Aviano Airman wins DoD Award

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Hannah Stubblefield
  • 31st Fighter Wing

This year the Department of Defense announced U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Iris Rangel Bermudez, 31st Contracting Squadron contracting specialist, a recipient of the League of United Latin American Citizens 2023 Excellence in Service Uniformed Services Public Service Award.

The Uniformed Services Public Service Award is presented annually to military members or civilian employees by the DOD. Rangel was one of ten members selected for 2023.  

 “The award recognizes excellence in public service in the advancement of education, economic, health and diversity accomplishments, particularly within underrepresented populations,” said Rangel.

Rangel demonstrated these accomplishments during work hours and while off duty. During the award period, she served as the president of the 31st Fighter Wing’s Vicini Americani Language Teaching Program and dedicated over 200 hours connecting the base populus with local Italian schoolchildren and teachers. She communicated with teachers to develop lesson plans, managed volunteer scheduling and recruited multi-lingual Airmen as volunteers to teach Spanish classes at five schools.

Additionally, she founded the Fighter Wing’s ideology sharing group, Park Bench Philosophers, which provides a safe space for personnel to openly discuss topics pertaining to ethics, values and humanity. Moreover, she is a representative with the Hispanic Heritage Committee and Women’s Equality Committee, dutifully participating in multiple base events on their behalf.

“Her facilitation of diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility in the wing philosophy group enhances open communication, mutual respect and cooperation across base,” said U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Chikadi Akalaonu, 31st Contracting Squadron commander. “The impact of Rangel’s efforts and dedication to service will be felt for generations to come.

Rangel credited the 31st Contracting Squadron for allowing her the opportunities to go above and beyond in the Aviano community.

“The collective dedication of 31 CONS to make a positive impact inspires me to go above and beyond in my community,” said Rangel. “The guidance and mentorship provided to me by all the members of my squadron empowers me to contribute however I can.”

A few months after receiving the award, she still feels a range of emotions.

“It’s honestly surreal,” said Rangel. “I want to express my gratitude to everyone at 31 CONS, including the local nationals, my wingmen, my leadership and my supervisors for their encouragement and mentorship. Additionally, I would like to give a special shout-out to the Vicini Americani program which has played a pivotal role in fostering a sense of community and belonging. This recognition is a testament to collaboration, mentorship, and unity. I am incredibly proud to be a part of such an exceptional team.”