HomeNewsArticle Display

Laughlin Airmen earn Air Force level awards

Many U.S. Air Force careers are rooted in routine and rigid processes. For Senior Airman Benjamin Valmoja, 47th Flying Training Wing public affairs photojournalist, however, his job is about visiting work centers and talking to Airmen—all to tell Laughlin’s story. “It’s my job to paint an accurate picture of the base for Del Rio, the Air Force, and all of America,” he said. “I network to find stories that get people’s attention, create a positive image, and write that story for everyone to see.” His proficiency and willingness to perfect his craft earned Valmoja the USAF’s Public Affairs Communications Excellence award. Though Valmoja earned the award, he recognizes his team helps shape the professional, creative Airman he is. “I’m super excited to have gotten this award, but anybody in my shop could have gotten it,” he said. “Public Affairs doesn’t spend too much time in the spotlight, so I think anybody in Public Affairs is deserving, and I’m grateful to have such an awesome team.” (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Daniel Hambor)

A pilot training student assigned to the 47th Flying Training Wing safety office, 2nd Lt. Grant Temple, assisted in making sure that all Air Force and 47 FTW assets were protected and safety procedures were followed. "As a student awaiting pilot training at the Wing Safety Office, I received my Airfield Driving license, and I was able to assist the flight safety crew, in case no one else was at the office and there was, for example, an In-Flight Emergency," Temple said. "I would be able to go and take the Flight Safety vehicle onto the airfield and pick up pilots during their emergencies, pick up paperwork from them and drive them to flight operations, the debrief area or wherever they needed to go." Temple greatly appreciates the support and guidance from his coworkers and wing safety office staff who mentored Temple while on his awaiting pilot training duty time. "I love my coworkers, it's been a real pleasure working here with them," Temple said. "I haven't encountered anyone at the office that I didn't get along with really well. Everyone is extremely professional. Flight Safety is extremely important and everyone here does their job extremely well." The Air Force Safety Center Bird/Wildlife Aircraft Strike Hazard Team thanks Temple for his logistical support and 24/7 assistance during their staff assistance visit to Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas. Temple's outstanding performance and around-the-clock support were instrumental in sustaining their time on the ground and maximizing their mission effectiveness. His tireless efforts were outstanding and well beyond the norm experienced at other locations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Daaniel Hambor)

As the chief of Wing Plans and Procedures, Willard Brown makes sure the 47 FTW and all of Laughlin is ready for any type of disaster, whether it’s a natural disaster, medical emergencies or contingency situations. He further enriches his work by being one of the wing’s operational security managers, raising awareness and certifying the release of correct, timely information. “I love educating people about security, and the damage it could do to not only the base but for an individual,” he said. “A lot of things can happen, so putting together plans that can have an impact in saving lives and property is the most important thing for me.” Brown recently earned Air Education and Training Command’s Operational Security Civilian of the Year in the second category for his work in ensuring Laughlin’s preparedness and security by being proactive and on the cutting-edge of planning and operational security. If anyone asked Brown about his award, however, he probably would say: “it’s just another day in the office, doing what I do.” (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Anne McCready)

Capt. Edward Rubio, 85th Flying Training Squadron gradebook officer and instructor pilot, frequently works long hours. That’s because he helps the tight-knit Coyotes Flight achieve Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas’ mission of training the next generation of multi-domain pilots. “No matter what kind of hardship or diversity you have, you’ll always form stronger bonds with the people you work with here at Laughlin,” he said. “You’re in the grind, training students, and juggling your own job all with great people.” Rubio, having earned the Squadron Officer School distinguished graduate award, brings with him extra tools and experience to pass onto his students as they’re graded for the maneuvers and flight patterns in the sky. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Daniel Hambor)

LAUGHLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- Four of Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas' Airmen, military and civilian, earned various awards across Air Education and Training Command and the U.S. Air Force in late 2018.