These are the Air Force’s 12 Outstanding Airmen of the Year

By: Victoria Leoni and Noah Nash, Air Force Times, 23 June 2018  

The Air Force has announced this year’s Outstanding Airmen of the Year winners.

The 12 winners represent the service’s top enlisted members and were selected from a pool of 36 nominees based on their superior leadership, job performance and personal achievements.

The winners are listed below in alphabetic order.

Senior Master Sgt. Melissa Beam, Air Combat Command

Staff Sgt. Elizabeth Caulfield, Air Force District of Washington

Staff Sgt. Wilson Gardner, Air National Guard

Senior Master Sgt. Ruth Griffin, Air Force Global Strike Command

Tech. Sgt. Brett Laswell, Air Force Special Operations Command

Master Sgt. Kit Lui, Air Force Reserve Command

Master Sgt. Joshua Matias, Air Education and Training Command

Tech Sgt. David Miller, U.S. Air Forces in Europe

Senior Airman Patrick Schilling, Air Force Materiel Command

Tech Sgt. April Spilde, Air Force Space Command



Tech Sgt. April Spilde, Air Force Space Command, a Bravo flight chief at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, leads 135 airmen securing $10.2 billion in space launch assets. A native of Minneapolis, Spilde has been stationed in Alaska and Washington, D.C., and has also been deployed to Afghanistan and the United Arab Emirates since joining the Air Force in 2008.






Senior Master Sgt. Lucero Stockett, Air Mobility Command


Senior Airman Jon Taitano, Pacific Air Force


New Veterans ID Cards Finally Being Delivered, But Feature Office Depot’s Logo on Back

By: Leo Shane III, Military Times, 16 May 2018

A sample copy of the front of the new Veterans ID card. After a lengthy delay, the new cards have been mailed out to thousands of veterans in recent weeks. (Courtesy of the Department of Veterans Affairs)


WASHINGTON — Thousands of veterans received their free veterans ID cards this week featuring their names, their branch of service and a bright red advertisement on the back.


The cards, approved by Congress almost three years ago, are available at no charge to veterans with good conduct discharges. But to pay for printing and delivery, the Department of Veterans Affairs partnered with Office Depot, whose logo is displayed on the back of each card.


The arrangement was first reported by earlier this week. VA officials dismissed concerns about the unusual decision to display a corporate logo on a federal ID, noting that Congress approved no funding for the program when it passed the requirement in summer 2015.


“As such, VA approached Office Depot regarding a partnership to print and mail ID cards to veterans after applications are reviewed and approved by VA staff,” said VA spokesman Curt Cashour. “Under the arrangement, Veterans are not required to pay a fee for the card.


“This is precisely the type of outside-the-box thinking that has been missing from the federal government for far too long and that we are bringing to the table under the leadership of President (Donald) Trump.”


Neither VA nor Office Depot officials would release the cost of the partnership to the office supply firm.


In a statement, Office Depot Vice President for Print Services Andrew Tomlin said the company will supply veterans with ID cards at no cost through the end of 2020 because “Office Depot recognizes the sacrifices that veterans have made and this partnership is one small way that we can give back and thank them for their service.”


The backs of the cards also feature contact information for the Veterans Crisis Line and a line specifying that the corporate logo “does not represent an endorsement of Office Depot’s general policies, activities, products or services” by the VA.


As of Monday, 10,735 veterans had received the ID cards, about one-tenth of the applications received through the VA website.


Administration officials touted the new card process in November, as part of their extended Veterans Day celebration. But shortly after the department began accepting online applications, the system was overwhelmed and taken offline.


Cashour said officials are confident those technical issues have now been resolved. Nearly 16,000 more veterans have been approved for the cards and are expected to receive them in the mail in coming weeks.


The new cards do not replace VA medical cards or official defense retiree cards, and will not carry any force of law behind them.


They are designed to be an easy way for veterans to prove their military service for private sector recognition or discounts, replacing the need for individuals to carry around copies of their discharge paperwork. Numerous states have adopted procedures to display veteran status on driver’s licenses to work around that problem.


Under rules developed by VA, individuals who served in the armed forces, including the reserve components, and have a character of discharge of honorable or general under honorable conditions are eligible for the new IDs. Veterans with other than honorable status are not eligible, a move that has upset some outside advocates.


Veterans can apply for the cards through the VA web site. Applicants must register through the site to begin the application process.


MacDill Airmen Help Rescue Five

A1C Adam R. Shanks, 6th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs, 4 May 2018, MacDill AFB, FL



Four Marine Patrol Airmen assigned to the 6th Security Forces Squadron patrol the 7.2-mile coastline of MacDill Air Force Base, FL. On April 7, these Airmen assisted five local and federal Tampa Bay agencies in rescuing five people after their boat capsized near Davis Island.




