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Diego Garcia’s master budget analyst, resource advisor recognized

Staff Sgt. Ernest Benavides, 36th Mission Support Group Detachment 1 Materiel Management NCO in charge, and Elizabeth Del Pilar, 36th MSG Det. 1 budget analyst, review records at Diego Garcia May 1, 2013. Del Pilar has been the 36th MSG’s lone off-shore Philippine general schedule employee since 2004. (U.S. Air Force courtesy photo)

Staff Sgt. Ernest Benavides, 36th Mission Support Group Detachment 1 Materiel Management NCO in charge, and Elizabeth Del Pilar, 36th MSG Det. 1 budget analyst, review records at Diego Garcia May 1, 2013. Del Pilar has been the 36th MSG’s lone off-shore Philippine general schedule employee since 2004. (U.S. Air Force courtesy photo)

DIEGO GARCIA, British Indian Ocean Territory -- While Airmen have come and gone, a Pampanga, Philippines, native has been the lone off-shore Philippine general schedule employee here for nine years.

Whenever personnel get the rare opportunity to visit Diego Garcia a second time, one of the first inquiries is the status of Elizabeth Del Pilar. It is not uncommon to see a smile on their face when they hear "Ms. Beth," as she is known around here, is still working for the 36th Mission Support Group Detachment 1.

Del Pilar was born and raised in San Fernando, Pampanga, Philippines. She graduated from the University of Mindanao and has a Bachelor of Science in commerce, majoring in accounting. She began as an accountant and auditor for a private company and later worked for the Philippine Ministry of Local Government as a training officer.

In 1986, she began her career with the U.S. military as an accounting technician at the U.S. Naval Supply Depot Base in Subic Bay, Philippines. The closure of the U.S. bases in the Philippines brought most of the Subic Bay and Clark Air Base workers to Diego Garcia. Del Pilar came to Diego Garcia in 1993 and worked for a contracting company as an accountant in various departments. In 1999, she moved to the supply, materiel war reserve and billeting offices and worked as an accountant for the comptroller department of the U.S. Navy Support Facility for the next five years. In 2004, she was hired by what was then Det. 1, 13th Air Force, which was realigned and renamed as Det. 1, 36th Maintenance Group in 2005 and again in 2009 as Det. 1, 36th MSG; and has worked for the Air Force since then as the detachment's budget analyst and Air Force resource advisor.

Even though the size of the detachment is small, the workload of overseeing the budget of a $251 million operation, as well as advocating local support for three other Air Force detachments at Diego Garcia and deployed Air Force units is massively intense.

The list of jobs Del Pilar performs is substantial. She does everything from performing qualitative and trend analysis of annual budgets for the detachment and Global War on Terrorism programs. She performs variety of budgetary and administrative functions such as background data, information, and documentation to support program budgets, and serves as a liaison between program managers and their representatives and other staff offices connected with the budget process. She also serves as the budget advisor for the Det. 1 commander, and assists her on budget issues to support contingencies and exercises and initiates action request for funding from other Air Force activities for services provided while units are on deployed status.

As the Air Force's lone budget person on Diego Garcia, Del Pilar has been given the challenge of taking on additional duties and tasks not normally incumbent upon most Air Force budget analysis and resource advisors. Though faced with the challenge of explaining and defending the budgetary needs for one of the Air Force's most remote detachments, Del Pilar finds the job fulfilling and appreciates the fact every Airman sees her as the all-around expert. In addition, the list of Del Pilar awards and nominations is substantial:
  • 2012 36 MSG Civilian of the Year (Cat 1), 36th MSG, Andersen Air Force Base, Guam
  • 2008 Resource Advisor of the Year, 36th Wing, Andersen AFB, Guam
  • 2006 Resource Advisor of the Year Nominee, Pacific Air Forces
  • 2006 Resource Advisor of the Year, 36th Wing and 36th Group, Andersen AFB, Guam
  • 2005 Civilian of the Year, U.S. NSF, Diego Garcia
  • 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007 Sustained Superior Performance Awardee with Detachment 1, 36 MXG (2004 to 2007).
  • 2005-2007 On the Spot Awardee with Detachment 1, 36th MXG
  • 1999- 2003 Sustained Superior Performance Awardee with NSF Comptroller, U.S. NSF, Diego Garcia
  • Nominated Civilian of the Quarter Award in 2002
  • Special Act Award 2003, NSF
  • Special Act Award 1992, Subic Bay Philippines
  • Various Letters of Appreciation from the Navy (1988-1999)

Del Pilar is a unique talent and widely admired for her expertise and dedication. She is more than just a mainstay and budget person for the Air Force at Diego Garcia. Because of her work, the Air Force is able to successfully maintain a presence in the Indian Ocean and allow for deployed units to experience a seamless transition from their home base to their forward operating locations. Del Pilar is an invaluable asset to the Air Force and the recognition and awards she receives are well-deserved.