Awards Ceremony Honors Troops

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Michael Matkin
  • 161 ARW Public Affairs
The 161st Air Refueling Wing, Phoenix held its annual awards and Hometown Heroes Salute ceremony here Saturday.

The ceremony recognized the contributions of Arizona Air National Guardsmen to the State and Nation. Maj. Gen. Michael T. McGuire, the Adjutant General, Arizona National Guard, was the presiding officer of the ceremony.

The ceremony recognized the 161 ARW's Outstanding Airmen of the Year, Air National Guard Flight Crew Flight Equipment competition winner, recipients of the federal Meritorious Service Medal, Associate Degree recipients from the Community College of the Air Force and a recipient of the Air Medal.

The award for the Outstanding Airman of the Year, Non-commissioned Officer of the Year and Senior Non-commissioned Officer of the Year are based on duty performance, self-improvement (related to their primary duty), the impact of their positive leadership, and their involvement within the military and their community.

In addition, the Albert Leo Burns Trophy, the Hugh P. Kelly Memorial Award and the Copper 5 Award were awarded.

The Albert Leo Burns Trophy is awarded to an Officer who has displayed the most interest in, and accomplished the most, for the 161 ARW.

The Hugh P. Kelly Memorial Award is presented to a maintenance professional that has shown their dedication and professional skills as a contributing factor to the success of the 161 ARW. It was established as a memorial to Lt. Hugh P. Kelly who died on Memorial Day, 1954.

The Copper 5 award is present to the aircrew members who have best represented the 161 ARW though their professional skills and leadership. The award is a presented in memoriam of four 161st Air Refueling Group servicemembers who lost their lives in 1982, while flying a KC-135 Stratotanker, call sign Copper 5.

The Hometown Heroes Salute program was created by the Air National Guard to honor Airmen who have deployed and to let them know that their service to the nation is appreciated.

The Air Guard's Hometown Heroes Salute campaign recognizes Airmen who have deployed since 9/11 as well their families and personal centers of influence, who supported them. It recognizes Airmen who deployed for more than 30 consecutive days for operations Noble Eagle, Enduring Freedom and all other contingency operations. It is one of the ANG's largest recognition endeavors in history, and is unique because it also recognizes Airmen's families and others who do not wear the uniform, but who sacrifice nonetheless.

At the ceremony airmen were formally presented recognition items. A three-tiered recognition system awards Airman with a framed American flag with inset coins for succeeding deployments of 180 to 365 consecutive days, and an eagle statuette for deployments more than 366 consecutive days.

In addition, spouses or significant others receive an engraved pen and pencil set and medallion. Each child receives engraved dog tags.

"I feel really grateful to be recognized," said Airman 1st Class Laura Carroll, this year's winner for Airman of the Year. "I owe a lot to the people who nominated me. They have high expectations for me - expectations that I'm going to do my best to live up to."