Best Warrior and Outstanding Airman ceremony returns
AUGUSTA, MAINE (05/20/2022) (readMedia)-- The Maine National Guard held a ceremony to recognize the State Outstanding Airmen and Best Warrior Soldier and Noncommissioned Officer of the Year at Camp Chamberlain, May 14, 2022.
The joint ceremony, designed to recognize both Soldiers and Airmen, has historically been an annual ceremony but the COVID-19 pandemic prevented the celebration in 2020 and 2021. This year, winners from 2020, 2021 and 2022 were all recognized.
"These Airmen and Soldiers exemplify the best of the best and truly make us proud as leaders," said State Command Sgt. Major Brian Dill. "We continue to have Soldiers and Airmen that find the drive and energy to go above and beyond in their personal lives, professional careers and their communities."
In the Army National Guard, the state level best warrior competition consists of 15 events designed to test Soldiers' tactical abilities, technical competence and physical stamina. Soldiers complete all these events over the span of three days and are tested in numerous ways from a 12-mile ruck march, to marksmanship, to written knowledge.
"For the Soldiers who compete it's a good opportunity to push themselves and to see just how far they can go," said Dill. "It's a good self-awareness competition to get into and challenge yourself. You learn a lot, meet a lot of great people and it's just one more thing the organization provides to develop Soldiers and Airmen in an aspect outside of their normal duty military occupational specialty."
"I think the best warrior competition displays the total Soldier concept and gives us a better indication of the readiness of our force," said Dill.
State winners go on to represent Maine in the regional competition.
In the Air National Guard, the Outstanding Airman of the Year program calls for each state headquarters to select nominees in three categories: Airman, Non-Commissioned Officer and Senior Non-Commissioned Officer. Nominees for First Sergeant of the Year and Honor Guard Member of the Year are also submitted in their respective categories. The Maine Air National Guard also selects and recognizes a Company Grade Officer of the Year.
All candidates are rated on their performance during the previous calendar year in the following areas: leadership, job performance, and the whole Airman concept (fitness, education, community service, and civilian employment).
Winners from the 101st Air Refueling Wing, 243rd Engineering and Installation Squadron & 265th Combat Communications Squadron competed for selection as the state winners in their respective category.
The individuals selected as Outstanding Airman of the Year, Outstanding First Sergeant of the Year, Outstanding Honor Guard Member of the Year from the Maine Air National Guard have been submitted to National Guard Bureau for consideration as Air National Guard candidates for the Air Force Outstanding Airman, First Sergeant and Honor Guard Member of the Year programs.
"I want to thank the families for being here," said Maj. Gen. Douglas Farnham, Maine's adjutant general, addressing the audience. "We have the easy jobs. We get to work with people who are motivated and trained and have a mission that matters, but we can't do that without our families."
Farnham stated he was proud of everything Maine Soldiers and Airmen had done in Maine during the pandemic, as well as supporting continued federal missions like Maine's state partnership with Montenegro, deployments to the Southwest border and Africa, and the January 2021 response to the Capitol.
"I'm proud of all that and I hope you are too," said Farnham. "You should be because you're the reason that I'm proud. It's the Soldiers and Airmen of the Maine National Guard that made that happen...and it's going be your responsibility to continue that legacy and that heritage for the next folks. That means that you continue to set the example, continue to set the standard, continue to speak up when things can be done better or aren't being done right so that you can continue to be proud, and the folks that come behind you can be proud too. I don't know what I'd rather be doing, and it sure feels good to be proud of what you do. Congratulations."
2020 Award Recipients
Best Warrior Soldier of the Year: Sgt. Jordan Robbins, 185th Engineer Support Company
Best Warrior NCO of the Year: Sgt. Bradford Roberts. 251st Engineer Company (Sapper)
Outstanding Airman of the Year: Airman 1st Class Tyler Field, 101st Civil Engineer Squadron
Outstanding Company Grade Officer of the Year: Capt. Troy Crocker, 101st Logistics Squadron
Outstanding NCO of the Year: Tech. Sgt. Jennifer Gammon, 265th Combat Communications Squadron
Outstanding Senior NCO of the Year: Master Sgt. Andrew Robichaud, 132nd Air Refueling Squadron
Outstanding First Sergeant of the Year: Master Sgt. Justin Smith, 243rd Engineer Installation Squadron
Outstanding Honor Guard Member of the Year: Tech. Sgt. Chad Sirois, 101st Force Support Squadron
2021 Award Recipients
Best Warrior Soldier of the Year: Spc. Andrew Killen, 251st Engineer Company (Sapper)
Best Warrior NCO of the Year: Sgt. Devon Hoyt, 136th Engineer Company
Outstanding First Sgt. Of the Year: Senior Master Sgt. Stanley Niedoroski, 101st Air Refueling Wing
Outstanding Honor Guard Member of the Year, Senior Airman Samantha Houston
Outstanding Airman of the Year: Senior Airman Anton Trenga 132nd Air Refueling Squadron
Outstanding Company Grade Officer of the Year: Capt. Cameron Wellman, 265th Combat Communications Squadron
Outstanding NCO of the Year: Tech Sgt. Micheal Murch, 265th Combat Communications Squadron
Outstanding Senior NCO of the Year: Master Sgt. Melinda Metten, 132nd Air Refueling Squadron
2022 Award Recipients
Best Warrior Soldier of the Year: Spc. Zachariah Musselman, 136th Engineer Company
Best Warrior NCO of the Year: Sgt. Jordan Robbins, 185th Engineer Company
Outstanding Airman of the Year: Staff Sgt. Timothy Tracy, 101st Civil Engineer Squadron
Outstanding Company Grade Officer of the Year: 1st Lt. Joshua Stevens, 101st Logistics Squadron
Outstanding Senior NCO of the Year: Master Sgt. Andrew Hillman, 101st Maintenance Squadron
Outstanding First Sgt. Of the Year: Senior Master Sgt. Charles Harding ,101st Civil Engineering Squadron
Outstanding NCO of the Year: Tech Sgt. Michal Krysinski, 243rd Engineering and Installation Squadron
Story by Staff Sgt. Sarah Myrick; Photos by Staff Sgt. Sarah Myrick and Sgt. Darin Douin