Air Force Senior Airman Kostiantyn Khymchenko Awarded “Airman of the Year” by Military Times Foundation

Senior Airman Khymchenko Served a Vital Role in Operation Atlas Guardian, Translating Thousands of Intercepted Communications and Documents

ARLINGTON, VA., February 22, 2024 – Military Times and the Military Times Foundation have announced that Air Force Senior Airman Kostiantyn Khymchenko has been recognized with the “Airman of the Year” award for his vital role in Operation Atlas Guardian.  This prestigious award has been presented for the past 23 years and honors one outstanding military member from each branch of service who has demonstrated exemplary military service going beyond the call of duty.  The non-profit organization returns all proceeds from the annual Military Times Service Members of the Year Award event to an array of veterans service organizations which help support the military community and their families.

Born in Ukraine, Senior Airman Kostiantyn Khymchenko moved to the U.S. in June 2019 and enlisted in the Air Force 8 months later.  In 2022, he was selected for deployment in support of Operation Atlas Guardian. As a native Ukrainian speaker, he led eight translators in 50 multinational teleconferences and advised four general officers. He was also part of a task force advising Ukraine’s air force on defensive campaigns. He translated more than 30 technical maps and transmissions intercepted from Russia, providing intel on more than 400 site locations and 1,500 missile launch alerts.  His actions increased the survivability of 40 aircraft, $2 billion in assets, and 8 million lives.

For his efforts during Atlas Guardian, Khymchenko was awarded challenge coins by Secretary of the Air Force Frank Kendall and Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force JoAnne Bass. He was also awarded the Ukraine Support Medal by Grand Minister of Defense Oleksii Reznikov.

Stateside, Khymchenko performed his duties as an HVAC Journeyman at Joint Base Langley-Eustis by completing 742 jobs and responding to 36 emergencies, for which he was named Wing Airman of the Quarter for the second quarter of 2022. He was honored with a challenge coin from the commander of Air Combat Command for his outstanding performance and leadership.

Khymchenko’s inspiring persona extends to his personal life as well. In 2022, his wife Dariia followed his commitment to service by joining the Air Force herself, and is also currently stationed at Langley as a Contracting Specialist with the 633rd Contracting Squadron.

“Senior Airman Kostiantyn Khymchenko’s remarkable dedication to duty, linguistic prowess, and strategic acumen during Operation Atlas Guardian exemplify the highest ideals of military service,” said Michael Reinstein, Chairman of Military Times Foundation.  “We are proud to honor Senior Airman Khymchenko with the well-deserved ‘Airman of the Year’ award. His extraordinary contributions to both national and international missions underscore the importance of recognizing exemplary individuals who go above and beyond the call of duty.”

The Military Times Foundation is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) established to recognize, salute and highlight the exemplary service of active duty personnel serving in each branch of the U.S. Armed Services.

The annual Military Times Service Members of the Year Award has grown into a much-anticipated event. The awards ceremony has become one of Washington D.C.’s A-list events attended by congressional, military and community leaders.  Since 2019 Military Times and the Military Times Foundation have donated over $20 million in cash and media value to support over 150 military and veteran service organizations, such as Fisher House, Children of Fallen Patriots, TAPS, Objective Zero and others.

Sponsors of the event include Fisher House Foundation, Veteran Benefits Guide, Leonardo DRS, IHG Army Hotels, The Nationals and Delta. For more information on the selection process, history of the award, past winners, and other details, visit:



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Kelly Facer
Military Times Foundation

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