Awards banquet celebrates a year of accomplishments

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Beth Kobily
  • 911th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

The 911th Airlift Wing’s annual awards banquet was held at the Embassy Suites, Coraopolis, Pennsylvania, March 4, 2017. The banquet celebrated the many accomplishments of the members of the 911th AW, military and civilian, as well as its Navy counterparts at the Naval Operational Center Pittsburgh.

Nearly 300 tickets were sold to the banquet, which marked the first year members of NOSC Pittsburgh were recognized alongside members of the 911th AW.

Guest speaker for the event was retired Brig. Gen. Dr. Dan Rota, director of Veterans Education and Training Services at Robert Morris University. Rota formerly served in the Pennsylvania Air National Guard.

Also speaking at the banquet was 911th AW Commander Col. Jeff Van Dootingh. This was his first drill weekend home from a deployment, and he had nothing but proud words for his Airmen.

“When fellow wing commanders ask me, ‘Why do you have an awards banquet, because it takes a lot of time and trouble?’ my answer back to them is, ‘How could you not have an awards banquet?'” said Van Dootingh. “How could you not recognize your top Airmen?”

Awards recipients were called up on stage during the evening to be recognized for their hard work over the past year.

“One of the biggest challenges, if not the biggest challenge of the awards banquet, is actually whittling it down to the final winners,” said Van Dootingh. “We have such an outstanding list of qualified candidates and they’re all out here doing super things, so finding one amongst all those is really tough.”

Among those were the following “of the year” awards winners:

The GS-08 and below and wage grade of the year- Ms. Ashley Wiley, 911th Maintenance Squadron.

The GS-09 and above and wage supervisor of the year- Lt. Col. Thomas Huzzard, 758th Airlift Squadron.

The 911th Airlift Wing first sergeant of the year- Master Sgt. Renee Flora, 911th Maintenance Squadron.

The 911th Airlift Wing field grade officer of the year- Lt. Col. Laura Wiggins, 911th Aeromedical Staging Squadron.

The 911th Airlift Wing company grade officer of the year- Capt. Sashonna Zacour, 911th Force Support Squadron.

The 911th Airlift Wing senior non-commissioned officer of the year- Senior Master Sgt. Garry Sheets, 911th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron.

The 911th Airlift Wing non-commissioned officer of the year- Tech. Sgt. Ralph Van Houtem, 32nd Aerial Port Squadron.

The 911th Airlift Wing Airman of the year- Senior Airman Tyler Guerriero, 32nd Aerial Port Squadron.