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Military awards, May 25, 2014

By: The Gazette
May 25, 2014 Updated: May 25, 2014 at 11:22 am
Caption +
Academy Spirit Staff Writer Don Branum was recognized as the Defense Department's Civilian Communicator of the Year April 25. (U.S. Air Force Photo/Carol Lawrence)

Air Force Academy

The Air Force Academy took top honors in a Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency design contest with a new fuel-sipping design for jet engines.

The academy says the engine could cut fuel consumption by half compared to other engines. It uses hot air normally exhausted out of the motor to generate additional thrust and fuel savings, the academy said.

The DARPA contest pitted the Air Force Academy against the U.S. Military Academy and the U.S. Naval Academy to see which school could come up with a "game-changing" idea.

Cutting fuel costs is a top priority for the Pentagon as it works to reduce spending by $900 billion over a decade.

The military burns nearly 13 million gallons of fuel per day, with about two-thirds of that powering the Air Force.

The engine design came from Lt. Col. A.J. Rolling, assistant professor of aeronautics, and his cadet team - seniors Giovanni Allevato, Jane Kaufmann, Stefan Morell, Luke Rockwell and David Simeroth.

There's a patent pending on the engine, and Rolling said he's getting interest from manufacturers.

"They said it was a paradigm shift in engine design," Rolling said in a statement. "It changes the entire design system. But it is also practical. It works."

Lt. Col. David Richie

Air Force Academy professor Lt. Col. David Richie was named the 2014 Engineering Educator of the Year by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, the academy said in a news release.

Richie is the deputy director of operations for the Astronautics Department and an assistant professor of astronautics.

"I'm shocked and honored," he said on the academy's website. "We have several outstanding instructors in our department who are also very deserving of this award. In my mind, this award recognizes their contributions by bringing credit upon the Astronautics Department."

Richie was nominated for the honor by his boss, Col. Marty France.

"I'm glad Dave has been recognized for his superb work, especially this year," France said in a statement. "He's put in enormous work in several of our courses and is an example of the best the Academy has to offer in classroom teaching and advising."

Don Branum

Air Force Academy civilian worker Don Branum was recently honored with the Defense Department's 2013 Civilian Communicator of the Year Award.

Branum won the award for his work to tell tales of the academy on its website and in the Academy Spirit newspaper.

"My reaction, in a word, was 'wow,'?" Branum said on the academy website. "Even more than a week later, I'm still not entirely sure what to think."

Branum's award is part of a larger award program that honors the Pentagon's internal information program. Military units around the globe have writers who pen stories about the service that are aimed at an internal audience.

"This award tells us what we already know - that Don is an extremely talented writer, not only able to tell the Academy story, but to tell it in a way that shows the impact across the DOD and across our Air Force," academy communications director Dave Cannon said.

Wings of Blue

The Air Force Academy's Wings of Blue parachute team celebrated 50 years of falling from the sky in a May ceremony.

The team competes in parachute competitions around the country and showcases the academy's prowess with jumps into events. The team has the longest national title streak of any college parachute program.

"The team's inception came in the spring of 1962 when several cadets, including Medal of Honor recipient Lance Sijan, made numerous jumps at their own risk and expense, including the Academy's first collegiate-national appearance in Wisconsin, where they won a gold medal," the academy said in a news release.

The team was formally recognized by the academy in 1964.

One part of the Golden Anniversary celebration didn't work out as planned. The team planned a jump onto the academy May 16, but that was canceled because of high winds and rain.

Col. Troy Harting

Col. Troy Harting has been named permanent professor at the Air Force Academy's department of management.

The permanent professor honor means that Harting, a 1993 academy graduate, can stay at the academy indefinitely in a teaching role as head of the management department.

It is considered one of the highest honors an Air Force instructor can get. Congress will vote on confirming Harting's new position this summer.

"I am excited and humbled by this great opportunity," Harting said in a statement. "As a management major myself, I feel very privileged to be selected to continue the great legacy of the department."



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