Mildenhall Airmen honored during CSAF visit

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Kevin Wallace
  • 100th Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs
Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz helped honor Team Mildenhall's annual award winners during a banquet here Feb. 10.

Those recognized as the Team Mildenhall 2011 Annual Award winners were:

- Capt. Nathaniel Smith, Company Grade Officer of the Year
- Senior Master Sgt. Emilio Hernandez, Senior Noncommissioned Officer of the Year
- Master Sgt. Thomas Wagner, First Sergeant of the Year
- Staff Sgt. Byron Washington, NCO of the Year
- Senior Airman Patrick Flynn, Airman of the Year
- Senior Airman Leroy Jackson, Honor Guard Member of the Year
- Airman 1st Class Orson Lyttle, Volunteer of the Year
- Danielle Poyant, Supervisory Civilian of the Year
- Mia Tobitt, Non-supervisory Civilian of the Year

Schwartz was joined by Lt. Gen. Frank Gorenc, the 3rd Air Force commander; Maj. Gen Mark Zamzow, the 3rd AF vice commander; Col. Christopher Kulas, the 100th ARW commander; Chief Master Sgt. Craig Adams, the 3rd AF command chief; and Chief Master Sgt. Chris Powell, the 100th ARW command chief, in celebrating the honorees' accomplishments.

"U.S. Air Forces in Europe links us all to America's greatest generation," Schwartz said. "From World War II airfields across Great Britain, our forebears helped bring victory to a weary and waiting world."

As the only permanent U.S. air refueling wing in Europe, the 100th ARW has flown many missions vital to the United States, its NATO allies and regional security, Schwartz said.

"As an Air Force, we can take great pride in our efforts and achievements in Iraq and Afghanistan as we've met countless requirements on the ground, in the air, in space and in cyberspace," Schwartz said.

This decade of war was shaped as much by the Air Force service members on the battlefield as the Airmen above it, Schwartz said.

"The Airmen of Team Mildenhall played no small part in ensuring the success of those operations, and Team Mildenhall partner units rightly deserve credit for shouldering many of those challenges," he said.

Team Mildenhall consists of Airmen, Soldiers, Sailors and civilians from the 100th ARW, 352nd Special Operations Group, 95th Reconnaissance Squadron, 488th Intelligence Squadron, 727th Air Mobility Squadron and other tenant units.

After taking photos with the general and his fellow award winners, the Airman of the Year honoree reflected on his award.

"I never expected this level of recognition," Flynn said. "This validates not only the hard work I put in, but the commitment of my fellow Airmen, supervisors, first sergeant and commander. This motivates me to work even harder next year."

Flynn is a 100th Civil Engineer Squadron fire inspector and spent much of 2011 deployed to Iraq. His unit took its fair share of Team Mildenhall awards, bringing home the Senior NCO of the Year, NCO of the Year and Airman of the Year awards.

"This is breathtaking," said Washington, a fellow 100th CES member and the 2011 NCO of the Year. "These awards certify what's already known--the Airmen and our families are what have made this wing successful all these years."

Prior to the banquet, Schwartz toured the 100th Force Support Squadron's Gateway Dining Facility, which recently won the 2012 USAFE Food Service Excellence Award in the single facility category.

The general also visited the 488th IS's language and culture learning center, the 100th Logistics Readiness Squadron's fuels processing center, and the 100th Operations Support Squadron's Air Traffic Control Tower.

After his stop at RAF Mildenhall, Schwartz attended RAF Lakenheath's 2011 Annual Awards Banquet on Feb. 11. Schwartz, who was accompanied by his wife Suzie on the trip, said a major reason for visiting the bases was the role both played in Operations Unified Protector and Odyssey Dawn in 2011.

During OUP, the 100th ARW flew about 500 missions to refuel approximately 6,000 receivers from 15 different countries. Like the 100th Bomb Group during World War II, the 100th made its mark in the history books, Kulas said at the banquet.

Hernandez, Wagner, Washington, Flynn, Lyttle and Tobitt were also recognized before the dinner as the 100th ARW 2011 Annual Award Winners in their categories, along with Capt. Steven Brenoskie, CGO of the Year, and Wayne Gordon, Supervisory Civilian of the Year.