Sumter native named Air Force Association airman of the year


A Sumter native is among the list of 12 airmen honored by the Air Force Association for their hard work and dedication in 2019.

Senior Master Sgt. Sylvetris Hlongwane, who led five teams in the command's largest military justice arena, servicing five wings, 26 sites and 55,000 clients, was named a 2019 Outstanding Airman of the Year. She serves as a paralegal manager for the 11th Air Force at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Alaska, according to the AFA.

The association began the program in 1956 to honor the Air Force's enlisted force. Airmen who are honored with the award display "superior leadership, job performance, community involvement and personal achievement over the preceding 12 months," according to the AFA.

As staff superintendent and acting first sergeant, Hlongwane guided 380 mission partners through 321 joint taskers, linking critical mission gaps.

"She excelled as a senior enlisted advisor during a commander-directed investigation, delivering 448 hours of testimony, supporting improvements in pilot training," her award description said in a news release. "[She] executed exercises to assess a $21 million security contract that authenticated safeguards of $3 billion in protection-level assets, contributing to the return of 26 defenders to home station."

Her leadership to 534 peers and 800 junior leaders culminated in her recognition as the Pacific Air Forces' Lance P. Sijan recipient.

Hlongwane and the 11 other recipients will be recognized at AFA's Air, Space and Cyber Conference set for Sept. 16-18 in National Harbor, Maryland.