Barnes Air National Guard Base, 104 Fighter Wing-Westfield, Mass. --
The 39th Annual Awards Banquet for the 104th Fighter Wing was held on Saturday, April 6th, 2013 at the Sheraton Hotel in Springfield, Mass. The well attended banquet gave Wing members an opportunity to salute their peers for commitment to service and excellence in their respective fields.
Approximately, 100 Airmen were recognized for their contributions and presented with awards during the course of the festive evening. Members were honored from the squadron, group and wing levels. The event included remarks by the Adjutant General of the Massachusetts Air National Guard, Maj. Gen. L. Scott Rice; the Assistant Adjutant General for Air, Brig. Gen. Gary Keefe; former Wing Commander of the 104th Fighter Wing, Brig. Gen. Robert Brooks; and the current Commander of the 104th FW Wing, Col. James Keefe, who lauded the efforts of the unit members.
"This annual awards ceremony is an opportunity to recognize the very best of the best," said Col. Keefe. "I am extremely proud of these individuals, who exemplify our tradition of excellence. We also want to thank the families who supported these members. Without family and community support, we would not succeed," he said.
The banquet commenced with the posting of the colors by members of the 104th Honor Guard. Following dinner and a year in review video, the award ceremony began, first acknowledging the Community College of the Air Force graduates, followed by the squadron, group and overall 104th Fighter Wing award winners.
Awards included Airman of the Year, for grades E-4 and below; NCO of the Year, grades E-5 and E-6; Senior NCO of the Year, grades E-7 through E-9; AGR/Technician of the Year, full-time Air Guard Reserve and dual-status technicians; Company Grade Officer of the Year, grades O-1 through O-3; First Sergeant of the Year; Honor Guard Member of the Year and Civilian of the Year.
The event was made possible by the banquet committee, including Master Sgt. Dominique Chapman, Staff Sgt. Matthew Chapman, Staff Sgt. Dacia Lucas, Master Sgt. Todd Fappiano and Senior Master Sgt. Rob Sabonis.
The overall Wing award winners include:
-Airman of the Year: Staff Sgt. Charles Diaz, Medical Group
-NCO of the Year: Tech Sgt. Mike Kearns, Maintenance Group
-Senior NCO of the Year: Master Sgt. Yasser Menwer, Operations Group
-AGR/Technician of the Year: Tech. Sgt. Jeremiah McClosky, Civil Engineering Squadron
-Company Grade Officer of the Year: Capt. Osme Benedict, Operations Group
-First Sergeant of the Year: Master Sgt. Larry Brace, Maintenance Group
-Civilian of the Year: Mr. Jeremy Dubois Civil Engineering Squadron
Three 104th Security Forces Squadron members were also recently recognized by the National Guard Bureau as recipients of the 2012 Security Forces Annual Award. Members include:
-Support Staff Senior NCO of the year: Master Sgt. Jose E. Rijos-Ortiz
-Support Staff NCO of the year: Tech. Sgt. Ronald C. Brown
-Civilian of the year: Ms. Michelle M. Freeman