Outstanding Airmen of the Year

Aug. 29, 2017

The program debuted at the Air Force Asso­ciation’s 10th annual National Convention in 1956.

The Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force and the command chief master sergeants from each USAF major command comprise the selection board, with the Air Force Chief of Staff reviewing their selections.

Get to know this year’s outstanding airmen:

SMSgt. Raymond T. Artis Jr.

Operations Flight Chief 8th Communications Squadron (Pacific Air Forces)Kunsan AB, South KoreaHome of Record: East Orange, N.J.

SMSgt. Raymond T. Artis Jr. led a team of 103 cyber professionals who maintained communications support for 22 units and 3,000 combatants, while sustaining command and control capabilities for an aircraft fleet with 6,900 annual sorties. As the operations leader, he oversaw network upgrades for $36.6 million in projects, resolved over 3,800 jobs, and postured war assets against North Korean hostilities. He led the largest peninsula operational readiness exercise support by engineering network and phone capabilities for 1,000 joint and coalition forces, resulting in 737 successful sorties. He steered the Environmental Control System network beddown and delivered heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning management across 34 sites.

MSgt. Johann Ko

MQ-9 Evaluator Sensor Operator 78th Attack Squadron (Air Force Reserve Command)Creech AFB, Nev.Home of Record: Fremont, Calif.

MSgt. Johann Ko flew 952 combat hours supporting National Command Authority objectives that enabled 19 engagements and killed 47 insurgents. He led an 11-person flight and authored wing-, group-, and squadron-level awards packages to secure awards for 11 airmen. As an MQ-9 instructor and evaluator, Ko executed 56 upgrade events, taught over 85 flight hours, and certified 11 members on moving target attack. Additionally, Ko led 28 Total Force integrated aircrew members as section chief. His team eliminated two Tier 1 high-value targets and was awarded back-to-back 432nd Air Expeditionary Wing Mission Crew of the Quarter awards. Ko graduated from the NCO Academy as a distinguished graduate.

MSgt. Joshua D. Malyemezian

Contingency Support Section Chief 55th Contracting Squadron (Air Combat Command)Offutt AFB, Neb.Home of Record: Spring, Texas

MSgt. Joshua D. Malyemezian’s innovative efforts to improve the 55th Wing’s contracting process secured a $90 million multiple-award construction contract that increased mission capabilities and directly contributed to his unit’s selection as the Air Combat Command’s large contracting squadron of the year for 2016. Malyemezian partnered with the 55th Medical Group on a 68-personnel contract merger, consolidating 29 contracts to four, reducing the administrative burden by 87 percent and saving $11 million over three years.

MSgt. Michael J. Stevens

Military Training Flight Chief USAF School of Aerospace Medicine (Air Force Materiel Command)Wright-Patterson AFB, OhioHome of Record: Brooklyn, N.Y.

MSgt. Michael J. Stevens was instrumental in directing Air Force Materiel Command’s sole military training program by ensuring the health, morale, and safety of 486 airmen. He improved a dormitory entry-control program that reduced unauthorized entries to zero. He led the Airman Leadership Program at the 711th Human Performance Wing, mentoring and developing 71 airmen. This resulted in 24 distinguished and honor graduates, the highest rate in three years. He set up an airman development program, leading 80 mentoring sessions that shaped three Airman Quarterly Award winners. Furthermore, he finalized an agreement that saved the Air Force $921,000 in annual basic allowance for housing. Stevens’ professionalism and leadership abilities were key to his selection as AFMC’s 2015 NCO Military Training Leader of the Year.

MSgt. Ashley T. Strong

Dental Flight Chief 21st Medical Squadron (Air Force Space Command)Schriever AFB, Colo.Home of Record: Tallassee, Ala.

MSgt. Ashley T. Strong drove US Air Forces in Europe’s largest dental personnel reliability program, supporting 42,000 patient visits, enabling a 99 percent war-ready rate. She undertook Air Force Medical Operations Agency’s top priority by initiating two process improvement teams aimed at building a medical records guide to support Veterans Affairs claims. As the 31st Fighter Wing operations security manager, she led two vulnerability town hall meetings that resulted in a 79 percent reduction in security breaches in 16 squadrons. Strong chaired the Aviano AB, Italy, team that enacted policies responsible for slashing alcohol-related incidents by 34 percent. She championed the GreenDot?violence-prevention education program by facilitating two early adopter courses, 29 overviews, and key spouse training for the Team Peterson community.

TSgt. Jason D. Selberg

MQ-1 Sensor Operator214th Attack Squadron (Air National Guard)Davis-Monthan AFB, Ariz.Home of Record: Marana, Ariz.

TSgt. Jason D. Selberg served as an operator on 134 MQ-1 Predator combat support missions. During one mission, he resolved a troops in contact situation by guiding a Hellfire missile, resulting in three enemy combatants killed. He responded to a convoy taking fire and provided overwatch through full-motion video, resulting in the safe recovery of 15 soldiers. Selberg led the charge to improve real-world combat search and rescue techniques by collaborating and sharing capabilities with a pararescue training team, enhancing relationships and broadening the scope of knowledge of remotely piloted aircraft capabilities. He led 18 members of Arizona’s US Air Force 50 Summits Hiking Program to the top of a mountain, highlighting resiliency and fitness. He volunteered 27 hours to train with Team Rubicon, a veterans-led disaster-response organization.

