AFMC honors Airmen for excellence

  • Published
  • By Estella Holmes, Air Force Materiel Command

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio – The Air Force Materiel Command honored top Airmen for 2021 during the Annual Excellence Award Banquet March 23, 2022.

During a ceremony in the Modern Flight Gallery of the National Museum of the United States Air Force, nominees in nine separate categories: Airman, non-commissioned officer, senior non-commissioned officer, first sergeant, company grade officer, field grade officer, civilian category I, civilian category II and civilian category III, were recognized from throughout AFMC's headquarters, centers and wings.

As the servicing major command for the U.S. Space Force, AFMC also recognized the high performers supporting Space Force missions.

“This is an historic evening. This is first annual awards program at AFMC that includes Airmen who are supporting the U.S. Space Force. We hope you know how much we appreciate you and hope you are glad to be a part of this,” said Gen. Arnold W. Bunch, Jr., AFMC commander.

Senior leaders and well-wishers from across the command and the Space Force joined Bunch, who hosted the event, to recognize each of this year’s nominees and winners.

Chief Master Sgt. David A. Flosi, AFMC command chief, was on hand to provide opening remarks and celebrate the top Airmen.

“Our enemies don’t sleep well at night not because of these things we are surrounded by right now, the B-52 and the Bird of Prey; they actually don’t sleep well because of all of you and the Airmen like you. You represent the very thing that makes our Air Force the greatest, our people,” said Flosi.

The 2021 AFMC winners are:

AIRMAN OF THE YEAR: Senior Airman Kayla L. Stevens is a civil law paralegal in the Office of the Staff Judge Advocate, 66th Air Base Group, Hanscom Air Force Base, Massachusetts. Stevens assumed the vacant military justice Non-Commissioned Officer In Charge position, managing three courts and producing 32 trial records without appellate errors. She was a crucial asset to the installation’s Headquarters Judge Advocate inspection and was awarded Top Performer for work review and corrections efforts. Stevens was ranked number one of 44 Airmen and promoted to Senior Airman below-the-zone.

NON-COMMISSIONED OFFICER OF THE YEAR: Tech. Sgt. Jennifer G. Thomas served as supervisor, Air Force Vehicle Fleet Support, 441st Vehicle Support Chain Operations Squadron, 735th Supply Chain Operations Group, 635th Supply Chain Operations Wing, Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia. Thomas was instrumental in support of the Department of Homeland Security. Her expertise shone through in the deployment of four assets in less than 48 hours to aid the transfer of 3,000 migrants. Furthermore, she led a team of three personnel during the recent Operation Allies Welcome and directed 57 crucial vehicle shipments in support of the 50,000 Afghanistan evacuees, earning her the Wings’ Arthur S. Flemming award.

SENIOR NON-COMMISSIONED OFFICER OF THE YEAR: Master Sgt. Jeramie S. Proctor excelled as superintendent, Operations Divisions, Hill Air Force Base, Utah. Proctor led 435 personnel in sustaining a $304 million network defense system, and a $110 million data center contract to protect 50 hosted programs from cyber exploitation. In addition, he modernized base emergency services for 27,000 personnel by leading a $675,000 network upgrade that earned him the Air Force Sustainment Center Command General Jumper Award for 2021.

FIRST SERGEANT OF THE YEAR: Master Sgt. Crystal R. Bateman excelled as first sergeant, 402d Aircraft Maintenance Group, Warner Robins Air Logistics Complex, Robins Air Force Base, Georgia. Bateman created caring environments, partnered with support agencies and reducing suicides by 75 percent. Bateman was presented the Air Force Sustainment Center Diversity and Inclusion Innovation award.

