Team Eglin engineer on list of AF best

  • Published
  • By Chrissy Cuttita
  • Team Eglin Public Affairs
After months of tough competition, a Team Eglin engineer was officially announced as winner of the 2007 Air Force Outstanding Mid-Career Civilian Engineer in September at Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio in front of senior Air Force leadership. 

A surprised Lance Hofman, Lead B-1 Defensive Systems Engineer, did not expect to win this award because had not previously won any award beyond the group level. 

"There are many excellent engineers across the Air Force that do great things to help the warfighter," he said. "I felt very honored to represent the B-1 team, the 36th Electronic Warfare Squadron and the 53rd Wing in accepting the award. I am a representative of the successful accomplishments that we performed as a team. I also give glory to God, who gives me the ability to do my work." 

Supervisors lauded Mr. Hofman's inspiring leadership and test skills that improved the protection of 60 Combat Air Force B-1B aircraft up to 60 percent in the award citation. 

"Mr. Hofman is a selfless team player. He was honored with this award because of his superb character, integrity and dedication to the U.S. Air Force," said Lt. Col. Gregory Patschke, 36th Electronic Warfare Squadron commander. 

"It was a team effort," Mr. Hofman said. "We fielded several mission data sets to help out the B-1 aircrews, including the first mission data set for our test and training ranges. Our team researched intelligence data to update our B-1 mission data. Some of our engineers helped by building automated tools to help us accomplish the updates faster. Once we updated our mission data, our team of 36th EWS engineers and 16th EWS lab technicians tested, verified, and troubleshot the mission data so it worked properly." 

Under his leadership, his team invented more efficient ways to test hardware and software, train aircrew and ensure mission success, while conserving scarce dollars, according to Mr. Hofman's award citation. 

"Lance has been the backbone of survivability for the B-1," said Lt. Col. John Arnold who supervised Mr. Hofman for two years and wrote the package. "His expertise is unparalleled and he's always willing to help out aircrews regardless if we're conducting a test or not. Lance is richly deserving of this recognition." 

Mr. Hofman is responsible for reprogramming, testing and fielding defensive mission data for the ALQ-161 on the B-1. The ALQ-161 is an integrated Radar Warning Receiver/Electronic Countermeasures system. 

"It is basically a very sophisticated radar detector, but instead the radar operators giving out tickets, they try to shoot you down with missiles and bullets," he said. "In my reprogramming, I try to ensure the B-1 aircrews know what threats are trying to shoot them down, where they are, and prevent the threats from shooting at them. I provide technical expertise on the various B-1 defensive systems to ACC and the B-1 aircrews. I am also involved with defining requirements for B-1 defensive hardware and software upgrades." 

Mr. Hofman has been a B-1 Engineer for 13 years and is known as the first civilian B-1 Defensive Systems Engineer while stationed in Omaha in 1995. He moved to Eglin as a result of reorganization, and stayed as the Lead B-1 Defensive Systems Mission Data Engineer.