Heaton, Barton Win ANG Honors

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Public Affairs Airmen from Michigan's 127th Wing earned top honors in the annual National Guard Media Contest.

Technical Sgt. Dan Heaton was named the Air Force Print Journalist of the Year for the second consecutive year by the National Guard in the contest, which considered a portfolio selected from calendar year 2013. Heaton also won three second place awards in the annual contest.

Technical Sgt. Rachel Barton won first place in the TV Spot video production category.

The 127th Wing Public Affairs office won first place for the wing's public web site, www.127wg.ang.af.mil, which is the primary source of news stories, videos, photos and information about the wing and its home station, Selfridge Air National Guard Base. The Wing's web site garnered second place honors the previous year.

"This really is a reflection of a great team effort," said Penny Carroll, the chief of public affairs for the 127th Wing. "Through the support and motivation that the entire team gives one another, it's not surprising that Heaton and Barton, and 127th PA shop rise to the top to receive this sort of award and recognition."

Heaton's second place awards came for a commentary he wrote on "The Smell of Freedom;" for a sports story about a 127th Wing Airman who is a competitive figure skater; and for a series of stories he wrote on historical events that taken place at Selfridge Air National Guard Base. Many of Heaton's historical articles are featured on special page on the Wing's web site, which celebrates the 97-year history of Selfridge Air National Guard Base.

"I am so thankful to be part of the Michigan Air National Guard team," Heaton said. "Every time I put my uniform on, I give glory to God for the opportunity to serve with the people at Selfridge."

Barton's award-winning video highlighted a member of the 127th Wing's Honor Guard and was produced in advance of Memorial Day 2013.

Although the award for spot production was an individual award, it was just one of the products we produced in 2013 that was truly a joint effort," Barton said. "I am particularly proud to be recognized for our Honor Guard Salute spot. Bringing this idea -- of TSgt. Heaton's -- to life was an opportunity for us to share our creativity and knowledge with one another and it motivates me to keep improving my skills as a broadcaster."

Capt. Anthony Lesterson, public affairs officer for the 127th Wing, said Heaton and Barton are examples of the many skills and talents the local Wing offers to the state and nation.

"To be singled out for recognition at this level is significant," Lesterson said. "The 127th Wing is comprised of so many dedicated Airmen, working in a variety of specialties, who are ready every day to answer their nation's call. No one does a better job of documenting the mission of the Michigan Air National Guard and the U.S. Air Force than Sgts. Heaton and Barton and their fellow Airmen in the 127th Public Affairs Office."

The 2014 National Guard Media Contest marked at least the second consecutive year that the 127th Wing tied for the highest number of awards won overall in the contest. The Michigan Wing's six overall awards tied with units in South Carolina, Florida and Montana for most total awards. The 127th Wing's three first place awards tied with a unit from Nebraska for most first place finishes.

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.