KEESLER AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. --
A member of the 403rd Wing has been recognized at the Air Force Reserve Command level for his efforts while deployed to Ramstein Air Base, Germany.
Tech. Sgt. Chad M. Prejean received the AFRC Weapons Safety Noncommissioned Officer of the Year award for Fiscal Year 2021.
Prejean left for Germany in April 2021 with an assignment to Weapons Safety Headquarters, United States Air Forces in Europe-Air Forces Africa and said of the experience that it has been fast-paced, challenging work.
“Working on the wing level in the Reserve is a lot different from working at a major command,” said Prejean. “As reservists, we do a lot of training to be prepared for real-world situations, while here at USAFE, it is real world. You have to get used to the geo-political element of everything you do at work. We’re going non-stop, constantly coordinating between Air Force wings in Europe and Africa and North Atlantic Treaty Organization allies. You can simply tune into international news and directly connect a project or tasking you and your team are engaging in.”
The Air Force Safety Center website states that the Weapons Safety Division establishes and defines nuclear surety and safety policy for the development and operational use of all nuclear, conventional and directed energy weapons systems—basically anything that can cause an explosion.
“It would probably take a 40-slide slideshow to cover everything we do,” said Prejean. “But in short, we oversee the U.S. European Command air component for explosive siting in support of the European Deterrence Initiative.”
In just the six months of his time in Germany that the award covered, Prejean put together a resume that would take up quite a few slides itself.
According to the award citation signed by Col. John A. Lesho, AFRC Director of Safety, Prejean reviewed and fortified the approval of four explosive event waivers directly enabling an additional 43,000 pounds of Net Explosive Weight capability for two installations, enhancing munition capabilities and leading to the successful short notice relocation of the annual Combat Ammunition Production Exercise.
Additionally, he choreographed the development for the 52nd Fighter Wing Munitions Storage Area, reviewing 160 explosive site plans, totaling 1.5 million pounds of net explosive weight, enabling a 3 million pound increase and cementing a $60 million project for Fiscal Year 2024.
Finally, he championed base design and preconstruction document evaluations for a USAF munitions storage area as well as for joint NATO flightline operational structures, establishing US European Command's first 5th generation Quick Reaction Alert Facility.
“We’re always proud to see our own thrive down range and be recognized for it,” said Col. Stuart M. Rubio, 403rd Wing commander. “Tech. Sgt. Prejean is a prime example of the Total Force capabilities of our reservists, and his accomplishments at Ramstein are a testament to the asset he is to the 403rd Wing, the Air Force Reserve, and the Air Force as a whole.”
Prejean will continue to render his services to Weapons Safety Headquarters well into 2022.
“The recognition is nice, but what’s more satisfying is to be able to contribute alongside a great team here,” said Prejean. “The opportunity to be involved in policy changes and daily operations has really been an eye-opening experience and has made me reflect on how far I’ve come from starting out as an A-10 weapons loader to representing safety at a US embassy in a foreign country. I’m very grateful to the 403rd Wing, Air Force Reserve, and USAFE for believing in me.”