Three wings unite for annual awards banquet

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Michael L. Brown
  • 141 ARW Public Affairs
Air National Guard members from the state of Washington met at the Spokane Convention Center, in Spokane, Wash., Feb. 8, for the 5th Annual Washington Air National Guard Awards Banquet.

 The event, hosted by Col. John S. Tuohy, Assistant Adjutant General - Air, Washington, kicked off with a social hour at 6 p.m. with members from all over the state re-connecting by sharing stories, laughs and events of the last year.
"I'm so excited to be a part of this tonight, I'm so humbled and honored to be associated with these professionals," said Tuohy.

Each year the event rotates between the three wings of the WAANG, the 141st Air Refueling Wing, the 194th Regional Support Wing and the Western Area Defense Sector. Members of each wing submit their nominees and travel to the location of the awards banquet to see if their nominee takes home the award.
There were nine awards categories this year with 18 individual nominations and two unit nominations.

The award winners were as follows:

Airman of the Year:
Staff Sgt. Nathan Lucas, tracking technician, Western Area Defense Sector.

Non-Commissioned Officer of the Year:
Tech. Sgt. Cory Welton, tactical air command and control craftsman, 111th Air Support Operations Squadron.

Senior Non-Commissioned Officer of the Year:
Master Sgt. John Lawton, 1st Sgt., 111th Air Support Operations Squadron.
First Sergeant of the Year:
Master Sgt. Jeffrey Wiyrick, 1st Sgt., 141st Aircraft Maintenance Squadron.
Honor Guard Member of the Year:
Senior Airman Jessie Clifford, tracking technician, Western Air Defense Sector.

Honor Guard Program Manager of the Year:
Tech. Sgt. Christopher Marrazzo, aviation resource management journeyman, 116th Air Refueling Squadron.

Civilian of the Year:
Mr. Jerry Castleberry, data link analyst, Western Area Defense Sector.

Company Grade Officer of the Year:
1st Lt. Shon Eizenhoefer, host operations officer, 143rd Information Operations Squadron.

The Washington Air National Guard Outstanding Unit Award:
The 111th Air Support Operations Squadron.

Once the award winners were announced, the keynote speaker of the evening, Chief Master Sgt. James W. Hotaling, 11th Command Chief Master Sgt. of the Air National Guard, made a few brief remarks.
"I'm honored to be here to share in the recognition of Airmen who have set themselves apart from the rest and earned the title of outstanding Airmen," said Hotaling. "They've submitted themselves to service and sacrifice and that is what we call, a calling. Their actions create an enduring example that each of us needs to emulate. I consider myself blessed every day to serve alongside each of you."

He also commented on the difficulty of choosing a single winner in each category.
"Choosing a single outstanding Airman for each category isn't an easy task, because our military is comprised of some very extraordinary individuals."

The command chief also made a point to thank the families of all our military members commenting that, without them none of these accomplishments would be possible.
"The military family is the foundation on which our successes and service is built," said Hotaling. "So in honor of those who contribute so much, I would ask that you all join me in a round of applause for the spouses, children and parents with us tonight."