A look back at 2018 at Wright-Patt: Awards, recognition, education

Bonnie Lofthouse, 88th Diagnostics and Therapeutics Squadron lab flight medical technician, Wright-Patterson Medical Center, performs patient blood sample testing. The 88th Medical Group received The Joint Commission accreditation and for the first time, received Primary Care Medical Home certification. A team of surveyors from The Joint Commission were onsite at the medical center Feb. 13-16, assessing the center for compliance in standards of hospital practices. (U.S. Air Force photo/Al Bright)

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Bonnie Lofthouse, 88th Diagnostics and Therapeutics Squadron lab flight medical technician, Wright-Patterson Medical Center, performs patient blood sample testing. The 88th Medical Group received The Joint Commission accreditation and for the first time, received Primary Care Medical Home certification. A team of surveyors from The Joint Commission were onsite at the medical center Feb. 13-16, assessing the center for compliance in standards of hospital practices. (U.S. Air Force photo/Al Bright)

Compiled by Amy Rollins, Skywrighter Staff

Throughout 2018, there were many significant milestones achieved by numerous organizations across Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. Here are some of the milestones, events, awards and other things that contributed to the overall success of missions:


Wright-Patterson AFB was chosen to represent AFMC at the 2018 Commander in Chief's Installation Excellence competition. Team Wright-Patterson's nomination clearly captures their commitment to excellence that has created an environment that promotes innovative and creative ways of enhancing base-level services, facilities and quality of life, said Col. Shawn Moore, Air Force Installation and Mission Support Center Detachment 6 commander, in an email.

Dr. Daniel Miracle, a senior scientist in AFRL's Materials and Manufacturing Directorate, received the Minerals, Metals and Materials Society Fellow Award at the society's annual awards ceremony March 14 in Phoenix. The society's award of fellow is TMS's highest honor. For induction, a candidate must be recognized as a leading authority and contributor to the practice of metallurgy, materials science and technology, and a member of TMS for five continuous years.

Teams from AFMC bases around the country came together to answer the Air Force Research Laboratory Commander's Challenge – precision, austere resupply. They had to create a way to move 50 pounds of supplies 30 miles and deliver them to a 20-by-20-foot drop zone. The contestants were given six months and a small budget to solve the problem. Teams came up with a variety of hardware – remotely controlled helicopters and ultralights, autonomous vehicles and gliders, and supply canisters that use the principle of autorotation to slow their descent.

Software was developed. Apps were written from scratch to send, receive and track supply requests. Team Bug 2, the Wright-Patterson AFB team, also designed an application that they billed as "agnostic across delivery platforms." The app designer team member, 1st Lt. Michael Ledford, National Air and Space Intelligence Center, was singled out by Maj. Gen. William T. Cooley, AFRL commander, for praise.

Dr. Richard Vaia, technical director in AFRL's Materials and Manufacturing Directorate's Functional Materials Division, received the NextFlex Fellow award at the annual FLEX conference in Monterey, California. NextFlex is a consortium of companies, academic institutions, non-profits and state, local and federal governments with a shared goal of advancing the U.S. manufacturing of flexible hybrid electronics. It is one of 14 manufacturing innovation institutes in the Manufacturing USA network.

STARBASE Wright-Patt Program Manager Jason Streiff received the 2018 President's Award from the Ohio School Boards Association's Southwest region during the OSBA Southwest Regional Conference March 13. The President's Award is given to a person or organization who has had a positive and lasting impact on students in the region.

Bradley Wacks, a truck driver for the Army and Air Force Exchange Service who has logged more than 3 million miles of safe driving in 36 years of service, including to Wright-Patterson AFB, was honored by the National Private Truck Council. He was inducted along with three other drivers into the NPTC/Lytx Driver Hall of Fame during its annual Education Management Conference and Exhibition April 29-May 1.

Members of the AFLCMC's Financial Management community were recognized in May during the annual American Society of Military Comptrollers event for winning multiple Department of Defense, Air Force and national-level awards for excellence in financial management.

