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2016 Nuclear Deterrence Operations, Nuclear & Missile Operations awards winners announced

WASHINGTON (AFNS) -- Air Force officials recently named the winners of the 2016 Nuclear Deterrence Operations Award and the Nuclear & Missile Operations Award.

The Nuclear Deterrence Operations Award recognizes the outstanding accomplishments of Airmen contributing to nuclear deterrence operations.

The Nuclear & Missile Operations Award honors officers who made the most significant contribution to the nuclear and missile operations career field.

“Congratulations to the winners of the 2016 Nuclear Deterrence Operations Awards and the Nuclear & Missile Operations Awards. We have Airmen doing a phenomenal job each and every day delivering our nation a robust, reliable, flexible and survivable nuclear deterrent. Our winners are distinguished even among that group. Their outstanding performance strengthened the nation’s nuclear deterrent and exemplify the professionalism we value in our Airmen," said Lt. Gen. Jack Weinstein, the Deputy Chief of Staff, Strategic Deterrence and Nuclear Integration, Headquarters Air Force.

These outstanding nuclear professionals were selected from a diverse field within the Air Force’s major commands, unified combatant commands and other agencies including the Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard.

Nuclear Deterrence Operations Award winners are:

- Airman of the Year: Staff Sgt. Stephen T. Biggs, 703rd Munitions Support Squadron, Volkel Air Base, Netherlands
- Noncommissioned Officer of the Year: Tech. Sgt. Andrew W. Weissbach, 2nd Bomb Wing, Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana
- Senior Noncommissioned Officer of the Year: Senior Master Sgt. Jonathan M. Kennedy, Ramstein AB, Germany
- Company Grade Officer of the Year: Capt. Charles J. Howell, 707th Communications Squadron, National Security Agency, Fort George G. Meade, Maryland
- Field Grade Officer of the Year: Maj. Patrick A. Yanez, 509th Operations Support Squadron, Whiteman AFB, Missouri
- Category I Civilian of the Year: Ms. Mykenzie Hamblin, Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center, Hill AFB, Utah
- Category II Civilian of the Year: Mr. Michael J. Schmidt, 741st Maintenance Squadron, Malmstrom AFB, Montana
- Category III Civilian of the Year: Mr. Richard C. Cross, Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center, Hill AFB, Utah
- Professional Team: Personnel Reliability Program Administrative Qualification Cell (Mr. Michael Morris, Lt. Col. Patrick Matak, Maj. Jacqueline Lucas, Maj. Charlene Kirby, Capt. Melanie Johnson, Senior Master Sgt. JoAnn Wise, Master Sgt. Jennifer Fontenot, Master Sgt. Nyel Aquino, Master Sgt. Julio Serrano, Tech. Sgt. Ashley Correa, Staff Sgt. Bryce Bellemore, Staff Sgt. Kristy Davis, Staff Sgt. Elise Orozco, Staff Sgt. Carlos Rodriguez, Mr. Brant Nickell, Ms. Rene McQueen, Ms. Karen Nzerem, Mr. Jeff West, Ms. Desiree Melcher, Ms. Bonnie Cunning)

Nuclear & Missile Operations Award winners are:

- Operator: 1st Lt. Cole J. Evans, 740th Missile Squadron, Minot AFB, North Dakota
- CGO: 1st Lt. Jeffery S. Dobrow, 12th Missile Squadron, Malmstrom AFB, Montana
- FGO: Maj. Joseph Shannon III, 90th Operations Support Squadron, Francis E. Warren AFB, Wyoming
The Nuclear Operations Awards Program is administered and overseen by Deputy Chief of Staff, Strategic Deterrence and Nuclear Integration, Headquarters Air Force in accordance with AFI 36-2870, Nuclear Operations Awards Program.

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