Vandenberg Airman wins Outstanding Airmen of the Year Award

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Hanah Abercrombie
  • 30th Space Wing Public Affairs

Tech. Sgt. April Spilde, 30th Security Forces Squadron flight chief, was selected as one of 12 Airmen to win the Outstanding Airmen of the Year for 2018.

Spilde was awarded the title due to the work she put in with the Air Force Honor Guard and her great leadership shown as a security forces defender.

“Spilde is one of the most caring and thoughtful people I have ever met,” said Master Sgt. Matthew Walsh, 30th Security Forces Squadron flight chief. “Her genuine character has been the driving force behind her excellence. Everything she is part of whether it is the Air Force Honor Guard or the Air Force Sergeants Association, stems from giving back to the community and to others.”

Before she was assigned to Vandenberg, Spilde was tasked with training both the Air National Guard and the Air Force Reserve components of the honor guard for the presidential inauguration. She spent four weeks training two 90-member flights for the event practicing drill and ceremony.

In addition, Spilde also participated in a mobile training team sent out to help base honor guard programs.

“We got to go to Puerto Rico and train their base honor guard,” said Spilde. “We trained 45 honor guard members and made sure they were proficient in performing military honors as well as helping them with a change of command ceremony. We made sure that they were fully funded and could carry out the mission by helping raise their budget by $10,000.”

After her work in the Honor Guard, Spilde was promoted to Tech. Sgt. through the STEP program, and moved to the role of flight chief; however, the change did not come without difficulties.

“There was a challenge after being out of Security Forces for four years,” said Spilde. “I had to redo my weapons training, there were tactics I had to relearn, and the fact that I had to come in and perform as a flight chief. There was that added responsibility.”

While becoming a flight chief, Spilde pushed herself to not just be certified, but to be exceptionally well qualified, which requires scoring a 96 percent on the law enforcement certification test. Spilde finished with a score of 97 percent.

“Tech. Sgt. Spilde is a shining example for young defenders everywhere,” said Walsh. “She has shown that you can accomplish big things with hard work, grit and determination.”

Caring for her Airmen and those around her is one of the major traits that have helped Spilde get to where she is today.

“When I think of what this award means to me, ‘A rising tide lifts all boats’ comes to mind,” said Spilde. “I believe this achievement not only benefits me, but everyone here at Vandenberg. I am so grateful for this opportunity to represent our Airmen across the Air Force.”