944th Fighter Wing team celebrates AF heritage, leadership during annual awards banquet

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Alexandria Slade
  • 944th Fighter Wing
Members of the 944th Fighter Wing celebrated the leadership and dedication of this year’s best and brightest Airmen during the 2017 944 FW Annual Awards banquet Feb. 10 at the Wigwam Resort.

The ceremony was capped off by guest speaker, retired Col. Thomas Kirk, Jr., an Air Force Vietnam veteran who spent 1,964 days in captivity as a Prisoner of War. During his speech, Kirk spoke about what leadership means and how to lead from the inside out.

“Military authority or command is not leadership, it does not depend on rank,” said Kirk. “Leadership is the privilege people are given to direct the efforts of others to accomplish a goal. The toughest form of leadership I’ve ever had to learn is leading myself. You should periodically reflect on your life and ask, ‘how am I doing as a father, mother, Airman, sibling, friend?’ If you don’t like the answer, it is only you who can change it."

The following annual awards presented were:

Airman of the Year: Staff Sgt. Joyce Casem, 944th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron
Non Commissioned Officer of the Year: Tech. Sgt. Alexander Goreski, 944th Security Forces Squadron
Senior NCO of the Year: Master Sgt. Timothy Jasper, 944th Operations Support Flight
First Sergeant of the Year: Senior Master Sgt. Richard Walker, 924th Maintenance Squadron
Instructor Weapons Systems Officer of the Year: Maj. Nicholas Foster, 307th Fighter Squadron
Instructor Pilot of the Year: Maj. Robert Hext, 47th Fighter Squadron
Company Grade Officer of the Year: Capt. David Kreis, 944th Fighter Wing
Field Grade Officer of the Year: Maj. Brian Dudley, 944th Fighter Wing
Junior Civilian of the Year: Ricardo Rodriguez, 924th Fighter Group
Senior Civilian of the Year: Tony Mirafuentes, 944th Operations Group

In closing, Col. Bryan Cook, 944 FW commander, encouraged the Airmen and their families to keep up their efforts going into the rest of 2018.

“As a unit, we are already good, but we are going to be great,” said Cook. “As we keep moving forward, take care of our heritage and our family, and as we set our priorities of readiness and developing our Airmen, I look forward to 2018 and what it will bring. Keep bringing the heat.”