CRW Airman wins SAIGE Award for AMC

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Les Waters
  • 621st Contingency Response Wing public affairs
A member of the 621st Contingency Response Wing won the Air Mobility Command's 2013 Society of American Indian Government Employees Award recently.

Major Maureen Trujillo, 571st Global Mobility Readiness Squadron assistant director of operations, stationed at Travis distinguished herself as a promoter of equal opportunity and public service by her leadership in both military service and community involvement.

"Her steadfast leadership and unique skill set has undoubtedly promoted retention of women and minorities in senior grade level and leadership positions, including under-represented occupations, such as the sciences," said Maj. Barry Nichols, 571st GMRS commander. "She is living proof minority women are indeed overcoming discrimination and elimination barriers that hinder equal opportunity for all members of the U.S. Armed Forces and civilians."

The purpose of the SAIGE awards is to recognize agencies and individuals who through their personal commitment and professional initiative, have made contributions in recruiting, retaining and providing career advancement opportunities to American Indian and Alaskan Native employees in the Federal workforce and who have assisted with the advancement of American Indian and Alaskan Native professionals, role models and future leaders.

As an airfield operations officer, Trujillo distinguished herself as a leader and role model for women and minorities. She recently demonstrated her commitment serving as the only woman on an eight-person airfield assessment team while deployed to the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan in support of United States Central Command's Exercise EAGER LION. There, she served as the airfield operations liaison to the Royal Jordanian air force, enabling the safe execution of 51 aircraft missions, transporting 2,054 passengers and 51.6 million pounds of cargo.

"A contingency response first," Trujillo said. "Our airfield assessment team surveyed eight airfields and one helicopter landing zone in three countries in a matter of only 52-days. Teamwork was key; we helped one another get the mission accomplished regardless of our primary (Air Force specialty code)."

Trujillo balances her career as a military officer, away from her hometown of Cochiti Pueblo, N.M., while continuing to contribute to her community located on a reservation. The most significant contribution to her community is her commitment to cross-cultural education. She is actively engaged with the Kotyiti Research Project, an anthropological study of the ancestral Cochiti mesa top community of Kotyiti located in north central New Mexico.

"The project is two-fold," Trujillo said. "First, it is extremely important for the young people in our community to learn about their history. Secondly, the project introduces students to basic methods and techniques of contemporary archaeology, which, in the end, can contribute to a broader understanding of Pueblo Indian history."

Through the Kotyiti project, Trujillo taught some basic principles of Pueblo culture such as how to respect an ancestral Pueblo village. She also taught both Cochiti and non-Cochiti members the sacred significance of the village which is the ancestral home of the Cochiti people during a very stressful time of their history. Trujillo encourages Pueblo youth to pursue advanced degrees in the sciences, a field in which American Indians are underrepresented. Native American employment represents 1.8 percent, approximately 34,136, of the permanent Federal Workforce.

"Maureen is one of the vanguards of a new generation of Indian women entering the military and serving their country with great distinction," Nichols said. "She holds the honors of being the first male or female commissioned officer from her community - a role she holds in high regard, as shown in her commitment to excellence."

The group commander echoed Nichols' and stated he was not surprised by Trujillo's award.

"It comes as no surprise to me Trujillo has been honored yet again," said Col. Mitchell Monroe, 571st Contingency Response Group commander. "This award, though, is very special. Within the CRG, we know Trujillo as an outstanding officer who's proud of her service and proud of her family. She's also very proud of her American Indian heritage and has been active in supporting events and activities that honor and continue the Cochiti Pueblo traditions. 

Trujillo's continuous dedication to American Indians in general and the Cochiti people in particular should be an example to us all."