YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan — Twelve 374th Medical Group personnel recently were recognized for their outstanding work after being named 2004 Pacific Air Forces Air Force Medical Service Award winners.

In addition, the group also earned the title of Best Health Promotions Program of the Year for the “small base” category.

Col. Mark Presson, medical group commander, said the awards “testify to the high caliber” of his 500-member staff, which includes American and Japanese civilian employees. He said this year’s award winners ranged from airmen to officers, nurses to surgeons — whom he called “outstanding people throughout the group.”

Presson said many factors — not just work performance — are considered when picking winners and he likes to think of it as part of the “total person” concept.

The winners provide not just technical job expertise, but they also provide “leadership roles in the community,” Presson said.

He said those who strive for advanced education, who speak at symposia or have their research published also rise to the top.

Maj. Jose E. Barrera is an example.

Barrera earned two PACAF awards, for surgical excellence and outstanding achievement in clinical research. He also recently learned that he won an Air Force-wide Arthur P. Flemming Award, which recognizes outstanding contribution in scientific research to the federal government.

The 33-year-old Denver native said he has had 25 research articles on molecular genetic research in head and neck cancer published in peer-reviewed medical journals, which are available to the international medical community.

He said he’s trying to “bridge the gap from success to significance … meaning that I want to pursue excellence in everything I do with the idea of making a lasting significance.”

“I felt very blessed … that the Air Force would recognize these efforts,” he said.

As for the group’s success this year, Barrera said, “I think it just emphasizes that we have a bright and dedicated team of providers and technicians who are world-class.”

He also thanked his command for supporting the staff.

“If they didn’t believe we could achieve these things, then we couldn’t ever go for them,” he said.

Presson said his philosophy is to encourage everyone to strive for award-winning performance. But he also said those honored with the awards couldn’t do it without the rest of their coworkers.

“It’s all about the team,” he said.

The PACAF award winners now will compete in Air Force-wide competitions. Presson “remains optimistic” about how they will fare worldwide against the 35,000-strong Air Force medical staff.

Col. Steve Shaffer, medical group director of Organizational Compliance, said those who win at the Air Force level earn Air Force Individual Recognition Ribbons.

2004 Pacific Air Forces Air Force Medical Service Award winners

Clinical Excellence Award — Field Grade Officer: Maj. Andrew E. Moore

Surgical Excellence Award: Maj. Jose E. Barrera

Outstanding Achievement in Clinical Research Award: Maj. Jose E. Barrera

Nursing Awards — Company Grade Officer: Capt David C. Zimmerman

Outstanding Audiologist/Speech Pathologist of the Year: Capt. Shannon E. Hunt

Laboratory Medicine Awards — Noncommissioned Officer: Tech Sgt. Leyla B. Gillett; Chief Master Sgt. Zembrod

Diagnostic Imaging Awards — Airman: Senior Airman Annalisa M. Livingston

Optometry Awards: Col P. Timothy Ray

Company Grade Officer Optometrist of the Year: Capt. Anthony J. Jarecke

Physical Therapist Of The Year — Field Grade Officer: Maj. Chu H. Soh

Medical Logistics Awards: Biomedical Equipment — Noncommissioned Officer: Staff Sgt. Charles S. Sellers Jr.

Cardiopulmonary Awards: Cardiopulmonary Lab Staff — Senior Noncommissioned Officer: Master Sgt. Michael G. Bartlett

Surgical Services Awards — Airman: Airman 1st Class Ashley D. Stephens

Surgical Services Awards — Noncommissioned Officer: Staff Sgt. William F. Carter

Best Health Promotions Programs Of The Year — Small Base: 374th Health Promotion Manager

Sign Up for Daily Headlines

Sign up to receive a daily email of today's top military news stories from Stars and Stripes and top news outlets from around the world.

Sign Up Now