AFA honors Reserve Citizen Airmen

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. Tori Crosby
  • AF/REI

The Air Force Association honored several Air Force Reserve units, Reserve Citizen Airmen and their employers for outstanding achievements during the 2019 AFA Air, Space and Cyber Conference here Sept. 16.

“It is great to honor this select group of Reserve Citizen Airman heroes to be selected as AFA award winners for their accomplishments,” Lt. General Richard Scobee, Chief Air Force Reserve and Commander Air Force Reserve Command. “They along with the other 74,000 Airmen in the command serve as a lethal, combat force for the nation.”

Outstanding Reserve Flying Unit

The 926th Wing, Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, received the Outstanding Reserve Flying Unit Award. The wing was cited for providing multi-domain support while associating with nine wings, five major commands and eight combatant commands. Also, it provided high-end Total Force fighter and remotely piloted aircraft, space, command and control, test, tactics, training, support and combat operations.

The 926th Wing warriors led 52 Red Flag exercises in various capacities, served as subject matter experts for Air Force fighter aircraft, and provided the Air Force’s first virtual test and training director, ultimately enhancing the combat capabilities of the Air Force and its allies. In addition, they were engaged in around-the-clock combat operations which resulted in more than 15,000 combat missions flown and 74 enemy combatants killed in action.

Outstanding Aircrew – President’s Award

Capt. Charles “Halo” Phelps, 303rd Fighter Squadron, Whiteman AFB, Missouri, received the Outstanding Aircrew – President’s Award, which is presented to an aircrew member who displays outstanding flying achievement and continued superior performance.

Phelps was selected to command the first A-10 mission in six years from Kandahar Air Base, Afghanistan. He flew 43 Operation Resolute Support and Inherent Resolve combat sorties, and his laser-focused attention to detail prevented a friendly-fire incident which saved lives and averted collateral damage.

Citation of Honor

The Citation of Honor Award was presented to the 706th Fighter Squadron, Nellis AFB, Nevada, for outstanding contribution to the development of aerospace power.

The squadron provided the core of subject matter expertise to Nellis’ mission of operational test, tactics development and next generation training and provided more than $8 billion of capabilities and upgrades to the combat Air Forces. In addition, it led the integration of these new capabilities into six Joint Chiefs of Staff-directed exercises, improving the capabilities of 3,600 units throughout the Department of Defense.

Citizen Airman and Employer of the Year – Officer

Maj. Sonja R. Demuth, 380th Space Control Squadron, Peterson AFB, Colorado, and her boss, Karen Anderson, ground element software engineering manager for Lockheed Martin Space in Littleton, Colorado, received the Citizen Airman and Employer of the Year Award in the officer category.

Anderson provided exemplary support to Demuth during a Central Command short-notice deployment. She reorganized a 10-member team to handle the workload while Demuth was deployed and improved software processing by 150 percent. She also helped provided multiple care packages for the deployed CENTCOM team. Thanks to Anderson’s efforts, Demuth was able to focus on performing her duties as a member of the Air and Space Operations Center strategy staff, providing relevant intelligence to space-focused electronic warfare units in theater.

Citizen Airman and Employer of the Year – Enlisted

Master Sgt. Peter L. Thompson, 940th Maintenance Squadron first sergeant, Beale AFB, California, and his boss, Warden Robert Burton, Deuel Vocational Institution, California Department of Corrections in Tracy, were named the Citizen Airman and Employer of the Year in the enlisted category.

Burton supported Thompson when the Reservist was needed to fill the first-sergeant vacancy. He reassigned his corrections team to handle a heavy administrative workload and maintained the day-to-day safety and security of the institution. In addition, Burton supported six other Reservists assigned to his facility, ensuring their training and readiness needs were met.