COMPANY GRADE OFFICER OF THE YEAR: Capt. Troy D. Soileau Jr. performed as the flight commander, 47th Cyberspace Test Squadron, 96th Cyberspace Test Group, 96th Test Wing, Air Force Test Center, Air Force Materiel Command, Eglin Air Force Base, Florida. Soileau oversaw $9 million of equipment in support of 12 critical aircraft and weapons cybersecurity test programs. Additionally, as the 96th Cyberspace Test Group Chief Data Officer, he made strides in transforming how the Group and Wing leveraged large data sources to create more lethal weapon systems for the Air Force.

FIELD GRADE OFFICER OF THE YEAR: Maj. Adam C. Sheridan stood out as deputy chief, Execution Branch, AFWERX, AFVentures, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. Sheridan’s leadership drove accelerated transition of technology programs to Air and Space Force operations. He created and led the first Air Force Industry Counter Intelligence Summit of its kind to provide protection of critical technologies, shielding 1,814 at-risk tech firms from foreign adversary influence. He also pioneered process improvements that slashed proposal-to-contract award timelines by 67% and saved over 6,000 man hours per year across his $742 million small business research portfolio.

CIVILIAN CATEGORY I OF THE YEAR: Christopher D. Stringfield excelled as a pharmacy technician, 88th Diagnostics and Therapeutics Squadron, Wright- Paterson Air Force Base, Ohio. Stringfield expertly managed the $10 million chemotherapy pharmacy program, at the Services’ second largest medical treatment facility. Additionally, he supported preparation of 3,900 infusion medications, providing successful treatment for 82 patients afflicted by the Coronavirus Disease.

CIVILIAN CATEGORY II OF THE YEAR: Pervis C. King stood out as the Counter Improvised Explosive Device program manager, Air Force Security Forces Center, Air Force Installation and Mission Support Center, Joint Base San Antonio, Texas. King led a team of 40 personnel in the largest global force management training review ever done. It resulted in the elimination of 12 critical shortfalls. Additionally, he chaired the Diversity and Inclusion Council creating 23 visual aids and leading four Wing sensing sessions.

CIVILIAN CATEGORY  III OF THE YEAR: Amber L. Evans served as the A-10 Structures Section Chief, 416th Supply Chain Management Squadron, 748th Supply Chain Management Group, 448th Supply Chain Management Wing, Hill Air Force Base, Utah. Evans supervised the A-10 structures section and provided outstanding sustainment support to the fleet of A-10 aircraft. Her efforts enabled the completion of a first article test that saved four months in testing and $5.6 million. She led a process that provided pre-inspection criteria to rank the reparability of A-10 wings from best to worst. She was also instrumental in identifying the best candidates for repair and eliminated over 1,000 labor hours from the repair process.

The 2021 Space Force winners are:

AIRMAN OF THE YEAR: Senior Airman Christopher T. Thao thrived as network operations technician, 50th Communications Squadron, 50th Mission Support Group, Peterson-Schriever Garrison at Schriever Space Force Base, Colorado. Thao deployed in support of Operation Allies Welcome as a security analyst. He supported 9,000 evacuations and distributed 175,000 pounds of aid to 70,000 refugees. He also led the $1.2 million Desktop Infrastructure Overhaul by rebuilding nine servers and 480 workstations. His efforts increased systems availability to 99% for 2,000 personnel, which strengthened the $71 billion mission for 14 globally separated units and 15 special access programs within the Peterson-Schriever Garrison.

NON-COMMISSIONED OFFICER OF THE YEAR: Tech. Sgt. Lloyd Morris Jr. performed as financial operations non-commissioned officer-in-charge, 21st Comptroller Squadron, Peterson Space Force Base, Colorado. Morris was dual-hatted for two bases. He led a 19-member team to elevate the squadron’s performance and supported the delivery of training to 576 personnel specialists across five major commands. Morris earned six installation, major command and Air Force-level awards.