NMUSAF celebrated its 36th annual Volunteer Appreciation Banquet April 13 during which 566 volunteers were honored. Richard Isaacks of Xenia was selected as the Museum Volunteer of the Year for 2017 for his dedication and excellence in serving the museum and the U.S. Air Force. The inaugural recipients of the Director's Volunteer Award were Bobbette Fluck and Jack Hampshire of Huber Heights, and retired Maj. Gen. Charlie Cooper of Centerville. Twelve volunteers received the President's Volunteer Service Award, which is awarded to those who have completed 4,000 hours or more of volunteer service. In total, the museum acknowledged 105 volunteers for reaching milestones of 1,000 to 26,000 hours of volunteer service. Overall, volunteers contributed 112,716 hours of service to the museum in 2017, representing more than $2.7 million in assets to the Air Force.

Dr. Jessica Salyers, deputy executive director, AFRL, was selected as one of the Dayton Business Journal's "Forty Under 40" award winners for 2018. A panel of judges comprised of past award honorees made the selection of this year's honorees. Salyers assists in overseeing about 6,400 highly skilled science and engineering team members comprising a workforce with a $5 billion annual budget. She also serves as lead of the "Workforce Agility" study for the Secretary of the Air Force where she is responsible for forecasting future workforce demographics, needs, succession planning and recommendations for Air Force-level change to pivot from current state structure and manning to a future state to influence the Air Force workforce of the future for the next generation.

Airman 1st Class Johnathon Wines, an 88 ABW Public Affairs specialist, was among the winners of the 2017 Department of Defense Media Awards. Wines creates video productions and news stories, documents historical base events and provides public affairs products to tell the Air Force story. He competed and earned third place in the Training Videography category for his video of a practice jump by Army Soldiers over the Wright-Patterson AFB flight line. The video garnered a first-place win at AFMC and placed second at the Air Force-level competition.

Staff Sgt. Kerrine Leguin and Staff Sgt. Joshua Bevins, both assigned to the Airman Systems Directorate, 711 HPW, AFRL, were awarded the Air Force Achievement Medal for working together to save the life of a coworker who was choking. The Air Force Achievement Medal is awarded to Air Force personnel for outstanding achievement or meritorious service rendered specifically on behalf of the Air Force.

James Sweeney III, manager of the Air Force Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Technology Transfer Commercialization Readiness Program, was named one of the winners of the 2018 Champion of Small Business Technology Commercialization Award. Fourteen people from a variety of federal agencies and programs, including Sweeney, were honored by the Small Business Technology Council in June. The award celebrates the best program managers, contracting officers and other government officials for their work in helping SBIR/STTR companies bring technology to market.

Huntsville-based MSCI brought its blended reality system to the inaugural Tech Warrior OPS, held in April at the National Center for Medical Readiness, a Wright State Research Institute Laboratory in Fairborn. The Tech Warrior Enterprise, sponsored by the Air Force Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Technology Transfer Program, matches small business technology with warfighters and other first responders to use and evaluate.

AFMC's Small Business Office was presented with the 2017 Verdure Award of Excellence for their efforts in championing small business solutions for warfighter needs. The Verdure Award recognizes small business teams that best demonstrate industrial competitiveness and innovative solutions that balance the development of efficient buying methods and the utilization of small business. During fiscal 2017, AFMC managed more than 73 percent of the Air Force contract spending and 56 percent of the Air Force small business prime awards. To put that into perspective, of the $39 billion budget obligated by the AFMC finance team, $6 billion was awarded to small businesses.

Validating that patient safety and care continues to be a priority for the 88th Medical Group, the Wright-Patterson Medical Center once again received The Joint Commission accreditation and for the first time, received Primary Care Medical Home certification. A team of surveyors from The Joint Commission were onsite at the medical center Feb. 13-16, assessing the center for compliance in standards of hospital practices. The commitment to performing the standards of practices as part of the 88 MDG's processes did not go unnoticed by the surveyors. They received many accolades for their efforts and set the standard for other medical facilities to follow.

