Celebrating our Airmen: 944FW Field Grade 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 Weapons Systems Operators.

The members below are the nominees in the Field Grade Officer (O4-O6) category. 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.

FGO of the Year nominees:

Major James Buchanan, 47th Fighter Squadron A-10C Instructor Pilot

In 2020, Maj. Buchanan led 74 instructional training flights, spending 145 hours in-flight training hours with 18 students.  He served as flight supervisor ensuring flight safety for three commands and five agencies and was the field grade leader for a major inspection, tracking shortfalls and updating critical software.  Buchanan put together hygiene and PPE care packages for distribution among unit members and planned and executed several squadron morale events, bolstering unit resilience.

Lieutenant Colonel Kendall Chudy, 307th Fighter Squadron Director of Staff

In 2020, Lt. Col. Chudy led six emergency procedure lectures for 48 students resulting in zero mishaps and he initiated personnel records reviews for 21 members to ensure all personnel were properly recognized for their work.  He led squadron 360 feedback and mentorship program to build connectedness within the unit and produced a concise reference book outlining key unit information.  Chudy completed nine courses to complete his Intermediate Development Education requirements and began the next level of training to increase his leadership knowledge and skills.  He also volunteered three hundred hours coaching and mentoring local teams in his community.

Major Alexander Esson, 944th Operations Group Detachment 2 Assistant Director of Operations

In 2020, Maj. Esson wrote the F-35 Foreign Integration Guide and was selected to chair the Headquarters Air Force F-35 Operational Security conference.  He chaired the Barry M. Goldwater Range airspace rebuild, synchronizing the requirements of joint forces and increasing efficiency by over 33 percent.  Esson led a church group for three dozen parishioners, provided base tours for local youth and worked to build better quality education and programs for special needs children in the community.

Lt Col Kathleen Kent, 944th Aeromedical Staging Squadron Chief Nurse

In 2020, Lt. Col Kent supported a FEMA exercise to develop disaster evacuation plans for the tri-state area.  She developed expedited COVID-19 testing processes for critical personnel in multiple counties, volunteered at a first-of-its-kind drive-thru flu event, and administered the COVID-19 vaccine to over three thousand residents.  Kent aided an injured passenger during and in-flight emergency and counseled 87 high school seniors on health protocols to ensure their welfare.

Lieutenant Colonel Peter Kezar, 944th Fighter Wing Staff Judge Advocate

In 2020, Lt. Col. Kezar volunteered to backfill critical judge advocate office at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C. and led a 23-person legal team over six months, training 16 commanders on critical UCMJ knowledge.  He reviewed dozens of ethics and fiscal issues and administrative actions to aid in command decisions to ensure the unit mission.  Kezar completed 56 hours of legal education improving efficiency 200 percent and provided advise on pandemic related issues garnering recognition as “team of the quarter” by Shaw leadership.

Major Lizy Windsor, 944th Medical Squadron Clinical Nurse

In 2020, served as troop commander for team of 944th Fighter Wing medical professionals deployed to New York City for COVID-19 relief efforts.  She managed logistics, led operations and trained 17 deployers ensuring 100 percent mission accomplishment and sustainment of her team.  She facilitated Self-Aid and Buddy Care training for Wing members, getting over 100 teammates trained and ready for worldwide operations.  During her deployment for COVID-19 relief, Windsor served thousands of patients during case spike and provided critical care that combated the virus and saved lives.

Major Mark Wullschleger, 944th Force Support Squadron Operations Officer

In 2020, Maj. Wullschleger led 77 squadron personnel for three drill weekends during short-notice squadron leadership vacancy.  He developed an orientation course for incoming Wing leadership and directed hybrid administrative personnel training course for 63 personnel and three geographically separated units.  Wullschleger led exercise preparations for pre deployment training to prepare unit personnel for upcoming deployment window and complete 12 credits toward his second bachelor’s degree.