One of Vandenberg's own named 2010 Space and Missile Operator of the Year
By Jennifer Green-Lanchoney, 30th Space Wing Public Affairs
/ Published August 30, 2011
VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Air Force officials announced one of Vandenberg's own as the Air Force 2010 Space and Missile Systems Operator of the Year Aug. 22.
Capt. Ben Burdette, assistant flight commander for the Malmstrom Flight at the 392nd Training Squadron here, earned the award in the Company Grade Officer category.
"Ben consistently displays all the qualities of a great young officer," said Lt. Col. Michael Kamorski, 392nd Training Squadron commander. "He is an expert in his field who displays absolute professionalism, and a willingness to help out whenever and wherever needed."
Over the year, Burdette showed altruistic tendencies toward his students' educational successes. An example of this instructor's dedication in 2010 was when he spent more than 25 hours of his personal time tutoring a student who ended up increasing his class score to a 97 percent.
"Don't ever think that there is a job that you are too big for," said Burdette. "Bloom where you are, in every job that you have, and do the best you can to make a difference."
Burdette earned his Bachelor of Science degree in telecommunications from the University of Kentucky, Ky., where he participated in ROTC. He went on to get his commission in the Air Force in 2004.
The Danville, Ky., native was sent to Vandenberg to complete his training as a space and missile operator. After graduating, he was assigned to Malmstrom Air Force Base, Mont., where he met his wife.
"My wife Kristen and children, Avery and Graysen, have been very supportive," said Burdette. "I have a wife and kids who love me, and I love them right back."
In 2009, Burdette found himself heading back to Vandenberg to be an operations instructor with the 392nd TRS.
"Ben is a proven expert in all areas that are related to the Minuteman III Intercontinental ballistic missile weapon system," said Kamorski. "In addition to being a subject-matter expert, he genuinely cares about teaching his students what they need to know to be successful in their profession."
Burdette earned the 2010 Space and Missile Systems Operator of the Year award because of his contributions to the Air Force, personal development, and community involvement.
The seven year veteran links much of his success to communicating efficiently with all ranks and putting people first.
"Teaching is an opportunity to spread what you know and what you think is important on to the next generation of operators," said Burdette. "We have to perform perfectly in an imperfect world. When you work around missiles you don't have the option to be subpar."