130th MXS aircraft superintendent wins national award for excellence

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Phyllis E. Keith
  • 130th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
An aircraft maintenance superintendent with the 130th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, 130th Airlift Wing, West Virginia Air National Guard, Charleston, West Virginia received the Air Force Association's top award for outstanding contributions to aircraft maintenance, Sept. 13, at the AFA Annual Air and Space Conference near Washington, D.C.

Chief Master Sgt. Anthony M. "Buddy" Palla, of Charleston, won the CMSgt. Dick Red Award, presented annually to an enlisted member of the Air National Guard.

"It's an honor," said Chief Master Sgt. Palla. "There are only 26 people in the world who've won this," he said.

Chief Master Sgt. Marshall N. Adkins, command chief of the 130th AW said that Chief Palla has led the way over the years with his exceptional technical expertise in aircraft maintenance, his leadership in the unit, his contributions to unit training, and his improvement of equipment capability, reliability and maintainability.

Chief Master Sgt. Adkins attended the ceremony with Maj. Clarence K. "Kenny" Maynus, director of personnel with the 130th Force Support Squadron and Senior Master Sgt. Joseph A. Hinchman, aircraft mechanic supervisor with the 130th AMXS.

Senior Master Sgt. Hinchman said, "He has a great deal of knowledge in aircraft systems, but he also has a great deal of contacts around the country from when he was the Quality Assurance Chief. For example, when it comes to aircraft issues that are insurmountable at our level, he has the contacts and the skills to coordinate and problem-solve."

"He was my chief in the aircraft maintenance squadron working directly for me for about five years," said Maj. Maynus. "He has done so much--he's prolific," he said.
Senior Master Sgt. Hinchman said, "As a mechanic he was very adept. He was an idea person who knew how to make jobs go better. He was innovative in common maintenance tasks."

A member of AFA told Chief Master Sgt. Palla that only two of the awards presented at the AFA conference are named after enlisted members--the Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force Thomas N. Barnes Award for the most outstanding aircraft crew chief in the U.S. Air Force, and the Chief Master Sgt. Dick Red Award for top aircraft maintainer in the Air National Guard.

Chief Master Sgt. Dick Red was the first enlisted airman to win the Legion of Merit in 1944, for building a camera mount in the nose section of a P-38 Lightning fighter. The award honors his memory.

The AFA began giving out the award in 1984 two years after Chief Master Sgt. Red's death.