Inspiring excellence in the Air Force through search and rescue of U.S. citizens

SSgt Amanda Perkins receiving the Tyndall Airman the Quarter award from Col Roberson of the 325th wing at the Quarterly Awards Luncheon July 28, 2008. Photo by Lisa Norman.

SSgt Amanda Perkins receiving the Tyndall Airman the Quarter award from Col Roberson of the 325th wing at the Quarterly Awards Luncheon July 28, 2008. Photo by Lisa Norman.

TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- Inspiration was free here Monday when First Air Force nominees were honored for their outstanding performance in the search and rescue mission of U.S. citizens.

Staff Sgt. Amanda Perkins a search and rescue controller for the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center, First Air Force was announced as Tyndall's Airman of the Quarter along with Chief of Operations, Danny R. Conley, who was announced as Tyndall's Civilian of the Quarter.

These dedicated men and women at the AFRCC support state search and rescue coordinators nationwide, in a life-saving mission, 24 hours a day. In June 2008, 12,770 calls resulted in 19 lives saved in the U.S., according to Lt. Col. Jed L. Hudson, commander of the AFRCC.

The search and rescue coordinators at the local and state level are volunteers, consisting of local law enforcement or first responders, who can request federal support, through coordination with AFRCC, from the U.S. Inland Search and Rescue Coordinator, Commander of First Air Force, Maj. Gen. Hank Morrow

Staff Sgt. Amanda Perkins has excelled, winning multiple awards, including Air Combat Commands Airman of the Year. This award honors her untiring commitment in managing 142 potential distress cases and 81 search and rescue missions. She worked daily with multiple agencies and saved two lives recovering various aircraft, said Hudson.

Conley managed 107 distress cases, coordinated 50 search and rescue missions and saved 11 lives, said Hudson. Conley worked with NASA on a research project and conducted state and local training classes on search and rescue coordination.

Six First Air Force Airmen and civilians were nominated for outstanding performance. Four of these six work for the Air Force Search and Rescue Coordination Center here. They were Staff Sgt. Amanda Perkins, Staff Sgt. Brandi J. Kelly, Capt. David Hern and Danny Conley. 

The other  two nominees were Master Sgt. Kevin Ancrum of  HQ First Air Force  and Tech. Sgt. Josh L. DeVoe of the Mission Support Division at the 601st Air and Space Operations Center. All six Airmen are part of First Air Force and five work in the 601st AOC at Tyndall also known as America's AOC.

"They are all outstanding troops with a great mission," said the Director of Operations at AFRCC, Maj. Harold 'Clifton' Hicks. Hicks just returned from being deployed to Hurricane Dolly recently as part of the mission. 

Past missions included coordination in support of state and local officials to save a group of Boy Scouts, locate missing hikers in the mountains, assist with medical evacuation and help state officials locate boats and aircraft.