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AF Reserve names its "best of best"

SAINT AUGUSTINE, Fla. --
Stripes, stars and lots of Air Force blue filled the room March 27 when Air Force Reserve Command brought its best together to honor its outstanding Airmen of the year.

The annual ceremony named and celebrated the best of the best enlisted Airmen in their respective rank-based categories. The winners move up and compete at the Air Force level contest later this year.

Maj. Gen. Kenneth Lewis, AFRC deputy commander, opened the show imploring the audience to make some noise for the enlisted nominees.

"This a celebration of the best of the best," said Lewis. "It takes a lot of hard work and a real team effort to make it here. We're going to honor those efforts tonight."

The outstanding Airmen were:

Airman of the Year: Senior Airman Caryn Frederick, 19th Space Operations Squadron, (10th Air Force)
NCO of the Year: Tech. Sgt. Christopher Priddy, 932nd Civil Engineer Squadron, (22th Air Force)
Senior NCO of the Year: Senior Master Sgt. Jessica James, Air Reserve Personnel Center
First Sergeant of the Year: Senior Master Sgt. Rhonda Gambill, 87th Aerial Port Squadron, (4th Air Force)

The Chief Master Sgt. Carol Smits Award went to the 301st Fighter Wing. The award recognizes first sergeant council outstanding achievement among other criteria.

Chief Master Sgt. Octavio Ortiz, Individual Mobilization Augmentee to the AFRC command chief, took the stage to close out the ceremony. His advice to the enlisted winners and nominees was to take the experience and lessons learned back to their unit and pass on that knowledge.

He closed out the festivities with a cheer, yelling "We are…" and the audience emphatically responding "AFRC!"