AFIMSC Airman named top AFMC civilian

  • Published
  • AFIMSC Public Affairs

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas – A contract specialist in the 764th Enterprise Sourcing Squadron at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, took home top honors during the Air Force Materiel Command Annual Excellence Award Banquet April 5.

Alton “James” Hufstetler Jr. was named AFMC Category II Civilian of the Year during the banquet, held in the Modern Flight Gallery of the National Museum of the United States Air Force at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. During the event AFMC honored Airmen and Guardians competing in 18 categories. 

“You are why I don’t worry about our nation’s future,” said Gen. Duke Z. Richardson, AFMC commander, as he addressed the nominees. “I challenge you to continue serving according to our core values and to make every day count.”

“You are the reason why AFMC was so successful in 2022.”

As the lead contract specialist for his section, Hufstetler provides advice and guidance, ensuring all business aspects of acquisition are considered, including risk and incentivization. 

“James is witty, a quick thinker, calm, innovative, unwavering and relentlessly positive,” said Elizabeth Moehlenbrock, chief of the 764th ESS Information Technology and Enterprise Sourcing Section.

In 2022, he led and developed five teammembers while executing a $1.3 billion portfolio. He was instrumental in the acquisition of a 10-year, European-wide information technology services contract worth $1 billion. Hufstetler also developed an innovative proposal review strategy that reduced his team’s workload by nearly 200 hours.

“He is a military spouse with a heart for service, always putting others ahead of himself and looking for ways he can help a teammate or be a Wingman. He is an anchor in his community and supports his contracting mission partners with the same selfless dedication he commits to Airmen and families both in and out of work,” Moehlenbrock said. 

Here are the other Air Force Installation and Mission Support Center 2022 annual award winners who represented the center at the AFMC banquet. Congratulations to all of them for their dedication and outstanding performance in executing AFIMSC’s mission in 2022!

As an aerospace medical technician for the Air Force Security Forces Center’s Desert Defender Ground Combat Readiness Training Center at Fort Bliss, Texas, Anchondo provides medical coverage and combat first aid training for 180 assigned Airmen and 5,800 students every year. He’s also a tactical combat casualty care instructor and combat life saver instructor.
“Senior Airman Anchondo's infectious enthusiasm and positivity constantly boosts the Desert Defender Medical Operations mission. He utilizes his emergency medicine expertise to save lives across the 1.2 million acres of ranges, responding to anything from tactical vehicle rollover victims to gunshot wounds,” said Lt. Col. Christopher Thompson, Desert Defender Ground Combat Readiness Training Center commander.

In 2022, Anchondo saved the Air Force more than $500,000 by developing a data-driven, on-site medical care plan for 3,500 deployers training over high-risk ranges. He also resurrected the combat life saver course, engineering a realistic high-stress training environment, certifying 21 cadre and helping to  integrate trauma lanes into the Mission Focused Rehearsal Training course to help ready 300 warfighters for the mission. Off-duty, while maintaining a 4.0 grade point average in his pursuit of two degrees, Anchondo found time to organize morale events for Desert Defender families and volunteer for community food drives.
“He’s a highly motivated leader among his peers, always first to volunteer, working tirelessly to make the mission happen,” Thompson added. “He whole-heartedly dedicates himself to innovating and improving medical operations both in the clinic and in the field, all while balancing being a fantastic single father to his two children.”

In her role as the building partner capacity program manager, AFIMSC Detachment 2, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, Bowden executes the international engagements program for the Headquarters Pacific Air Forces Security Forces Directorate by organizing and leading security forces subject matter expert exchanges, outreaches and key leader engagements.

“She’s filled with passion and drive. Her desire to pursue personal and professional milestones with a high standard of excellence has enabled her to grow,” said Master Sgt. Andre Sanchez-Romero, PACAF Antiterrorism Program manager. “Her experiences leading up to today have helped mold her into a leader, as well as someone any Airman or Guardian can go to for guidance, support and mentorship.”

