Hill Airman recognized as one of the best

HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah-- Col. Scott Chambers, 75th Air Base Wing commander, along with Ogden Air Logistics Center and 75th Air Base Wing Command Chief Master Sgt. Bill Gurney, congratulate Staff Sgt. Matthew Hefti on his award on one of the 12 Outstanding Airman of the Year. (U.S. Air Force courtesy photo)

HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah-- Col. Scott Chambers, 75th Air Base Wing commander, along with Ogden Air Logistics Center and 75th Air Base Wing Command Chief Master Sgt. Bill Gurney, congratulate Staff Sgt. Matthew Hefti on his award on one of the 12 Outstanding Airman of the Year. (U.S. Air Force courtesy photo)

WASHINGTON (AFPN) -- One of Hill's own Airman was named one of the Air Force's top 12 Outstanding Airmen of the Year during the Air Force Association's Air & Space Conference and Technology Exposition here.

Staff Sgt. Matthew J. Hefti, 775th Civil Engineer Squardon's Explosive Ordnance Disposal flight, received the honors during the annual 12 Outstanding Airman of the Year gala.

Each year, the AFA honors the 12 Airmen at its annual convention in Washington, D.C. Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force Rodney J. McKinley presented the awards. He said that each Airman is an outstanding role model for the nation.

""These 12 outstanding Airmen will continue to be great Air Force ambassadors around the world," he said. "And, I'd like to say that I am extremely proud to serve with each and every one of you."

Air Force Vice Chief of Staff General Duncan J. McNabb, the event's keynote speaker, evoked the Airmen's Creed when describing these 12 Airmen.

While deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, Sergeant Hefti successfully removed 74 improvised explosive devices, enabling 256 convoy missions and was awarded the Army Commendation Medal. Sergeant Hefti was chosen for a month-long mission with the Secret Service to protect the president and his family, preserving critical national security. He led 20 other explosive ordnance disposal technicians to clear 700 pieces of unexploded ordnance on a 1.7 million acre range, enabling a Navy SEAL training site.

Sergeant Hefti was one of three Airmen selected for the Secretary of Defense's "Why We Serve" tour and conducted eight TV and radio interviews and heralded the Air Force mission in 13 live events. He also narrated the Pentagon Channel's "9/11 Reflections" video.

"You symbolize our proud tradition," General McNabb said. "You symbolize our tradition of honor and legacy and valor. You are our nation's guardian of freedom and justice. You are the sword and shield. You are its sentry and avenger. And you are a wingman, a warrior, and a leader. It has been great to be with you. Congratulations to all of you."

The 12 Airmen are authorized to wear the Outstanding Airman of the Year ribbon and will wear the bronze service star device on the ribbon. The winners also will wear the Outstanding Airman Badge for one year from the date of the formal presentation. They also will serve as members of the AFA's enlisted advisory council for the next year.

For a full listing of the 12 Outstanding Airmen of the Year visit http://www.af.mil/news/story.asp?id=123070054