Four members of the 52nd Airfield Operations Flight Operations Support Squadron took first place in four distinct categories of the 2020 US Air Forces in Europe – annual Air Force Air Operations in Africa awards.
After winning the award at the top command level in November, members are now competing at the Air Force level, with results still pending.
Senior Master Sgt. Kyle Johr, the 52nd chief controller of the OSS, was chosen as Enlisted Air Traffic Control Manager of the Year.
Master Sgt. Crystal Nicol, who recently moved to Randolph Air Force Base in Texas to work as a command field manager for the Air Training and Education Command, received the Senior NCO of the Year in Aerodrome Management.
Senior aviator Austin Rood, 52nd OSS air traffic controller, received the title of Air Traffic Control Controller of the Year.
And Kyle Malczewski, 52nd OSS Aerodrome Operations automation manager, received the Air Traffic Control Controller in charge of the year.
“I am extremely honored and proud to be part of such an incredible team,” said Captain Enrique Villegas-Gonzalez, flight commander for the 52nd OSS Airfield Operations. “Each of them embodies our fundamental values and they inspire me in every way”.
Although she has already changed the station permanently, Nicol said his unit could not resist calling to play before giving the good news.
“It was definitely a surprise,” said Nicol. “My Spangdahlem leadership called me in Randolph and wanted to know why I left behind things that they have to send me. I had no idea what they were talking about. They started laughing and told me how they won the prize.
“I am very grateful for the award and for all the hard work that my aviation field management team has done,” added Nicol. “I couldn’t have received an award without them being so good!”
In the spirit of having a great team, Villegas-Gonzalez also emphasized how challenging it was to win at least one award at the top command level. As such, he said that having four separate awards on his flight alone was a test for members.
“They are all aviators and exceptional leaders,” said Villegas-Gonzalez. “I am not surprised that they received such praise. I know that these members are not driven by recognition. They are professionals who do their best and are driven by a passion for Air Force personnel and mission. However, I am happy that they have won these high level awards; they really deserve them and are the best of the best. “