In 2022, Bowden coordinated a 5-year trilateral key leader and SME exchange plan and synchronized events with U.S. Indo-Pacific Command operation plans, fostering agile combat employment capabilities for 46,000 PACAF Airmen across nine bases and netting her an AFIMSC Lane P. Sijan Leadership award nomination. She also drove planning efforts for three multilateral PACAF exercises, organizing travel for 81 partner nation participants and better preparing the combined joint force posture for near-peer threats. Off-duty, she led a team of 22 Airmen to distribute more than 2,000 essential items to help 820 homeless families. 

As the future operations manager for the Air Force Installation Contracting Center’s Operating Location Pacific, JBPHH, Castro oversees deployment readiness for 198 contingency contracting professionals from six contracting squadrons. He is also the major command’s lead contracting functional planner, injecting logistical support to more than 30 annual operations supporting the combatant command’s 13 operational plans and 380,000 joint personnel.

“He has been punching above his weight class for a long time now. Not only does he have the expertise to be a highly functioning action officer across a myriad of positions within the MAJCOM staff, but he also has the willingness to meet any of those positions, extremely well, when called to do so,” said Lt. Col. John Travieso, AFICC Operating Location Pacific. 

In 2022, Castro solved a critical U.S. Northern Command shortfall by sourcing and deploying a contract team in 72 hours for the Arctic's largest exercise. The team secured critical support for 1,000 participants from 35 U.S. and Canadian squadrons. He also synchronized Air Force and Marine Corps logistic strategies for 192 personnel during a short-notice. six-ship F-35 Republic of Korea deployment. His actions contributed to the ceasing of hostilities by North Korea and garnered recognition from the 413th Brigade commander. 

“His efforts in the advancement of operational contract support significantly improved combined task force operations, set the theater up for potential near-peer combat operations and make agile combat employment – an Air Force chief of staff priority – a  reality in U.S. Indo-Pacific Command. His efforts are having a direct impact on supporting our nation’s highest national security priorities,” Travieso added. 

As first sergeant for the Desert Defender Ground Combat Readiness Training Center, Detachment 3, Lawson is the principal advisor to the commander of three units and 18 wing staff agencies. He mentors 6,000 students annually and is a first responder to all student issues, coordinating with home base leadership across 68 locations.

“Lawson’s impact on Desert Defender and our mission on behalf of Defender nation's more than 40,000 members is immeasurable,” Thompson said. “Every deploying Defender comes to this unit for training, and Lawson helps ensure that the challenges we all face in our lives do not prevent Airmen from accomplishing their training.”

In 2022, Lawson fostered resilience across his organization and throughout the community. Applying suicidal intervention skills, he stopped four ideation situations and transported people in need to medical care. He also coordinated with six agencies to create a rehabilitation plan and ensure each patient returned to duty. He also organized nine outreach events for Airmen, bridging the gap between junior enlisted and senior leaders and creating a safe place to strengthen the well-being of 415 dorm residents.

“He is a humble leader and skilled mentor who prefers to coach others into the spotlight of success rather than being recognized himself,” Thompson added. 

Elliott is the chief of the Joint Explosive Ordnance Technology Division and senior Air Force advisor to the Naval Special Warfare Center Indian Head, Maryland, base commander. In that role, he oversees 35 civilian and military personnel across four joint service detachments. He also serves as the Material Acceptance Board chair and explosive ordnance disposal technology program manager responsible for innovating maneuver solutions for tomorrow's war.

“Capt. Elliott is an incredible leader,” said Col. Matthew Stanford, AFCEC readiness director. “He's likely the most junior division chief within all of AFCEC, but is still having important enterprise-level impacts. He leads an elite team of hand-selected EOD technicians at our Indian Head operating location, housed within a joint service EOD formation.”

In 2022, Elliott led a nine-member elite team and managed a $62 million research and development portfolio. He also approved and transitioned 10 critical tools for joint use, a 90% increase over previous years. Additionally, as the chair of the joint Military Technical Acceptance Board, Elliott oversaw nine publication process improvement events leading to the creation of 290 technical orders, closing a strategic competitor weapons info coverage gap by 43%.

