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Air Force announces 2017 Sijan award winners

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas (AFNS) -- The U.S. Air Force has announced the winners of the 2017 Lance P. Sijan U.S. Air Force Leadership Award.

The Sijan award, first given in 1981, is named in honor of the first U.S. Air Force Academy graduate to receive the Medal of Honor. The annual award recognizes Airmen who have demonstrated outstanding leadership abilities.


Capt. Lance P. Sijan was shot down over Vietnam Nov. 9, 1967, and evaded capture for 45 days despite severe injuries. He later died while in a Vietnamese prisoner-of-war camp and was posthumously presented the Medal of Honor for heroism.


The winner in the senior officer category is Maj. Ryan Garlow, Air Mobility Command. Garlow led the 91st Air Refueling Squadron to win the 2016 best ARS in the Air Force with the General Spaatz trophy. His leadership was further recognized when the Thunderbirds awarded the best military airshow in 2016 to MacDill Air Force Base, Florida.


In the junior officer category, the winner is Capt. M. Helen Marino, Air Force Office of Special Investigations. Marino provided counterintelligence support by 12 geographically separated units to three Department of Defense Unified Combatant Commands. Her teams neutralized dozens of hostile foreign intelligence threats and identified 350 human trafficking victims, eventually disrupting their captors’ operations.


The winner in the senior enlisted category is Master Sgt. Alison Middleton, Air Combat Command. Middleton directed a joint force and triggered more than 25 raids in her management of over 700 Airmen in the Office of Counterterrorism.


In the junior enlisted category, the winner is Tech. Sgt. Joshua Phillips, U.S. Central Command. Phillips led five teams of intelligence analysts in support of the CENTCOM Joint Operations Center. He overhauled the training program and cut initial training time by 50 percent. Phillips also staffed a five-day conference spanning 22 organizations to synchronize intelligence sharing with 14 partner nations.


Winners are authorized to wear the Air Force Recognition Ribbon and will be honored at a presentation ceremony conducted by the Chief of Staff of the Air Force.


For more news and information, visit the Air Force's Personnel Center website.

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