Sandia LabNews

Air Force Association names Sandian Citizen Airman of the Year

DEPLOYED TO AFGHANISTAN — Sandia’s Andy Anderson (6815) poses outside the Afghan Army Logistics Headquarters in Kabul in 2011 during his deployment as a colonel in the Air Force Reserves. Andy, who recently retired from the Reserves, and Sandia have been named the Air Force Reserve 2013 Citizen Airman and Employer of the Year. (Photo courtesy of Andy Anderson)

Labs also honored as Employer of the Year

Sandia’s Andy Anderson (6815) and the Labs have been chosen as the Air Force Reserve 2013 Citizen Airman and Employer of the Year.

“This is an incredible way to end a career,” says Andy, who retired May 1 from the Air Force Reserve as

a colonel after 37 years of service, including four on active duty. Citations accompanying the award recognize Andy’s service, particularly his most recent deployment to Afghanistan, and Sandia’s support to him and his family.

The Air Force Association (AFA), which sponsors the awards, will present plaques to Andy and Sandia on Sept. 16, the opening day of its Air and Space Conference and Technology Exposition in National Harbor, Md. The nonprofit AFA is a professional military and aerospace education association that promotes public understanding of the role aerospace plays in the nation’s security.

“Sandia is profoundly honored by this recognition and proud of Andy Anderson and his service to our nation,” says Infrastructure Operations Div. 4000 VP Michael Hazen, the executive champion of Sandia’s Military Support Committee and himself a lifetime member of the Air Force Association. “We feel privileged to receive such a significant award. It is special both for Col. Anderson and for Sandia, which values our veterans, reservists, and members of the National Guard.” 

Dan Briand (6811), who was Andy’s manager when he was nominated this spring, responded, “Outstanding, and well deserved,” when he heard Andy and Sandia had won.

Andy says he was honored to be chosen, but points out it was a joint award Sandia shares.

“It is a tribute to the outstanding support Sandia has provided me, my wife and family, and the many other Sandia military members,” he says. “I am pleased that this is an opportunity for Sandia to be recognized nationally for all it does to support our military personnel and their families.”

He says he was “hugely appreciative” of his military unit and command that nominated him, and singled out Rick Bacon and Rod Simmons of the Air Force North National Security Emergency Preparedness (NSEP) directorate at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla. Andy was based at Tyndall but attached to his home state as emergency preparedness liaison officer for New Mexico, coordinating with state officials during disasters to support them with requested Air Force resources.

Bacon, NSEP regional director for the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Region 6, nominated Andy. Bacon, then Andy’s military supervisor, says the nomination was “the least I could do, knowing the sacrifices Andy made for his country serving in the military and the support Sandia gave him. Andy is definitely a true patriot, serving both in the military and in his civilian position with Sandia, and this award validates Andy’s and Sandia’s contributions.”

Andy’s most recent deployment was to Afghanistan for nine months beginning in July 2011 as senior military adviser to the Afghan National Army’s general staff. Other deployments include the Persian Gulf in 1991 for Desert Storm and Qatar in 2005-2006 with the 302nd Maintenance Group from Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs, Colo.

Andy and his wife, Ellen (1500), a senior management assistant, were among three Sandians who nominated Sandia last year for the Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award. Sandia was a finalist in 2012 and 2013 for that award, the highest Department of Defense recognition for employers who support their employees in the National Guard and Reserve.