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Maintenance officer takes home OAY state award

Capt. Jason Burns, a maintenance officer at the 162nd Fighter Wing, talks about maintenance issues on the flightline at Tucson International Airport. He is the Arizona Air National Guard’s outstanding junior officer for 2010. (U.S. Air Force photo/Master Sgt. Dave Neve)

Capt. Jason Burns, a maintenance officer at the 162nd Fighter Wing, talks about maintenance issues on the flightline at Tucson International Airport. He is the Arizona Air National Guard’s outstanding junior officer for 2010. (U.S. Air Force photo/Master Sgt. Dave Neve)

TUCSON, Ariz. -- Capt. Jason Burns, an aircraft maintenance officer here, is the Maj. Gen. Owens Junior Officer of the Year. He accepted the award at the Arizona Air National Guard's Outstanding Airman of the Year banquet and ceremony held March 5 in Scottsdale, Ariz.

All four Arizona Air Guard units sent representatives to the ceremony to vie for sate honors - including the 107th Air Control Squadron located in Phoenix on the Papago Park Military Reservation; the 214th Reconnaissance Group located at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson; the 161st Air Refueling Wing in Phoenix; and the 162nd Fighter Wing at the Tucson International Airport.

The OAY banquet is an annual celebration honoring the best of the best in the Arizona Air National Guard. Supervisors nominate Airmen based on criteria focusing on the Airman's exceptional service in the military and community.

Besides being active in various community organizations, Captain Burns excelled in his duties as a maintenance officer. He led the effort to transition the maintenance squadron to the Aircraft Maintenance Unit organizational concept, coordinating the move of more than 250 personnel in the maintenance complex to new duty locations.

Captain Burns also represented the Air Force in Pakistan during Red and Green Flag planning meetings. He was additionally the sole maintenance representative during the showing of three United Arab Emirates-owned F-16 jets to the Indian Air Force in anticipation of a 186-aircraft purchase.

Maj. Gen. Hugo E. Salazar, The Adjutant General, Arizona National Guard, and Brig. Gen. Michael Colangelo, Commander, Arizona Air National Guard, were on hand to present the award to Capt. Burns. He was also "coined" by other dignitaries at the banquet - including Lt. Gen. Harry M. Wyatt III, Director, Air National Guard; Chief Master Sgt. Christopher E. Muncy, Command Chief Master Sergeant of the Air National Guard; and Chief Master Sgt. Denise M. Jelinski-Hall, the Senior Enlisted Leader for the National Guard Bureau.

Captain Burns will now compete against other states' outstanding officers for the honor of being named one of the Air National Guard's 12 Outstanding Airmen of the Year.

The Air Force's Airman of the Year program was initiated at the Air Force Association's conference of 1956. The Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force, a general officer and selected MAJCOM command chiefs form the selection board.