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Four vie for outstanding airmen, 1st sergeant honors

ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. -- Headquarters Air Force Reserve Command announced the command’s Outstanding Airmen of the Year and First Sergeant of the Year during a banquet here April 7.

Representing AFRC at Air Force-level competition are:

Airman – Senior Airman Erik R. Hofmeyer, 919th Special Operations Wing, Eglin AFB Field 3, Fla.

NCO – Tech. Sgt. Amy D. Hatcher, Electronic Systems Center, Hanscom AFB, Mass.

Senior NCO – Senior Master Sgt. Anthony J. Rittwager, 514th Maintenance Squadron, McGuire AFB, N.J.

First sergeant – Master Sgt. David R. Henry, 908th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, Maxwell AFB, Ala.

Family members, friends and associates attended the annual AFRC awards banquet where the winners were announced.

“I’m really pleased with the results of the Air Force Reserve Command 2004 Outstanding Airmen of the Year and First Sergeant of the Year Banquet,” said Chief Master Sergeant Jack Winsett, AFRC command chief master sergeant and program coordinator.

“The goal of the committee was to develop a program that recognized the contributions by our airmen and their spouses or significant others in the Global War on Terrorism and mission of AFRC,” the chief said. “That goal was accomplished. We now move to the Air Force Outstanding Airmen competition, and I believe our candidates are competitive.”

AIRMAN HOFMEYER earned a Bachelor of Science degree in economics and political science from Florida State University, Tallahassee, Fla., in 2002. He is pursing a master’s degree in mass communications from the University of Florida at Gainesville.

Before enlisting in the Air Force Reserve in December 2003, he worked in the appointments office in the executive office of the governor and worked with state licensing at the Department of Business and Professional Regulation. Airman Hofmeyer is a 919th SOW public affairs specialist. He volunteers as a beat reporter for the Independent Florida Alligator, serving the University of Florida.

SERGEANT HATCHER is NCO in charge of force protection requirements at Electronic Systems Center, Hanscom AFB. She enlisted in the Air Force in February 1994 and served at Royal Air Force Mildenhall, England; Grand Forks AFB, N.D.; Kunsan Air Base, South Korea; and Hurlburt Field, Fla. While on active duty, she deployed to Khobar Towers, Saudi Arabia; Incirlik AB, Turkey; and Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

In June 2001, Sergeant Hatcher left active duty and joined the Massachusetts Air National Guard. On Sept. 11, 2001, her unit was activated for 18 months and in August 2002 she deployed to the Republic of Kyrgyzstan for Operation Enduring Freedom. The unit deactivated in May 2003, and she enrolled in Western New England College, Springfield, Mass. She transferred to the Individual Mobilization Augmentee Program and volunteered for full-time duty in the force protection program office in November 2003. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in criminal justice from Western New England College.

SERGEANT RITTWAGER is the accessories flight chief in the 514th Maintenance Squadron at McGuire AFB. After completing Air Force basic training in March 1981, he was assigned to McGuire’s 438th Organizational Maintenance Squadron as an assistant crew chief. He deployed to Egypt in 1983 for Operation Bright Star and to Oman in 1984 for Operation Accurate Test.

He separated from active duty in January 1985 and joined the Air Force Reserve’s 514th Military Airlift Wing at McGuire AFB. During Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, Sergeant Rittwager was involved in the recall and management of reserve forces. He participated in Operations Restore Hope, Phoenix Pace, Southern Watch and Enduring Freedom.

SERGEANT HENRY is first sergeant of Maxwell’s 908th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron. After reporting for Air Force basic training in August 1989, he completed aircraft maintenance training and reported to the 437th Aircraft Generation Squadron at Charleston AFB, S.C.

In 1998 he separated from active duty to pursue a career in the airline industry and joined the Air Force Reserve. While assigned to the 908th AMXS, he deployed for Operations Shining Hope, Joint Forge, Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom. His most recent deployment took him to Kirkuk AB, Iraq. He has associate degrees in human resources management and applied aerospace technology from the Community College of the Air Force and attends the University of West Georgia in Carrollton, Ga.

Airmen from other Air Force major commands and agencies are competing for the Air Force’s airmen and first sergeant of the year.

The Air Force Association will honor the Air Force 12 Outstanding Airmen of the Year during its annual convention in Washington, D.C., in September. The Air Force First Sergeant of the Year will receive recognition in August during the Air Force Sergeants Association’s annual convention in Dallas.