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John Trifonovitch (center) accepts his lifetime achievement award from the U.S. Air Force.

A University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa alumnus was presented with a national career award for his decades of service in the U.S. Air Force. John Trifonovitch received the Dr. Jacqueline R. Henningsen Analyst Lifetime Achievement Award at the Department of the Air Force’s Data, Analytics, and Artificial Intelligence Forum in Florida in April 2024.

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Trifonovitch served as director of analyses, assessments and lessons learned at Headquarters Pacific Air Forces at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam. He founded analyses, assessments and lessons learned capabilities in the Pacific theater. His analysis techniques, forged through multiple operations and crises, became standards and best practices across the Department of the Air Force. Trifonovitch’s mentorship, foresight and efforts were instrumental in the expansion of the Department of Defense Analytic Community. Trifonovitch retired from his position in December 2023 after more than 35 and half years of service.

In 1999, while serving in Germany, Trifonovitch was part of the operational assessment team for the air war over Serbia, and developed an air assessment system which also helped ground forces identify the locations of possible unexploded ordnances to establish safe routes. He and his team were credited with helping to save the soldiers’ lives.

In a nomination letter, Trifonovitch was called the “Godfather of analytics in the Pacific Theater.”

“This is an incredible, great honor and recognition. I am very humbled,” Trifonovitch said at the ceremony.

Trifonovitch earned his master of business administration and bachelor of science in mathematics from UH Mānoa, and also played percussion in the UH Band on a band scholarship.

UH provided me with an opportunity and a foundation to develop the tools I needed to build my career,” Trifonovitch said. “I am grateful UH offered me the means through the band scholarship to complete my undergraduate studies. I am proud to be a UH alumnus.”

The award was previously known as the Air Force Analyst Lifetime Achievement award and recognizes Air Force operations research analysts who have demonstrated an enduring standard of excellence in STEM with significant and lasting effect on the Air Force mission. The award was named after Jacqueline R. Henningsen in 2015 and honors the leadership, dedication to mission accomplishment and moral courage that Henningsen demonstrated throughout her 29-year career in service to the Air Force, the Department of Defense and the nation.

A plaque with the names of the annual award winners, including Trifonovitch, is on display at the Pentagon.

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