By Chief Master Sgt Gonda Moncada, Texas Military Forces Public Affairs
/ Published January 14, 2010
CAMP MABRY, Texas -- During the Outstanding Airman of the Year Awards Ceremony here Sunday, the best of the best were recognized by family, friends and attending Airmen.
The Outstanding Airman Of the Year ribbon was authorized by the secretary of the Air Force on Feb. 21, 1968 with the criteria that the ribbon is to be awarded to enlisted Airmen nominated by the major commands, field operating agencies and direct reporting units to Headquarters, Air Force Personnel Center for competition in the 12 Outstanding Airmen of the Year. This year's nominations for the Texas Air National Guard assembled in the Auditorium and nervously awaited the board's decision.
Like in years past it was hard to make the final selection because the Airmen submitted for the award had exhibited the highest level of professionalism and leadership for their respective organizations and as Brig. Gen. John Nichols, Commander Texas Air National Guard, said: "The criteria for selection were based on infinitesimal differences."
After the posting of the Colors and the singing of the National Anthem, it was finally time for the words the Airmen had been waiting for with nervous anticipation.
The master of Ceremony said: "Today those individuals selected to represent the State of Texas at the national level will receive the Texas Outstanding Service Medal, a state flag that was flown over the Texas Capital in their honor, and Outstanding Achievement Medallion from USAA and a recognition crystal from the Senior Enlisted Advisory Council. All other nominees will receive the Texas Medal of Merit and a USAA Global War On Terrorism coin."
The first category to be selected was the Airman of the Year and the Most Outstanding Airman of the Year in the entire State of Texas was:
Sr. Airman Charity Pierce, 149th Fighter Wing (Deployed)
Sr. Airman Pierce is a Security Forces Journeyman.
The second group to be announced was the Non-Commissioned Officers of the Year, and the winner in this category was: Tech. Sgt. Daniel Alvarado, 204th SFS, a Security Forces Journeyman
Next up the Senior Non-Commissioned Officers category, and the Outstanding Non-Commissioned Officer selection was:
Sr. Master Sgt. Kevin White, 217th Training Squadron, an Imagery Analyst Instructor Supervisor.
The next selection was for 1st Sergeant of the Year and the winner was:
Master Sgt. Darin Lacour, 149th Fighter Wing (Deployed)
Last but not least was the Honor Guard category and the winner was:
Tech. Sgt. Velia Mireles, 149th Fighter Wing
These names will be submitted to the National Guard Bureau for competition at the National level against all Guardsmen from all states and territories. Thereafter, the winners will compete against candidates selected from active Air Force major commands to represent the entire Air Force.
"First of all I want to thank the family members," said General Nichols, and he continued: "I saw quite a few of you yesterday - Thank you for coming. Thank you for loaning us your people, your family, your kids, your spouses. We take their talent and blend them into this organization. I want to thank the supervisors and leaders of the organization, to take the time and recognize these outstanding individuals." To the winners he said: "I charge you to go back and share your energy." He also addressed the Senior Enlisted Advisory Council, a group of people who every year put on a ceremony that is recognized by many as second to none. "They are the ones who got us all together and worked on the nomination packages. They are the ones who put this event together."
He concluded: "One last thing to my Outstanding Airmen. This is a good time for you to mentor each other and to spread that enthusiasm at home. A perfect example of mentorship and growth is the 147th Fighter Wing, a unit who thought that flying F-16s was everything they always wanted to do in their lives, and now they are the 147th Reconnaissance Wing with predators and it is everything they always wanted to do in their lives. It takes every single Airman to make that mission successful. We cannot do it without you. Stay in, stay tough, stay smart."
In attendance during Sunday's ceremony were: Brig. Gen. John F. Nichols, Commander Texas Air National Guard, Brig. Gen. Don Harvel, Deputy Commander Texas Air National Guard, Col. Russell Malesky, Chief of Staff, Col. Connie McNabb, Joint Chief of Staff, Command Chief Master Sgt. Sam Davis, Col. John Conoley, Vice Commander 136th AW, Col. Kenneth Wisian, Commander 147th RW, Col. Kenneth Nereson, Commander 149th FW, Col. Will Allen, Commander 254th CCG, Lt. Col. Carl Alvarez, Commander 204th SFS, Lt. Col. James Marrs, Commander 217th TRS, Lt. Col. Mark Eubanks, Commander 272nd EIS, Lt. Col. David Penney, representing the 273rd IOS, Capt. Paul Bushow, Commander 209th WF and the command chiefs of the three wings.
This year's nominees for the Outstanding Airman of the Year were: Sr. Airman Ashleigh Fleisher, Airman 1st Class Jon Carter, Sr. Airman Charity Pierce, Sr. Airman Susan Sullivan, Staff Sgt. Kenneth Rushing, Sr. Airman Shelly Matthews, Staff Sgt. Matthew Robinson, Tech. Sgt. Antwain George, Master Sgt. Courtney Hinson, Tech. Sgt. Albert Cardenas, Tech. Sgt. Daniel Alvarado, Tech. Sgt. Joshua Stowers, Staff Sgt. Leslie Furtick, Master Sgt. Mark Jackson, Staff Sgt. Boevy Boeun, Tech. Sgt. Rodolfo Solis, Master Sgt, Constance Mick, Master Sgt. Claude Hoke, Sr. Master Sgt. Kathlyn Francis, Sr. Master Sgt. Ernest Delao Jr., Sr. Master Sgt. Kevin White, Master Sgt. Shawn Honea, Sr. Master Sgt. Vaughn Williams, Master Sgt. Martinez, Master Sgt. Shane Wisener, Sr. Master Sgt. Maria Cornitius, Master Sgt. Darin Lacour, Tech. Sgt. Angela Alanis, Master Sgt. Rudy Robles, and Tech. Sgt. Velia Mireles.