Feeding thousands, earning black belt among accomplishments of 363rd ISRW awardees

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO – LACKLAND, Texas --

Leaders from the 363rd Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Wing synchronized their goals and missions, and recognized this year’s wing-level award winners at their annual conference in March.

“Our wing award winners are outstanding,” said Chief Master Sgt. Kathryn M. Kelley, command chief, 363rd ISRW. “What these Americans do for our nation leaves me in awe, and I am so proud to serve alongside them. As professionals, they understand the importance of their mission and how it ties into national security. As Airmen, they personify some of the best our Air Force has to offer - they truly embody the Air Force core values.”

The Airman of the Year for the 363rd is Senior Airman Kathrine, 36th Intelligence Squadron, 363rd ISR Group. “Not only has she performed above her grade, being the first A1C (airman first class) to qualify in advanced targeting, she managed the squadron’s precise point mensuration program,” said Kelley. Kathrine is also a unit physical training leader, vice president of the base dorm council, campaign lead for the squadron Air Force Assistance Fund and was selected for senior airman below-the-zone.

The non-commissioned officer of the year is Technical Sgt. Joshua, 20th IS, 363rd ISRG. He is in charge of his squadron’s training branch. He deployed 129 days in support of a Joint Task Force, was the John L. Levitow award winner at the NCO academy, and led the Crisis Management Element, managing the support for 11 squadrons, Kelley said.

The senior enlisted officer of the year is Senior Master Sgt. Armando, 43rd IS, 361st ISRG. He is a squadron operations superintendent. He covered as the squadron’s chief enlisted manager for three months, and ensured uninterrupted superior support to Air Force and Joint SOF global operations and oversaw advanced training for the unit’s Tactical Systems Operators, said Kelley. “He is also the command chief for the New Mexico Civil Air Patrol and was a Distinguished Graduate of the Senior NCO Academy.”

The First Sergeant of the Year for the 363rd is Master Sgt. Salvatore Lione, 365th ISRG. “Besides being a phenomenal first sergeant for two squadrons and the group staff, Master Sgt. Lione instructed 11 First Term Airmen Center classes, managed the Nellis dorm program, and authored a junior enlisted development course which taught 763 Airmen. He was also the district leader for Boy Scouts of America,” Kelley said.

The Volunteer of the Year for the Wing is Staff Sgt. Opal, 15th IS, 365th ISRG. She was the Wing's Combined Federal Campaign point of contact, led the squadron's Trunk or Treat and Holiday party, and was the co-chair for the squadron morale BBQ. She also managed a district food program, leading four personnel and preparing 4,000 pounds of food to feed 13,000 community members, Kelley said.

The Company Grade Officer of the Year is Capt. Michael, 25th IS, 361st ISRG. He deployed as a Special Operations Forces ISR Detachment commander, Kelley said. He was also awarded the Distinguished Graduate recognition at Squadron Officer School, and received his black belt in the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program.

The Field Grade Officer of the Year is Maj. Aaron Eggers, 43rd IS, 361st ISRG. Eggers commanded 83 deployed Airmen who amassed over 3,500 combat sorties in direct support to U.S. Special Forces. He aided foreign relations with the government of Qatar, and is a Lance P. Sijan Leadership Award winner.

The Category I Civilian of the Year is Trisha Lueders, 20th IS, 363rd ISRG. She is the 20th IS commander's secretary, and single handedly coordinated 200 higher headquarters taskers while ensuring a 100 percent on-time delivery rate, Kelley said. “As the unit's sole approver of Defense Travel System actions, she has saved members $18,000. She is instrumental in the management of official records, staff communications and meetings,” she said.  Lueders is a strong leader of base and local community volunteer programs and helped raise over $10,000 for her unit and charities, Kelley added.

The Category II Civilian of the Year is James Tauscher, 43rd IS, 361st ISRG. Tauscher is a supervisor equipment specialist. He authored an initial squadron request which secured two 179-day FY17 authorizations and facilitated five ISR system hatch repairs that solidified 90 percent equipment availability and supported 760 training sorties.

The Category III Civilian of the Year is Jimmy Washington, 57th IS, 365th ISRG. He is an electronics engineer who collaborated with Air Force Research Laboratory and Institute of Technology and gained access to a $30 million high-powered computing resource, ultimately saving 700 hours per year. He executed a software initiative and developed prediction codes for an $800,000 configuration, increasing the modeling speed 500 times.

Through the meetings and planning sessions at the wing’s annual sync conference, commanders synchronized their goals and prepared to complete missions together.

“The conference was extremely important to us as a new wing,” said Col. Michael Stevenson, commander, 363rd ISRW. “We have a lot of processes that we are trying to normalize, and we can't look back on how we've always done things. Our number one goal as a wing staff for the past year has been to ‘become normal,’ as we now have enough people to perform the majority of normal wing staff functions. I am determined to turn over to my successor a normal, functioning Air Force ISR Wing, and this week was a big part of getting us to the finish line on that goal.”