Airlifter of the Week: The definition of ‘multitasker’

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Kelli Alvarez Cordoba, 86th Materiel Maintenance Squadron unit deployment manager, holds two coins at Ramstein Air Base, Oct. 29. As a UDM for the MMS, Alvarez oversees the deployment of more cargo than Airmen.

Staff Sgt. Kelli Alvarez Cordoba, 86th Materiel Maintenance Squadron unit deployment manager, was recognized as Airlifter of the Week for her incredible work as her unit’s ‘Swiss army knife’ at Ramstein Air Base, Oct. 30.

It takes hard work and dedication from all squadrons to keep the mission going at the Gateway to the World. Airmen may be tasked with duties outside their scope of work, especially when it comes to deployments.

Alvarez was recognized as Airlifter of the Week for her pivotal role as a unit deployment manager in pushing several missions, standardizing critical asset reporting procedures and supporting 17 other fields in generating three exercises, five temporary duties and an international quality assurance evaluation during worldwide COVID-19 responses.

“When it comes to being a UDM, a lot of others see it as you deploying people,” Alvarez said. “Granted, that is a regular UDM, but this is [the] MMS. We don’t deploy a lot of people because we deploy assets and cargo.”

This isn’t just a ‘once in a while’ job. Most of Alvarez’s time is spent gathering data for unit type codes from the subject matter experts (SMEs) of various squadrons.


U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Kelli Alvarez Cordoba, 86th Materiel Maintenance Squadron unit deployment manager, speaks with Brig. Gen. Josh Olson, 86th Airlift Wing commander, and 86th AW Command Chief Master Sgt. Hope Skibitsky, at Ramstein Air Base, Oct. 29.

“We spend a lot of hours in a secure room, where we’re consistently trying to give the most up-to-date (information) through our program,” Alvarez explained. “We work along with our SMEs for civil engineering, fuels, vehicle management and now aerospace ground equipment, which takes a lot of time considering there are [thousands of assets] we have to update regularly.”

With their squadron being as small as it is, one can see the difficulties of being able to keep up with mission demands.

Despite the heavy workload, Alvarez wants to make it clear that teamwork is what drives their mission to success.


“Our squadron is only 40 people, so it’s not just them sitting here doing one job,” Alvarez said. “They also have to go on temporary duty to where they have their assets. They’re trying to juggle life, TDYs, being here to do their job, and still trying to give us updates on top of that. Endurance is just a really big factor in our job. It’s a squadron that has all the squadron functions, just with 40 people.”

Along with that, Alvarez and her team maintain everyone’s Individual Medical Readiness status, the emergency management program and their squadron’s training schedules.

Ramstein’s mission can be a lot to handle, so Alvarez reminds everyone to look after their mental health. She keeps her own resilience strong by keeping in touch with close friends, staying fit and being aware of her mental health.

“I genuinely just want everybody to be aware of their mental health,” Alvarez said. “The mission’s the mission, it’ll always be here. [However,] your life, your family and your time? You get one chance and it’s gone.”

If you or someone you know is experiencing depression, anxiety or any mental health issue, please reach out. Help is available.

Military Crisis Line
Europe: Call 00800 1273 8255 or DSN 118
U.S.: Call 1-800-273-8255 and Press 1