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Selfridge Names Top Airmen

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Dan Heaton
  • 127th Wing Public Affairs
Eight Airmen of the 127th Wing have been named Airmen of the Year for 2014.

The annual awards were announced during a formal ceremony in front of the assembled members of the wing at Selfridge Air National Guard Base at the wing's first weekend drill of the year.

Winning the honors were:
· Senior Airman Janea Cook, 127th Mission Support Group, Airman of the Year
· Staff Sgt. Kenneth Kirchoff, 127th Operations Group, Noncommissioned Officer of the Year.
· Master Sgt. Joseph Crocker, 127th Mission Support Group, Senior Noncommissioned Officer of the Year.
· Master Sgt. Maurice Graves, 127th Maintenance Group, First Sergeant of the Year.
· Staff Sgt. David Stevens, 127th Air Refueling Group, 127th Wing Safety Award.
· Capt. Brett Devries, 127th Operations Group, Company Grade Officer of the Year.
· Chief Master Sgt. Dennis Barriger, 127th Maintenance Group, 127th Wing Commander's Trophy.
· Airman 1st Class Emuobosan Ojaruega, 127th Mission Support Group, Honor Guard Member of the Year.

The awards were presented to each Airman by Brig. Gen. John D. Slocum, the 127th Wing commander. The Airmen were selected from among the Wing's nearly 1,500 uniformed Airmen based on the performance of their duties and their contribution to the mission of the 127th Wing and to their community. In addition to the Wing-level awards, Graves and Ojaruega won state-level honors in their respective categories.

The Michigan Air National Guard's top leaders, Major Gen. Gregory Vadnais and Brig. Gen. Leonard Isabelle, the state adjutant general and commander of the Michigan ANG, respectively, lauded the efforts of the winning Airmen and the wing as a whole over the past year.

The Airmen of this wing set a level of excellence not only at Selfridge and in the Air National Guard, but for our whole U.S. military," Vadnais said.

Isabelle asked each Airman in the wing to say a special word of thanks on the general's behalf to each Airman's family and civilian employer.

"Without the support of our families and many of our excellent and supportive civilian employers, our Airmen would not be able to succeed at this level," Isabelle said.

Speaking at his first annual formation since becoming the 127th Wing commander less than three months previous, Slocum gave the Wing's Airmen a glimpse of the future.

"Never before in Selfridge's history have we been postured with the resources, opportunities and wealth of ideas," Slocum said. "We have everything we need to build something far bigger than ourselves here.

Slocum said he could guarantee that additional deployments - 570 Selfridge Airmen deployed at some point in 2014 --  and new challenge are in store for the 127th Wing's Airmen in 2015, even though all the details of what the future holds are not yet clear.

"But the Airmen of this Wing have shown that they are indeed the first choice, the proven choice and the enduring choice for our state and nation," Slocum said.

About the 127th Wing
Comprised of approximately 1,700 personnel and flying both the A-10 Thunderbolt II and the KC-135 Stratotanker, the 127th Wing supports Air Mobility Command, Air Combat Command and Air Force Special Operation Command by providing highly-skilled Airmen to missions domestically and overseas. The 127th Wing is the host unit at Selfridge Air National Guard Base, which marks its 97th year of continuous military air operations in 2014.