“His team's work impacts EOD technician safety every day, as they develop and vet critical publications, procedures and tools. He's a proactive leader that has closed existing gaps not only within his assigned responsibilities, but also on several larger efforts related to civil engineer readiness,” Stanford said. 

As the operations branch chief for AFIMSC Detachment 4, Ober communicated Air Force engineering policy to the U.S. Air Forces in Europe staff for optimized base management. In October, she was hand-picked to support Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve as the engineering deputy overseeing a 376-person staff that built seven facilities for Kurdish forces and four structures to house 3,000 displaced people.

“Maj. Ober is the type of civil engineer who is always looking for ways to improve our organization and its processes and takes the initiative to do so,” said Chuck Meshako, AFIMSC Det. 4 Civil Engineer Division chief. “She is a tremendous asset.”

In 2022, she orchestrated a two-week, multi-lateral, asset management site visit to five Royal Air Force installations in the United Kingdom that included six staff officers across multiple agencies. Focused on programming fidelity and condition assessments, the trip was key to optimizing $748 million in military construction. She also reinvigorated a post-COVID Strategic Infrastructure Investment Group working group summit, hosting 22 project programmers across USAFE main operating bases to enhance corporate knowledge and advocate for $60 million in construction task order projects. 

She was also hand-picked to serve as a mission area working group chair during the 2022 I-WEPTAC, leading 53 Airmen to develop enterprise solutions for integrating small unmanned aircraft systems into installation and mission support functions.

“The complexity associated with those actions with respect to coordinating with both communications and operations and the potential applicability of SUAS not only within civil engineering but across the installation and mission support portfolio cannot be overstated,” Meshako said. 

As a second-year intern in the Copper Cap program, Bito executed $3.38 million in contract actions and is routinely involved with the activities within the 766th ESS that bolster morale and connectedness.

“Aaron is an outstanding intern. As the squadron's most junior contract specialist, he accelerated his professional development by immersing himself in formal and on-the-job training, self-study and self-improvement,” said Geoff Ellazar, supervisory contract specialist with the 766th ESS. 

In 2022, despite having only one year of experience, he was key to Pacific Air Forces acquisitions and executed nine actions valued at $5 million for major command directorates and medical group facilities. He also worked an $8 million medical information technology contract in less than two weeks, securing warfighter support for the PACAF surgeon general and providing zero service lapse for nine military treatment facilities and 50,000 patients.

“Aaron has been a role model,” Ellazar said, “easily keeping pace, and at times setting the pace for non-commissioned officer cross trainees new to the contracting career field. He is an emerging contracting and mission focused business leader whose focus is greater than just learning federal procurement as he is also devoted to acquisition solutions which best meet the operational nuances and needs of each mission partner and every supported unit.” 

As an attorney-advisor, Sumpter delivers advice, service and support on legal matters to her customers across AFIMSC and its subordinate units. 

“Rhonda embodies selfless service on and off duty. She consistently and quietly goes the extra mile in supporting her clients at AFIMSC, AFCEC and AFICC, working to find solutions to the most difficult challenges and ensuring the largest construction projects move forward,” said Maj. Justin Hess, Acquisition Law Division chief. 

In 2022, Sumpter scrutinized an $11.4 million cost increase claim for the Wake Island cargo pad and taxiway ramp repair and validated settlement, saving the Air Force $6 million and avoiding costly time-consuming litigation. She also coordinated the AFCEC response to a bid protest, distilling complicated facts for litigators, and secured quick case dismissal, which allowed the $127 million runway rebuild at Travis Air Force Base, California, to proceed with minimum delay.

“When she is not working, Rhonda dedicates countless hours mentoring and coaching Special Olympics teams in multiple sports year round. Rhonda is the ideal ambassador of professionalism and dedication, helping to make AFIMSC a top-tier organization,” Hess added.