The 88th Security Forces Squadron took top honors as the winner of the 2018 Air Force Association Verne Orr Award. Established in honor of former Secretary of the Air Force Verne Orr, the award recognizes an Air Force unit that makes the most effective use of its human resources. The accomplishments are mission-oriented, focusing on how the unit can excel in its use of people to achieve its full potential and accomplish the mission.

Capt. Micheal Massoud, doctor of osteopathic medicine, 88 MDG, was selected for the individual award in the clinical research poster category of the American College of Physicians abstract and poster competition.

Nine senior civilians, including four from AFMC and its subordinate units, were recognized during the annual Presidential Rank Awards Ceremony at the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, July 6. Presidential Rank Awards recognize extraordinary achievements by career executives in federal service. These awards recognize the top individuals who have made significant and lasting contributions to their agency and the federal government. The awards feature two categories: distinguished and meritorious. Nominations are evaluated by boards of private citizens and approved by the president. Patricia Young, AFMC executive director, was recognized as a distinguished senior executive during the event. Meritorious executive honors were awarded to C. Douglas Ebersole, AFRL (retired) and Steven Wert, program executive officer, Digital, AFLCMC. Kenneth Barker, technical advisor for Systems Engineering, AFLCMC, received the meritorious senior-level professional recognition.

AFRL received four Excellence in Technology Transfer awards from the Federal Laboratory Consortium for technology transfer. Each year the organization hosts an annual meeting that includes awards that recognizes federal laboratories and their industry partners for outstanding technology transfer achievements. The Excellence in Technology Transfer awards recognize employees of FLC member laboratories and non-laboratory staff who have accomplished outstanding work in the process of transferring federally developed technology. The winning efforts included Aerospace Systems Directorate's patent license agreement with DSS Propulsion for the Green Propellant; Information Directorate's multiple patent licenses for Android-based Team Awareness Kit; Space Vehicles Directorate's patent license agreement with Roccor LLC for High Strain Composites for Spacecraft Deployable Structures; and Space Vehicles Directorate's transition of the Oscillating Heat Pipes for High Power Electronics Thermal Management technology to major Air Force contractors.

Maj. Todd J. Turner was awarded the Air Force Office of Special Investigations Individual Mobilization Augmentee of the Year award. This program provides trained, equipped and ready Reservists when the service needs them to support an operational requirement. Turner is an AFRL research engineer from Wright-Patterson AFB specializing in micro-scale mechanical testing and materials characterization to investigate the micromechanical behavior of metals and alloys; an Air Force Office of Special Investigations Reservist; and a published novelist. He has deployed multiple times and earned two Bronze Stars.

Doug Carter and Dr. Dean Evans were named AFRL Fellows for 2018. These researchers are outstanding in the fields of technology development, transition and research achievements. Carter is a principal materials engineer and lead of the Materials Affordability Team in the Logistics Systems Support Branch. Evans is currently detailed as the technical director of the Plans and Programs Directorate. While in the Materials and Manufacturing Directorate, Evans was assigned as the research leader for the Hardened Materials and Processing Research Team in the Photonic Materials Branch. The AFRL Fellows program recognizes outstanding scientists and engineers in research achievements, technology development and transition achievements or program and organizational leadership. Individuals selected for this honor represent the top 0.2 percent of AFRL's professional technical staff.

Dr. Dhriti Nepal of AFRL's Materials and Manufacturing Directorate was named recipient of the Achievement Award in the Promising Professional category of the Society of Asian Scientists and Engineers. SASE celebrates members who enhance the scientific and engineering professions through contributions to the global business world, academia and local communities.

Dr. Matthew Dickerson of AFRL's Materials and Manufacturing Directorate was selected as a Laboratory University Collaboration Initiative fellow. Ten researchers from across military service labs receive this award each year. Dickerson, a materials research engineer in the Structural Materials Division, was one of three AFRL selectees chosen. He was selected based on his work in advanced manufacturing science.

