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340th FTG Airmen featured in 'Profiles in Leadership' program

By Debbie Gildea | 340th Flying Training Group | April 17, 2020

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas —

Two members of the 340th Flying Training Group are featured in the Air Force Reserve Command's Profiles in Leadership, Volume 5.

Selected for their exceptional performance, selfless sacrifices, and exemplary leadership skills were Lt. Col. Matt Cummins, 70th Flying Training Squadron, U.S. Air Force Academy, and Senior Master Sgt. Vianca Contreras, 97th Flying Training Squadron, Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas.

In addition to being featured online, large poster exhibits of each selectee will be displayed in the Pentagon, fifth-floor A-Ring, for the next year.

Traditional Reserve Citizen Airman

Lt. Col. Matthew Cummins

Total Force Integration Flight Commander

From saving lives in the emergency room to commanding an intercontinental strategic bomber, Lt. Col. Matthew Cummins’ Air Force Reserve journey started immediately following the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.

Hailing from a family whose military lineage dates back to the Revolutionary War, Cummins placed his emergency medical career on hold for the opportunity to serve.

Garnering “Top Stick” honors in pilot training, he was soon providing combatant commanders with unrivaled global precision strike and conflict deterrence capabilities in the mighty B‐52 Stratofortress.

Cummins’ innate abilities to lead and inspire were quickly recognized by commanders who charged him with the vital task of developing future generations of military officers and aviators.

As a Total Force Integration Flight Commander, he has led numerous record‐setting production and efficiency initiatives earning the “AETC Aircrew of Distinction,” and “Reservist, Flight Commander, Instructor Pilot, and Field Grade Officer of the Year” awards for his many contributions to the training enterprise.

A rare triple‐aircraft qualified evaluator pilot with over 5,000 flight hours in 50 military and civilian aircraft types, Cummins currently directs integrated Total Force operations for the United States Air Force Academy’s Powered Flight Program training over 40 percent of the U.S. Air Force's rated force.

"I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to serve as a Citizen Airmen and have enjoyed the extraordinary experiences, challenges, and friendships that have accompanied that service," Cummins said.

Active Guard Reserve Citizen Airman

Senior Master Sgt. Vianca Contreras

Squadron Superintendent

When Texas-born Alaskan Vianca Contreras committed her life to military service in 1999, she didn’t know that she would significantly impact Reserve pilot training.

The Active Guard Reserve senior master sergeant has worked with aircrew for a decade, but in 2015 -- when the 340th Flying Training Group accepted the Reserve Undergraduate Flying Training program -- Contreras was tapped to construct a program foundation to ensure new Reserve aviators have the tools to successfully complete UFT. She developed strong relationships with Regular Air Force units in support of the new Total Force mission, managing administration and logistics for 245-plus new aircrew every year.

Dedicated to caring for the command’s newest operational assets, she implemented revolutionary processes, established an educational video series, implemented a phone “app” for her millennial students, and changed the face of Reserve aviator training. Identifying and employing team members’ strengths improved morale and communication. Known for her natural strategic perspective, she reformed AFRC’s pilot production process, helping ease the Air Force crisis.

Today, as the 97th Flying Training Squadron superintendent at Sheppard Air Force Base, she continues to strengthen relationships, generate process improvements, and positively transform support of the flying training mission.

“Learning to balance mission and personal life is a challenge. I’m a believer because I’ve seen how reminding each other of our individual strengths and goals can help us experience what ‘balance’ really means. It’s different for each of us,” she said.

To see the displays, and the other Reserve Citizen Airmen selected for recognition, go to the AFRC Profiles in Leadership page at https://www.afrc.af.mil/About-Us/Profiles-in-Leadership/Volume-V/.