Wright-Patterson employee earns AFA award

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Oh. -- An Air Force Life Cycle Management Center employee is among the winners of the 2014 Air Force Association Outstanding Air Force Civilian of the Year awards.

Daryl Kitchen, director of logistics, Mobility Directorate, is AFA's Civilian Senior Manager of the Year. Kitchen received the award for his work as product support manager on the Air Force RQ-4 Global Hawk program, which recently won the 2013 James G. Roche Sustainment Excellence award for the second consecutive year. The James G. Roche award is given to the top team in the Air Force for improved logistics and sustainment.

The RQ-4 Global Hawk is a high-altitude, long-endurance unmanned aircraft system that provides intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capability worldwide. Kitchen's success with the program includes a 40 percent increase in flying hours to more than 100,000 in September 2013; a first-ever Air Force Rolls Royce and unmanned aircraft system engine depot at Tinker Air Force Base, Okla.; increased counterfeit parts security; no operational interruptions during the 2013 furlough; and a significant reduction in
Global Hawk's cost per flying hour.

"Obviously, any time leadership takes time to highlight your work, it is a real honor, whether it is a pat on the back, an appraisal award or an Air Force-level award such as this one," said Kitchen. "More importantly, I really consider this a team award. I am honored to be
able to take the credit for the hard work of so many people."

"'Kitch' is the kind of guy who will always deflect praise to his team," said Global Hawk program director Col. Carlin Heimann. "We have a great group of people in Global Hawk, but I will tell you that Global Hawk would not be where it is today without one Daryl Kitchen.
He is every bit worthy of this Air Force-level award."

"I was extremely fortunate to have a boss who let me take the ball and run, and an extremely talented and motivated team at Wright-Patterson (AFB) and Robins (AFB) that just got things done -- I think sometimes in spite of me," Kitchen said.

Kitchen spent 24 years in the Air Force as an enlisted member and a commissioned officer.
He served in a variety of roles, ranging from basic training instructor to leading a NATO logistics organization. He joined civil service in 2006.

Kitchen grew up in a small town in a large family, in an environment that gave him the foundation for who he is today -- a family man and a patriot. He comes from a family with a history of military service. His father served in World War II and his brother served in Vietnam. He credits his family, which includes his wife of 28 years, two children and two grandchildren, for giving him the tools he needed to succeed.

"It's kind of funny if you replace the word 'service' with family, school, community, etc.," said
Kitchen. "I guess I grew up with the Air Force core values. It is about integrity, service and excellence.

"What I love doing and what is rewarding is seeing teams come together to get the mission done," said Kitchen. "There is nothing more fulfilling than seeing a young basic trainee,
recent college graduate intern or a completely diverse mix of employees reach their potential, knowing that in some way, you had a hand in it.

"It is truly the people who make our Air Force the best in the world," he said.