Air Force 12 Outstanding Airmen of the Year, SMSgt Donna J. Goodno

  • Published
  • By California Air National Guard 2008 Year In Revidw
  • HQ California Air National Guard

The 2007 California Air National Guard Senior NCO of the Year, was among 12 Airmen selected as an Air Force Outstanding Airmen for 2008.

A Mission Support Flight Superintendant at the 147th Combat Communications Squadron, 162nd Combat Communications Group, was selected from 33 nominees who represented all Air Force major commands, direct reporting units, field operating agencies and Air Staff agencies. She was the highest ranking Airman in the honored group, which include three senior airmen, one staff sergeant, five technical sergeants and two master sergeants.

As an Air Force Outstanding Airman, Sergeant Goodno was honored by the Air Force Association in Washington this past September. 

She joined the Air National Guard in 1992 after serving in the active-duty Air Force, and learned about the combat communication positions through a recruiter. 

Sergeant Goodno volunteered for Operation Enduring Freedom in 2002, and served as a communications manager in Kuwait. Then, she volunteered for Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2007 and deployed to Baghdad International Airport as a maintenance superintendent for the 447th Air Expeditionary Squadron (AES) where she was responsible for five work centers and more than $17 million in assets. 

There, she credits a great commander who had the foresight to deploy all the necessary communications equipment with her. "He saw that I could do it and saw some leadership in me and that I could get the job done and let me go do things that I would normally have not done," she said. 

Despite more than 35 attacks on the base and a daily threat of rockets and mortar attack, Sergeant Goodno ensured zero communication outages. She identified and corrected 16 frequencies unapproved for Baghdad International Airport's use, conducted an emergency repair of sabotaged perimeter fence fiberoptics, and worked the installation of a $155,000 cable project that provided a redundant network path. She also engineered a TV-over-network solution which provided Armed Forces Network services to more than 800 users. Most notably, she managed a fix to the airport's only airspace radar control system after 10 months of stalled effort, getting the radar up and running in 2 weeks. 

Squadron officials there called her work outstanding and recognized her successful supervision of 27 deployed personnel by awarding her AES SNCO of the month. Sergeant Goodno also volunteered her time as a notary for deployed members and supported morale events during deployed holidays. 

"I'm the kind of person that if I see a lot of stuff that's not getting done, I'll just jump in, it doesn't really matter what career field it is," she said. 

Her community activities included teaching re-integration classes with the group chaplain, which helped Army and Air Force members adjust to leaving Iraq and performing volunteer work for Veteran Standown, which helps homeless veterans reconnect with the community.