The Outstanding Airmen of 1989

Sept. 1, 1989

The most sought-after ticket at the AFA National Convention is always the one that admits the bearer to the elegant ballroom on Monday night. That’s when the Air Force’s twelve Outstanding Airmen of the Year are presented.

As the following profiles of the Outstanding Airmen of 1989 show, it takes real achievement to be se­lected. These twelve have been chosen from an enlisted force of 466,000 eligible contenders. In the thirty-three years that the Air Force Association has conducted this pro­gram, only 507 individuals have earned the distinction.

•SrA. Michael L. Acker, Mass Spectrometry Technician, Applied Physics Laboratory, McClellan Central Laboratory, Technical Op­erations Division, McClellan AFB, Calif. Airman Acker completed his on-the-job training in less time than any other previously assigned tech­nician, allowing his section to allevi­ate a two-month backlog one month ahead of schedule. He went on to become the top technician in his mass spectrometry section, exceed­ing average technician output by sixty percent. When his section was assigned to move to a new labora­tory, Airman Acker saved the Air Force $150,000 in moving costs. He was instrumental in dismantling, moving, and reassembling more than $2,000,000 worth of delicate equipment. He is also credited with placing the reassembled spectrome­try equipment back in service three weeks ahead of schedule. The data output is now accurate to a degree not previously attained. Airman Acker is now primary trainer on the mass spectrometers.

Airman Acker is currently pursu­ing a bachelor’s degree in physics and has maintained a grade-point average of 4.0. He won top honors from McClellan’s NCO Preparatory Course and in 1988 was recognized as the Technical Operations Divi­sion Airman of the Year and the McClellan AFB Airman of the Year. He is active in the Sacramento com­munity’s Amiga Computer Club and the Planetary Society.

• MSgt. Mary F. Baker, Superin­tendent of Law Enforcement, 513th Security Police Squadron, RAF Mildenhall, United Kingdom. When British Ministry of Defence police became available for work at RAF Mildenhall, Sergeant Baker researched and wrote a set of opera­tional instructions that would inte­grate the British and US law-en­forcement personnel. She was so thorough in her work that her proce­dures were accepted by British and US officials without alterations. She reworked a failing self-inspection program into one that wing inspec­tors called “error-free, best on base, and a model for other units to follow.” Chosen over more senior per­sonnel as the law-enforcement su­perintendent, Sergeant Baker de­veloped fifteen new operating in­structions and eighteen special se­curity instructions. In addition, she automated programs for self-inspec­tion, quality control, and individual evaluation and created a computer­ized test certification process that gives a realistic assessment of test validity.

Sergeant Baker earned a remark­able thirty-nine semester hours in one year and is working toward a degree in business management. She takes a leading role in commu­nity and Air Force projects. She was named Outstanding NCO of the Quarter by both her wing and her squadron; was chosen Law En­forcement NCO of the Year by 513th ACCW, Third Air Force, and USAFE; and was selected Out­standing NCO of the Year by her squadron, 513th ACCW, and Third Air Force.

• SSgt. David E. G. Butler, Ad­ministrative Specialist assigned as Staff Administrative Technician, Hq. Human Systems Division, Brooks AFB, Tex. Sergeant Butler was promoted to staff sergeant after only three years of service. As man­ager of command suspenses, Ser­geant Butler developed a computer­ized suspense tracking system, from which he provides HSD’s Chief of Staff weekly reports of sus­penses. His development of a streamlined OES/APR tracking sys­tem has resulted in zero late re­ports. He redesigned HSD Individ­ual Mobilization Augmentee pro­gram training schedules and was selected to prepare the command­er’s daily read file.

