WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio — Air Force Materiel Command honored its top Airmen of 2015 during the command’s Annual Excellence Awards Banquet on March 9, one of them a Hill AFB major.
Fifty-eight 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.
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 winners are:
Senior Airman Raquel R. Caramanno, Air Force Test Center, Edwards Air Force Base, California. As a Medical Readiness Technician, Caramanno expertly filled in as the Medical Readiness Flight Commander and Noncommissioned Officer in Charge for a period of 15 months, leveraging a 50 percent workload increase despite a 50 percent staff loss. Additionally, she flawlessly led 17 Medical Contingency Response teams while managing $1 million in War Reserve Materiel assets.
Noncommissioned Officer Category
Technical Sgt. Kasmir A. Alford, Air Force Sustainment Center, Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma. Alford distinguished herself as Noncommissioned Officer in Charge of Laboratory Services when she successfully filled a senior noncommissioned officer position and flawlessly directed laboratory operations, completing an outstanding 198,000 test results. Alford also devised a medical deployment operations plan, coordinating with 13 agencies and two wings and bolstering Tinker’s readiness rate by 5 percent.
Senior Noncommissioned Officer Category
Master Sgt. Randy R. McKenzie, Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. McKenzie distinguished himself as the Dormitory Operations Superintendent by providing exceptional leadership and mentorship to 408 personnel, overseeing 5 facilities and $28 million in government assets. During his deployment, he forged an elite team that tracked and accounted for 22,000 Other Country Nationals protecting 508 Joint and Coalition personnel in support of Operations INHERENT RESOLVE and FREEDOM’S SENTINEL.
First Sergeant Category
Master Sgt. Brian S. Partido, Air Force Sustainment Center, Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma. Partido’s leadership as a First Sergeant was instrumental in promoting the health, morale and welfare of 543 personnel. Responsible to five commanders and 238 military personnel, he flawlessly developed the Team Tinker Retreat program, where he standardized 12 base organizations to conduct monthly ceremonies. Additionally, Partido deployed in support of 554 Airmen, where he managed five emergency leaves and guided his unit through the near loss of one member.
Company Grade Officer Category
Capt. Jae H. Jeon, Air Force Research Laboratory, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. As Deputy Chief of the Electro-Optics Countermeasures Branch, Jeon seamlessly led the research and development efforts for 19 government employees and 53 contractors, providing guidance to three labs and programs totaling $21 million. He identified key requirements for a flight test, the results of which will be used to protect aircraft against electro-optic/infrared missile threats. Additionally, Jeon coordinated the transfer of three cube satellite platforms, securing $1.5 million in support funding while saving $5 million.
Field Grade Officer Category
Maj. David R. Jarnot, Air Force Sustainment Center, Hill Air Force Base. Jarnot showcased his leadership abilities as Pharmacy Flight Commander, leading Utah’s busiest outpatient pharmacy operation, processing 335,000 prescriptions and a $15 million operations budget. Jarnot also led a group to maximize and standardize “best practice” operations across 74 Air Force pharmacy locations. He developed a plan for tri-service standardization in improving the pharmacy patient experience for TRICARE beneficiaries. Jarnot was selected as the Next Generation Military Pharmacist of the Year for 2015, the first Air Force recipient of this prestigious tri-service award.
Civilian Category I
Steven L. Smith, Air Force Sustainment Center, Robins Air Force Base, Georgia. Smith used his expertise as a firefighter while responding to a High Angle Rescue cardiac arrest emergency where he performed CPR and saved a life. Additionally, he managed multiple additional duty programs totaling $270,000. Smith organized local fundraisers for the Muscular Dystrophy Association and Children’s Burn Foundation, Macon Children’s Hospital, Camp Dream and Helping Hearts Day programs and composed $220,000 in state grants for mutual aid ambulance service in the local community.
Civilian Category II
Eric T. Brickson, Air Force Test Center, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. As a Test Engineer, Brickson skillfully collaborated with representatives from the KC-46 Program Executive Office and the Office of the Director of Operational Test and Evaluation to conduct critical Live Fire Test and Evaluation of the KC-46 aircraft. As a first ever, he integrated the results into the KC-46 Systems Integration Laboratory to improve pilot-in-the-loop simulations and foster unique aircrew training opportunities that significantly enhance tactics, techniques and procedures.
Civilian Category III
Andrew M. Mendoza, Air Force Installation and Mission Support Center, Joint Base San Antonio, Texas. Mendoza distinguished himself as Deputy Director of Installations Planning, Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Installations, as well as Lead Civil Engineer Program Analyst at AFIMSC. Mendoza’s outstanding leadership and ceaseless efforts led to Secretary of Defense approval of the closure and realignment of eight European bases, saving the Air Force $250 million per year. Furthermore, Mendoza represented Headquarters Air Force in supporting the Department of State in negotiations with a key North Atlantic Treaty Organization ally regarding planned reductions, ensuring a streamlined Air Force presence and savings of $35 million per year. Finally, Mendoza developed new business rules for five major Air Force programs that merge Air Force Common Output Level Standards with the Program Objective Memorandum process, resulting in a huge paradigm shift for Air Force civil engineers.
Gen. Ellen Pawlikowski, AFMC commander, hosted the awards ceremony. After congratulating the nominees and winners on a job well done, she thanked them for their excellence.
“The men and women of Air Force Materiel Command are represented brilliantly by the people in this room tonight,” Pawlikowski said. “These nominees represent the best of the best, and what they do for our command every day is nothing short of phenomenal.”
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.