Virginia Air National Guard recognizes top performers

Brig. Gen. Marshall L. Kjelvik, Virginia National Guard Air Component Commander, and Command Chief Master Sgt. Kelly B. Reich, VaANG command chief, recognize Staff Sgt. Joshua J. Moon  as the Virginia Air National Guard Outstanding Airman of the Year Jan. 12, 2019, at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Kellyann Elish)

JOINT BASE LANGLEY-EUSTIS, Va. — The Virginia Air National Guard’s 192nd Wing recognized its top performers during an annual awards ceremony Jan. 12, 2019, at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia. Col. Frank J. Lobash, 192nd Wing commander, presided over the ceremony in which various Airmen received awards at group, wing and state levels.

Brig. Gen. Marshall L. Kjelvik, Virginia National Guard Air Component Commander, and Command Chief Master Sgt. Kelly B. Reich, VaANG command chief, presented the state-level 2019 Airmen of the Year awards to the exceptional Airmen that best represented not only the wing, but the Commonwealth of Virginia as well.

Newly promoted Staff Sgt. Joshua J. Moon, 192nd Maintenance Group, was recognized as the VaANG Outstanding Airman of the Year, Tech. Sgt. Meredith J. Reyna, 192nd Operations Group, received the VaANG Outstanding NCO of the Year award, Master Sgt. Chad M. Hagen, 192nd Mission Support Group, was recognized as the VaANG Outstanding Senior NCO of the Year and Senior Master Sgt. Harold R. Childs, 192nd Wing Staff, was named the VaANG Outstanding First Sergeant of the Year.

Moon was selected as the 2019 Virginia Air National Guard Outstanding Guardsman of the Year.

Lobash and Command Chief Master Sgt. Christopher L. Amburn, 192nd Wing command chief, recognized OAY winners at the wing level. Each OAY winner at the headquarters staff and group level were evaluated by a review board in their respective categories to select wing level and state level award winners.

“Taking time as a wing to recognize our Outstanding Airmen of the Year is very important,” said Lobash. “Each of these winners represents the heavy lift of their peers that has brought the operational readiness and lethality of this wing to the pinnacle we present today.”

At the wing and group level, Outstanding Airmen of the Year awards cover the categories for Airman, non-commissioned officer, senior non-commissioned officer, first sergeant, and for the first year, company grade officer and field grade officer were also recognized.

Kjelvik presented the wing with the Meritorious Unit Award streamer to be attached to the the unit guidon to showcase the MUA received for the periods of June 1, 2017, to May 31, 2018. Lobash and Amburn accepted the MUA streamer on behalf of the wing and its Airmen.

Recognizing the squadron that had the greatest impact during the Spark Tank innovation challenge, Lobash designed a traveling trophy that would be given to the winning squadron each year. Before passing the award on to the next year’s winner, the idea is that the current holder of the award would first make innovative enhancements to the trophy. The first winner of the innovation traveling trophy was the 149th Fighter Squadron.

Moon’s recognition as the VaANG’s top Airman came as a surprise.

“All they said was that, basically, we all had to go to this awards ceremony because one of ours received something. We didn’t know what the award was,” said Moon. “All the other awards after the first one, I didn’t know any of those were coming.”

Leadership at his squadron, group, wing and state levels all agreed that his character and hard work were well suited for this award.

“I was most definitely surprised,” said Moon. “Part of me doesn’t want to receive these awards like that. That’s why I was like, don’t call me again. Let somebody else go. I’m blessed enough for one.”

Moon, a low observable composite fabricator with the 192nd Maintenance Squadron, rose above and beyond the call of duty and exemplified what it means to be the VaANG. Although, if you ask him, you will find a humble Airman who just strives to get the job done.

“‘What do you do? What makes you different than everybody else’? [one of the new guys in the shop asked me]…” said Moon. “First and foremost, it’s God, like that’ll never change. God blesses me everyday and like I said, prayer works. And then second of all, honestly, I would tell him, and this is going to sound kind of modest, but I don’t really do anything different than everybody else. Everyone there works hard. It’s just go in and do your job… I’m not by myself when I’m working these jets. I have a team with me.”

Integrity first, service before self, and excellence in all we do. These are the United States Air Force Core Values that every Airman commits to uphold when joining the USAF. Winning an outstanding award in any of these categories is an accomplishment. Each of these Airmen are expected to be a representation of these values and more. The recognition for their hard work and dedication to their fellow Airmen, group, wing and state is well deserved.

“I am proud to serve alongside each and every Airman and am truly humbled at the accomplishments of the individual winners as well as the full team,” said Lobash. “The secret sauce to the wing’s success is each Airman. We are all many things, moms, dads, pilots, lawyers, mechanics, but no matter what noun we use to identify ourselves, each of us ends our description with three simple words…’And I serve!’ That mentality is what makes us exceptional. Congrats to all the OAY winners and to the wing for recognition as the Meritorious Unit for 2018.”

Tech. Sgt. Anthony Saunders, 192nd Logistics Readiness Flight, opened the ceremony with a beautiful rendition of the national anthem.

The wing and group level award winners are as follows:

The 2019 192nd Wing OAY winners:
– Airman of the Year: Staff Sgt. Joshua J. Moon
– NCO of the Year: Tech. Sgt. Meredith J. Reyna
– SNCO of the Year: Master Sgt. Chad M. Hagen
– First Sergeant of the Year: Senior Master Sgt. Harold R. Childs
– CGO of the Year: Capt. Brittany N. Hemphill
– FGO of the Year: Maj. Elizabeth T. Maksim

The 2019 192nd Wing Staff OAY winners:
– Airman of the Year: Senior Airman Bryan C. Myhr
– NCO of the Year: Tech. Sgt. Talia K. Ramsey
– SNCO of the Year: Senior Master Sgt. La’Keisha N. Sistrunk
– First Sergeant of the Year: Senior Master Sgt. Harold R. Childs
– CGO of the Year: Capt. Brittany N. Hemphill
– FGO of the Year: Lt. Col. Tayana L. Stevens

The 2019 192nd Operations Group OAY winners:
– Airman of the Year: Senior Airman Amber N. Gicker
– NCO of the Year: Tech. Sgt. Meredith J. Reyna
– SNCO of the Year: Master Sgt. Jonathan S. King
– First Sergeant of the Year: Master Sgt. Dalton Johnson
– CGO of the Year: 1st Lt. Alyssa E. Legg
– FGO of the Year: Maj. Elizabeth T. Maksim

The 2019 192nd Maintenance Group OAY winners:
– Airman of the Year: Staff Sgt. Joshua J. Moon
– NCO of the Year: Staff Sgt. Louis A. Jackson
– SNCO of the Year: Senior Master Sgt. Alan B. Bethea
– CGO of the Year: 2nd Lt. Haley E. Jefferis
– FGO of the Year: Maj. Kathleen H. Chiarantona

The 2019 192nd Mission Support Group OAY winners:
– Airman of the Year: Airman 1st Class Kobe J. Travieso
– NCO of the Year: Staff Sgt. Kevin A. Crowder
– SNCO of the Year: Master Sgt. Chad M. Hagen
– CGO of the Year: Capt. Rachael G. Bowen
– FGO of the Year: Lt. Col. Sarah Weston

The 2019 192nd Medical Group OAY winners:
– Airman of the Year: Senior Airman Thomas V. Massa
– NCO of the Year: Tech. Sgt. Beverly A. West
– SNCO of the Year: Senior Master Sgt. Kimberly L. Rumph
– CGO of the Year: Capt. Jason M. Janker
– FGO of the Year: Maj. LaToya D. Crocker