Caramanno ready to begin ‘outstanding’ journey

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Staff Sgt. Raquel Caramanno, 412th Medical Group at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., is one of 2016s 12 Outstanding Airmen of the Year.

Last month, the Air Force announced that one Edwards Air Force Base’s own is one of 12 Outstanding Airmen of the Year for 2016.

In the entire Air Force, Staff Sgt. Raquel Caramanno is one of the 12 best.

Each year, dozens of exceptional Airmen across the Air Force are nominated and Staff Sgt. Raquel Caramanno, NCOIC of Medical Readiness for the 412th Medical Group, was selected through a competitive process based upon leadership, job performance, self-improvement, personal achievements and community involvement.

“Being selected as one of the 12 Outstanding Airmen of the Year is an absolute honor and a humbling experience. It is an amazing feeling to be recognized for all of the hard work and commitment I’ve dedicated towards my career in support of the AF mission.”

Caramanno is responsible for the wartime readiness of all members assigned to the 412th Medical Group. As the unit deployment manager, she prepares members for every stage of deployment and assists in their transition back home. Additionally, it is her responsibility to train 17 medical contingency response teams and manage the $1.1 million in War Reserve Materiel.

Caramanno hails from Staten Island, N.Y. She joined the Air Force in 2012 and will have completed four years of service this November. She has spent three-and-a-half years of her career at Edwards.

From the moment she entered the military she has always strived for excellence.

“Receiving this award is a direct reflection of the amazing leadership I have had during my time here at Edwards AFB. Without their mentorship and dedication towards my success, I would not be the Airman I am today.” 

Caramanno credits her mentor, Chief Master Sgt. Anthony Soto, 412th MDG superintendent, for her achievement.

“His selfless dedication ensured my accomplishments were recognized and for that I am truly thankful.”

“Taking care of Airmen is the most important thing we do as leaders,” said Soto. “Staff Sgt. Caramanno was nominated because of her exceptional character, performance and professionalism. Simply stated, she leads by example … setting the standard for her peers. You will not find a more deserving Airman who truly embodies the Air Force’s Core Values and is as humble as she is. My greatest success is inspiring others to succeed and grow and I couldn’t be more proud of Staff Sgt. Caramanno’s selection as one of the 12 Outstanding Airmen of the Year!”

Caramanno describes her time at Edwards as an amazing experience.

“There are so many opportunities available for Airmen to take advantage of while they are stationed here. The Air Force has so many opportunities for Airmen to prosper, and with the right mindset, goals, and dedication, [Airmen] can achieve whatever they set out to accomplish.”

As a 12 Outstanding Airman Award recipient, she will serve as an enlisted ambassador toward Air Force retention and recruiting efforts traveling the globe for the next year speaking to citizens and Airmen everywhere. Caramanno’s selection gives her the opportunity to represent not only herself but her fellow Airmen as well. Although she was selected for her achievements spanning the past year, she views her selection “as an opportunity to grow and lead other Airmen to success.”

“I want to inspire others to continue to push forward and strive to succeed no matter what the circumstance.”

Caramanno’s achievement will be honored at the Air Force Association’s National Convention in Washington, D.C., Sept. 17-18. There, she will be honored by the secretary of the Air Force and chief of staff, along with senior leaders from across the Air Force.

Although she will no doubt be busy for the next year, Caramanno says her plans for the future have not changed.

“This has been an amazing experience; I never thought I’d get this far and receive such a high-level award. But, nothing has really changed in regards to my goals. I’d like to commission into the Biomedical Service Corps once I finish my bachelor’s degree.”