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National Guard presents memorial award to Arizona defender

Col. Ed Kingdon, Air National Guard Security Forces director, presents the Airman First Class Elizabeth N. Jacobson Award to Staff Sgt. Orlando Calzadillas, a security forces journeyman assigned to the Arizona Air National Guard’s 161st Air Refueling Wing in Phoenix, Sept. 14. Calzadillas, a full-time police officer for the Salt River Police Department, earned the award for outstanding performance while deployed to Southwest Asia in 2015. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Tony Taha)

Col. Ed Kingdon, Air National Guard Security Forces director, presents the Airman First Class Elizabeth N. Jacobson Award to Staff Sgt. Orlando Calzadillas, a security forces journeyman assigned to the Arizona Air National Guard’s 161st Air Refueling Wing in Phoenix, Sept. 14. Calzadillas, a full-time police officer for the Salt River Police Department, earned the award for outstanding performance while deployed to Southwest Asia in 2015. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Tony Taha)

PHOENIX -- An Arizona Air National Guard member assigned to the 161st Air Refueling Wing here accepted the Airman First Class Elizabeth N. Jacobson Award from the National Guard Bureau Sept. 14 for exemplary service while deployed.

Staff Sgt. Orlando Calzadillas, a security forces journeyman assigned to the wing, deployed to Southwest Asia in support of Operation Inherent Resolve in 2015 to help defend fellow American service members, aircraft and vital warfighting assets.

While mobilized with the 380th Air Expeditionary wing for six months, Calzadillas provided security for a variety of air base operations. He protected countless aircraft, safeguarded travel routes for visiting dignitaries and heads of state, helped his unit train for active shooter response, deterred potential threats to fuel deliveries, responded to emergencies, implemented various anti-terrorism measures base wide and much more.

During his limited downtime, Calzadillas managed to volunteer around the base. He helped open a new USO facility, and organized several morale and welfare events with various organizations. He's an expert marksman, has a perfect score on the Air Force fitness assessment, and is studying for a degree in criminal justice.

The annual award is named for Elizabeth Jacobson, the first security forces member and first female Airman killed in action while serving Operation Iraqi Freedom.  She died Sept. 28, 2005, during a convoy security support mission when her vehicle made contact with an improvised explosive device.