined Joint Special Operations Task Forces, bringing 85 battlefield Airmen to the fight. His organization skills provided key Joint Terminal Attack Control support, delivering 142 lethal airstrikes to the enemy. He was the driving force behind the construction of a multimillion dollar special tactics operations center, which enhanced combat capability in Operation ENDURING FREEDOM. Sergeant Thompson also engineered the first-ever Air National Guard Special Tactics mobilization, providing 27 battlefield Airmen to U.S. Central Command.
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