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Annual Awards honor Guardsmen, fighter wing supporters

Airman First Class Rebecca Garcia accepts the 162nd Fighter Wing Airman of the Year award from Brig. Gen. Michael Colangelo, the Arizona Air National Guard commander, April 10. During its annual awards ceremony the Arizona Air National Guard unit based at Tucson International Airport recognized 57 Guardsmen and civilian supporters for outstanding contributions to the wing mission. (Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Dave Neve)

Airman First Class Rebecca Garcia accepts the 162nd Fighter Wing Airman of the Year award from Brig. Gen. Michael Colangelo, the Arizona Air National Guard commander, April 10. During its annual awards ceremony the Arizona Air National Guard unit based at Tucson International Airport recognized 57 Guardsmen and civilian supporters for outstanding contributions to the wing mission. (Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Dave Neve)

Retired Master Sgt. John Smith, the first person to ever enlist in the Tucson Guard unit, accepts the Commander’s Special Tribute award from Brig. Gen. Greg Stroud, 162nd Fighter Wing commander, April 10. During its annual awards ceremony the Arizona Air National Guard unit based at Tucson International Airport recognized 57 Guardsmen and civilian supporters for outstanding contributions to the wing mission. (Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Dave Neve)

Retired Master Sgt. John Smith, the first person to ever enlist in the Tucson Guard unit, accepts the Commander’s Special Tribute award from Brig. Gen. Greg Stroud, 162nd Fighter Wing commander, April 10. During its annual awards ceremony the Arizona Air National Guard unit based at Tucson International Airport recognized 57 Guardsmen and civilian supporters for outstanding contributions to the wing mission. (Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Dave Neve)

Brig. Gen. Michael Colangelo, the Arizona Air National Guard commander, presents an Air Medal to Maj. Matthew Garrison, an F-16 instructor pilot at the 162nd Fighter Wing, April 10. During its annual awards ceremony the Arizona Air National Guard unit based at Tucson International Airport recognized 57 Guardsmen and civilian supporters for outstanding contributions to the wing mission. (Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Dave Neve)

Brig. Gen. Michael Colangelo, the Arizona Air National Guard commander, presents an Air Medal to Maj. Matthew Garrison, an F-16 instructor pilot at the 162nd Fighter Wing, April 10. During its annual awards ceremony the Arizona Air National Guard unit based at Tucson International Airport recognized 57 Guardsmen and civilian supporters for outstanding contributions to the wing mission. (Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Dave Neve)

TUCSON, Ariz. -- A sea of servicemembers, families, friends, distinguished guests and visitors filled chairs and stood lining the walls in Maintenance Hangar 10 at Tucson International Airport for the 162nd Fighter Wing's 2009 Annual Awards ceremony here April 10.

The ceremony honored wing members, teams and community supporters for outstanding contributions or personal development.

Brig. Gen. Michael Colangelo, the Arizona Air National Guard commander, made the trip from state headquarters in Phoenix to preside over the ceremony.

"My favorite part of coming down here is when I look into the eyes of people in the audience and see so many former members," said General Colangelo. "We could put together a good-sized squadron made up of retired and former members who still come back here to watch this experience every year. These generations started the tradition in 1956 of doing things the right way, for the right reasons - being professional Airmen that can do anything they are tasked to do."

According to Brig. Gen. Greg Stroud, the wing commander, 2009 was extraordinary for the 162nd. The wing's Air Sovereignty Alert detachment earned the highest possible marks during no-notice NORAD inspections, the 162nd Medical Group received an outstanding rating during a Health Services Inspection, and the wing earned superior ratings during an Environmental, Safety, Occupational Health, Compliance Assessment and Management Program (ESOHCAMP) inspection.

The alert detachment and medical group subsequently earned Air Force Outstanding Unit Awards, and the overall wing earned the highest grade yet given for an Air Education and Training Command compliance inspection.

"Each year we get to recognize only a select few of the 1,500 incredibly talented members of this wing. So those of you who are receiving awards today, your families and everybody in this room can be incredibly proud of your accomplishments," said General Stroud.

The generals then awarded Community College of the Air Force degrees, outstanding personnel of the year awards, team performance awards, scholarships, volunteer recognition, safety awards, and Meritorious Service and Air Medals.

The clear highlight of the program was the Commander's Special Tribute award which was presented to retired Master Sgt. John Smith, the first person to ever enlist in the Tucson Guard unit. The hangar erupted with a standing ovation for the founding member who, at the age of 29, entered the Guard in May of 1956, the unit's inaugural year, to be a structural repairman.

He was already a Navy veteran from World War II's Pacific theater, and went on to serve 28 years in the Guard.