Sergeant Butler is currently com­pleting a degree in electrical engi­neering. Nevertheless, he still finds time to donate an average of seven hours per month as a volunteer for Family Services and to assist in pre­school classes at his church. He helped form a new Cub Scout troop at his church and is an assistant scoutmaster. Sergeant Butler was honored as Airman of the Quarter by both Hq. HSD and Brooks AFB. He received the John Levitow Award as a graduate of the NCO Preparatory Course. He was named the Brooks AFB Enlisted Adminis­trator (Administration Manage­ment) of the Year. He was also named Airman of the Year by the Human Systems Division and by Air Force Systems Command.

• Sgt. Stephen M. Kravitsky, Min­uteman Team Chief, Electro-Me­chanical Team Section, Missile Electrical Branch, 321st Organiza­tional Missile Maintenance Squad­ron, 321st Strategic Missile Wing, Grand Forks AFB, N. D. At twen­ty-one years of age, Sergeant Kra­vitsky is the youngest of this year’s twelve Outstanding Airmen, but he clearly knows his way around a mis­sile. Thanks to his efforts in securi­ty system maintenance, the 321st Strategic Missile Wing can claim the highest security-system reliability rate in SAC. He was able to com­plete more than 350 work orders in support of emergency war orders and AFLC contractor support maintenance, while sustaining an unprecedented maintenance data collection accuracy rate of 97.8 per­cent. He saved more than 1,000 man-hours by clearing security mal­functions that had tied up twenty-one missile security sentry teams.

Sergeant Kravitsky performed an emergency entry into one missile site in a way that avoided the use of a destructive entry procedure—sav­ing USAF $75,000. He was selected to be the Lead Electro-Mechanical Team Chief for Glory Trip-129, an operational test launch, at Vanden­berg AFB in California.

Sergeant Kravitsky earned the John L. Levitow Award while at­tending the NCO Preparatory Course. He was named the 321st Strategic Missile Wing’s Airman of the Month and SAC ICBM Mainte­nance Airman of the Month. He is active in the Knights of Columbus and plays on his squadron’s basket­ball and volleyball teams.

Sergeant LaRosa holds a master’s degree with specialties in manage­ment and computer resource man­agement. He is a lay minister and youth coordinator at the Peterson chapel and an assistant den leader for the Cub Scouts. He was active in the Special Olympics and coached the Wing’s basketball team. He is currently participating in a bowl-a-­thon for muscular dystrophy. His one-man shop was honored as the 1988 Best Budget Office in MAC, Category III. He received the Wing Commander’s Award as a MAC IG outstanding performer and was named the Peterson AFB Com­plex NCO of the Year for 1988. He is the Primary Tax Representative and Savings Bond Drive OPR for his wing and serves as the wing’s alter­nate OJT monitor.

• MSgt. William H. Nodine, NCOIC, T-38 Flightline Support Section, 12th Field Maintenance Squadron, 12th Flying Training Wing, Randolph AFB, Tex. Under his stewardship, his jet engine test cell completed 1,149 performance and functional test runs while main­taining a reject rate of 2.9 percent, well below the ATC standard of 4.8. His technique for training engine technicians greatly increased their ability to troubleshoot without re­moving engines, which helped Ran­dolph achieve the highest fiscal year mission-capable rate in the history of ATC. The rate for T-37s soared to 90.7 percent and the T-38 rate to 85.9. Randolph also had the lowest deferred maintenance rates in ATC history: 0.23 for T-37s and 0.65 for T-38s.

While maintaining his normal work load, Sergeant Nodine pro­vided sixty engine tests per month, plus technical assistance, to the ATC Queen Bee maintenance con­tractor. By so doing, he was able to save the Air Force $600,000 per year in contractor support fees. He broke another record through his ef­forts to procure new equipment that would allow J69 test stands to ac­commodate J85 engines, thus achieving the highest J85 spare en­gine in-commission rate in the histo­ry of ATC.

Sergeant Nodine is pursuing his second associate in arts degree, plus a bachelor’s degree, and is en­rolled in the Senior NCO Academy. He was Senior NCO of the Year for Randolph AFB and for his squadron and was Squadron Senior NCO of the Quarter. He was honored by the city of San Antonio for outstanding service to the community.

