127th Wing Honors Maintainers; 3 Awarded Lifesaving Medal

  • Published
  • By TSgt. Dan Heaton
  • 127th Wing Public Affairs
A maintenance team that dramatically reduced the time aircraft spend in the hangar and a trio of Airmen who saved the life of one of their colleagues were awarded special honors during the annual 127th Wing Commander's Call at Selfridge Air National Guard Base, Jan. 13.

During the ceremony, Brig. Gen. Leonard Isabelle, a former fighter pilot with the 127th Wing who was recently named commander of the Michigan Air National Guard, said the work of the wing's Airmen in the recent past has been noticed and appreciated at the highest levels of military and civilian leadership and stated that a new, strategic vision planning document for the Michigan National Guard as a whole is now in the works and should begin to be made public in the spring. The plan will be used to help prioritize efforts to bring new missions to the Michigan Guard as state leaders seek to maintain or grow Michigan's contribution to national defense in a time of ongoing federal budget uncertainty.

Highlighting the various award winners at the annual gathering, which brings together virtually all of the 1,600-plus Citizen-Airmen who are assigned to the 127th Wing at Selfridge - minus several dozen currently on deployment - were the Commander's Cup trophy presented to the Airmen of the 191st Maintenance Squadron and individual Lifesaving Medals presented to Chief Master Sgt. Roy Moore (ret.), Senior Master Sgt. Tim Horvath and Master Sgt. Jeff Yelencich.

The 191st MXS earned the Commander's Trophy by cutting the time the wing's KC-135 Stratotankers refueling aircraft spend in the isochronal inspection process, better known as ISO. During ISO, many of the aircraft's major components are disassembled, critical systems are inspected and preventative maintenance steps are taken. While in the ISO process, the aircraft is unavailable for flying, making a reduction in time spent in ISO significant.

"I cannot stress enough that this award is for the 191st Maintenance Squadron," said Master Sgt. Bill Kopchia, a leader of the ISO team that received the award. "It takes the whole squadron working together, not just the people who are on the ISO team."

The 191st reduced the time each individual aircraft spends in ISO by approximately 60 percent.

The Lifesaving Medal was presented to Moore, Horvath and Yelencich for their quick and professional response when another Airman began to have seizures while a group of 127th Civil Engineer Airmen who deployed to the African nation of Ghana. Moore and Yelencich are part of the Selfridge Base Fire Department. Horvath, the unit's first sergeant, formerly worked as a paramedic in his civilian career. According to the award citation, the three Airmen provided more than an hour of immediate medical care and then stayed with their fallen colleague on rotating shifts for more than 24 hours until he could be airlifted to a U.S. military medical center in Germany. The patient later recovered and returned to duty, but Air Force doctors later stated without such swift and appropriate medical attention, the patient may not have survived.

Winning individual awards as Airmen of the Year for the 127th Wing were:
· Airman 1st Class William Kaufmann, 127th Mission Support Group
· Technical Sgt. Milton Rogers, 127th Mission Support Group
· Master Sgt. John Parrish, 127th Mission Support Group
· Capt Lisa Platz, 127th Communications Squadron.

Technical Sgt. Akenty Fraser was named the 127th Wing Honor Guard member of the year. In addition to the life saving medal, Horvath was named the 127th Wing first sergeant of the year.