AFTAC earns milestone Swindell award
By Wayne Amann, Air Force ISR Agency Public Affairs
/ Published June 20, 2014
JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO - LACKLAND, Texas -- When Col. Christopher Worley assumed command of the Air Force Technical Applications Center, Patrick Air Force Base, Fla., in May 2012, he knew he inherited an accomplished organization.
His high regard of the unit was validated June 18, when he was presented with the Chief Master Sergeant James C. Swindell Award, recognizing his Logistics and Systems Directorate as having the best communications and information systems operations in the Air Force Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Agency.
The award, commemorating its 40th anniversary this year, was given during the annual Air Force ISR Agency Commander's Conference at the agency headquarters here.
"This a great reflection of all the hard work and tremendous effort put forth by all the men and women at AFTAC, especially our logistics and IT (information technology) directorate," Worley said. "The global mission we have and the sheer number of sites and locations they have to transverse to get everything done is remarkable in its scope and the breadth of operations they undertake."
AFTAC made a lasting impression during the award period of Sept. 1, 2012 to Aug. 31, 2013.
Among the litany of accomplishments in the award citation: the unit "provided cyber operations and maintenance supporting 220 sites, 3,600 sensors, seven continents, 33 countries and 1,200 users, ensuring the mission success of the $380 million United States Atomic and Energy Detection system."
The citation also highlighted how "AFTAC led a $28 million, twelve-member military construction development team, ensuring the network and information technology infrastructure was installed ahead of schedule and under budget."
The Logistics and Systems Directorate was one of 14 teams to guide the Air Force's Knowledge Operations career field pilot program, resulting in two utilization and training workshops, forging the 3A/3D career field training and the future model tenant role.
"The team concept is key," Worley said. "And the fact we delegate responsibility to the lowest level. Our Airmen are empowered to make decisions to innovate and come up with creative solutions to get things done."
Personnel-wise the AFTAC team built a military and civilian collaboration environment that merged four systems into one tool that streamlined the process for 832 evaluations a year.
Plus, the Logistics and Systems Directorate showcased an Air Force ISR Airman of the Year, a base Senior NCO of the Year, Civilian Manager of the Year, five base and 21 center quarterly award winners, two Air Force level Airmen of the Year and five Agency Information Dominance award winners.
Worley made it clear. "Our subordinate directors and mission leads let our Airmen know they're the tip of the spear," he said. "Airmen drive all missions in the Air Force. We're simply there to point the ship in the right direction. (Airmen) are the ones who make sure the engine goes to get us there. Without them, there would be no AFTAC."
Worley also said his people put accolades like this award into perspective.
"It's humility first and another day's work for them," he said. "They don't expect anything because their focus is on the mission and taking care of each other This is a great honor, especially given the history of Chief Swindell and everything he's accomplished."
The Swindell award was established in 1974, in honor of the late chief recognized as the most professional communicator ever assigned to the United States Air Force Security Service, the original organization of the present day Air Force ISR Agency.
Swindell, who was promoted to the highest enlisted rank at 31 years of age and with just 13 years in service, was instrumental in obtaining the first long-haul, secure, on-line circuits for the USAFSS in the early fifties.
He was the prime architect behind the eventual merger of critical communications and automatic digital network trunking, considered major milestones in paving the way for the present communications capabilities of the agency.