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AF recognizes HQ RIO Airmen for supporting Individual Reserve

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Timm Huffman
  • Headquarters Individual Reservist Readiness and Integration Organization

Two Headquarters Individual Reservist Readiness and Integration Organization Airmen were recognized in the 2016 Air Force manpower and personnel (A1) awards program.

Senior Master Sgt. Deana Rossi, who served as superintendent of force management at HQ RIO until taking a new job at the Pentagon in May, was named the 2016 Operational-level Force Support Senior Non-Commissioned Officer of the Year (Air Reserve Component).

Tech. Sgt. Chrisanna Walton, the HQ RIO non-commissioned officer in charge of force management, was named the 2016 Operational-level Force Support NCO of the Year (Air Reserve Component).

Both award winners said they have a passion for ensuring their customers have what they need to successfully serve as Air Force reservists.

Rossi said her focus on supporting Individual Reservists comes from the eight years she spent in the Individual Mobilization Augmentee program. She said knowing first-hand how hard it is to accomplish all the required readiness items in just 28 duty days each year drives her to ensure the program is at its best.

For Walton, the satisfaction she gets from making her customers happy is the ultimate prize. The personnelist said she understands how she fits into the big picture and knows that by doing her job, she is enabling her customers, the operators in the field, to do their jobs.

Col. Carolyn Stickell, the HQ RIO commander, praised the efforts of her Airmen and thanked them for serving as fantastic representatives of the organization. She also noted that this is the second year in a row an HQ RIO Airman was named an AF-level A1 award winner; Senior Master Sgt. Warisar Villarreal,  HQ RIO Detachment 6, earned the Force Support SNCO of the Year (ARC) honor in 2015.

“Over the past two years, HQ RIO has placed a special focus on the customer service aspect of our business and the awards are just one more example of how serious we are about supporting our IRs,” she said.

Stickell added that top-notch Airmen like Rossi and Walton ensure the 8,000 Individual Reservists have the support they need to augment their active-component organizations around the world.

“Like many of RIO's professionals, Sergeants Rossi and Walton have gone above and beyond to improve the service level of our organization and these two have now been recognized by Headquarters Air Force for their efforts.  I am so proud of them!" said Stickell.

In addition to its main location at Buckley Air Force Base, Colorado, HQ RIO has seven detachments and eight operating locations across the globe. About 160 active-duty, reserve and civilian HQ RIO professionals support the IR force, providing pay, travel, career, and readiness services.

Rossi and Walton advanced to the Air Force A1 Awards after winning at Air Force Reserve Command in March.