USAFE honors command Airmen of the year

1st Lt. Elizabeth Culbertson
USAFE News Service

***image1***U.S. Air Forces in Europe’s top Outstanding Airmen of the Year were named March 24 during an awards banquet here.

Winners were chosen from 83 Airmen and civilians nominated from around the command for their exceptional duty performance, community involvement, leadership and personal achievements.

The winners are:
Airman of the Year: Senior Airman Christopher Gerdes, 435th Civil Engineer Group, Ramstein

Noncommissioned Officer of the Year: Staff Sgt. Joseph Berberich, 48th Medical Support Squadron, Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England

Senior Noncommissioned Officer of the Year: Senior Master Sgt. Henry Parker III, 65th Services Squadron, Lajes Field, Azores

First Sergeant of the Year: Master Sgt. Jeffrey Jacobson, 31st Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, Aviano AB, Italy

Civilian Category I: Heather Hughes, 52nd Medical Operations Squadron, Spangdahlem AB, Germany

Civilian Category II: Randall Cummins, 39th Contracting Squadron, Incirlik AB, Turkey

Company Grade Officer of the Year: Maj. Bryan Tash, 16th AF 2nd Air Support Operations Squadron, Ramstein

The winners of the Airmen, NCO, Senior NCO and First Sergeant of the Year categories will now meet a HQ Air Force Personnel Center board to determine who competes for the 12 Outstanding Airmen of the Year.
Airman Gerdes credited his co-workers for the win.

“I would never have won without the great support of my supervisors and peers,” said Airman Gerdes.

Gen. Tom Hobbins, USAFE commander, and Chief Master Sgt. Gary Coleman, USAFE command chief master sergeant, presented the awards.

***image2***“Place [your trophies] on your desks and share them with all of those people that are part of this great team we belong to because … it’s your supervisors and your co-workers and I who are all so very, very proud of your accomplishments.  We stand with you tonight … and justifiably say that we are proud to serve with you,” said the general.

The general also acknowledged the part families play in Airmens’ success.

“The spotlight tonight also shines on our families and spouses. Share this recognition with them for all that they have given in making it happen for each and every one of you here that walked down that carpet and got this recognition,” he said. “Tonight, it is all about the team.”