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459 MXS Airman brings home prestigious award

ACE Award

Staff Sgt. Gabriel Zamfir, an electric and environmental technician assigned to the 459th Maintenance Squadron here, inspects the electrical wires on the wheel assembly of a KC-135R Stratotanker. He received the ACE award on Jan. 11, at Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas, for scoring 100 percent on all 11 block tests and is only the fifth recipient to win the award for the course in the last 10 years. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kristin Kurtz)

JOINT BASE ANDREWS, Md. --

Scoring a passing grade in an Air Force technical school may be expected. However, recording a perfect score on every test for the entire length of the course is an expectation not many can achieve.

Staff Sgt. Gabriel Zamfir, an electric and environmental technician assigned to the 459th Maintenance Squadron here, received the prestigious ACE award Jan. 11, while training at Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas.

“The ACE award is the highest academic honor a student can receive and is earned for exceptional performance by maintaining a perfect 100 percent average through the entire course,” said Chief Master Sgt. Scott Goetze, the Air Force Reserve Command training liaison superintendent at Sheppard AFB.

During Zamir’s time at technical school, he endured 11 exams and approximately 150 – 200 pass/fail progress checks in his field of expertise.

 “To give you an idea of the difficulty involved, there have only been five others in 10 years who have achieved such academic excellence,” said Goetze. “He was the only Reservist in his class, and I will say he has left a lasting positive impression on the young Airmen and school house staff.”

Aside from Zamfir, the class is comprised of eight active duty Airmen and one Guardsman who spent 142 days in the aircraft electrical and environmental systems apprentice course.

The course consisted of classes such as electronic principles, oxygen system and cabin pressure, among others.

“He had to wait a long time to get his class date and, without the schooling, I wasn’t able to allow him to get any real on-the-job training,” said Master Sgt. Richard Herdmann, 459th MXS noncommissioned officer in charge. “However, he still came to work with a great attitude and completed all possible training while he waited.”

Zamir waited roughly one year and four months for class date to become available.

“I’m an all-in type of person and I don’t want to waste my time, the unit’s or anyone else’s time,” he said. “So once I finally got there I wanted to make the most of it.”

As a former active duty engine mechanic for the Navy, Zamir has five years prior experience working on aircraft.

“With his previous experience I feel he was able to approach the school without being intimidated, which lead to his overall success,” said Herdmann.

The 459th MXS welcomed Zamir to the Air Force Reserve and their unit roughly a year and a half ago. Now that he has been trained in his job he has the opportunity to perform the mission with excellence.

“Getting that award means that I have to come back here and be able to perform at the top of my game each and every day and I can’t wait,” said Zamir.