2021 Outstanding Airmen of the Year

  • Published
  • By Jaimi Chafin
  • Air Force Reserve Command headquarters

Air Force Reserve Command leaders recognized exceptional Reserve Citizen Airmen during the 2021 AFRC Outstanding Airmen of the Year ceremony held virtually, May 5.

All winners and nominees competed in their respective Numbered Air Force before moving forward to compete at the major command level.

The AFRC Outstanding Airmen of the Year nominees and winners for 2021 are:

Airman of the Year nominees:
Fourth AF– Staff Sgt. Christopher R. Coon, 714th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron
Tenth AF- Staff Sgt. Kristy L. Riley, 924th Maintenance Squadron
Twenty Second AF- Senior Airman Semetris L. Young, 94th Mission Support Squadron
Headquarters AFRC- Senior Airman Stacy Evans, HQ AFRC/A6
Winner: Staff Sgt. Kristy L. Riley

Riley is the combat plans training supervisor at the 924th Maintenance Squadron, Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona. She saved two lives and was nominated for the Pitsenbarger Award for heroic acts. Among her list of other accomplishments, she assembled 60 bombs, qualified 24 Airmen, eliminating a six-year certification backlog and saving $10,000 in temporary duty assignment expenses, and facilitated 112 virtual training periods, mitigating COVID travel impacts and eliminating a four-month backlog.

NCO of the Year nominees:
Fourth AF- Tech. Sgt. Yvette Guillen, 514th Operations Support Squadron
Tenth AF- Tech. Sgt. Clint H. Melancon, 307th Bomb Wing
Twenty Second AF- Tech. Sgt. Joanna Lee, 94th Mission Support Squadron
HQ AFRC- Tech. Sgt. Kathleen Greene, HQ AFRC/Surgeon General
Air Reserve Personnel Center- Staff Sgt. Manuella Tabares, HQ ARPC/DPAR
Winner: Tech. Sgt. Clint Melancon

Melancon is the noncommissioned officer in charge of NC3 Systems, 307th Bomb Wing command post, Barksdale AFB, Louisiana. He trained 20 Total Force professionals during 2020 and created a nuclear communication system computer-based training course which was implemented across the Department of Defense.

Senior NCO of the Year nominees:
Fourth AF- Master Sgt. Jason Henry, 733rd Training Squadron
Tenth AF- Master Sgt. Jason W. Cangemi, 306th Rescue Squadron
Twenty Second AF- Senior Master Sgt. Amanda S. Millsap, 934th Airlift Wing
HQ AFRC- Master Sgt. Jamerson Watts, HQ AFRC/A3
ARPC- Master Sgt. Arthur F. Bloomingdale, HQ ARPC
Winner: Master Sgt. Jason W. Cangemi

Cangemi is a security forces Airman and NCOIC of combat arms at the 306th Rescue Squadron, Davis-Monthan. Cangemi volunteered 170 hours, raising $900 and increasing morale in 2020. Additionally, he led an AFRC weapons test team and chaired the first headquarters Air Force lethality working group.

First Sergeant of the Year nominees:
Fourth AF- Master Sgt. Jose R. Pagan Jr., 914th Air Refueling Wing
Tenth AF- Master Sgt. Randy C. Hyer, 419th Fighter Wing
Twenty Second AF- Master Sgt. Rebecca R. Harrison, 908th Airlift Wing
HQ AFRC- Senior Master Sgt. Orlando Ruiz, AFRC/CCF
ARPC- Master Sgt. Krystal Knight, HQ ARPC
Winner: Master Sgt. Jose R. Pagan, Jr.

Pagan is the First Sergeant for the 914th Maintenance Squadron, 914th Air Refueling Wing, Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station, New York. This award is based on three components; impact on mission readiness and execution, fostering resilience and teams in community, and developing self and others. Among Pagan’s list of accomplishments,, he received the Bronze Star for planning and executing an evacuation during an Operation Marty Soleimani attack that safeguarded the lives of 155 Airmen. Additionally, he tackled wide-spread pay issues, reducing late payments by 82%, and pioneered the first Central Command multi-national leadership course which helped bolster the alliance between U.S. and coalition forces.

These Airmen will go on to compete for the 2021 Air Force Outstanding Airmen of the Year.