NEADS members garner top-level awards

(Courtesy photo) Tech. Sgt. Thomas Whiteman, Northeast Air Defense 
Sector Communication Systems Craftsman, performs Color Guard duties 
during the September 2006 Rochester International Marine Tattoo event.
Sergeant Whiteman was awarded the New York Air National Guard Honor 
Guard Program Manager of the Year for 2007.

(Courtesy photo) Tech. Sgt. Thomas Whiteman, Northeast Air Defense Sector Communication Systems Craftsman, performs Color Guard duties during the September 2006 Rochester International Marine Tattoo event. Sergeant Whiteman was awarded the New York Air National Guard Honor Guard Program Manager of the Year for 2007.

ROME, N.Y. -- Members from the Northeast Air Defense Sector garnered top-level awards from both New York Air National Guard and First Air Force annual awards.

Two NEADS members received NYANG awards - Tech. Sgt. Thomas Whiteman was awarded Honor Guard Program Manager of the Year for 2007 and Senior Airman Traci Reeves was awarded Outstanding Airmen of the Year for 2007.

Senior Master Sgt. Paul Dubay was awarded the First Air Force First Sergeant of the Year for 2007.

"These award winners really capture the dedication and excellence of the people working here," said Col. Clark Speicher, NEADS commander. "I want to congratulate all the winners for receiving these honors and encourage them and everyone here to continue pushing the envelope in performing at their best."

When asked about being selected as the Honor Guard Program Manager of the Year, Sergeant Whiteman said, "I was surprised, but very excited to win this award for the second time. I was also thankful to the rest of the NEADS Honor Guard team - we wouldn't accomplish what we do or receive the recognition that we do without them."

Sergeant Whiteman, who received the 2005 Honor Guard Program Manager of the Year, and the 24-person Honor Guard team here performed more than 72 Honor Guard details in 2006. Notable accomplishments for 2006 include being selected as the lead Color Guard of the entire Rochester International Marine Tattoo event. This was only the second time an Air Force Color Guard performed at the event, and the NEADS Color Guard generated top praises from military leadership.

As a Communication Systems Craftsman at NEADS, Sergeant Whiteman is planning on attending Utica College, N.Y., in the fall to pursue a baccalaureate degree in Cybersecurity and Information Assurance. He has been a member of the Air Force since 1993, joining the NEADS team in 1998.

Airman Reeves, an Aerospace Control and Warning Systems Journeyman, enlisted in the Air Force after being motivated by the tragic events of Sept. 11, 2001 to serve her country. She deployed in 2003 for seven months in support of Operation Noble Eagle, providing detection and surveillance support in the defense of the northeast area of operations.

"I was born and raised in a very small town and deciding to join the military was an adventurous step," she said. "It is very gratifying to serve, travel and then return home to visit and feel proud that my experiences have taken me beyond Eagleville, California, which has a population of 32."

"I am proud of our mission; it gives me great feelings of patriotism and pride in our accomplishments here," she added.

As the lead Tracking Technician in her flight, she distinguished herself as being skillful at detecting, monitoring and providing continuity on air tracks in the NEADS' area of operation. Additionally, Airman Reeves volunteered time toward fund raising, planning morale-boosting events for her flight and community-based organizations like the Rome Red Cross and the City of Rome 2006 Great American Clean-up Efforts.

Currently, Airman Reeves is nearing the completion of a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and is attending Airman Leadership School at McGhee Tyson ANGB, Tenn. She hopes to be a traditional Guardsman contributing to the NEADS' mission, and is thinking about becoming a High School Guidance Counselor mentoring students.

As the First Air Force First Sergeant of the Year for 2007, Sergeant Dubay coordinated the smooth integration of 50 Aerospace Expeditionary Force Airmen into NEADS operations from three active duty Air Force bases during four rotations. He is described by NEADS leadership as being the, "most effective enlisted leader able to provide guidance, mentoring and professional development for enlisted personnel here."

Also a member of the Honor Guard team here, Sergeant Dubay performed more than 14 funerals honoring New York military veterans and is an active board member on the Rome chapter of the American Red Cross. His contributions to the local community include coordinating the first-ever Rome Red Cross 10k Chili Run & fundraiser, raising more than $10,000.

He is currently the Security Forces Superintendent, but was pulling double-duty as the superintendent and First Shirt until his replacement was assigned into the First Sergeant position.