The Air Force Civil Engineer Center announced the winners of the 2018 Air Force Design Awards, recognizing the Foreign Materiel Exploitation Laboratory, Wright-Patterson AFB, as an innovative project for excellence in design and efficiency. Two award levels were given this year: the Honor Award, which is the highest achievement, followed by the Merit Award. The Foreign Materiel Exploitation Laboratory won the higher award in the Facility Renovations and Additions category.

Five scientists and engineers from AFRL were recognized with the Science and Engineering Early Career Award during the 2018 Air Force Research Laboratory Fellows and Science and Engineering Early Career Awards Banquet Oct. 25. The AFRL Science and Engineering Early Career Award honors AFRL's most promising young scientists and engineers for exceptional leadership potential and mission contributions early in their research careers.

Dr. Katie Thorp received the PRISM award posthumously from the Society of Women Engineers for her outstanding professional achievements, dedicated leadership and influential community service. A group that included her husband, mother and several longtime colleagues attended the SWE awards ceremony in her honor Oct. 19 in Minneapolis. The PRISM honors a member who has "charted her own path throughout her career, providing leadership in technology fields and professional organizations along the way." Thorp worked for the Air Force for 26 years, most recently serving as a research leader for AFRL's Materials and Manufacturing Directorate.

Walter Price, Scramjet Propulsion Technical Area lead at AFRL's Aerospace Systems Directorate for the High-Speed Strike Weapon System and the rocket booster lead engineer for DARPA's $500 million hypersonic demonstration programs, was selected to receive the Career Achievement in Government Award at the 2019 BEYA STEM Global Competitive Conference in Washington, D.C., Feb. 9. Price has performed combat systems engineering, technology integration and program management as a federal civilian employee for the Air Force for eight years, following 30 years of flight operations as a military officer.

Dr. Jonathan Spowart of AFRL was selected as a Brimacombe Medalist by the Minerals, Metals & Materials Society, a professional association that connects minerals, metals and materials scientists and engineers who work in industry, academia and government positions around the world. Spowart was selected based on his major contributions in the field of materials characterization, which have enabled numerous advances in materials science and engineering.

Dr. Michael Eismann, chief scientist, AFRL's Sensors Directorate, and Dr. Daniel B. Miracle, senior scientist of nanotechnology, AFRL's Materials and Manufacturing Directorate, received the Presidential Rank Award for 2018 for their sustained accomplishments, exemplary public service and demonstrated consistent and lasting dedication to the mission during the Presidential Rank Awards Leadership Summit Dec. 13 in Washington, D.C.

Bob Ware of AFRL received the Federal Engineer of the Year Award at the Agency Level by National Society of Professional Engineers. Ware will compete for the Federal Engineer of the Year Award, which is the organization's highest-level award. He is a principal failure analyst in the Systems Support Division of the AFRL. He supports U.S. Air Force safety investigations to identify the root cause of each failure, enabling him to advocate for corrective actions that will prevent recurrence of each mishap.

Samantha Sumner was given the David O. Cooke Excellence in Public Administration award, an honor named after the Department of Defense civilian administrator who served for more than 45 years in the Pentagon under 12 secretaries of defense. Sumner was selected for the highly competitive award for distinguishing herself as the sustainment program manager for the Legacy Tanker Division's KC-10 Program Branch. During this time, she successfully executed $1.22 billion in sustainment support for the KC-10 and KC-135 fleet. In addition, she reported and executed an additional $33 million in end-of-year funds that were vital for KC-10 sustainment.


Quarterly Focus Week trainings offered free continued professional and personal development.

Students from nine local middle and high schools filled the hallways at AFIT Feb. 21-22 as they explored various career paths and opportunities the Air Force has to offer in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields. Engineers Week is part of a nationwide effort to celebrate and promote engineering. More than 220 students rotated between different stations and activities, including straw bridges and rockets, fire safety, Ozobots, rockets, an energy-generating bike, high-altitude balloons and others.

