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CSAF visits RAF Lakenheath

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Tiffany M. Deuel
  • 48th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz and his wife Suzie helped honor the 48th Fighter Wing's annual award winners and nominees during a ceremony here Feb. 11.

Those recognized as the Liberty Wing's 2011 Annual Award winners were:

- Maj. Andrew Garcia, Field Grade Officer of the Year
- Capt. Christopher Obranovich, Company Grade Officer of the Year
- Senior Master Sgt. Brian Huber, First Sergeant of the Year
- Master Sgt. Brian Cain, Senior Noncommissioned Officer of the Year:
- Tech. Sgt. Kristen Davis, NCO of the Year
- Airman 1st Class Robin Bouton, Airman of the Year
- Staff Sgt. Markus Anthony, Military Volunteer of the Year
- Senior Airman Branden Alexander, Honor Guard Member of the Year
- Tina Barnes, Civilian Category I of the Year
- Martin Heli, Civilian Category II of the Year
- Lela Smith, Civilian Volunteer of the Year

The theme of the night was "A Decade of War: Defending with Excellence," and Schwartz said those at RAF Lakenheath should be proud of the important role they have played in operations over the last 10 years.

"It is an honor to celebrate these achievements with the war-fighting Airmen of the Liberty Wing," said Schwartz.

Schwartz expressed his appreciation for the award winners' accomplishments in front of more than Airmen and civilians at the banquet.

"What a pleasure it is for Suzie and me to be here with 540 members and supporters of the wing," he said. "I salute every award winner tonight for their outstanding work."

Schwartz said the Liberty Wing has a reputation for excellence, as evidenced by the award of the Mackay Trophy to four of the wing's Airmen and the selection of two more for the most recent edition of the Air Force's Portraits in Courage series.

"Airmen like you have served with distinction in operations vital to our nation, our NATO allies and the security of the entire region," Schwartz said. "America can always count on Liberty Airmen to get the job done."

Schwartz ended his speech with encouraging words for those in attendance.

"Every Airman has an opportunity to take part in making our Air Force better," Schwartz said. "I call on each and every Airman to do just that. Enjoy each other's company and, most importantly, celebrate the noble mission of the Liberty Wing."

During the visit, the general and his wife visited the Strike Eagle Complex and the local village of Elveden. They also attended a key spouses' luncheon where Suzie Schwartz emphasized the importance of the Key Spouse Program.

"We have to thank you for what you do; it's volunteering at its best," she said. "It's the combination of all your wonderful caring, the sharing of information and being part of the team that makes the Air Force the great place and great family that it is."