Community Honors Two of the 161st Air Refueling Wing Finest

  • Published
  • By 2Lt Matt Murphy
  • 161st Air Refueling Wing
The Tempe Chamber of Commerce Military Affairs Committee recently honored two members of the 161st Air Refueling Wing. Tech. Sgt. Cynthia Islava was selected as the winner of the Donald Plough Award and Chaplain (Capt.) Lance Schrader, 161 ARW Chaplain, received the Truman Young Award Sept. 15, during a reception at Phoenix Sky Harbor Air National Guard Base.

Referred to as the "Truman/Plough Award," the Military Affairs Committee recognizes one outstanding enlisted and one outstanding officer personnel 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 was hit in a mid-air collision and crashed on March 13, 1982. They served honorably in the Arizona Air National Guard with the 161 ARW and it is with humble devotion to their memory and the memory of all of the crew on Copper 5 that the committee recognizes two professionals who uphold their honor.

Award winners were selected for exhibiting exceptional duty performance and military bearing, fostering esprit de corps through teambuilding, motivating and mentoring others. In addition, they must demonstrate total dedication to the mission and loyalty and devotion to country as they completely embody the Air Force core values. Their performance must exceed minimum standards and be involved in their community. They must also portray a positive military image and always uphold Air Force and Air National Guard values, policies, standards and traditions.

Chaplain Schrader is the first unit Chaplain to ever receive the Truman award. He said, "It is incredibly humbling and I am honored to be singled out amongst all the great officers I serve with. I am proud to be a part of the unit."

Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Michael Sproul nominated Chaplain Schrader. "Chaplain Schrader
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shows an eagerness to relate and minister to the people he serves that is highlighted by some incredible accomplishments for a young officer who has only been in the guard a short time," said Chaplain Sproul. Chaplain Schrader graduated top in his class for military chaplains and is responsible for implementing numerous programs serving hundreds of troops.

Force Support Squadron Commander Maj. Lorri Conley said it was her entire team of officers that nominated Sergeant Islava. "She is the go-to individual that is always looking for solutions to problems," said Major Conley. "Sergeant Islava is the epitome of service before self no matter what the need. She is the first to volunteer for deployments, augmentee assignments, and anything she can do to help out and she does it with a smile," added Major Conley.

On receiving the award Sergeant Islava said she is ecstatic. "I am humbled and honored by it," said Sergeant Islava. "After doing some research on the history of Copper 5, I found out the crash happened about six days after I was born. When I think about the crews here today and if something happened to any of them how hard it would be, I just can't imagine how difficult it was for their families. I am just so very honored to get an award in their memory."