Hill civilian takes top honors in AFMC awards

Air Force Materiel Command Public Affairs

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio — A civilian from Hill Air Force Base brought home top honors at the Air Force Materiel Command Annual Excellence Awards event on March 10 and 11.

Travis Adams, Air Force Sustainment Center, was the Civilian Category I winner. 

During 2014, Adams used his technical expertise as an Equipment Specialist for the F-15 and F-16 wheel and brake programs, along with F-16 actuators, to gain approval for a new F-16 nose wheel design, which will dramatically improve reliability and lessen potential failures due to the installation of improper bearings. He also secured the new F-15 wheel and brake safety improvement program, which will save the Air Force countless hours in safety investigations and millions of dollars in Life Cycle Cost improvements.

In total, 61 Airmen from throughout AFMC’s headquarters, centers and wings were nominated to compete in nine separate categories — airman, noncommissioned officer, senior NCO, first sergeant, company grade officer, field grade officer, civilian category I, civilian category II and civilian category III.

In the past, the event and awards ceremony were for enlisted only, because winners in those categories go on to compete at the Air Force level. However, according to Chief Master Sgt. Michael Warner, AFMC command chief, the decision to expand the scope was simple.

“We decided that it didn’t matter if there was further competition for our officers or civilians,” Warner said. “Our team is comprised of enlisted, officer and civilian Airmen, and we needed to expand to recognize and celebrate the best of our entire team.”

While they were here, the nominees had a detailed, command-focused itinerary. The enlisted Airmen met a face-to-face annual awards board. All of the nominees networked with AFMC’s senior leaders at a welcome reception, got to know community leaders from their base at a breakfast with the command’s Community Liaison Program members and participated in several professional development sessions.

This year, those sessions included lunch with the center command chiefs, who highlighted the mission of each of AFMC’s six centers. The nominees also got to tour certain programs that fall under the centers located at Wright-Patterson — the Battlefield Air Targeting, Man-Aided Knowledge (BATMAN) program and the 771th Patient Transportation and Aircraft Simulator.

For the culminating event — the Annual Excellence Awards Banquet — more than 300 family members, friends, community leaders and command officials gathered in the modern flight gallery of the National Museum of the United States Air Force to honor the nominees.

The other winners:

Airman Category — Senior Airman Natalie D. Norlock, Air Force Installation and Mission Support Center, Joint Base San Antonio, Texas; Noncommissioned Officer Category — Staff Sgt. Kurtis V. Harrison, Air Force Test Center, Eglin Air Force Base, Florida; Senior Non-Commissioned Officer Category — Master Sgt. Raymond T. Hillis, Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio; First Sergeant Category — Master Sgt. Freda D. Dey, Air Force Test Center, Eglin Air Force Base, Florida; Company Grade Officer Category — Capt. Benjamin Carlson, Air Force Installation and Mission Support Center, Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida; Field Grade Officer Category — Maj. Paul Cancino, Air Force Sustainment Center, Joint Base Langley, Virginia; Civilian Category II — Laura Letterman, Air Force Test Center, Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico; Civilian Category III — Theron Jones, Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Robins Air Force Base, Georgia. 

Gen. Janet Wolfenbarger, AFMC commander, hosted the awards ceremony. After congratulating all the nominees and winners on a job well done, she thanked them for their excellence.

“Our Airmen are absolutely our most important resource, and part of taking care of our people is recognizing when they set themselves apart,” Wolfenbarger said. “That is what tonight is all about. I am proud of all of the Airmen in Air Force Materiel Command, but tonight we are celebrating truly the best of the best in this command. The nominees in this room are all already winners — they made the cut at multiple levels and have demonstrated a repeated pattern of excellence.”

The winners in the four enlisted categories will go on to represent AFMC in the United States Air Force Twelve Outstanding Airmen of the Year and First Sergeant of the Year competitions held later this year.

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