by Staff Sgt. Benjamin Wilson
U.S. Air Forces in Europe Public Affairs
2/29/2012 – RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany (AFNS) — The Headquarters U.S. Air Forces in Europe Command Vehicles Branch and one of its senior NCOs recently proved the USAFE logistics program is among the best the U.S. has to offer by winning two Association of Equipment Management Professionals awards.
The branch and Master Sgt. Jeremy Parks, the USAFE command vehicle superintendent, won the Fleet Masters Award and AEMP Technician of the Year Award respectively.
According to www.aemp.org, the association strives to further the continuing education of equipment management professionals by developing, coordinating and implementing programs to enhance the profession and interaction with other organizations sharing common resources, purposes and goals.
Working with associations like AEMP not only provides education and training opportunities, but it also allows the Air Force to solve problems and discover new equipment by working with civilian, state and federal counterparts, Parks said.
In addition, competing in the civilian-sector has added benefits for the Air Force as a whole.
“It’s good for the civilian world to understand what we contribute, but also what we do with the taxpayers’ money and how we complete the mission,” Parks said. “Showing that we have a technician of the year or fleet masters award is showing the taxpayer that we are actually utilizing the funds properly and really producing a good product for them.”
Parks also expressed how it felt to win an award from his civilian counterparts.
“These guys are mechanics for 30 straight years; technicians in the Air Force tend to get promoted out of a job,” he said. “It’s nice to be able to receive this award against some of the best mechanics you’ll ever meet in your life (who) can fix anything.”
Among other accomplishments, Parks coordinated logistical support for President Obama and operations directly contributing to the success of NATO missions during Operation Odyssey Dawn in Libya. However, he said he couldn’t have done it alone.
“The truth is if there were only one of me up here, there is no way my product would be as good as it is because I don’t have my coworkers and friends vetting it,” Parks said.
The command vehicles branch had several significant achievements contributing to an award-winning team this year, according to Ron Erwin, the USAFE Command Vehicles Branch chief.
“One of the most noticeable is we have an initiative to try to green our fleet,” Erwin said.
Winning the battle for an additional $750,000 to procure an additional 95 alternative-fuels vehicles and creating the Air Force’s largest subcommand hybrid fleet is a perfect example of USAFE’s commitment to decreasing its carbon footprint, according to the awards package.
But greening the fleet is only one example of how the USAFE Command Vehicles Branch strives for excellence.
“The USAFE transportation team is working diligently to provide a transportation capability that is effective, efficient and reliable to support a growing demand,” Erwin said.