Three Awarded Bronze Star; Airmen of the Year Named Published Dec. 6, 2011 By TSgt. Dan Heaton 127th Wing Public Affairs SELFRIDGE AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Mich. -- Eight Airmen were awarded honors at a military formation at Selfridge Air National Guard Base on Sunday, capping one of the busiest years in Michigan Air National Guard history. In addition to five Airmen who were named Airmen of the Year for the 127th Wing, three Michigan Airmen were awarded the Bronze Star Medal at the annual end-of-the-year ceremony. The Bronze Star is awarded for meritorious service while engaged in operations with an opposing force. Major Tom Sierkowski, Chief Master Sgt. Matt Mageira and Senior Master Sgt. Jeff Talaga were each awarded the Bronze Star for their service with the 877th Expeditionary Prime BEEF Squadron at Camp Marmal in Afghanistan for six months earlier this year. During their deployment, the three Airmen served as leaders of the squadron, which was integrated with an Army engineering brigade. The Air Force squadron accomplished over 160 construction projects, worth more than $75 million. During their deployment, they and their squadron conducted numerous outside the wire missions and built the largest AM-2 MATT airfield in Air Force history, allowing for the completion of five named combat operations. (Details here) "These three Airmen bring great credit to themselves and to their families," said Col. Michael Thomas, 127th Wing commander. "All of us in the Michigan Air National Guard stand a little taller after the work done by our civil engineers in Afghanistan." The deployment by approximately two dozen civil engineers was just one of several major deployments this year conducted by the 127th Wing at Selfridge. This year alone the wing has supported: · A deployment of approx. 300 Airmen to Afghanistan to fly A-10 Thunderbolt II attack aircraft. (Details here) · A deployment of KC-135 Stratotanker aircraft to support Operation Oddesy Dawn in Libya. · The deployment of the Services flight of the 127th Mission Support Group to Kuwait for six months. · The start of a year-long rolling mobilization of KC-135 personnel and aircraft to the Central Command area. (Details here) "Every time our nation called, you answered," Thomas told the wing during the Dec. 4 ceremony. Named Airman of the Year for the 127th Wing for 2011 were: · Airman 1st Class Jacob Tufts, 127th Air Refueling Group, Airman of the Year. · Technical Sgt. David Bowers, 127th Air Refueling Group, Noncommissioned Officer of the Year. · Master Sgt. Robert Sutton, 127th Mission Support Group, Senior Noncommissioned Officer of the Year. · Master Sgt. Richard Gordon, 127th Mission Support Group, First Sergeant of the Year. · Capt. Todd Wasilewski, 127th Air Refueling Group, Company Grade Officer of the Year. At a separate ceremony, the wing named the 2011 civilian Title V employees of the year: · Bill Haley, 127th Precision Measurement Equipment Laboratory, Manager of the Year · Joel Rutherford, 127th Air Traffic Control, Supervisor of the Year · Tom Liss, 127th Medical Group, Employee of the Year · Scott Parks, 127th Civil Engineering Squadron, State Employee of the Year.