The California Air Force Association held their annual awards banquet Aug. 16 at Vandenberg Air Force Base.
During the event, they named Andrew Hansen, 412th Test Wing Range Safety engineer, the CAFA U.S. Air Force Civilian of the Year for 2014.
For Hansen, the award was his fourth in a series of awards including 412th Test Wing third quarter and annual awards, as well as an Air Force Test Center annual award. For the CAFA award, Hansen was selected from a field of civilians from all over the state.
“It’s all based on my work there at the Range Safety Office, making sure that we’re dropping weapons or parachutes safely on our range and preforming unmanned aeriel vehicle operations safely. All of those things kind of played into these awards,” said Hansen.
According to Hansen, the range safety function was formerly under the range squadron until a-year-and-a-half ago when it was moved to the 412th Test Wing Safety Office. It was at that time, that Hansen moved to the Range Safety Office.
Hansen does a little bit of everything at Range Safety such as calculate release points and to ensure weapons land within the established safety footprint.
“One of our big focuses has been to try to utilize our range more because, up until recently, we haven’t been dropping weapons for test purposes. We’d have to go to China Lake or the sea test ranges for high dollar amounts or scheduling conflicts,” said Hansen. “We want to be able to utilize our range a little bit better and do some test missions and drop some weapons on our range. Now we’re able to and we’ve done a couple high-profile ones recently.”
When testing is done on the range, the safety office provides a safety footprint and ensures that people and valuable property are clear of that area.
“It’s a job that fits me very well, where I feel like I’m actually making a difference and providing a good service to the base.”
Hansen has been at Edwards AFB for over nine years. Most of that time, he spent as a Weapons Integration engineer on the B-52, F-22, B-1, B-2 and more. He also served a short stint as a flying qualities engineer on the F-35.
“Quite honestly, I’ve enjoyed working [at the Range Safety Office] more probably than any other place that I’ve worked on base.”
At the CAFA banquet, Hansen was accompanied by his wife, Emily.
“It was very, very similar to the 412th TW Annual Awards ceremony. It was a big event with a lot of presentations going on. It was a nice, formal event, which is kind of fun. I dressed up in a suit and tie and the military folks were in their dress blues.”
Hansen was presented with a framed award featuring famous aviator Gen. James Doolittle, who founded the Air Force Association. The award also displays patches from the Air Force Association and Air Force Space Command.
“There are other people on the base doing outstanding things as well. The Range Safety Office, as it sits right now, I feel like we’re doing some good, important things and there are more in that office than just me,” said Hansen. “It feels good to know that what you’re doing is making a difference and that other people also feel that what you’re doing is making a difference.”