TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. --
Two members of the Continental U.S. North American Aerospace Defense Command Region - First Air Force (Air Forces Northern) [CONR-1AF (AFNORTH)] enterprise were honored as winners in the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) and U.S. Northern Command’s (USNORTHCOM) 2016 Command Annual Awards program during a ceremony March 14 held in conjunction with the NORAD and USNORTHCOM Commander's Conference in Colorado Springs, Colo.
Capt. Virginia Nord from the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center (AFRCC) here was selected as the USNORTHCOM Company Grade Officer, while MSgt. James Burke from the Eastern Air Defense Sector (EADS), Rome, N.Y., was selected as the NORAD Senior Non-commissioned Officer.
"I extend my congratulations to Captain Nord and Master Sergeant Burke for their recognition as top performers in the NORAD and USNORTHCOM enterprise. Their tireless efforts in the performance of their duties supporting our command and its missions are greatly appreciated," said Lt. Gen. R. Scott Williams, Commander, CONR, and Commander, 1AF (AFNORTH)."Their honors are well-earned and exemplify the quality of Airmen in our command who, day-in and day-out, dedicate themselves to the security of our nation and well-being of its citizens."
Nord’s achievements included the management of 1,441 potential distress cases, resolving 85 percent without using federal search and rescue assets which prevented 88,000 unnecessary search hours and saved $1.3 million and 66 lives of endangered citizens.
"Capt. Nord makes tangible contributions to the life-saving AFRCC mission every day ranging from managing programs and leading people to directly supporting those in distress," said Lt. Col. James Woosley, AFRCC commander.
Nord also served as AFRCC liaison officer to the first ever real-world USNORTHCOM Joint Task Force-Search and Rescue (JTF-SAR) and coordinated with four states, validating the JTF-SAR concept, and being lauded by the JTF-SAR commander for her efforts. Additionally, as an AFRCC action officer performing the rewrite of the Land SAR Addendum to the National Search and Rescue Supplement, she identified 79 edits to help set unit operational guidance and national Search and Rescue tactics techniques and procedures.
Burke’s achievements included his superb mission crew commander technician performance for which he was ranked first among 20 technicians at EADS. His outstanding management of 90-plus evaluations as NCOIC of the Standardization and Evaluation section was also noted, as were his two quarterly awards and the 2016 CONR-1AF Command and Control Warrior of the Year award.
"Being recognized as the best Senior NCO in NORAD is a remarkable achievement, and I congratulate Master Sergeant Burke on his accomplishment," said Col. Emil Filkorn, EADS commander. "Master Sergeant Burke's professional excellence and technical skill sets a great example for the Airmen he leads and the officers and senior NCOs he works with."
Burke also led the Standard and Evaluation section to the highest overall rating on the recent ACC Capstone inspection. In addition to his duties, Burke is enrolled in a military history master's program, where he maintains a 4.0 grade point average.