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Showcase winners and a new facility

  • Published
  • By Col. Mike Hornitschek
  • 375th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs
As your commander, I'm extremely proud of this base and the men and women who make it "Showcase" every day!

For starters, we just celebrated the winners during our annual awards dinner, and I'm continually impressed by the amount of effort that goes into making our mission and our communities so outstanding. We truly have dedicated members of our team, and I'd like to share just a few of their accomplishments, which speak volumes to the caliber of men and women who we work with every day!

Award winners

Junior Enlisted of the Year: Senior Airman Anthony Koessl, 375th Medical Group, transformed an intensive care room to a temporary burn unit that saved the life of a critically burned patient. He served as a member of a Quick Reaction Force--responding to five indirect fire attacks and protected $50 million worth of assets.

NCO of the Year: Staff Sgt. Jeremy Rivera, 375th Logistics Readiness Squadron, saved the life of a brother in arms by charging out during an attack to drag a wounded Wingman inside and is our Spirit of Hope Award nominee. Like many of our enlisted, he serves in a billet meant for higher grades and led his team through our recent Combined Unit Inspections and coined as an Outstanding Performer!

Senior NCO of the Year: Senior Master Sgt. Andres Silva, Jr., 375th Communications Squadron, led 155 people during a unit deployment while managing more than 13,000 comm tickets that supported our joint warfighters. He also resolved the unit's manpower shortage from 69 percent strength to 82 percent strength all the while organizing high-vis ceremonies and working on his master's degree.

Company Grade Officer: Capt. Aaron Lake, 375th CS, is an award-winning officer who led a 278-person unit to earn an "Excellent" rating during the CUI. He aces his technical certifications and is hand-picked to brief senior leaders/civilians about comm operations--a real go-to expert. Thanks to his personal efforts with the tenant units during the Combined Federal Campaign, the tenant units raised more than $800K in two months alone!

Field Grade Officer: Maj. Joel Bolina, 375th Civil Engineer Squadron, managed and defended our programming budget that covers several critical functions throughout the base. He's known as the "best engineer" his the A7 circles managing more than $35 million in construction contracts. Always at the ready, he's certified with FEMA and achieved 100 percent deployment readiness for his unit!

First Sergeant: Mater Sgt. Edward Smith, 375th MDG, is a great example of the quality care that's provided to our Airmen every day. He facilitated more than $17 million in care for Team Scott, and raised $1.6K for base initiatives through the First Sgts. Group. He recently earned his third CCAF degree and led a $5K home renovation for an elderly couple. That's compassion in action!

Honor Guard: SrA Kilpatrick Wilson, Jr., 375th LRS, set the standard of excellence for 1,320 Honor Guard missions over a six state area--the third largest AOR in the Air Force. He's the top trainer and devoted personal time to assist in writing the Air Force's Honor Guard training manual.

Volunteer: A1C Jacob Beeman, 375th Communications Support Squadron, can be seen all around the base as the president of the First Four organization that raised almost $2K for base Airmen and helped increase membership by 25 percent. He's also the secretary of his unit's Airman's council and initiated a guest speaker program. He was also instrumental in choreographing the our 9/11 Ceremony and dedication and mentors children interested in the legal system.

Civilian Cat I: Ms. Mika Detmer, 375th CS, maintains the local network infrastructure supporting our tenants and was rated No. 1 in all of AMC's cyber civilians, closing $34 million worth of projects. She also earned the 2010 AF Dominance Outstanding Civilian Technician and unit civilian of the year two consecutive times.

Civilian Cat II: Mr. Mark White, 375th CSPTS, provides mission critical application development support and was key to the unit earning an "Excellent" in our CUI. He managed the RODEO software program and verified 145 comm requirements for the high-vis event. As system administrator, he volunteered to maintain 96 school computers and two servers--saving the school more than $60K in service fees.

Civilian Cat III: Ms. Janet Grissom, 375th Force Support Squadron, served both as the base's fulltime Civilian Personnel chief and the 375th Mission Support Group deputy for six months and earned AMC's FSS Manager of the Year. Her superior leadership is recognized AMC-wide as she benchmarked an educational initiative on behalf of USTRANSCOM.

These folks are just amazing! And while all of our nominees are worthy of recognition, these Airmen will represent our wing extremely well at the base-level boards ... Good Luck!

New Facility

In addition to our annual award winners, I want to personally thank the numerous men and women who've been involved with bringing our new $7.4 million, 21,500 sq. ft. aeromedical evacuation facility into being! We recently celebrated the grand opening with a ribbon cutting and tour and can say: It's totally awesome!

The many people who worked on the project included the 375th Aeromedical Evacuation, Civil Engineering, Contracting and Comptroller Squadrons, as well as the architectural firm Korte Design, general contractor Charpie-Korte/Joint Venture and government oversight of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Louisville Division. It takes a team to make something this fantastic happen! Of course, none of it would be possible without the advocacy of Illinois Congressman Jerry Costello who secured the funding for this project. As he said during the ceremony, he wanted a better environment for us to perform our mission, and we are indeed grateful for his support!

It's going to be such an awesome building for 163 of our active duty, Guard and Reserve men and women who train, mobilize deploy in support of the AE mission . They are the Air Force flagship AES! They are driven to be dedicated, effective, and safe ... so safe, that they've won the Air Mobility Command's Patient Safety Award four consecutive years now.

This building also represents where the Air Force is going in new construction with LEED certification, which stands for Leadership, Energy and Environmental Design. LEED provides a framework for designers to work toward sustainable buildings, and for us (the Air Force) that means energy efficiency, being better to the environment such as using less water and savings in operational costs.

LEED consists of a ratings system: Certified, Silver (the Air Force designs to that standard), Gold and Platinum, and we're hoping that we'll be evaluated and rated as Gold because this is one amazing building!

For instance, it has 42 geothermal wells located 300 feet below the surface, which helps with the heating/cooling systems, a solar powered water heater on the roof to help relieve pressure from the electric/gas systems. There'll be water efficient landscaping with the sod and bushes so there's no need for irrigation (sprinkling system.) That's a huge savings for us with water use, and that--along with eco-friendly plumbing system, contributes to an overall 20 percent reduction in water usage.

One final aspect of this project is demolishing Bldg. 505, the original AES building, beginning in March and concluding in April. Bldg. 505 has had a great legacy, but it has outlived its ability to serve us so I invite all former Bldg. 505 occupants to come out during our demolition kickoff to help us retire that building! More information will be forthcoming through our email channels. Until then, enjoy your new building and keep on putting the Showcase in "Showcase Wing!"