Behind the Scenes: Annual Awards Banquet

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Matthew Bruch
  • 944th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

On February 8th, 2020 the 944th Fighter Wing hosted its Annual Awards Banquet to recognize the outstanding accomplishments of the wing’s best and brightest. The event, which has been organized by the 944th Operations Group this year, took place at The Wigwam Resort, Litchfield Park, Ariz.

The lead planner for the event, Maj. Sharon Hester, 69th Fighter Squadron executive officer, was selected to be the project lead in June 2019. Since then, she and a small team of 944th OG members have been working tirelessly to bring this night together.

“This event is a chance to show the excellence of our Airmen who manage their families, manage their lives, and continue to serve the military,” said Hester.

When asked back in June if she would lead the efforts to recognize these airmen, Hester jumped at the opportunity. Attendees at the event included members and family from the 944th FW, both local members and those assigned to the wing’s Geographically Separated Units at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz. and Seymour-Johnson Air Force Base, S.C., along with members of the 56th Fighter Wing leadership and local civic leaders.

“We have the opportunity to show our community and supporters the impact our individuals have on our mission and our country as a whole,” Hester added. “People work their entire career, and they may or may not be recognized. This night they will be recognized not just for work they have done in the last year, but over their entire career.”

The banquet, which lasted approximately four hours with the theme of the Grammy’s award show, featured dance entertainment, a special guest speaker, a plated dinner, and highlighted ten award recipients.

The Operations Group is the smallest group in the 944th Fighter Wing and for them to take on an event like this is a heavy lift,” said Col. James Greenwald, 944th Fighter Wing commander. “They really hit it out of the park.”

The annual awards banquet is held each year during the wing’s February Unit Training Assembly weekend and recognizes nominees and winners in ten categories, to include Airman of the Year, Noncommissioned Officer of the Year, Senior Noncommissioned of the Year, Junior Civilian of the Year, Senior Civilian of the Year, First Sergeant of the Year, Company Grade Officer of the Year, Field Grade Officer of the Year, Instructor Pilot of the Year, and Instructor Weapons Systems Operator of the Year.