2020-Style Airmen of the Year Ceremony

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Sean M. Evans
  • 514th Air Mobility Wing

Earlier this year, Air Force Reserve Command, Robins Air Force Base, Ga., announced its winners of the 2019 Airmen of the Year Award. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the announcement could not take place in person as usual. 


AFRC opted to notify the winners in an innovative manner via the video conferencing platform, Zoom. Lt. Gen. Richard Scobee, AFRC commander, was among the AFRC command staff present to congratulate the winners. 


By November, it became clear that limitations on travel would prevent an in-person presentation of the awards as well. 


The Fourth Air Force, March Air Reserve Base, Moreno Valley, Calif., one of the three numbered air forces assigned to the AFRC, decided to have the awards presented to the winners in the same way the winners were originally announced, physically separated but virtually connected through Zoom. 


“As we celebrate our deserving Airmen who embody our core values, we understand the importance of adapting to out new environment and delivering an event suitable for these distinguished group of Airmen,” said Lt. Col. Fernando E. Waldrin, 514 Mission Support Group Deputy Commander, who narrated the event.


Most of the winners were able to receive their awards in a single zoom meeting as three of the four Airmen of the Year, Staff Sgt. Krystin Springer-Ince, Tech. Sgt. Nicole A. Gansert, and Senior Master Sgt. Rebekah J. Spedaliere are all from the 514 AMW. 


Springer-Ince won Airman of the Year, Gansert won Non-Commissioned Officer of the Year, and Spedaliere won First Sergeant of the Year. 


The trophies were presented by Col. Thomas O. Pemberton, 514 AMW commander and Chief Master Sgt. Dana L. Capaldi, 514 AMW command chief with special guests Brigadier Gen. Jeffrey Pennington, 4 AF commander, and Chief Master Sgt. Cynthia Villa, 4 AF command chief, in virtual attendance. 


 “In 2019 our Airmen worked very hard and nearly swept AFRC’s Airmen of the Year,” Capaldi said. “It’s amazing, amazing work that all three of these Airmen accomplished and we were able to make sure that they were recognized.”


Like the Air Force Reserve mission, the recognition of these Airmen for their dedication to duty despite the ongoing pandemic reflects the resilience and adaptability of our Reserve Citizen Airmen. 


“These Airmen are the best of the best,” Scobee said. “In these difficult times, it’s comforting to know that Air Force Reserve Command has outstanding professionals like these ensuring that the mission will still be accomplished.”