TSgt. Kyle T. Wilson

Airman Leadership School Instructor 86th Force Support Squadron (US Air Forces in Europe)Ramstein AB, GermanyHome of Record: Starke, Fla.

TSgt. Kyle T. Wilson was instrumental to the success of the Ramstein Airman Leadership School’s mission. He educated 1,407 frontline supervisors across 2,800 classroom hours. Then a staff sergeant, he filled in as the ALS commandant and managed the schoolhouse’s training program while the school transitioned an unprecedented 10 cadre members in a 12-month period. During this time, his professionalism and commitment culminated in his selection as the Air Force’s only staff sergeant certified as a Core Values coach. As a direct result of his mentorship and guidance, Wilson’s team was selected as the Air Force’s A1 Professional Development Team of the Year.

SSgt. Stephen F. Lapointe

Combat Controller24th Special Tactics Squadron (Air Force Special Operations Command)Pope AAF, N.C.Home of Record: Fort Walton Beach, Fla.

SSgt. Stephen F. Lapointe was a vital member of a 120-day joint task force rotation, supporting Navy special operation forces as the air-to-ground subject matter expert. He conducted 75 missions and seven strikes, taking out 30 enemy combatants. While conducting a mission ordered by the President, he identified and controlled an austere landing zone and close air support, eliminating a high-value target. Lapointe’s attention to detail prevented a catastrophic civilian casualty incident when he made a critical “abort” call during a fire mission, saving crucial political and military relationships. He also served as primary air traffic controller in a high-threat environment, controlling 244 aircraft with zero mishaps. Additionally, Lapointe instructed Navy joint terminal attack controllers, qualifying four Navy personnel.

SSgt. Kacper I. Sovinski

Sensors Research and Development Analyst Geospatial Intelligence Analysis Squadron (Air Force District of Washington)Wright-Patterson AFB, OhioHome of Record: Alexandria, Va.

SSgt. Kacper I. Sovinski led a four-member team across five programs to develop the Air Force’s first laser sensor data analysis training program. A senior airman at the time, he executed a two-week study and calibration test to maximize the capabilities of an airborne asset. His technical expertise enabled him to rapidly deploy for Operation Inherent Resolve, performing spectral sensor maintenance and upgrades vital to combatants’ daily operations. He led 63 airmen across 22 community outreach, fund-raising, and professional development events, enriching the military perspective of 228 airmen and improving the quality of life for 55 veterans in hospice care. He received the John L. Levitow award while attending Airman Leadership School.

SrA. Kaitlyn J. Callahan

Physical Medicine Technician 341st Medical Operations Squadron (Air Force Global Strike Command)Malmstrom AFB, Mont.Home of Record: San Antonio

SrA. Kaitlyn J. Callahan served as a physical therapy supervisor for eight months, treated 6,900 patients, and led her flight in winning the wing’s 2016 Professional Team of the Third Quarter award. Callahan’s oversight of two flight safety programs and 14,000 medical record reviews led to the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care Survey hailing the group as the “best-seen clinic in 35 years and 480 inspections” and the group’s Personnel Reliability Program’s “Outstanding” rating during the 2015 Nuclear Surety Inspection. Callahan volunteered 40 hours aiding disabled children and served as an Honor Guard member, completing 24 details. Finally, she won the 2016 US Air Force Physical Medicine Airman of the Year award.

SrA. Brittany F. Fuentes

Weapons Analyst Air Intelligence Squadron (Air Mobility Command)Scott AFB, Ill.Home of Record: Albuquerque, N.M.

SrA. Brittany F. Fuentes deployed to Incirlik AB, Turkey, just before the unsuccessful coup attempt and became the lead analyst for the first 48 hours of an eight-day airfield closure. She provided the premission brief for the first C-17 departure from Incirlik, initiating the evacuation of 708 dependents. She then led her team through a 30-day force protection condition increase, providing 28 intelligence briefings that ensured wing preparedness. At home station, Fuentes managed the Weapons and Tactics Team’s threat assessment process, analyzing 116 enemy attacks in Iraq, Syria, and Afghanistan. She identified enemy tactics, helping safeguard over 69,000 mobility sorties. In addition, she analyzed the threat to a high-risk Iraqi airfield, allowing 23 C-17 missions to go ahead, providing supplies vital to the Mosul, Iraq, offensive.

SrA. Nicole A. Moore

Aerospace Medical Service Technician 59th Medical Operations Squadron (Air Education and Training Command)JBSA-Lackland, TexasHome of Record: San Antonio

SrA. Nicole A. Moore had a key role, as a mass casualty first responder, in US Air Forces Central Command’s largest transitional care ward. Her innovation and attention to detail led to the care ward extending its life support capability by 400 percent, saving the lives of 14 critically injured soldiers. As an Honor Guard member, she led 70 details across 3,400 miles that cultivated a positive Air Force image and honored over 2,000 families. She mentored her fellow airmen with their college enrollments. Finally, she was highlighted as the representative of a successful Air Force lifestyle in Futures Magazine, a DOD publication.