• MSgt. Michelle D. Oakes, De­tachment Chief of the AFCC De­tachment, Transmitter Facility, OLA, 1957th Communications Group, Bellows AFS, Hawaii. Ser­geant Oakes earned her grade under the Stripes for Exceptional Per­formers program. Thanks to her ef­forts, the purchase and installation of two unnecessary omni antennas were canceled, saving the Air Force more than $213,000 in one year alone. She consolidated on-hand heavyweight log periodic antennas into a matrix system, thereby ensur­ing a reliable backup to the Mystic Star Presidential support mission. Sergeant Oakes helped her division earn an excellent rating during an operational readiness inspection.

Sergeant Oakes is enrolled in the Senior NCO Academy correspon­dence course and has maintained a perfect grade-point average of 4.0 in college courses. She supervised a major self-help project at her site’s dormitories that included repainting the entire facility and installing a new security fence surrounding more than 560 acres. She coordi­nated the filming of scenes at Bel­lows for the television series “Mag­num, P. I.” She is the Senior NCO of the Year for AFCC, Pacific Commu­nications Division, and 1957th Communications Group. She is president of the Hickam AFB Falcon Youth Booster Group, a “T-Ball Mom,” and a volunteer for Special Olympics.

• TSgt. Vincent E. Paoletta, Ma­terial Facilities Supervisor, 347th Supply Squadron, 347th Tactical Fighter Wing, Moody AFB, Ga. In 1983, while taking his three-level examination, he achieved the high­est score to date for the 436th MAW. He is credited for leading his section and branch to a rating of “Outstand­ing—Best Seen to Date” during the recent TAC Unit Effectiveness In­spection. His high standards for supply operations have resulted in a remarkable accuracy rate of 98.46 percent and a refusal rate of zero at base supply. He oversees most of the branch’s key projects.

Sergeant Paoletta designed and constructed forty bin rows to house more than 12,000 F-16 spares. This effort was a large contribution to his wing’s achieving the smoothest F-16 conversion to date. After only five years in the Air Force, he was pro­moted under the Stripes for Excep­tional Performers program.

Sergeant Paoletta is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in engineering and has a grade-point average of 3.63. He was a multiaward winner upon graduation from the NCO Leadership School and is now en­rolled in the Senior NCO Academy correspondence course. He is a vol­unteer counselor for troubled teens and teaches Sunday school at his church. He was Outstanding Senior Supply Technician of the Year for both Ninth Air Force and TAC. He also earned recognition as NCO of the Month and NCO of the Quarter for Supply and was the 347th TFW’s Outstanding NCO of the Quarter.

• TSgt. Alva Patterson, Supply Systems Analyst, Hq. Air Force Logistics Command, Deputy Chief of Staff/Distribution, Directorate of Supply. Her Base Automated Ser­vice Store project for Air Logistics Centers conserved more than 300 manpower positions service-wide, allowing for increased productivity at the store level. The average cus­tomer was spared an estimated six­ty-two seconds of shopping time per line item purchased. The project also benefited USAF, saving $4.5 million per year.

Sergeant Patterson’s extensive knowledge of the supply computer system causes her to be called away on temporary duty to various AFLC units. She came to the rescue at Robins AFB after that base’s supply computer had been down for more than a week. The existing backlog was a virtual nightmare, but she was able to bring the system back on line in less than seventy-two hours, re­covering more than 1,000 line-item issues and back orders.

Sergeant Patterson is pursuing a degree in data processing. She is active in her local Parent-Teacher Association and is a Red Cross vol­unteer. She was chosen the AFLC NCO of the Year and graduated from the AFLC NCO Academy with two major honors: the Com­mandant’s Award and the NCO As­sociation Communicative Skills Award.