It was April 7 and for the 6th Security Forces Squadron marine patrol unit, it was like any other day. They were routinely conducting patrols around the 7.2-mile coastline of MacDill Air Force Base, Florida.


Every weekend, boaters make their way onto the water to enjoy the mid-70 degree weather. But on this day, water conditions were rough; swells reached heights of 6 to 7 feet and winds were around 30 knots.


At approximately 2:08 p.m., Airman 1st Class Christian Britton and Senior Airman Michael Roper, 6th SFS marine patrolmen, received a “PANPAN” alert from U.S. Coast Guard Sector St. Petersburg.


“The call we received said there was a capsized vessel with around four individuals in the water near Davis Island,” said Roper. “Britton and I immediately began heading over to help and we spotted a helicopter hovering over one spot in the water, so we knew that had to be it.”


The helicopter, piloted by Todd Curabba, the chief pilot with Tampa Police Department’s Aviation Unit, was providing aerial support to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office dive team who were on scene.


“There were victims holding onto a buoy in the channel, and we were told to hold fast because HCSO’s rescue diver was making his way to give them floatation devices,” said Roper.


At this point, the situation seemed to be under control. The diver assisted the individuals in the water, and Tampa Fire and Rescue was waiting on the island to transport them to Tampa General Hospital.


But then the helicopter pilot stated over the VHF radio that they spotted another person in the water.


“The HCSO boat had already left with the four rescued, so our boat was the only one in the immediate area,” said Roper. “We headed over to the location that Tampa PD gave us.”


Moments later, the two patrolmen saw a man sprawled out on the shore of one of the spoil islands in the channel, not moving. Britton told Roper that the man looked unresponsive, and dove into the rough bay waters without hesitation, and rushed toward shore.


“I kept the boat steady while Britton made his way to the man,” said Roper. “I then contacted an additional patrol boat of ours to help because the water was so bad.”

The additional boat came with Staff Sgts. Adrian O’Neil and Vaughn Faubel on board. Britton made contact with the man, who was around 75 years old. He gave him a life preserver and instructed that they swim together back to the marine patrol boat. The man gasped, “I can’t swim.”


“I knew Britton wouldn’t be able to swim the man back to the boat alone because of the water conditions, so I dove in to help with the rescue,” said O’Neil.


Roper then maneuvered the security forces vessel as close as possible to the three, without running aground.


“For me, that was the most difficult part because I had to turn off the engines to prepare for them to come on board,” said Roper. “And the waves were so bad that it only took seconds for the boat to start drifting toward land.”

After multiple attempts to keep the boat steady, Roper helped Britton and O’Neil bring the man on board. TFR notified them that they were standing by at the Davis Island boat ramp to receive and treat the man.


“We were making a patrol flight within Tampa when our neighboring sector dispatcher received the 911 call about the capsized boat,” said Curabba, “I have seen a great deal in my 17 years of airborne law enforcement, and all my training came together in a matter of minutes that day.”


“It was incredible how all of our agencies worked together seamlessly for the common good of saving a life.”


National Police Week 2018 – Remembering the Fallen

By Joseph L. Rector, Deputy Director, 11th Security Forces Group / Published May 08, 2018


11th Security Forces Group members light candles during the 29th Annual Candlelight Vigil in Washington, D.C., May 13, 2017. This was one of the National Police Week events held to bring together law enforcement from around the world and honor past and present police officers and security forces members. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Valentina Lopez) JOINT BASE ANDREWS, Md. --

Next week, Joint Base Andrews Security Forces will kick off five days of National Police Week activities. Not only will we honor and remember those in law enforcement who made the ultimate sacrifice, but we will showcase our capabilities as defenders, compete in friendly competition and revel in comradery with our fellow law enforcement officers.

In 1962, President John F. Kennedy proclaimed May 15 as National Peace Officers Memorial Day and the calendar week in which May 15 falls, as National Police Week. Established by a joint resolution of Congress in 1962, National Police Week pays special recognition to those law enforcement officers who have lost their lives in the line of duty for the safety and protection of others.  

The security forces career field possesses a rich history of those who have made the ultimate sacrifice. As a young lieutenant I remember listening in amazement in my Security Police Basic Officer Course to stories about the gallant defense of Bunker 51 at Tan Son Nhut Air Base in Vietnam during the Tet Offensive.

There five security police NCOs: Sgt. Louis Fischer, Sgt. William J. Cyr, Sgt. Charles E. Hebron, Sgt. Roger B. Mills, and Sgt. Alonzo J. Coggins fought against over 600 Viet Cong. Four security police were killed and the fifth was so badly wounded, that the Viet Cong left him for dead. The actions by these defenders held the bunker for 24 minutes against overwhelming odds and allowed reinforcements to hold against the attack on the airfield.

