Celebrating our Airmen: 944FW Instructor Pilot, Instructor Weapon Systems Officer of the Year nominees

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  • 944th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

The 944th Fighter Wing is built on the foundation of our outstanding Airmen. We are proud of the diligence and commitment these Elite Reserve Citizen Airmen display and are pleased to highlight those who have been nominated for the 2020 944 FW Annual Awards.

The categories of recognition for the annual awards program include rank-based categories: Airmen (E1-E4), Non-commission Officers (E5-E6), Senior Non-commissioned Officers (E7-E9), Company Grade Officers (O1-O3), Field Grade Officers (O4-O6), Junior Civilians (GS 8 and below), and Senior Civilians (GS 9 and above). In addition, we recognize outstanding performance for positional based accomplishments for First Sergeants, Instructor Pilots, and Instructor Weapon Systems Officers.

The members below are the nominees in the Instructor Pilot and Instructor Weapon Systems Officer categories. We are proud of the many accomplishments of these members and look forward to celebrating them during our virtual awards ceremony on January 30, 2020.

IP and IWSO of the Year nominees:

Major Michael Fitzsimmons, 307th Fighter Squadron, Flight Commander and F-15E Instructor Pilot

In 2020, Maj. Fitzsimmons was a high-flight instructor pilot with over 100 student upgrades, guided a virtual reality project, and edited all ACC F-15E instructional material.  He combined flight briefs with virtual reality tools which increased the student pass rate by 30 percent.  Fitzsimmons spearheaded the operations/maintenance integration that strengthened the mission across the Fighter Group.  He dedicated his time to mentor multiple new Airmen ensuring a successful start in the unit.

Major Joshua Jones, 944th Operations Group Detachment 2, Chief of Weapons and F-35 Instructor Pilot

In 2020, Maj. Jones organized 12 different air combat training missions, delivered 26 combat wingmen to four partner nations, and was upgraded to flight examiner.  He authored instructor pilot upgrade pillars, and standardized instruction for three wings across two Major Commands.  Jones led COVID relief efforts to supply meals for unit families in need, volunteered as a coach for little league baseball and soccer teams, and provided security at a local place of worship.

Major Daniel Levy, 47th Fighter Squadron, A-10C Instructor Pilot

In 2020, Maj. Levy was handpicked to fly a test jet, served as the squadron rescue expert, flew 35 student sorties, and upgraded 29 student pilots.  He led realistic combat training resulting in 12 student pilots completing their capstone flights.  Levy devoted time to mentor 24 high school students, and organize a squadron history briefing and jet tour for 40 children.

Lieutenant Colonel Eric Ostendorf, 307th Fighter Squadron, Instructor Weapon Systems Officer

In 2020, Lt. Col. Ostendorf reinvigorated the operations supervisor program, mentored five student pilots, and instructed over 90 flights, producing 4 F-15E aircrew for combat squadrons.  He overhauled daily flying reports by tracking the status of over 1,600 training flights and earned a flight safety award for reaching four thousand incident-free flying hours in a fighter aircraft.  Ostendorf planned, led, and executed the squadron’s resiliency program by organizing a squadron off-site and resiliency event.  He also volunteered over 20 hours with Habitat for Humanity to sort donations and repair furniture to aid community members in need.