• Sgt. Timothy R. Rademacher, Communications Maintenance Technician, 6911th Electronic Secu­rity Squadron, Hahn AB, West Ger­many. Sergeant Rademacher keeps a sharp eye out for the good of the Air Force. One example of this is his discovery of usable electronics equipment that was gathering dust in a government salvage yard. After securing permission, Sergeant Rademacher purchased, repaired, and installed the equipment, there­by saving the service more than $50,000. His keen awareness also contributed toward national securi­ty when he discovered what he thought to be classified information contained in the annual Air Force Inventory Survey. He was subse­quently able to protect the material that was indeed classified.

Sergeant Rademacher was in charge of converting his unit’s “B” hut from tube-theory to solid-state equipment. The conversion was completed without disrupting ser­vice, increasing circuit reliability by twelve percent. He also led an up­grade of power wiring and signal ca­bling equipment, which channeled three operational units into one.

Sergeant Rademacher is working toward degrees in electronic engi­neering and computer science. He is well versed in communications and cryptographic machinery and was able to develop a training pro­gram to qualify Teletype techni­cians on cryptographic equipment. He twice won Airman of the Quarter for logistics and earned that honor for both the 6911th ESS and the 691st ESW. He was named the ESC Communications-Electronics Maintenance Technician of the Year.

TSgt. Raymond N. Walker, Jr., NCOIC of Electronic Warfare Sys­tems, 6200th Tactical Fighter Train­ing Squadron, Clark AB, the Philip­pines. Sergeant Walker is credited with greatly improving both the Cope Thunder electronic combat training scenario and its corre­sponding data-reporting proce­dures. His analysis of the radar-warning receiver and 1FF proce­dures used in Cope Thunder exer­cises enabled both Hq. PACAF and the IG team to implement com­mand-wide directives on acceptable testing procedures. In addition, he was instrumental in the creation of a manpower planning guide, used by Cope Thunder participants to pro­ject and maintain manpower re­quirements. Units returning home from Cope Thunder will also benefit by his efforts through his updated version of the redeployment proce­dures handbook. He has updated and reviewed many other logistics products, including the Advance Party and Special Assignment Air­lift Mission Processing checklists.

Sergeant Walker has nearly com­pleted his college degree and is en­rolled in the NCO Academy corre­spondence course. In addition to his other duties, he manages the squad­ron Land Mobile Radio Net, which has assets of more than $75,000. He is an active member of the squadron Morale Club’s Fund Committee and is a financial counseling advisor for the Family Support Center. He earned honors as NCO of the Quarter and as NCO of the Year.

• MSgt. Stephen C. Woodard, NCOIC and Chief of the Electronic Warfare Section, 124th Consoli­dated Aircraft Maintenance Squad­ron, Idaho Air National Guard. Ser­geant Woodard is one of those rare individuals who have directly af­fected a weapon system. The arm­ing of all RF-4C aircraft, which have been unarmed for twenty-five years, has been made possible through his efforts. He single-hand­edly designed aircraft wiring, fire-control panels, and cockpit switch­es, which he then adapted for use with AIM-9 missiles on existing LAU-7 missile rails. He tested his design on a jet in Boise and later supervised a live-firing run at Eglin AFB. His modification was so suc­cessful that it was adopted for use by the entire RF-4C fleet.

Sergeant Woodard then turned his attention to modifying the air­craft’s chaff and flare dispensing system. The resulting modification, which used the RF-4C’s internal ejector racks, was adopted for use throughout the fleet. It is little won­der that his fifteen-man shop has a waiting list of personnel wishing to join.

Sergeant Woodard is pursuing a degree in business administration. He completed the USAF Senior NCO Academy correspondence course. He is a prize-winning coun­try-and-western dancer and is part of a group that took second place in a national competition at Reno. He received the Air Force Commenda­tion Medal for his work on the chaff dispenser and was named NCO of the Quarter and NCO of the Year.

Susan Katz-Keating, a writer for Insight Magazine since 1985, specializes in military topics. Her most recent article for AIR FORCE Magazine, “Blue Two,” appeared in the April ’89 issue.