Secretary of the Air Force Michael Donley delivers remarks during a ceremony to award four Airmen with the 2012 Secretary of the Air Force Leadership Award May 11, 2012, at Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala. The award is the Air Force’s most prestigious award for leadership in the professional military education environment. (Air Force photo by Melanie Rodgers-Cox)
(From left to right) Secretary of the Air Force Michael Donley presents the 2012 Secretary of the Air Force Leadership Award to Air War College student Col. David Lowthian, Royal Canadian Air Force, while Lt. Gen. David Fadok, president and commander of the Air University, looks on during a ceremony May 11, 2012, at Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala. Lowthian was the first Air University international student to receive the award, which is the Air Force’s most prestigious award for leadership in the professional military education environment. In addition to Lowthian, Donley presented the award to three other Airmen attending Air Command and Staff College, Squadron Officer School, and the Senior Noncommissioned Officer Academy, respectively. (Air Force photo by Melanie Rodgers-Cox)
by Christopher Kratzer
Air University Public Affairs
5/15/2012 - MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. (AFNS) -- Secretary of the Air Force Michael Donley presented four Airmen with the 2012 Secretary of the Air Force Leadership Award May 11 during a ceremony at the Air War College here.
The award is the Air Force's most prestigious award for leadership in the professional military education environment.
"The Secretary of the Air Force Leadership award is presented annually to one student from the Air War College, Air Command and Staff College, Squadron Officer School and the Air Force Senior Noncommissioned Officer Academy," said Dr. Bruce Murphy, vice president for academic affairs at the Air University.
"The recipients not only excelled academically but also displayed outstanding leadership qualities that distinguished them from all of their peers during academic year 2012," Murphy said.
The recipients were Maj. Jerime Reid from the Air Command and Staff College, Capt. Justin Elliott from the Squadron Officer School, Senior Master Sgt. Rodney Deese II from the Senior Noncommissioned Officer Academy and Col. David Lowthian from the Air War College. Lowthian is a member of the Royal Canadian Air Force and the first international officer to receive the award.
Donley reminded attendees at the award ceremony that the Air Force's most valuable resource is its people.
"Educating Airmen is just as critical as maintaining our technological edge," he said. "Cultivating potential leaders is part of our investment in people. The success of our Air Force and our national security is directly related to the quality of our personnel."
Investing in Airmen through professional education is key, said Donley. He told attendees that a well-trained force is crucial to national security.
"In the Air Force, we sometimes have a tendency to focus on the awesome technology that surrounds us everywhere we look," he said. "No matter how advanced our technologies, we still depend on the education, the training, the commitment and ultimately the quality of our Airmen who operate and maintain these systems in support of our nation's defense."
Donley commended the award winners and expressed his gratefulness for their hard work.
"We are confident that while military training, tactics and weapons may change, the leadership, management and critical thinking skills you develop during your professional military education, here and elsewhere, will always be mission essential," he said.
5/15/2012 10:46:38 PM ET Congratulations to all of the recipients but why is there a photo of one of them Were are the other award winners CP