For more than 20 years, students throughout the U.S. have been celebrating their love for reading during the annual Read Across America week. Students and faculty at the Wright Field South Child Development Center participated in the 21st annual Read Across America Feb. 26 to March 1 with activities designed to encourage students and parents to read together.

Junior and senior high school students from all over the region came to Wright-Patterson AFB March 9 to explore various opportunities in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics career fields. The Educational Outreach Office has been hosting a STEM Job Shadowing Day twice a year for more than 10 years. The spring Job Shadow Day hosted 129 students from 36 schools across the region and was made possible by the help of 26 mentors and 29 co-mentors across various STEM career fields. Students selected career fields based on their current academic interests and were paired up with mentors in those fields. Mentors led groups throughout their work centers, giving students a hands-on experience.

The Youth Center at Wright-Patterson AFB celebrated theoretical physicist Albert Einstein's birthday and Pi Day March 14 in a big way – with its first STEMfest 3.14. Pi Day is an annual celebration of the mathematical constant pi, the ratio of a circle's circumference to its diameter. For several hours after school, more than 120 youth from the Prairies School-Age Program, Teen Center and Youth Center gathered to explore activities related to science, technology, engineering and mathematics, while snacking on chocolate chip cookie pies.

Middle school, high school and college students near Eglin and Robins Air Force Base, as well as the U.S. Air Force Academy, benefited from personalized, one-on-one training from leading professionals as Wright-Patterson AFB's Educational Outreach office expanded its Leadership, Experience, Growing, Apprenticeships Committed to Youth (LEGACY) program to those locations this summer.

AFRL researchers tapped into the creativity of the next generation of researchers through a project that turned an ordinary motorized wheelchair into a robotic security guard. As part of the Robotic Sentry Challenge, the Materials and Manufacturing Directorate asked enterprising students to build a robotic perimeter guard using an electric wheelchair as the design platform. It was a project that exercised the students' abilities to think from a design perspective and refine problem-solving skills. The project was part of the larger AFRL Student Challenge, a program through which teams of college seniors gain experience in aerospace engineering by taking on one of a variety of real-world design scenarios. The program gives students a chance to flex their engineering muscles while learning more about working on projects relevant to the Air Force.

Students across the country had the opportunity to connect with leading scientists and engineers from across AFRL and other government agencies, STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) organizations and industry April 6-8 in Washington, D.C. The fifth annual USA Science & Engineering Festival Expo featured thousands of hands-on exhibits from the world's leading scientists and engineers. The Department of Defense, NASA, Lockheed Martin, Seaworld and Parents Magazine were among multiple sponsors for the event, which was geared toward students from grades kindergarten through 12.

UC Medical Center continued to host the country's first civilian-military Nurse Transition Program, a 10-week clinical course that readies U.S. Air Force nurses for active-duty service. The program celebrated its 10th year anniversary with UC Health in 2018. All participants must have a Bachelor of Science in nursing. Some come to the NTP through the Air Force's Nurse Enlisted Commission Program or through the Reserve Officers' Training Corps; others earn a BSN as a civilian and join as a direct commission. The 88 MDG at Wright-Patterson AFB provides program oversight and instructors.

AFIT's Graduate School of Engineering and Management's commencement featured another first. On March 22, Jay Ostler became the first graduate of the Nuclear Engineering Program through the Civilian Developmental Education Program, a competitive program designed to prepare future leaders with the skills to meet both corporate Air Force and functional leadership requirements. Ostler earned a master's of science degree in nuclear engineering and received the American Nuclear Society student chapter thesis award. He was also a distinguished graduate – an honor given to no more than 10 percent of the graduating class – recognizing those students who have excelled in the educational objectives of AFIT's Graduate School of Engineering and Management.

