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NEWS | Jan. 29, 2013

12th FTW goes the distance to honor Airmen, saves $30K

By Bekah Clark 12th Flying Training Wing Public Affairs

Like most wings the 12th Flying Training Wing honors their annual award winners every January in a ceremony that highlights their achievements from the last year.
However, when time came to plan this year's ceremony the wing had a new challenge to face: how to get everyone there.

Unlike many wings, 12th FTW personnel aren't all stationed in the same place. In fact, approximately two-thirds of the wing's personnel aren't stationed anywhere near their parent wing at Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph, Texas. Instead members of the 479th and 306th Flying Training Groups call Naval Air Station Pensacola, Fla. and the U.S. Air Force Academy, Colo., home.

In years past, the wing hosted their annual awards ceremony the night prior to the Air Education and Training Command Symposium held in San Antonio, Texas, which authorized the use of temporary duty funds for AETC personnel across the country to attend. This permitted the wing to bring their nominees for the symposium, thus allowing them to take part in the awards ceremony. But when the symposium was cancelled for 2013 due to current fiscal realities, the 12th FTW found another way to honor their Airmen.

"Flying our nominees in from our geographically separated units would have cost us nearly $30,000," said Col. Gerald Goodfellow, 12th Flying Training Wing commander. "That cost was neither feasible nor responsible, so we came up with an alternative...We decided to bring the ceremony to them."

Goodfellow, Col. James Gifford, 12th FTW vice commander; and Command Chief Master Sgt. Avery Woolridge, will travel more than 1,600 miles to each of the units on January 28 and 29 to personally recognize the nominees and winners in separate luncheons.
According to Woolridge, recognizing the Airmen in person is a leadership priority and a mission critical requirement.

"Accomplishing the mission in today's high operations tempo, 'do more with less' Air Force is challenging and complex. Compound that complexity with the rigors associated with being separated by 1,600 miles and you understand the men and women of the 12th FTW do miraculous things," said Woolridge.

"Our direction to them was simple, find innovative ways of doing business. And for the past 12 months, they've done that and done it well. The least we can do is shake their hands and say thank you for the many sacrifices they've endured and exemplary performance they've displayed over the past year. We owe them that."

For Goodfellow, making choices like these isn't just about saving money, it's about ensuring that we spend our resources wisely so we can continue to be the world's best Air Force.

"Whether it's finding efficiencies in our operations or in the execution of a morale program like our annual awards ceremony, it's our collective responsibility to make prudent choices so we can ensure the Air Force continues to meet its full airpower potential," he said.

The wing hosted a ceremony to honor its Airmen at JBSA-Randolph on January 25.

12th Flying Training Wing Annual Award Nominees:
*Denotes Winner

Junior Enlisted Member:
*Senior Airman Oliver Rhudy - 479th FTG

Noncommissioned Officer:
*Tech. Sgt. Neal - 12th OG
Tech. Sgt. Matthew Kurpaski - 306th FTG
Staff Sgt. Johana Medellin - 479th FTG

Senior Noncommissioned Officer:
Master Sgt. Shaun Abell - 12th OG
*Master Sgt. Justin Demke - 306th FTG
Master Sgt. Efrain Sanchez - 479th FTG

First Sergeant:
*Senior Master Sgt. Steven Alford - 479th FTG

Company Grade Officer:
*Capt. Jeff Shulman - 12th OG
Capt. Marshall Klitzke - 306th FTG
Capt. Tom Walsh - 479th FTG

Field Grade Officer:
*Maj. Andrew Gilmer - 12th OG
Maj. Mike Albers - 306th FTG
Maj. Richard Wilson - 479th FTG

Civilian Non-Supervisor Category I:
*Katrina Scott - 12th OG
Cheri Williamson 306th FTG
Paul Knoblock - 479th FTG

Civilian Non-Supervisor Category II:
Wesley Fillmore - 12th OG
Richard Long - 306th FTG
Paola Joyner - 479th FTG
*Angela Werley - 12th MX
Civilian Non-Supervisor Category III:
Randy Hunt - 12th FTW
Tim Gorshe - 12th FTW 
*Robert Frink - 12th OG 
Courtney Davis - 306th FTG 
Michael Gnall - 479th FTG 

Civilian Supervisor Category I:
Dwight Vickers - 12th OG 
John Apostolides - 479th FTG 
*Michael Howell - 12th MX

Civilian Supervisor Category II:
*Sara Rodriguez - 12th OG 
Michael Thompson - 306th FTG
Richard Taylor - 12th MX

Civilian Wage Grade:
*Darlene Daspit-Pohl - 12th OG 
David Alteiri - 306th FTG 
John Harris - 12th MX

Flight Commander:
*Maj. Becky Russo - 12th OG 
Capt. Sarah Towler - 306th FTG
Capt. Karyn Argueta - 479th FTG 

Instructor Combat Systems Officer:
*Capt Anthony Bares - 479th FTG

Instructor Pilot:
*Capt. Thomas Zaremba - 12th OG 
Capt. Joshua McCrary - 306th FTG 
Maj. David Kendall - 479th FTG