Tempe Chamber of Commerce recognizes Copperheads' dedication to duty

  • Published
  • By 2nd Lt. Tinashe Machona
  • 161st Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs
The Tempe Chamber of Commerce Military Affairs Committee honored this year's recipients of the Truman Young and Donald Plough Memorial Awards for outstanding service during a ceremony here Wednesday.

Staff Sgt. Shane Shafer, an information assurance journeyman for the 161st Air Refueling Wing, received the Tech. Sgt. Donald Plough award, and Lt. Col. Jeremy Lopes, a pilot with the wing, received the Maj. Truman Young award.

Referred to as the "Plough and Young Awards," the Military Affairs Committee recognizes one outstanding enlisted member and one outstanding officer in memory of the award's namesakes. The award was established to honor Maj. Truman Young, a pilot, and Tech. Sgt. Donald Plough, a boom operator, who were killed when their KC-135, call sign Copper 5, was hit in a mid-air collision and crashed on March 13, 1982.

"Both of the award winners are extremely well deserving airman," said Col. Troy Daniels, commander of the 161st Air Refueling Wing. He added that Lopes and Shafer have done an outstanding job over the last year in displaying dedication to their country, state and their local community. "They have exhibited superior performance and upheld the highest standards of service before self," said Daniels.

Award winners are selected for demonstrating a commitment to service before self and military bearing, fostering esprit de corps through teambuilding, and for motivating and mentoring others.  In addition, they must exhibit total dedication to the mission, and loyalty and devotion to country as they completely embody the Air Force core values. Their performance must exceed standards and contribute to their community.

Shafer was nominated for his outstanding performance as a cyber defender. He single-handedly authored & published the wing cyber awareness bulletin every month for all unit members. Additionally, he created and implemented a wing-wide Secret Internet Protocol Router Network Policy for all squadron information assurance managers. He is also a wing Green Dot Initiative instructor who has trained more than 100 Airmen on the importance of bystander intervention.

"This award means that everything that I have done in the past has been recognized and for that I am very appreciative," Shafer said. He explained that he just did his job. "I am glad that I represented my unit well and I'm going to continue to be the best airman that I can be," Shafer said.

Lopes was nominated for his accomplishments as a pilot for the wing. He achieved a 100 percent mission success rate over 125 flying hours, which resulted in over 1.5 million pounds of fuel delivered to 99 receiver aircraft. He also managed six aeromedical evacuation missions supporting patient movement both in the U.S. and the Pacific. He also coordinated and executed two Nobel Eagle missions that were directly responsible for supporting the president's combat air patrol.

Lopes conveyed that it is a huge honor to receive the award because it signifies the memory of Copper 5. "For me to be seen as representing Maj. Truman Young is such an incredible privilege," Lopes said.