One hundred and twenty-five Airmen from across Wright-Patterson AFB earned their Community College of the Air Force degree and were recognized May 8 during the spring graduation ceremony. A similar number did the same Nov. 15 during the fall graduation ceremony.

Students from seven local high schools came together May 8 for the sixth annual Full-Throttle STEM at Eldora Day in Rossburg, Ohio, hosted by AFRL's 711 HPW. The students showcased their STEM-related projects, including their modeling and simulation-based work, and then competed in a remote-controlled car race at Eldora Speedway.

AFIT welcomed the Air Education and Training Command Continuum of Learning engagement team, led by Shelly Petruska, chief, A3B Learning Branch, HQ AETC, on May 1 to discuss how the Air Force is redesigning CoL and to learn about current AFIT CoL initiatives. AETC defines the CoL as the deliberate process of combining education, training and experience to produce the right expertise and competence to meet the Air Force's operational needs.

Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson met with AFIT faculty members and received a briefing from Chancellor Dr. Todd Stewart about the AFIT mission and its campus, on Wright-Patterson AFB, June 15. Air Force senior leadership has outlined five top priorities. One of those priorities is to develop exceptional leaders to lead the world's most powerful teams.

Dr. Willie Harper, a professor in the Environmental Engineering and Science program, AFIT, was selected to work with the State Department at the U.S. Embassy in Lome, Togo, as part of the Embassy Science Fellowship program. During his two-month assignment, Harper went on site visits across the country, met with local stakeholders to discuss strategic planning, participated in public meetings and recommended solutions to water and sanitation problems.

More than 50 organizations, including academic institutions, helping agencies and the Ohio Department of Higher Education, attended the 2018 Wright-Patterson AFB Development, Education and Training Exposition July 12. Academic institutions attending ranged from those with locations on base, to local campuses, to locations across the country.

The Wizards of Wright Program (WOW!), part of the Educational Outreach Office at Wright-Patterson AFB, was reinvigorated and relaunched Aug. 6 with new "flights" that provide resources for classroom teachers who are enhancing their students' understanding of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Sixty high school students supported AFRL initiatives this summer as part of the Wright Scholar Program. The Wright Scholar Program is a nine-week internship for high school students interested in STEM. Since 2002, 575 students from 88 school districts have completed the program, with 91 percent going on to pursue careers in STEM. The program is open to juniors and seniors in high school who are at least 16 years of age and have a GPA of 3.5 or higher.

Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine resident physicians at the Wright-Patterson Medical Center were recognized for the following awards at the National Army and Air Force American College of Physicians meeting Sept. 6-8 in San Antonio.

• First place clinical vignette – Dr. Amy Stacey. The clinical vignette is awarded to the Air Force chapter’s best medical case report of the year.

• First place original research – Dr. Sean Barnett. The original research is awarded to the Air Force chapter’s best original medical research of the year.

• Arthur Grollman Award – Dr. Sean Barnett. The Arthur Grollman is awarded for outstanding resident research.

• First place Challenge Bowl – Dr. Nick Niazi, Dr. Jordan Evans and Dr. Jessica Johns. The challenge bowl is awarded to the top Air Force team.

The American College of Physicians is a diverse community of internal medicine specialists and subspecialists who apply scientific knowledge and clinical expertise to the diagnosis, treatment and compassionate care of adults across the spectrum from health to complex illness.

A multi-functional team of experts from across several major commands received the 2017 Daedalian Col. Franklin C. Wolfe Weapon Systems Award at a Sept. 20 ceremony at the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base Club for their efforts during Phase I of the Light Attack Aircraft Experiment. The Air Force Light Attack Experiment Team was presented the award by Jim DeStout, adjutant, Flight 9 – Frank P. Lahm Order of Daedalians, in recognition of completing Phase I of a series of trials to determine the feasibility of using low-cost light attack aircraft in support of air-ground missions. The Weapon Systems Award recognizes major contributions to the outstanding development of an aerial weapon system, as nominated by the military services. Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein selected the Air Force Light Attack Experiment Team as the Air Force nominee.

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