| 2015 Public Affairs Communication Excellence Awards
According to SAFPA, "... these awards are designed to 1) recognize exceptional performance within the USAF communication enterprise and 2) empower leading-edge innovation and creativity as we tell the Air Force story."
Winners of Individual Awards for Communication Excellence are:
(1) Outstanding Communication Airman Award: SRA DANIEL E. FERNANDEZ, 3rd Combat Camera Squadron, Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas, demonstrated tremendous ability executing communication activities by leading Combat Camera support during a forward deployed Joint operations center exercise. He also created a tutorial for senior leaders that was praised by the Air Force chief of staff and produced a PBS News Hour spot that featured deployed Airmen that aired during the holidays.
(2) Staff Sergeant Christopher S. Frost Outstanding Communication Noncommissioned Officer Award: TSGT RYAN C. CRANE, Headquarters United States Air Forces In Europe and Air Forces Africa Public Affairs, Ramstein Air Base, Germany, demonstrated outstanding technical and leadership skills in USAFE media operations and coordinated with the Wall Street Journal, Associated Press, and other media outlets to ensure the U.S. air power message was delivered to over one million people. While deployed, he led public affairs during the first F-22 deployment to Estonia and coordinated with the Ministry of Defense, Department of State, and international media to inform allies. This award is named in honor of a PA NCO who was killed in a helicopter accident while deployed in support of Multi-National Security Transition Command-Iraq.
(3) Outstanding Communication Senior Noncommissioned Officer Award: MSGT JOHN P. GOTT II, 86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs, Ramstein AB, Germany, demonstrated outstanding leadership through innovative communication programs with Air Force-wide impact by leading the largest American Forces Network Regional Media Bureau in the Pacific area of operations. He co-authored a Korea SuperStation concept of operations and coordinated radio and television coverage for five stations, securing 72 productions and distributing them to 2.6 million viewers.
(4) Airman 1st Class Darryl G. Winters Combat Communication Award: MSGT JOSEPH L. SWAFFORD JR., 354th Fighter Wing Public Affairs, Eielson AFB, Alaska, demonstrated courage in the face of imminent danger while leading a four-person team through 45 indirect fire attacks. Additionally, he provided outstanding communication support with stories, photos, and reinforced the national strategy message for Afghanistan. This award is named in honor of a combat camera photographer who, after volunteering for an extended tour during the Vietnam conflict, was killed when shot down in an F-100 while filming aerial operations near Tan Son Nhut Air Base, Saigon, South Vietnam.
(5) Captain Bradley R. Schuldt Outstanding Communication Company Grade Officer Award: CAPT EDITH J. SAKURA, 90th Missile Wing Public Affairs, F.E. Warren AF, Wyo., demonstrated outstanding leadership and management in a variety of communication missions. While deployed to Afghanistan, she directed vital general officer media events to nine outlets in four months -- a 300 percent increase -- and changed negative perceptions by telling the commander, Resolute Support, narratives. She also led the Afghan Air Force combat operations helicopter media plan, delivering information to five countries and 11 outlets, which showcased the government of Afghanistan's legitimacy globally. This award is named in honor of a former 7th Air Division public affairs officer who was killed in an aircraft accident while en route to support Operation DESERT SHIELD.
(6) Outstanding Communication Field Grade Officer Award: MAJ DAVID R. HERNDON, Secretary of the Air Force Office of Public Affairs, Pentagon, Va., demonstrated outstanding leadership and management by using innovative processes to integrate and leverage Air Force-level outreach and engagement opportunities. As the Space & Cyber/Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Headquarters Air Force strategist, he prepared documents for the Secretary of the Air Force and refined headquarters narratives for presentations at the Air Force Association, reaching millions. Additionally, he led first A2/A6/SP Strategic Communication Working Groups which targeted engagements for 3-stars and advanced Headquarters Air Force objectives.
(7) Outstanding Communication Civilian, Category I Award: MS. ANDREA N. JENKINS, 23rd Wing Public Affairs, Moody AFB, Ga., demonstrated outstanding abilities in planning and executing activities as Moody's sole environmental PA expert. She coordinated five Environmental Assessments totaling $490 thousand and cultivated trust with the local community. Additionally, she orchestrated a Chief of Staff of the Air Force visit, organizing eight events over 48 hours which involved 275 military and civilian attendees.
(8) Outstanding Communication Civilian, Category II Award: MS. KILEY L. DOUGHERTY, 56th Fighter Wing Public Affairs, Luke AFB, Ariz., demonstrated outstanding leadership and management in communication outreach by generating over 100 media events and key engagements that highlighted the F-35 mission to over 800 million people. As the social media subject matter expert, her skills publicized command information and increased viewership 48 percent.
(9) Outstanding Communication Civilian, Category III Award: MR. ANTHONY D. ROAKE, Air Force Space Command Public Affairs, Peterson AFB, Colo., demonstrated outstanding leadership and management in planning and executing efforts that leveraged all communication functions to achieve measurable effects. He managed the PA aspects of the 60 Minutes piece, "The Battle Above," reaching 12.4 million viewers and garnering White House, Congressional and Air Force leader kudos. Additionally, he coordinated the Secretary of the Air Force and commanders' media roundtable and led the Space and Missile Systems Center Remote Sensing Directorate roundtable at the Space Symposium, reaching over 30 million people.
