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By Ileen Kennedy
Utah National Guard
This year’s 19th Annual Armed Forces Day Concert recognized 12 recipients of the State of Utah Service Members of the Year award, at the Gallivan Center, Salt Lake City, May 21, 2022.
The Choral Arts Society of Utah collaborated with the Utah National Guard 23rd Army Band to present this concert where both past and present, men and women in uniform were honored for their service.
As part of the program, Brig. Gen. Kurt Davis, assistant adjutant general—Air, Utah National Guard; Mr. Gary Harter, executive director, Utah Department of Veterans and Military Affairs; and retired Senior Master Sgt. Sterling Poulsen, music director, Choral Arts Society of Utah, recognized the awardees, three of which were service members from the Utah National Guard.
The Enlisted Service Member of the Year award was presented to Staff Sgt. Ciara Loman, 169th Intelligence Squadron, Utah Air National Guard. Loman received her BA in Middle Eastern Studies maintaining a 4.0 GPA while on the Dean’s List. She has used her knowledge to offer language and cultural training to other Airmen, as well as volunteering to teach a university ROTC class on Air Force Intelligence Fundamentals. She was hand-picked for a graduate-level language pedagogy course and has mastered language skills with test scores exceeding agency standard for two different languages. Loman volunteered with Operation Allies Welcome and provided translation for 25,000 refugees and housing support for 10,000. She also assisted the State Department and Joint Services Task Forces for three months helping to provide resettlement services and fulfilling the Air Combat Command and National Guard Bureau’s highest priority.
The Honor Guard Service Member of the Year award was awarded to Spc. Brian Jordan, Military Funeral Honors, Utah Army National Guard. Jordan was an integral part of the success of the Military Funeral Honors program, holding multiple positions over the past year. He was assigned as the Northern Utah area coordinator where his work ethic and professionalism greatly increased the program’s relationships with funeral homes and Veteran service organizations. He was also selected as the program’s team lead as well as covering additional duties as the state trainer and supply noncommissioned officer. Jordan exceeded all expectations when covering down on these three separate full-time positions, truly setting himself apart as a trusted and extremely competent Honor Guard Soldier.
The Warrant Officer Service Member of the Year was awarded to Chief Warrant Officer 2 Nicholas Pantuso, 65th Field Artillery Brigade, Utah Army National Guard. Pantuso is recognized throughout the state of Utah as the expert in tactical airspace management and system integration. He is requested by other units for significant training events. His experience and knowledge has been critical in the training and certification of several Navy Carrier Strike Groups through the Fleet Synthetic training-Joint exercise. Pantuso was recognized by the Adjutant General, Maj. Gen. Michael Turley and Senior Enlisted Leader, Command Sgt. Maj. Spencer Nielsen, for his exceptional efforts in certifying 7th Naval Fleet and clearing airspace for Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines. Pantuso is a network security agent in his civilian employment which has often translated to significant value as a member of the 65th FAB. He exemplifies the Army Values in his life and sets an example for his unit in his personal and professional conduct.
The purpose of the awards is to recognize the outstanding performers from each of the major military entities in the state representing the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Space Force, from active duty, guard, and reserve organizations. This is the second year these awards have been given and it is planned for this to continue as an annual recognition.
The other award recipients recognized were:
Noncommissioned Officer: Master Sgt. Sierra Beers, 419th Fighter Wing, Hill
Senior NCO: Master Sgt. Henry Matsouka, 388th Fighter Wing, Hill
1st Sgt.: Master Sgt. Brian Carpenter, 75th Air Base Wing, Hill
Company Grade Officer: Cpt. Ryan Landon, Minuteman III program, Hill
Field Grade Officer: Maj. Ryan Button, 75th Air Base Wing
Civilian 1: Mr. Anthony Bott, Tooele Army Depot
Civilian 2: Mr. David Veglia, Ogden Air Logistics Complex, Hill
Civilian 3: Dr. Carolyn Stwertka, Ground Based Strategic Deterrent Program, Hill Kearston Cutrubus, Military Service Award
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