"He's the fabric of our heritage, and the men and women of the 162nd are thankful for what he and others did to begin our great tradition of excellence," said 2nd Lt. Angela Walz, master of ceremonies.

The overall mood of the event focused as much on the future of the 162nd Fighter Wing as it did on the unit's heritage.

"This [international F-16 pilot training] mission that we have, and all the support missions that we step up to for our state and our country make this unit the ideal location to bring a 5th generation fighter," said General Colangelo referring to the wing's candidacy for future F-35 Lightning II training. "When we watch the men and women walk across this stage, and we hear about their contributions we can take pride that we deserve this opportunity."



162ND FIGHTER WING TEAM PERFORMANCE AWARD
RC-26 Team

COMMUNITY COLLEGE OF THE AIR FORCE ASSOCIATE DEGREE IN APPLIED SCIENCE
Master Sgt. William Ormsby
Master Sgt. Gregory O'sullivan
Tech. Sgt. David Aranda
Tech. Sgt. John Herran
Staff Sgt. Rodolfo Pimental
Staff Sgt. Lori Presnar
Staff Sgt. Danny Watton

OUTSTANDING PERSONNEL OF THE YEAR
Outstanding Officer

Lt. Col. Garry Beauregard

Outstanding Senior NCO
Master Sgt. Bruce Whitney

Outstanding NCO
Tech. Sgt. Eric Baker

Outstanding Airman
Airman First Class Rebecca Garcia

OUTSTANDING SECTION OF THE YEAR
Quality Assurance

BRIGADIER GENERAL RONALD L. KURTH COMMANDERS AWARD
Alert Detachment

MAJOR GENERAL DONALD E. MORRIS LEADERSHIP AWARD
Senior Master Sgt. Alex Leyvas

COMMANDERS SPECIAL RECOGNITION AWARD
Maj. Gabriel Johnson
Inspection Element

COMMANDERS SPECIAL TRIBUTE AWARD
Master Sgt. (Ret) John Smith

MAJ. GEN. DONALD L. OWENS JUNIOR OFFICER AWARD
Capt. Paul Jefferson

AFA JUNIOR AIRMAN AWARD
Airman First Class Sylvia Calmelat

AQUINO GROUND SAFETY MEMORIAL AWARD
Repair and Reclamation Shop

JOHN H. "SQUARE DEAL" MCNEILL AWARD
Lt. Col. Jolyon Schilling

FAMILY READINESS GROUP VOLUNTEER OF THE YEAR
Mr. Gregory Dodd

162FW MINUTEMAN COMMITTEE EMPLOYER OF THE YEAR
NW Fire District

162FW MINUTEMAN COMMITTEE GUARDSMAN OF THE YEAR
Lt. Col. Mike Miller

162FW MINUTEMAN COMMITTEE SCHOLARSHIP
Karissa Gavre

"JIMMY JET" VOLUNTEER OF THE YEAR
Mrs. Linda Hutchinson

"JIMMY JET" KURTH MEMORIAL SCHOLORSHIP AWARD
Ashley Claggett

"JIMMY JET" Pamela J. Long SCHOLORSHIP AWARD
Kelly LaFrance

LOUIS E. WILLIAMS MEMORIAL SCHOLARSHIP AWARD
Airman First Class Sylvia Calmelat

FIRST SERGEANT OF THE YEAR
Senior Master Sgt. Armando Gonzalez

F-16 INSTRUCTOR PILOT OF THE YEAR
Lt. Col. Wally Bleyl

OPERATIONS APPRECIATION AWARD
Civil Engineering Squadron

TUCSON METROPOLITAN CHAMBER OF COMMERCE AWARD
Lt. Col. Scott Reinhold

162ND FIGHTER WING COMMAND CHIEF AWARD
Tech. Sgt. James Wright

162ND FIGHTER WING MERITORIOUS ACHIEVEMENT AWARD
Lt. Col. Eric Kendle
Public Affairs
Mr. Dave Galloway

AIR FORCE MERITORIOUS SERVICE MEDAL
Lt. Col. Moon Milham
Lt. Col. Kelly Parkinson
Maj. Jason Dickinson
Maj. Charles Durfee
Maj. Steven Haase
Maj. Daniel Hodges
Maj. Brant Putnam
Maj. Alexander Wilson
Chief Master Sgt. Asberry Dawson
Senior Master Sgt. Jacinta Figueroa
Master Sgt. Terry Hassel

AIR MEDAL MEDAL
Col. James Taylor
Lt. Col. Charles Huffman
Lt. Col. Mark Linquist
Maj. Matthew Garrison
Maj. Adam Mercier
Maj. Owen Smith
Maj. Jason Lewis
Maj. Patrick McClelland