(10) Best of the Best Award, sponsored by the Air Force Public Affairs Alumni Association: MR. ANTHONY D. ROAKE, Air Force Space Command Public Affairs, Peterson AFB, Colo., is recognized as the outstanding officer, civilian or enlisted person who best demonstrated professional excellence and contributed significantly to the effectiveness of the Air Force public affairs mission.
The Air Force Public Affairs Director's Excellence Award winners are:
(1) Brigadier General Harry J. Dalton, Jr., Award for the most effective unit-level Public Affairs organization (wing and below) communication program: 86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs, Ramstein AB, Germany, achieved the best effects through research, planning, execution and evaluation of integrated digital communications. They conducted research into the ways Airmen get information and how to best leverage the Ramstein story while also providing timely local notifications such as construction and Force Protection Condition impacts. Their multifaceted approach focused on a new mobile device app, integrated/optimized social media video products, compelling imagery on all channels, web-centric writing and a unique, personable tone across all PA-owned media. This award is named for the first career public affairs officer to be promoted to brigadier general and become the director of information (later renamed director of public affairs). Significant contributors: Maj Tony Wickman, 1Lt Keenan Kunst, 1Lt Clay Lancaster, TSgt Robert Webb, TSgt Micky Pena, TSgt Kristopher Levasseur, TSgt Jennifer Stai, SSgt Sara Keller, SrA Damon Kasberg, Ms. Kimberly Parker.
(2) Major Henry H. "Hap" Arnold Award for Public Affairs Communication Effectiveness: Air Force Space Command Public Affairs, Peterson AFB, Colo., provided the most effective communication support to an Air Force event during "The Battle Above," a 60 Minutes double-length segment. The objectives of the planning effort were to reach the 60 Minutes audience, senior national security officials, opinion leaders and Congress with messages aligned with national policy and commander's intent. Named for the only Air Force officer to attain the rank of General of the Air Force. As a major, General Arnold was chief of the Information Division in the Office of the Chief of Air Corps, where he used his position to advocate for air power. Significant contributors: Col John Dorrian, Lt Col Jeffrey Jones, Lt Col Christopher Karns, Maj Christina Hoggatt, Maj Christina Sukach, Capt AnnMarie Annicelli, Capt Samantha Degnan, Capt Nicholas Mercurio, Capt Caitlin Suttie, Ms. Auburn Davis, Ms. Robin Ghormley, Mr. Anthony Roake, Ms. Jennifer Thibault, Mr. Shawn Walleck, TSgt Michael Slater.
(3) Best Crisis Communication Award: 96th Test Wing Public Affairs, Eglin AFB, Fla., provided exceptional communication mitigation during an unplanned event requiring an immediate response. The office took lead on PA response for recovery operations when a UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter crashed into the Santa Rosa Sound, killing all 11 people on board. They engaged in more than 200 media interviews and responses to queries with worldwide print and broadcast media in Europe and U.S. in the first two days of the response. The on-scene PAO provided two updates daily to media gathered at the site during the first two days of response. The office provided continuous updates and response to query coverage over a two-week period during recovery operations and counseled Eglin leadership on necessary information to release to keep the public informed throughout the incident. Significant contributors: Mr. Andrew Bourland, Mr. Mike Spaits, Ms. Sara Vidoni, Ms. Jasmine Porterfield, Ms. Kristin Stewart.
(4) Best Innovative Program Award: 18th Wing Public Affairs, Kadena AB, Japan, achieved outstanding effects using innovative approaches, strategies, tactics, ideas and technology to bolster effectiveness of Air Force communication initiatives by developing a campaign geared at informing family members about the unintended consequences of posting on social media. A 6-month communication plan was fleshed out by taking the Air Force ISIL kill list public affairs guidance and tailoring it to family members. The PA team created a character named "OPSEC-y Becky," to make live appearances on base, and to serve as the focal point for a series of radio, video, print and graphic illustration products.
Significant contributors: Maj Joshua Daniels, 1Lt Angelica Epperson, 1st Lt Erik Anthony, Mr. Timothy Flack, Mr. Naoto Anazawa, SMSgt Kelly Hinks, MSgt Jason Edwards, MSgt Colleen Jones, TSgt Darnell Cannady, TSgt Alexy Saltekoff, SSgt Rachelle Coleman, SSgt Maeson Elleman, SSgt Estrella Martinez, SSgt Daryn Murphy, SSgt Amber Jacobs, SrA Omari Bernard, SrA Nicholas Dastas, SrA Stephen Eigel, SrA Scott Fremming, SrA John Linzmeier, SrA Devin Nothstine, SrA Daniel Robles, SrA Zade Vadnais, A1C Nick Emerick, A1C Corey Pettis, A1C Lynette Rolen.
Congratulations to all the winners!