SENIOR NON-COMMISSIONED OFFICER OF THE YEAR: Master Sgt. Kathryn M. North excelled as the career assistance advisor, 50th Force Support Squadron, Schriever Space Force Base, Colorado. She directed 57 development courses and created the Garrison’s first combined First Term Enlisted Course. As the Top 3 president, she led 225 senior non-commissioned officers, as well as the Garrison Annual Awards banquet, two promotion releases, four award and three promotion ceremonies. Finally, North was selected as the Garrison Senior Non-Commissioned Officer of the Quarter and nominee for the Space Operations Command Lance P. Sijan award.

FIRST SERGEANT OF THE YEAR: Master Sgt. Ryan M. Keller stood out as first sergeant, 21st Communications Squadron, 21st Mission Support Group, Peterson Space Force Base, Colorado, Keller’s outstanding leadership was fundamental in leading the Air Force’s largest Communications Squadron, supporting an $8 billion mission that supported five combatant commands, through a two-squadron merger to become the Space Force’s largest unit. Keller lead 704 personnel through a historic service transfer, and was instrumental in the relocation of 149 Airman, while ushering in 84 Guardians, and alleviating 64 personal hardships.

COMPANY GRADE OFFICER OF THE YEAR: Capt. Nathan T. Whitehead was selected to receive the Company Grade Officer Analyst of the Year Award in recognition of his outstanding contributions to mission execution while assigned as flight commander, 17th Test and Evaluation Squadron, Space Delta 12, Schriever Space Force Base, Colorado. Whitehead led a 99-member, $2 million Pacific Theater agile combat employment refueling operation. In addition, he led a 420 hour campaign which enabled a $3 million, six-mission database for the Command. Furthermore, he served as Wargame Project lead, initiating the first Joint Test Program Office exercise validating the Air Force Research Laboratory’s hypersonic concept of operations.

FIELD GRADE OFFICER OF THE YEAR: Maj. Ashton E. Harvey stood out as chief, Engineering and Operations Division of the Indications and Warnings Systems Program Office, National Reconnaissance Office, Chantilly, Virginia. He revamped the test program on a $245 million operational prototype space command and control software system to protect a $50 billion fleet of satellites. He also revamped the program’s data on-boarding process. New data sources increased by 75 days and the number of objects tracked tripled. This win was touted by the Director of the National Reconnaissance Office during a testimony to congress.

CIVILIAN CATEGORY II OF THE YEAR: Kathleen W. Rojewski thrived as a security specialist, 17th Test and Evaluation Squadron, Space Delta 12, Schriever Space Force Base, Colorado. Rojewski revised a delta-level security policy, baselining 20 requirements across four units, cutting the security read-in timeline by 33 percent. She managed the security transfer of classified programs through the stand-up of the United States Space Force which enabled a $5 billion field command test portfolio. Additionally, she serves as a professor for the Army Reserve Officer Training Corps where she mentors 14 cadets.

CIVILIAN CATEGORY III OF THE YEAR: Leslie T. Hall served as technical advisor, 17th Test and Evaluation Squadron, Space Delta 12, Schriever Space Force Base, Colorado. Hall provided technical advice on all space electronic and orbital warfare system tests, as well as space domain awareness and missile warning tests, totaling a $3 billion test portfolio. He directly impacted the success of a $4.7 million electromagnetic-spectrum upgrade to field a $298 million system in response to a United States Central Command urgent operational need.

To close the ceremony, Bunch remarked on the winners and noted the significance of this year’s event held during the 75th Air Force Anniversary year.

“Our Airmen do the things that make us the most dominant Air Force in the world. Our award winners represent all of these Airmen and are truly the best of the best. You are all winners and have done an amazing job. You should be very proud of what you’ve done,” he said. “As the Air Force celebrates 75 years, and today we are supporting the youngest service, the U.S. Space Force, I realized I’ve been in the Air Force more than half time we’ve been in existence.  We’ve accomplished a lot in that time and will certainly do more because we’ll be powered by you.”

Winners in the four enlisted categories will represent AFMC in the United States Air Force Outstanding Airmen of the Year and First Sergeant of the Year competitions held later this year.

The complete AFMC Excellence Awards Banquet video can be viewed at: