2015 Outstanding Airmen of the Year

This award recognizes 12 outstanding enlisted personnel for superior leadership, job performance, community involvement, and personal achievements. AFA honors the 12 Outstanding Airmen at its annual convention in Washington, D.C. 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 MAJCOM 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. Guidelines for submissions are outlined in Air Force Instruction 36-2805.

For questions concerning the 12 Outstanding Airmen of the Year program, contact Jill Westeyn at awards@afa.org or call 1-800-727-3337 ext. 4807; the Air Force point of contact is the Office of Special Trophies and Awards at Randolph AFB. For a more detailed history of the Outstanding Airman Award, click here.

For a complete listing of all recipients since the award's inception, click here. (NOTE: The historical documentation is incomplete. If you are able to fill in any of the missing information, please contact Jill Westeyn at 703-247-5800 ext. 4807 or awards@afa.org.)

2015 USAF Outstanding Airmen of the Year

Name: SrA Allen R. Cherry III
Public Health Technician
86th Aerospace Medicine Squadron (USAFE)
Ramstein AB, Germany
Home of Record: Cibolo, Texas

Cherry was selected as the Air Force Medical Service 2014 Public Health Airman of the Year while serving in the deployment medicine section. He validated over 3,000 medical requirements for 406 deployers with zero discrepancies, enabling fit and ready forces for three combatant commands and Operation United Assistance in support of the Ebola crisis in Africa. Cherry led the reintegration of 360 redeployers, coordinating a multiagency process into a one-stop shop that saved 2,000 man hours and returned airmen to their families sooner, while upholding all DOD medical requirements. As a proud member of the Ramstein Air Base Honor Guard, he performed 27 ceremonies while recruiting and training 11 new ceremonial guardsmen.  


Name: SrA Meaghan G. Holley
Geospatial Intelligence Analyst
Geospatial-Intelligence Analysis Squadron (AFDW)
Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio
Home of Record: Duluth, Minn.

Holley was instrumental in analyzing data and imagery collected by national systems in support of the Intelligence Community, combatant commands, and national mission partners. She led a 10-member target analysis team that located and relayed the positions of more than 4,300 compounds to coalition forces, leading to the seizing of three weapon caches and more than $2 million in narcotics. As a national intelligence report editor, Holley revised 42 reports and fixed 587 errors while boosting team production by 45 percent. Additionally, she completed six college classes and 12 leadership and management courses with a stellar 4.0 GPA, earning her Community College of the Air Force degree in intelligence studies and technology, and completing the requirements for a Bachelor of Science degree in behavioral science.

Name: SrA Mason S. Meherg
Financial Services Technician
509th Comptroller Squadron (AFGSC)
Whiteman AFB, Mo.
Home of Record: Winfield, Ala.

Meherg coordinated all separations and retirements for Whiteman Air Force Base during 2014’s force management initiatives, leading to 562 final payments totaling more than $5 million. While serving in an NCOIC position, he oversaw more than 16,000 case resolutions, averaging a 10-day close vs. the 45-day standard. Meherg audited over 3,000 military pay documents with a 99 percent accuracy rating and validated 450 military pay records while authorizing 20,000 accrued leave days. As a leader at his wing, he also led the Whiteman Airmen’s Council by representing 1,800 airmen through three multiday events. Additionally, he completed 12 financial management modules and earned his DOD Level 1 certification two years ahead of schedule.

Name: SSgt Kresston L. Davis
Security Forces Journeyman
908th Security Forces Squadron (AFRC)
Maxwell AFB, Ala.
Home of Record: Prattville, Ala.

Davis deployed to Manas, Kyrgyzstan, where she provided unwavering security for 200,0000 transients, 40 million gallons of fuel, and 57 million pounds of cargo in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. She executed 200 anti-terrorism measures and conducted 11 off-base patrols. While deployed, Davis also completed Airman Leadership School correspondence training, obtained her associate degree in criminal justice through the Community College of the Air Force, and continued to work on her bachelor’s degree in information systems. Her professionalism and commitment to core values led to her selection as the 908th Airlift Wing Airman of the Year, 22nd Air Force Airman of the Year, and Air Force Reserve Command Airman of the Year. 

Name: SSgt Lindsey H. Fuentes
Biomedical Equipment Journeyman
366th Medical Support Squadron (ACC)
Mountain Home AFB, Idaho
Home of Record: Peachland, N.C.

Fuentes expertly managed the Medical Maintenance department during a three-month, 66 percent manning shortfall, overseeing the completion of more than 1,000 work orders and enabling $15 million in medical care. Her unwavering dedication was a pivotal factor in the 366th Medical Group’s selection as ACC’s 2014 Best Hospital of the Year. Her keen technical insight was essential as her team calibrated 17 dental X-ray units, eliminating a $10,000 service contract and supporting 13,000 yearly dental exams. A natural leader, she guided two ALS flights with 32 students to a 100 percent graduation rate and was the recipient of the John L. Levitow Award. Her professionalism, expertise, and commitment to the core values led to her selection as USAF’s 2014 Biomedical Equipment Technician Airman of the Year.  


Name: SSgt Kurtis V. Harrison
Command, Control, Communications, and Computers Systems Project Manager
96th Communications Squadron (AFMC)
Eglin AFB, Fla.
Home of Record: Irondale, Ala.

