By Tech. Sgt. Danny Whitlock
151 Air Refueling Wing
The Utah Air National Guard celebrated its Airmen of the Year during a banquet held in their honor at the Utah Cultural Celebration Center Jan. 7, 2023 in West Valley City, Utah.
The Airmen of the Year award program is designed to recognize Airmen who display superior leadership, job performance and personal achievement.
The ceremony showcased the outstanding performance of the Individuals in the categories of field grade officer, company grade officer, senior non-commissioned officer, non-commissioned officer, airman, civilian, Honor guard and outstanding team for 2022.
One of the highest honors the Utah Air National Guard Chiefs Council can bestow is “Honorary Chief”. During the banquet the Chiefs approved and awarded Command Sergeant Major Spencer Neilson, Senior Enlisted Leader Utah National Guard, in recognition of his tireless support of the Utah Air Guard, its Airmen and their families, the prestigious title of Honorary Chief Master Sgt. for the Utah Air National Guard.
The following received awards in their respective categories:
Senior Non-Commissioned Officer - Master Sgt. Julia Dandurand
Non-commissioned Officer - Technical Sgt. Rachel Williams
Airman of the Year - Airman 1st Class KC Buckner
Honor guard member of the year - Master Sgt. John Stroh
Civilian of the Year - Nate Reid
Diamond SHARP award - Nate Reid
Inclusive leader award - Master Sgt Paola Montenegro
Field Grade Officer of the Year - Major Gregory Durrant,
Company Grade Officer of the Year - Captain Christopher Gerdes
First Sergeant of the Year - Master Sgt. William Eagle
Outstanding team: Republic of Korea Team - 151st Intelligence support squadron:
Senior Master Sgt. Sean Morton, Master Sgt. Chris Benson, Master Sgt. Matt Benshoof, Master Sgt. Brad Griguhn, Master Sgt. Mandy Adams, Master Sgt. Dennis Thomson, Tech. Sgt. Lauren Anderson, Staff, Sgt. Jason Romero, Staff Sgt. David reeves, Staff Sgt. Michael Reeves, Staff Sgt. Cason Ehlert, Staff Sgt. Brian Williams, Senior Airman Marcelis Buggs.
The Utah Air National Guard Airman, NCO, Senior NCO, and First Sergeant winners will compete at the regional level and may have a chance to compete at the National Guard and Air Force Level to be one of the Air Force’s twelve Outstanding Airman of the Year.
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