There, Capt. Reginald V. Maisey, Jr., assigned to the 3rd Security Police Squadron at Bien Hoa Air Base in Vietnam, fought courageously defending Bunker 10 from the North Vietnamese Army and Viet Cong guerrillas. Maisey paid the ultimate price when he was killed by a rocket propelled grenade. For his efforts, Maisey was awarded the Air Force Cross. And if you didn’t know, the Maisey Building at Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling is named after him.

We tend to view our home station installations as a sort of “Mayberry” where there is very little crime. The reality is it can be much different. Tech. Sgt. Robert Butler was shot and killed Jan. 10, 1998 at Edwards Air Force Base in California after stopping the vehicle of a fellow Airman who had killed another Airman moments earlier. At the time, Butler did not know the driver was a suspect in the murder.

There are currently over 21,000 names of officers killed in the line of duty at the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington D.C. Three hundred sixty names of police officers will be added to the Memorial in ceremonies this year.

The first known death of a law enforcement officer dates back to 1791, while the deadliest year in law enforcement history was 1930 when 307 officers lost their lives. Law enforcement fatalities have remained around 130 per year in the United States over the years. The last time law officer fatalities were lower than 100 was in 1944.

One hundred twenty-eight federal, state, local, tribal and territorial officers died in the line of duty in 2017. Forty-four officers were shot and killed, which represents a 33 percent reduction over 2016 when 66 officers died as a result of gunfire.

While this downturn in officer deaths by firearms is good news, it appears to be fleeting. As I write this article, officer deaths by firearms have increased by 63 percent in 2018 over the same time period last year.

I ask that you take the opportunity over the course of National Police Week to say thanks to our local, state and federal law enforcement partners when you see them. Those in law enforcement serve in a noble profession that provides that thin blue line that protects and serves our community against the evil-doers of society. Law enforcement serves as an enabler of democracy and the freedoms we cherish in America.

Off-duty 2nd SFS Defender Rescues Teenager

Story by Airman 1st Class Tessa Corrick, 2nd Bomb Wing Public Affairs, Barksdale AFB, LA, 2 May 2018

One moment he’s looking over a design for a tattoo, the next he’s saving someone’s life.

Second Lt. Adam Sacchetti, 2nd Security Forces Squadron, Supply and Logistics officer in charge, removed a 17-year-old from a smoking car following an accident in San Antonio on April 6, 2018.

“I went into the tattoo parlor just after noon, we were simply going over the draft of my tattoo. Then out of nowhere, a massive crunching noise filled the room around me,” Sacchetti said. “I looked up and all I saw was a vehicle flying vertically through the air. It flipped and landed, crushing right down on the roof.”

Being a security forces Airman for 11 1/2 years, Sacchetti’s reaction to the accident was instinctual.

“I looked over to the tattoo artist and said ‘hey, I’ll be right back,’” Sacchetti said.

He ran out into the busy three-lane road attempting to stop the traffic around the crash site. As Sacchetti got to the inverted car, he could hear the screams of the 17-year-old who was trapped inside.

“I could see this kid was in complete shock, but he was moving around trying to get out. The car was smoking and there was fluid all around, that was when I made the decision to pull him out,” Sacchetti said.

Sacchetti reached in through the debris and broken glass, grabbed the young man by his arms and pulled him to safety. Sacchetti, with training in combat lifesaving, was able to ensure there was nothing seriously wrong with the 17-year-old at that time.

When first responders arrived, Sacchetti gave them the information he had. At that point, he knew the young man was in good hands and proceeded back to the tattoo parlor where he then sat for an 11-hour session.

“Being prior enlisted, I have had a lot of deployments and have dealt with these sort of situations overseas,” Sacchetti said. “When it happens, you don’t do it for notoriety or recognition, you do it because you have to. My adrenaline was pumping and I didn’t really think about myself. I saw that kid in need and felt I had to get to him. It was just instantaneously reverting back to my training.”

Sacchetti’s actions have been recognized by different roles of leadership including, Col. Ty Neuman, 2nd Bomb Wing commander and Lt. Col. Ryan Natalini, 2nd SFS commander.

“The actions of Lt. Sacchetti were nothing short of courageous. He wasn’t obligated to help, but his true character showed as he immediately stepped into action. As defenders, it is our job to look out for those in need," Natalini said. "Lt. Sacchetti demonstrated what we expect out of our defenders. He is a world-class Airman, and I am proud to have him on our team.”

Sacchetti believes it is important to help others when they are in need.

"In my opinion, if you have the ability to help, you have the responsibility. If you can make a difference, as little as it may be, it’s better than nothing,” Sacchetti said. “I woke up that day just expecting to get a tattoo, but it turned out to be an experience I will never forget.”

Make a Difference!  Donate.

Join Us.

34th National Meeting
Dayton, OH
23-27 September 2020
Hotel reservation link
coming in April 2020

35th National Meeting
Nashville, TN
Fall 2021