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SecAF honors Airmen with leadership awards

Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James presents the 2014 Secretary of the Air Force leadership award to Squadron Officer School student Capt. Collin Christopherson, May 5, at Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala. The award is the Air Force's most prestigious award for leadership honoring exceptional performance in a professional military education setting. (U.S. Air Force photo/Bud Hancock)

Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James presents the 2014 Secretary of the Air Force leadership award to Squadron Officer School student Capt. Collin Christopherson, May 5, 2014, at Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala. The award is the Air Force's most prestigious award for leadership honoring exceptional performance in a professional military education setting. (U.S. Air Force photo/Bud Hancock)

Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James presents the 2014 Secretary of the Air Force leadership award to Maj. Houston Hodgkinson, Air Command and Staff College student, May 5, in Montgomery, Ala. The award is the Air Force's most prestigious award for leadership honoring exceptional performance in a professional military education setting. (Courtesy photo/Melanie Rodgers Cox)

Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James presents the 2014 Secretary of the Air Force leadership award to Maj. Houston Hodgkinson, Air Command and Staff College student, May 5, 2014, in Montgomery, Ala. The award is the Air Force's most prestigious award for leadership honoring exceptional performance in a professional military education setting. (Courtesy photo/Melanie Rodgers Cox)

MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. (AFNS) -- Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James presented four Airmen with the 2014 Secretary of the Air Force Leadership Award, May 5, during ceremonies at Air University schools here.

The award is the Air Force's most prestigious award for leadership, honoring exceptional performance in a professional military education setting.

The award is presented annually to one student from Air War College, Air Command and Staff College, Squadron Officer School and the Air Force Senior NCO Academy.

The award recipients were Capt. Collin Christopherson, SOS, Maj. Houston Hodgkinson, ACSC, and Senior Master Sgt. John Alsvig, SNCOA. The AWC's recipient will be announced during the school's graduation ceremony May 22.

"It's an honor and a privilege to be able to present the Secretary of the Air Force Leadership Award to each of the recipients, who not only excelled academically but also displayed outstanding leadership qualities that distinguished them from their peers," James said. "As we become a smaller, but more capable and technologically advanced force, educating Airmen becomes even more critical. We need leaders who can effectively plan and execute strategies, leaders who can help our Air Force deal with evolving conditions and emerging threats as they develop."

She focused on the vital mission at AU, and the quality of the leaders it creates.

"Therefore, the success of our Air Force and our national security is directly related to the quality of our people. It's tempting to focus on the technology that surrounds us -- the aircraft and the satellites, state of the art communications and computer systems," James said. "But regardless how advanced our systems and technology are, we will always depend on the education, training, commitment and, ultimately, the quality of our Airmen who operate and maintain these systems in support of our nation's defense. Congratulations to each of the recipients for a job well done."

Alsvig received the award in absence, having left the school to return to his duty station at Misawa Air Base, Japan.

"I'm still not sure how the choice was made with so many amazing SNCOs in the running," Alsvig said. "This award is for my family, classmates and teammates' sacrifices, not just from 2014 but from day zero of coming into our Air Force. I am proud that the many years of service and sacrifice has pinnacled with recognition like this. To have the Honorable Deborah Lee James take the time to present this recognition will be something I share with my family and wingmen for years to come."

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