USARAF Soldier earns international honors
By Rich Bartell, U.S. Army Africa Public Affairs
VICENZA, Italy – Sgt. 1st Class Maria Caulford recently was selected as the Army’s recipient of the Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command’s Excellence in Traffic Management award.
Caulford, a 15-year Army veteran, is a transportation movement coordinator with U.S. Army Africa’s G-4, Logistics, Mobility Division. She receives high praise from Todd Johnston, the division chief.
“Sgt. 1st Class Caulford’s selection isn’t an accident. She is phenomenally competent, driven, and energetic. She exudes the confidence one expects of an NCO,” Johnston said.
“She is bar none, the best transportation movement coordinator, 88N, I've have ever worked with and she is easily among the top ten NCOs I’ve ever known and that includes my two years with the 173rd Airborne Infantry Combat Brigade.
Johnston explains the significance of the SDDC award.
“The Excellence in Traffic Management Awards are presented each year by SDDC to exceptional traffic managers, both civilians and enlisted military staff, that best represent the command's core competencies as global surface transportation experts,” Johnston said.
“The awardees included representatives from the uniformed services of the Department of Defense, the Coast Guard, Defense Logistics Agency, Army/Air Force Exchange Service and the Defense Contract Management Agency.”
Caulford will receive the award in a presentation from Maj. Gen. Thomas J. Richardson at the National Defense Transportation Association’s International Awards Luncheon in Anchorage, Alaska on Sept. 26.
As a transportation movement coordinator, Caulford performs a myriad of duties. Her job description looks similar to an amalgam of civilian transportation industry jobs. She deals directly with people and equipment that are required to travel from place to place. Among her many responsibilities is the travel coordination for the USARAF commander and his staff.
“On a daily basis, Sgt. 1st Class Caulford coordinates all operational support airlift for the command with U.S. Africa Command and multiple embassies. She initiates requests for air movement on behalf of USARAF units in Africa and units deploying to Africa in support of USARAF exercises,” Johnston said.
“Additionally, she coordinates aircraft support at various locations for off-loading cargo, fueling and material handling equipment as well as tracking the movement of aircraft and other vehicles. On a regular basis she arranges shipment of material via small package carriers between Africa and Europe or CONUS in support of training programs,” Johnston said.
Caulford had a diverse childhood, living in Brazil and Peru. As a result of her travels, she speaks fluent Spanish and Portuguese.
“I was raised in Paterson, N.J., when we moved to the U.S. Then moved to Melbourne, Fla., during my teens and I guess you can say Florida is what I like to call home,” Caulford said.
Caulford says she owes her success to strong family bonds and patriotic pride.
“My biggest success tool and drive to be the best is my family first since they motivate me to strive for a better future,” Caulford said.”
“And of course my pride in wearing this uniform and knowing what it stands for. To know that my brothers and sisters have bled for our freedom encourages me to be strong and never quit.
“My biggest inspiration to succeed in the military is my love for our country and the opportunity that this great nation gave me when allowing me to become a citizen. I take the positive in everything I do and to have the love and support of my family means the world to me,” Caulford said.