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EADS Airmen Win Prestigious National Guard Bureau Battle Management Awards

  • Published
  • By Tim Jones
  • Eastern Air Defense Sector
New York Air National Guardsmen from the Eastern Air Defense Sector won four of five categories in the recently completed National Guard Bureau battle management command and control competition.

Administered by NGB's operations directorate, the annual awards program evaluates Air National Guardsmen and crews from across the country on duty performance, mission contributions and operational achievements. EADS winners, along with their place of residence, were:

· Maj. Jennifer King, Prospect, Air Battle Manager of the Year.
· Master Sgt. Randall Wehrung, Sherrill, Noncommissioned Officer of the Year.
· Staff Sgt. Thomas Silva, Yorkville, Airman of the Year.
· Alpha Crew, Outstanding Ground-based Crew.

"Being selected as the best in the Air National Guard is a tremendous achievement and I congratulate Maj. King, Master Sgt. Wehrung, Staff Sgt. Silva and Alpha Crew," said Col. Michael J. Norton, EADS Commander. "Winning these awards is especially significant for an air defense sector, because it recognizes our Airmens' day-to-day operational and tactical excellence, which is essential to our nation's defense."

Alpha Crew was cited for its success in defending the airspace over the more than 1 million square miles of the eastern U.S. Noteworthy accomplishments included successfully responding to 640 unknown aircraft, flawlessly controlling more than 300 live-fly missions, and integrating E3 Sentry Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) aircraft into EADS continuous air picture.

King was recognized for integrating multiple data links into EADS air picture and her superb control of fighter aircraft and airborne tankers. King also flew aboard an E-3 aircraft during a live-fly exercise and played a key role in the standardization of procedures for EADS-E3 operations.

Wehrung, who served as the Noncommissioned Officer-in-Charge (NCOIC) of two sections simultaneously, singlehandedly revised more than 100 tactics, techniques and procedures, improving efficiency by an estimated 20 percent. An exceptional trainer, Wehrung developed 50 challenging, simulated threat scenarios, which were used to train 18 identification technicians.

The most junior Airman to be recognized, Silva completed his tracking technician qualification training 11 days after arriving at EADS from formal training. Silva also achieved a rare "exceptionally qualified" rating on his initial evaluation, the Sector's first in more than three years.

The four awards increase the number of national-level awards won by the Rome-based unit this year to nine. In March, King and Wehrung, along with Royal Canadian Air Force Capt. Angela Hudson, a member of EADS Canadian Detachment, won Continental North American Aerospace Defense Command Region (CONR)/1st Air Force annual awards. Hudson was subsequently named NORAD's outstanding company grade officer in May.
Tech. Sgt. Amy Ough, a West Winfield resident, was selected as the Air National Guard's Honor Guard Member of the Year in March and received the award in August at a ceremony at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland.

The Eastern Air Defense Sector is headquartered at Griffiss Business and Technology Park in Rome, N.Y. Staffed by New York Air National Guardsmen and a Canadian Forces detachment, the unit supports NORAD's air defense mission and the U.S. Northern Command's homeland defense mission. EADS is responsible for air sovereignty and counter-air operations over the eastern United States and directs a variety of assets to defend one million square miles of land and sea.