Harrison was selected as AFMC’s Outstanding Cable and Antenna Systems NCO of the Year while serving as C4 systems project manager.He accelerated weapons data fielding by engineering a cable purchasing solution that reduced acquisitions processing time from 105 days to 14 and was instrumental in the awarding of a $5 million telecommunications contract that expedited C4 requirements and eliminated a two-year backlog. He also managed a $1.1 million tool program that certified 931 assets and was named a “Best Practice” by the inspector general during the wing’s unit effectiveness inspection. Harrison completed six college classes, earning 18 credits toward a Bachelor of Science degree in information systems management and was named to the dean’s list.


Name: SSgt Travis R. Jordan
Combat Control Journeyman
320th Special Tactics Squadron (AFSOC)
Kadena AB, Japan
Home of Record: Wingdale, N.Y.

Jordan deployed to Operation Enduring Freedom where he served as the primary joint terminal attack controller attached to a Special Forces team. He controlled 62 aircraft on 19 combat missions and directed six air strikes during multiple armed skirmishes. His actions directly contributed to the elimination of two Taliban commanders and rescued four teammates by controlling their medical evacuation. As a quick-reaction force member, he responded to secure a key security checkpoint, preventing an overrun and safeguarding the base. As the sole JTAC on a 200-man, two-day mission, he directed 16 aircraft while under fire. Finally, Jordan participated in an Afghan-American culture exchange, designed to cultivate rapport, where he dined and shared experiences with partner units, ultimately strengthening regional stability.

Name: SSgt Douglas P. Kechijian
Pararescue Journeyman
103rd Rescue Squadron (ANG)
Westhampton Beach, N.Y.
Home of Record: New York

Kechijian excelled as a pararescue element leader in support of Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa. While deployed, he oversaw the treatment of 12 critically injured soldiers during two improvised explosive device incidents. He was the element leader on a medevac mission aboard USS James E. Williams, recovering two injured sailors at sea. Kechijian created and took charge of the casualty collection point during a high-risk operation and expertly triaged several patients. He trained 12 US Army infantry soldiers to ensure tactical level interoperability with a dedicated recovery search and rescue security team. Additionally, he completed his doctorate in physical therapy from Columbia University with a 3.6 GPA.  


Name: TSgt Tamara R. Acfalle
Airman Leadership School Instructor
45th Force Support Squadron (AFSPC)
Patrick AFB, Fla.
Home of Record: Puyallup, Wash.

Acfalle served as acting commandant for the Patrick Airman Leadership School and was instrumental in securing $65,000 in funding to fuel the $590,000 renovation of the wing’s Professional Development Center. She led the installation of $47,000 in interactive smart boards, forming 21st century classrooms. Acfalle’s iPad initiative reduced the school’s operating costs and was chosen by the Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force to be briefed at the Enlisted Force Development Panel in Washington, D.C. Ultimately, her proposal was adopted as the future Air Force standard. She also led 183 volunteers through 47 events, raising more than $1.5 million in proceeds that were donated to charity, and she completed the Noncommissioned Officer Academy, garnering the John L. Levitow Award.


Name: MSgt Joseph Y. Bogdan
NCOIC, Airman and Family Readiness Center
60th Force Support Squadron (AMC)
Travis AFB, Calif.
Home of Record: Tacoma, Wash.

Bogdan led 17 airmen through 10 diverse Social Service programs in Air Mobility Command’s largest Airman and Family Readiness Center. Through his leadership, his team was named the 2014 Air Force’s Best Large Airman and Family Readiness Center. His team executed 45 courses and connected 2,200 customers to more than $800,000 in services. As the Air Mobility Command lead master resiliency trainer, he led 260 instructors as they trained personnel within the command. He expertly led the command’s Leadership Pathways program where he benchmarked and developed a tracking platform implemented at all 18 wings. Bogdan’s sustained superior performance, dedication, and commitment earned him the 2014 Air Mobility Command General Billy J. Boles Mentorship Award. 

Name: MSgt Timothy A. Mason
Command Hydraulics-E&E Functional Manager
HQ Air Education and Training Command (AETC)
JBSA-Randolph, Texas
Home of Record: Hanover, Md.

Mason’s exceptional work enabled headquarters support to 18 Total Force wings, 32,000 personnel, and more than 1,700 aircraft within the command. As a repair network integration core team member, his expertise guided the reorganization of A-10, F-15, and F-16 maintenance support, reducing 34 hydraulic repair centers down to nine. He also led a 13-member test team to validate the T-38 protection panel circuit card upgrade, replacing a 60-year-old design. Additionally, Mason devised an F-16 electrical systems training plan for the Iraqi air force. Dedicated to professional development, he completed a master’s degree in management and was selected as a Distinguished Graduate of the Air Force SNCO Academy’s Advanced Leadership Experience. 

Name: SMSgt Harold J. Terrance Jr.
Section Chief, Cyber Systems
18th Communications Squadron (PACAF)
Kadena AB, Japan
Home of Record: New Roads, La.

Terrance directed a team of 112 personnel as they provided communications support for seven major commands, 22,000 personnel, and the $6 billion aircraft fleet for the largest combat wing in the Air Force. As the maintenance leader, he oversaw 16,000 upgrades, executed 190 maintenance inspections, and resolved 4,000 jobs with a remarkable 98 percent quality efficiency pass rating. Additionally, he implemented the Air Force’s first 24/7 software patching scheme. The proactive approach eliminated 113,000 vulnerabilities and delivered his network the Air Force’s best US Cyber Command readiness inspection score. Terrance led his unit to its second consecutive Air Force Best Large Communications Squadron of the Year Award and earned the 2014 Air Force’s Outstanding Cyber Operations SNCO of the Year.